Laptop Live Performance Tips - Part 1

by Clint on September 13th 2009

One day someone asked me "What do you do?" and in the discussion it dawned on me that there is a common thread through my day job in a large software company, and my other world of musician and artist. Laptop performance. Whether I am performing music in front of an audience, VJing in a club, or presenting the latest version of a product to a major financial corporation, I'm essentially putting on a show using a computer.

With that said I have had many embarassing failures over the past 10 years that could have been avoided with a little planning and luck. I can't help you with the luck, but these recommendations may help you plan for the best. Also keep in mind that if you were to actually follow every one of these, you'd end up defeating the advantage of laptops: portability. It's up to each person to decide how much risk they are willing to take and choose which recommendations to follow to apply to those risks. I, myself, follow less than half of these.

A quick google search will point out that there are many sites and resource that teach you how to tune your computer for better performance (as in speed); some for gaming, others for audio. My goal is not to duplicate in-depth content on any other site. I dont' plan to get into any detail on how to change settings to carry out these recommendations. These recommendations are strictly a one stop shop of high level things that you can investigate further if interested.

Though I documented them primarily with laptop music performance in mind, many of them equally apply to any use of a computer in a performance setting or where real-time interaction with computers is "mission critical". DJing, VJing, powerpoint, art installations, theatre, in-field journalism, etc...

Others in this series: Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8

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