Audio Visual For Event Planners

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Audio Visual For Event Planners

Transcript Of Audio Visual For Event Planners


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
The Intro
Audio visual at your event has the power to move people and make or break the guest experience. Your audio visual (or AV) partner is an event planner’s most important team member and you need to know how to leverage their expertise to ensure your event’s success.
When putting together your event, engage your AV partner from the very beginning. They need to hear about your objectives, the overall event design and your plans for content or entertainment. Understanding these creative concepts will help your AV partner design a production setup that will enhance and complement the work of the rest of the team.
Almost all events have some sort of AV component – speeches and presentations that impart wisdom to attendees; or entertainment that wows and excites them. AV is one of the most important elements to get right.
Whether you plan a small dinner, a large gala, festivals, corporate events, or an association conference, your AV partner can support you in ensuring your vision comes to life. Here’s everything you need to know to ensure your relationship starts off on the right note.

Table of Contents


Talk to the Right People to Make Your Event a Success


What Does Your AV Supplier Need to Know About Your Event?


What Event Planners Need To Know About AV


Working Within Your Event Budget


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
Welcome to your Complete Guide to Audio Visual! We’re here to help you determine the right products and services to attain your event vision and assist you with turning that vision into reality.
We’ll start with a who’s who on your event AV team and the things you need to know, then move into the different types of products and services.
Did you know ON Services is a full-service audio visual provider? We provide video, audio, lighting, speaker services and content management, digital and interactive technology, scenic design and in-house support for clients around the world.
Our expertise combined with our extensive inventory of AV technologies gives us the unique ability to serve our clients, in a variety of industries, from concept to completion.
Start planning your next extraordinary event experience now. Let ON Services show you the way.
Did you know?
ON Services supports live event productions, association and medical meetings, conferences, trade shows, exhibits, in-house AV services and more.

ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners

Talk to the Right People to Make Your Event a Success

Whenever you choose members of your event team, you want to make sure that they are not only skilled and experienced but also a good fit for you. Here are some tips on what to look for when choosing your AV Partner.

AV Companies Have Specialties Just Like Event Planners Do
Like event planners, full-service production companies have specialties. Most companies have similar equipment – some companies may even have newer and more powerful technology - but it’s the strength and experience of their personnel that differentiates them from the competition. Do they primarily deal with rock and roll festivals? Or corporate galas? Check out their portfolio or ask them about past projects. Work with an AV partner that specializes in the type of event that you are producing to ensure the best outcome.
In-house AV Suppliers vs. External AV Suppliers: Which is Best?
Is your event being held in a venue that has an in-house AV partner? Do you have a choice of using the in-house team or working with an external AV supplier? If so, you will have an important decision to make.
There are some definite benefits to using an in-house supplier. They will most likely have all the equipment you need on-site already so that you can avoid additional shipping or trucking charges. And if your needs change at the last minute, there's a better chance they'll have the missing piece standing by

in a room down the hall – as opposed to in a warehouse on the other side of town.
The external supplier may be able to travel with you, should your event be held in a series of locations. This will help with consistency. Be sure to ask the venue about all the options open to you and the associated costs so that you can make an informed decision as to which option will be the best for your event. It is important to know your options when choosing to go in-house or external. There may be costs associated with using an external supplier. Hotels will often levy a hotel “AV Concierge” fee or charge extra for electrical plug-ins. However, the external supplier may have more flexibility to negotiate their prices to cover these fees and make sure you are getting a good deal.
Who Does What: the Key Members of The AV Team
When you have decided on the AV partner you would like to work with, you may find yourself being introduced to several members of their team. Who does what?
General Sessions: Depending on the size and scope of your event, your initial contact was most likely with an Account Manager or Sales Executive. This person is responsible for the client relationship that the company has with you. The Account Manager is likely to have secured a preliminary quote for your audio services, discussed and revised it necessary to fit your needs. While the Account Manager may stay involved with you as their special client, he or she will engage more of the team to help bring your project to life. They will be your key contact, overseeing the whole account. If you require meeting rooms, you will have a Project Manager assigned to your event, as you would if you have a show floor. Your Account Manager will stay in communication as your event progresses. Here’s a breakdown of the other people your Account Manager will work with to make your vision come to life: Your Technical Director is the one in charge at your event. He or she is the one that the Account Manager interacts with and talks to about your setup, any questions or concerns you may have. There may be an “A1” who is the lead audio technician, and an “A2” - their assistant. Usually, the A1 is the one mixing the main audience speakers at the mixing board at Front of House (This is what the area for technicians in the main room is called. This mixing board may be a smaller digital console or a larger, analog one depending on the needs of the event). The A2 is often on stage and moving microphones and other equipment as necessary. If you have a large band performing at your event, you may also have a Monitor Tech who is located at a mixing board at the side of the stage, who is responsible for mixing the audio that comes through the monitors on the stage back to the band performing. Similarly, video needs will be managed with a “V1” and “V2.” The V1 is the lead for the video content and on larger shows decides which content goes on the main screen for your guests to see. The V2 helps with preparing content. You will most likely find these members of your crew behind the scenes (and the screens) as they can manage your on-screen content and
projection from what they see on their equipment and can be connected to the rest of the team using headphones (often called ClearcomTM or “com” for short). The production team may also involve a Production Manager, a Show Caller (for a complex show, this is the person that directs each element – audio, video, lighting, effects, etc.) to communicate with your Stage Manager, operations crew, and others to bring all the pieces together. The more complex your AV requirements, the more people that will be in the room to support you. They have your back and will do everything they can to make sure your event is a success.

ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners

What Does Your AV Supplier Need to Know About Your Event?

Once you have selected your AV team, you need to work through the details together to make sure that your AV Partner has everything they need to make your event (and you!) look good – it’s all about working together.

Rock Your Event Content with Attention to the Details
As mentioned, your AV Partner will need to know your overall event objective, concept, and design. However, nothing is as important as knowing the details of your content – presentations, displays, video, entertainment and anything else that may be going on. Do you have an MC that will be roaming the room? Does your presenter have a video in his PowerPoint presentation that has sound? Do you have a trio playing music in the foyer during a reception? A five-piece rock band or a symphony? These are all important aspects that your AV partner will need to take into consideration when creating your equipment list and booking the crew. When in doubt, mention it!
And if things change (and sometimes even if they haven’t), review the content requirements with your team. You may want to create and share a very detailed document that shows everything that is going to happen in your event (often called a Run of Show) and include a separate column for everything that has AV associated with it.
When It Comes to Presentations, Preparation is Everything
You have no doubt spent a great deal of time and effort choosing the best presenters for your event. You have made sure they know your audience and are thoroughly briefed on the objectives for their talk. Don’t forget to brief them on the more logistical aspects of their presentation too and find out key information. What program is their presentation created in?

What aspect ratio? This refers to whether their slides are created in a standard square shape (aspect ratio 4:3) or in the more current and common, widescreen shape (aspect ratio 16:9). Are they using any unusual fonts that need to be installed on the relevant machines? Are they using videos and if so, are they embedded right into the file? That’s preferable to having them as a link to a video on the internet. The internet is infamously unstable or slow in many venues and this could cause your video to lag or run slowly.
Be sure to get a draft of the presentations to your AV partner in advance. This will allow them to test everything on their playback machines before getting to show site. Last minute edits to the presentation content can certainly be made after that – and many presenters will make edits almost right up to show time! This is a great reason to set up a Speaker Ready Room that duplicates the technology featured in the rooms (laptop, projector, screen and even sometimes a small PA) so that the speaker can rehearse and fine-tune their presentation on-site. When you push to a meeting room, it’s called Presentation Management. You can even connect this room with your other event rooms using a network system so that presentations can easily be placed in folders for each space and your technicians can access them immediately.
If the presentation has audio associated with it – either there is a video with audio in the content or there is a separate video that the presenter would like to play – be sure to get these to your AV partner in advance for testing.

ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners

Talk to your presenters about their style as well. Do they speak from behind a podium? Or do they pace the stage or even walk out into the audience? This will make a difference to the way that the speakers are set up and what sort of microphones are used.
Build in Time for Checks and Avoid AV Fails
Work with your AV partner to ensure that there are no surprises when your presenter, group or entertainment shows up for check – and yes, you need to leave time for a check. As a minimum, presenters should be given 30 minutes between when the equipment is set up and the doors are opened to walk the stage, test the microphone and run their presentation. A band or musical act will need more time, earlier in the setup to work with your AV team on their lighting preferences, their sound, their mix, what they need to hear back in the monitors and so much more. If

you can build in a longer time for rehearsals, this could also be wise. It’s normal to have the room set one hour before the speaker goes onstage, to allow the 30-minute walkthrough.
Skipping this step could mean that the first part of your presentation ends up being a public rehearsal. Don’t make that mistake.
Take Advice from your AV Provider to Confirm Maximum Capacity
When booking your event venue, many event planners receive those handy floor plans with capacity charts for various room layouts. The general rule is 20% to accommodate basic AV, so if 300 guests are invited, work towards 20% of that number. Depending on your event content, it is a good idea to take those capacity numbers as only an estimate.

