A day in the life of…

Posted by Jessica Pryce on May 26th, 2016

Ok, it’s actually a week in the life of James Ruane, our Warehouse and Logistics Coordinator! James travelled down to Bournemouth earlier this month along with the rest of our PolFed events team for the annual Police Federation of England and Wales conference. You can follow all the info from the conference over on Twitter using the #POLFED16 hashtag…

For now though, grab a brew and put your feet up whilst you checkout what goes on behind the scenes at one of our biggest events of the year!

Day 1 – Saturday 14th May (Build day 1)

And we’re off! Having prepared and loaded all equipment for the Police Federation conference throughout the previous week, we set off down to the BIC in Bournemouth at 7:30am, leaving plenty of time to arrive for lunch before our 2pm call time at the loading bay.

Upon arrival I liaise with the local crew to determine and explain their roles for the next 6 hours whilst we begin the process of unloading the three trucks containing AV equipment, sound & lighting equipment  and stage set & furniture! Then it’s time to dig in and start building the event!

Once all trucks are unloaded, I work out the safest and easiest routes to transport the equipment around the building.

At the Police Federation conference we have a selection of breakout rooms; whether that be for the communications team; the chairman’s team; the green room or the press room, we install a plasma TV in each to enable us to run live feeds in order for people to watch what is happening in the main room. My main role for the first day is to install and make sure they are working correctly in all of the required rooms. Once done, I head back to the main room to help with some smaller tasks before we finish at 8pm and head to the hotel.

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Day 2 – Sunday 15th May (Build day 2)

Having already flown the screen in the main room, built most of the front of house and started to fly the truss yesterday, today’s main job is to finish off and run tests on all the smaller jobs behind the scenes. We then tidy up (once the Set and Stage is complete later in the afternoon.)

During the day, I help one of our freelancers set up  the camera’s for the event – I assist whilst he rigs them before connecting so that he can programme various shots and set up his vision mixer.

After this, I’m given the task of running all the internet lines in to the main room from the source at the venue. This is to ensure we have a solid connection for various things like our live streaming, our servers for the app and most importantly for the crew’s sanity!

Whilst all this is going on, AT Set & Stage are busy completing the rest of the set and stage build so that the lighting crew can get their focusing done in time for rehearsals the following day. As always, I’m on hand to give both sets of crew a helping hand if needed.


Day 3 – Monday 16th May (Rehearsals)

Once we’ve arrived at the venue at 8am, my job is to tidy up anything that looks untidy. This involves me walking around the main room checking all cables are neatly taped down to the floor, that the stage is safe for people to walk about on freely by marking out certain areas with white tape. Then I move backstage to make sure it’s safe for everyone by creating walkways as this is where the client and speakers will meet our team to run through slides or any other issues.

As I’m not specifically required in the main room for rehearsals I begin setting up the Bayview Suite upstairs for the drinks reception that evening, installing a four speaker P.A. System with an 80inch Plasma screen and lectern.

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Day 4 – Tuesday 17th May (Opening day of the conference)

Today’s the day! Having arrived the night before – our Production Manager Jon, our Live Technician Jim and some of our freelancers join me to spend the day building three other rooms that will be used tomorrow for breakout sessions and AGM’s. These rooms require A.V, set and stage as well as lighting. Almost like the main rooms but on a smaller scale.

Firstly, we unload the truck which has just arrived after an overnight travel. The first room we tackle is the Purbeck Hall. Because we’re providing both sound and the lighting in this room it’s imperative we complete this first so we then know how much time we have left to complete the other two smaller rooms! We know we’re on a tight time scale so need to be quick and precise with the builds. Jon, I and Seb (a freelancer) start to build the set whilst Jim and Richard (another freelancer) start to build the projection and ‘switcher world’ for the room. Once the set is up, I start to hang the lights on the truss with Jim. Seb and Richard break off to start the second room whilst Jon finishes the set in our room… phew! Busy!

Finally we’re all set up in the Purbeck and we move next door to offer help in the Tregonwell. Luckily, time is on our side and it’s a big help that this room uses the in house lighting and sound rigs.


Day 5 – Wednesday 18th May (Day 2 of the conference)

First things first today – we finish any little bits we didn’t get finished yesterday in time for the sessions later this afternoon. This includes; laying out the on stage lighting and programming it; focusing the projectors; sound checking the microphones; taping down all the cables and making sure all rooms are safe for the public and focusing the lights. Upon completion, we’re ready for the AGM’s!

Once the AGM’s are finished and the delegates have left the rooms we start the job of break down and de-rig. It’s basically the rig but in reverse!


Day 6 – Thursday 19th May (Final day of conference)

This morning, I’m in first thing to be on hand in case anything is required on site or in the main room during the final day. The conference had been a huge success and wraps up at 3pm. No rest for us just yet as we start the long process of de-rigging the main room with all of the crew getting their hands dirty which allows us to be done and out by 8pm – celebrated with a nice cold beer!

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Day 7 – Friday 20th May (Travel and unload at the office)

Tim and I set off back home at 9.30am so that we’re back at the office in time to help the rest of the Production team unload the returning trucks. Unfortunately (fortunately?) for us we’re held up on the motorway so miss the unload – shame! Thanks guys 😀