Managing the many moving parts in an event can be stressful if certain parts are neglected or forgotten. Specifically, the audio-visual setup. It is one of the most crucial elements of event programming. Whether it is a meeting, conference, gala, or other event where audio-visual is needed. Fortunately, we are here to help. We don’t specialize in audio-visual, but each of our venues has audio-visual capabilities so we’ve learned which questions to ask and what mistakes to avoid.
#1 AV Mistake: Assuming everyone is ready for the event.
How to avoid: Communicate with every person necessary, whoever is involved with audio-visual for the event – including the presenter. Dependent on how involved your setup is, for example if it includes rigging, live streaming, or multiple screens, touch base with your AV team or have a meeting about a week or two weeks before the event to be sure everyone is aware of their responsibilities and roles. It’s important to confirm that each person is prepared. This includes the presenter (double check that they have their presentation material on a backup device!)
#2 AV Mistake: Assuming in-house AV covers all your needs.
How to avoid: Each of our venues has some audio-visual capabilities of their own such as being able to offer screens, projectors, and some basic microphone services in some of their spaces. For whatever they cannot offer, either required or preferred vendors are recommended. Always be sure to explain your needs and goals so that your event specialist or venue manager can gain a better understanding of how their system can best be used to achieve success.
#3 AV Mistake: Assuming you’ll have all the power you need.
How to avoid: Again, share your needs, goals and event visions to your event specialist or venue manager. This is important in determining if additional power sources will be needed to accommodate your audio-visual needs. If your needs go beyond the system that the venue already has in place, it is possible that your third-party audio-visual company will be able to give better insight on what will be required.
#4 AV Mistake: Not factoring in the rigging points.
How to avoid: A rigging point is a place where equipment hangs from. Most venues will not allow you physically hang anything from their structures. However, many audio-visual companies will be provide metal rigging to attach spotlights, screens and other necessities depending on the complexity of the audio-visual setup. Keep in mind that rigging structures take up space on your floor plan. Be up front with your event specialist and venue manager to be sure these are included in your diagrams.
#5 AV Mistake: Not considering the number of projection displays.
How to avoid: Smaller events will typically need one screen. If your event includes over 200 people, more than one screen may be necessary for each guest to receive the same experience. This is also dependent on how the room is set. The further back in the room that a guest sits, the more difficult it may be for them to see the screen. Additionally, understanding the audience is a big guiding point for success. If the guests are older or having impaired vision, more projection displays around the room can be beneficial.
#6 AV Mistake: The visual projects do not fit the screen.
How to avoid: Ask whoever is responsible for providing the audio-visual equipment what the aspect ratio of the project screen is. Every computer has independent settings to assist with fitting visual projects. Communicating this information to the presenter is important. The type of projector, format of the presentation, and screen size all contribute to the outcome of the projector. (Also be sure to ask the type of audio-visual hook-up needed for the system. For example, HDMI or VGA cable. If your computer doesn’t have the right input, you’ll need to acquire an adapter or a different computer that is compatible).
#7 AV Mistake: Not taking enough time to test the presentation.
How to avoid: Prior to the event, attempt to arrive 30-45 minutes early to test the presentation, backup presentation file and computer compatibility with the audio-visual system in place. This may seem like common-sense but often presenters or meeting organizers have the assumption that the devices are automatically compatible or that their presentation is flawless because it tested fine at the office. Files can become corrupt for a variety of reasons. Even if your event only requires the use of microphones, presenters should still arrive 30 minutes early for instructions and sound testing.
#8 AV Mistake: Trying to cut costs with AV.
How to avoid: The more intense an audio-visual setup is, the most costly it can become. Instead of cutting costs with audio-visual, which may result in poor event execution, look at other elements of your budget that are not a necessity – such as custom printed cocktail napkins or event swag.