Many elements will impact how many people you can accommodate in nasfasfyour event and your AV partner is the most important member of your team in working out your room layout and capacity. Your AV partner should be able to give you a diagram of where everything will fit.
Once you have discussed your creative ideas with your AV partner, they will help talk through your audio visual needs and how this will impact the space in the room. Will you need a stage? A dance floor? A screen?
Once you have the big pieces in the room, you may also need to allocate space for Front of House control where your digital or analog sound mixer will be, as well as space for cameras, catering/bars, backstage, gear storage, video control and client required space – like silent auctions, charity tables or sponsor booths. One way you can help get some space back is to “fly” or hang from the ceiling or truss, your speakers, lighting, and other technology. Otherwise, you will need to allow for these items to be supported from the floor on stands or other truss structures.
Once you have all the “must-haves” in the room, your AV partner should create a custom diagram to include layouts of tables or chairs for the audience. It will help you better understand your capacity and how many tickets you may be able to sell.

Did you know?
ON Services can help you with best practices for the venue, the staff and the budget. Just ask!


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
What Event Planners Need to Know About AV
Of course, you want to surround yourself with experts who know their business and then let them do what they do best. However, to get the most from your AV, it’s helpful to know the language.

Momentum event

Audio 101
There are only three things that most people notice about audio: Can they hear it? Was it too loud? Did it feedback? Even if the audience doesn’t notice the subtleties of good audio visual design, they will feel the difference a good professional engineer can make to the overall event experience. And while most of this is in the talent of your lead Audio Engineer (A1), knowing what equipment they need and what equipment does what can make sure they can make the magic happen. The term for the main part of your audio equipment is the PA (short for Public Address, although

this is rarely used in the event world). This is comprised of the devices that collect the sound (microphones), the system that processes the sound (mixing console, effects units, etc. depending on the situation) and the devices that output the sound (speakers). This could be as simple as a speaker on a stand or a full, concert quality line-array system.
Sometimes venues have a built-in PA – this means that they have incorporated some of the elements into the room. They may have speakers in the ceilings

Momentum event

already and a microphone built into a podium. Your volume may be managed with some sort of control on a wall. While this is a very simple and cost-effective way to amplify your presenter, you lose all control of the quality and tone of the sound.
In most cases, your AV partner is going to want to bring in their own equipment and multiple speakers to evenly distribute the sound around the room. This is called “distributed audio” (vs. point source) and helps you avoid the sound being too loud for those close to the speakers and too quiet for those across the room. This is especially important in large rooms with a band or presenter at one end. Talk to your AV partner about different room layouts and other ways to help your audience feel engaged with your content.

Commonly Used Microphone Types for Events
As technology around the world advances, the equipment used in the AV industry evolves as well. There are many different types of microphones that all have a particular purpose or application. Your AV partner will know the best one to use in which situation but, as an event planner, it is helpful to know the basics so that you can discuss the most suitable options.
Are Wired or Wireless Microphones Best?
Wired microphones (or mics) are often used at events due to their reliability. While there are different shapes and sizes for different uses (amplifying speech vs. an instrument), they are the workhorses of the


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
audio industry and there is most likely one for your particular need. Wireless mics make the connection from the sound to the audio system via a wireless RF link. This means that there is an antenna on a box (usually at Front of House) that wirelessly picks up the signal and connects it into the mixing board. This gives the microphone holder total freedom to walk the stage and out into the audience or wherever they need to go, without worrying about trailing a wire behind them. While technology has advanced to the level that this connection is pretty rock solid, if you have too many wireless microphones in a single room, all those RF connections can be difficult to manage. Another popular use of wireless mics is to capture audience comments. You may have your presenter or runners take a wireless microphone into the audience so that everyone in the room can hear their question or comment. Or, get creative and engage with your audience by using fun event tech like throwable mics (microphones

Make Wise Mic Choices to Get More from your Presenters
Many presenters do not want to be encumbered by having to hold a microphone in their hand – perhaps they use their hands a lot when they speak or they have props or display items they need to hold. Do you have people that move around or are they standing at a podium? This allows for a couple of microphone options. The most common is the lavalier – also known as a “lav” or lapel mic. This is a small, olive-sized microphone head that clips to a collar or lapel and is wired to a belt pack that is attached to the back of the presenters’ skirt or pants or put in a pocket. The belt pack then has an antenna that transmits to the same sort of RF receiver as the wireless microphone located at the mixing board. Alternatively, the belt pack can be attached to a headset microphone that has a band that either goes over the head or around the back. You often see these on singers who like to move around a lot, as unlike the lavalier that is pinned to your clothes, the headset mic moves with you and keeps a more consistent distance to the mouth. If you find you are needing several wireless mics, your AV partner will assist with coordinating the RF frequencies of each so they don’t interfere with each other.

Media Feed and Sound Recordings
What if your audience includes a group of media representatives and they need to record the audio for use in their television or radio story? You don’t want your speaker’s face to be obscured with a mash of media microphones. Work with your AV partner to set up what is called a Media Feed in a central location. A Media Feed consists of a box that provides media with a number of “outputs” that media can plug into to record the audio directly from the mixing board, guaranteeing them a clean and clear recording of the presentation. This is a much better – and neater – way to get the media what they need to tell your story. You can even have your AV partner record the audio for your future dissemination purposes. They will then require an additional device that can record your program in .mp3 format or .wav for your future needs.

