Imagine this. You're at an event and everything is going well until the software gets glitchy. First it's a small hiccup. The camera stops taking a photo. You tinker with it a bit and you're good to go again. A few minutes later, your computer seizes up and shuts down.
You then start getting that familiar feeling. You're nervous. Sweat beading down your forehead. People are waiting in line. Everyone's looking at you. What do you do?
You smile and motion that it'll only take a couple of minutes but you're really not sure. Is it a cable gone bad? Is it the computer? Maybe the battery? What could it be?
Hopefully you brought your parachute and you have backup equipment. If not, then it will be a very expensive lesson to learn.
Like most of us, we learned the hard way too. These days, every booth should come with a backup kit (of sorts). Yes it's expensive to put together a backup bag but it's worth it. Just like your insurance coverage, you never know when you'll need to use it.
Here's what's in our standard backup kit.
- 5' printer cable
- 10' printer cable
- 3.5mm PC sync cord (this is a 1/8" so be certain you get the correct diameter for your flash unit)
- 4-port AC powered USB hub
- Right angle USB extension cable
- Micro USB cable
- Mini USB cable
- 3" wide gaffer tape
- ACK-E6 power adapter (we use Canon 7D cameras)
- Mini Wireless Keyboard
- Velcro straps
- Hand Steamer
- Sand Bags
- Monitor power cord
- Belkin surge protector
- 150-watt modeling lamp
- Hex key set (3/16" and 7/32" for PBSCO booths)
- Altoids (you never know)
- Hot shoe with PC sync connection (we don't use this since we use 7Ds in our booth but it never hurts to have one just in case)
- Head Lamp
- Band Aid / Emergency Kit
- Surface Pro AC adapter (this could be generic)
- Backup Surface Pro that matches your machines specs pre-loaded with the event settings (very easy to do in Social Booth and with most booth software)
We usually have our backup unit on standby. But not everyone has a backup unit ready to go especially those who are just breaking into the market. So this would be your next best scenario. Have a backup of every single part of your booth so you can always replace something if it fails.
The way we see this is that the best way to prepare for this is to test your booth several days leading up to the event. Leave it running for periods of time and put it through its motions.
And if and when this happens to you, stay calm and take it step by step. Start from the computer and track your way out. We have a clause in our contract that states that our booth is guaranteed to be operational for 85% of the time. In a four hour event, 36 minutes of down time. Do you have this in your contract? You might want to reconsider.
So what's in your wallet errr... kit? Do you think we should add anything to this list? If so, let us know in the comments.
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Ciao and happy boothing!