Atlantic Illumination Entertainment Lighting

An AIEL Instructional

(Image: Negative Flight Case)

Tech Tips


Packing for a Show may be Deemed to be Intuitive.
However, Suggestions Given Here will Speed
Operations, and Save You Time and Money.


    The Right Case for the Purpose:  Packing starts before the actual truck loading by using suitable cases for the intended purposes, and by only placing things in it that are for that particular task. (See the Kits section at this website.) One should limit having to go to other cases for accessories whenever possible. An example is packing lights, cables, and gel frames with gel in the same case. One pulls out the lights, hangs and gels them, and runs the cables without accessing any other cases.

    This works best when touring with the same setup. It's also handy when a smaller venue is encountered where not all lights will be used. One can leave some cases in the truck and not have to bring in unnecessary ones just to use an item or two. All related accessories for the lights are with those lights in the same case. This eliminates, or at least reduces, heavy cable cases because cables travel with their respective lights.

    Labelling and Colour Coding:  Cases should be labelled as to purpose and colour-coded/numbered if possible. Coloured cases are easier to discern from a distance, and they are great for pick-up crews because workers can more quickly learn case purposes if each case colour represents a specific type of content. So perhaps lights might be in brown cases, supplies in red, dimmer and electrical in blue, and so on.

    Internal Organisation:  As has been discussed regarding the Kits, have smaller boxes inside the main cases to preserve an internal arrangement. Label these and pack them into appropriate cases. Place the first, or most, used at the top, whenever possible. It may seem like a time-waster to have to open a box in order to open another box, but the organisational aspects of this method will save much more time in the long run when one considers the minutes lost to searching or moving aside items unneeded at that moment.

Organised packing means more items will fit inside
a case, which leads to fewer cases needed, which
results in a smaller truck that is much less
expensive to rent/lease and to run.

    Truck Loading:  Generally, heavier, larger items should be loaded first so they are at the front of the truck. Try also to have the heaviest cases on the bottom so as to keep the truck's centre of gravity lower. A rear- and high-weighted truck is dangerous to drive because a high-speed turn or avoidance manoeuvre could cause the vehicle to spin out or to tip over.

    Face case handles toward the back so that loaders will have something to grab. Keep the cases in a tight formation to prevent the load from shifting when the truck is in motion.

    Items at the back should be tool cases in case of a breakdown on the road. Next to last should be the first cases or equipment needed for the setup so that the crew can start right away in the venue without having to wait for more of the truck to be unpacked. Of course, this order would have to be altered if such a packing sequence means that too many heavy cases end up at the back of the truck, and too many light-weight ones at the front.

To summarise:

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