If your event includes a panel or group discussion, as is often necessary in a conference environment, your AV partner could use a digital conference mic system where each participant gets their own dedicated table microphone (or they can share) where only select people are allowed to speak and the sound operator (or even the attendees) can turn the mics on or off in a much simpler manner. They can even assign a “Chairperson” status to the moderator or host, so they can control the pace of the content.


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
Video 101: If a picture is worth 1,000 words, then the right video partner is priceless.
Did you know?
A lot can be done with video projection, so ask your ON Services team members their recommendations. They may think of something not imagined!
Another consideration is the amount of ambient light in your meeting area. If your event is in direct sunlight or in a room where you cannot control the amount of light also dictates the type of display required. While projectors are brighter than ever, this is not always the best option in a brightly lit venue. For outdoor events or brightly lit rooms, LED panels are often the best choice as this technology offers a much brighter image than projection. The brightness of a projector is rated in Lumens while the brightness a LED panel is measured in NITS. But don’t get bogged down in the technical terms – this is why you have an AV Team to guide you to the best solution. Finally, if you are looking for a larger and more impressive display of your visuals, you may want to consider projection mapping. The resolution with projection mapping supports a much larger environment like an arena or on the facade of a building.

This important part of your AV team manages all the visual elements of your event - such as presentation slides, videos, and projection.
The Best Video Options for Your Event
One of the primary decisions your AV provider can help you decide is how to display your images. This decision is based on what you plan to show your audience. i.e. is your presentation primarily Power Point slides, video clips or even

perhaps scenic elements. Additionally, you need to consider the room or space where your images will be viewed and the objective of your event. The overall design is based on this objective and how the images will be used to support the event. The options vary wildly from a simple LCD flat panel (similar to the TV you probably have in your home) to projection onto screen surfaces to an LED wall made up of any number of individual LED panels which connect together to create the display.


ON Services: The Complete Guide to Audio Visual for Event Planners
Want that WOW factor for your next event?

Rear Projection vs Front Projection
If your event is suitable for the more standard projection and screen equipment, you still have another decision to make rear projection vs. front projection. Rear projection means that the projector is placed behind the screen and the image is projected onto the screen from the back. This is the cleanest setup, as the projector beam and equipment are all hidden from the audience. This allows the presenter to stand in front of the screen without worrying about having the presentation showing across his face. The downside is that you have to block off enough room behind the screen for the projector’s “throw” (the distance from the projector itself to the screen to make the image the size desired). This could reduce the available space in the room for guests and lower your maximum capacity.
Front projection provides maximum use of the space. However, it has downsides as you have to keep the bottom of the screen high enough over the presenters’ heads so that they don’t end up with images being blocked. You must also consider more technical equipment in the eyeline of the guest. There are definite pros and cons for each and you can work with your AV partner to determine which is most appropriate for your event and gives the right look and feel.
Visual Content Tricks to Give the Wow Factor
Once that decision is made, the next one is how big do you want to go? The amount of people in the room should tell you what you need. Screens come in all sizes now and can literally wrap a room. With the benefit of special projectors, software, and wide-screen blending, size is no object if you want to add a true WOW factor.
Amount of Content
If you are going to have more than a single source of visual content, speak to your AV

partner about adding a Video Switcher to your order. Video Switching refers to a piece of equipment that can be used to make management of your onscreen content look more professional and seamless. It allows the engineer to switch between multiple sources of content without the audience seeing this on screen and can even save a particular slide right into its memory to cover the transition.
Live Video Feeds to Get Your Audience Closer to the Action
Does your event lend itself to live-streaming, where those guests who cannot attend in person can watch and participate online during the event? If you have ever been to a concert or presentation in a very large room, you have absolutely come across IMAG. IMAG is the short name for Image Magnification and it refers to using video cameras to capture the image of something that appears small in the distance (usually a presenter or singer) and projecting it large onto a screen so that everyone can have that “close up” experience. While IMAG may seem magical, it is a simple process that can add to the audience experience in medium or large event spaces. IMAG requires at least one video camera to be placed in a central location of your room but the more cameras the better as it gives a variety of shots that can be used to make the “show” on the screen more visually interesting. Some of the video cameras can be stationary and some can be mobile. If you want a close up of a drummer in the band, you will need your camera up on stage to get that nittygritty shot. With all those cameras collecting content, you will need a Video Director to assess what image is the most interesting and appropriate to put up on your screens and when. They “call” your show and make sure that your audience doesn’t miss a thing. Be sure to talk to your AV partner about this option and how it can add value to your event.

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