AV Event Essentials

An impactful event always includes audio and visual elements – from presentations and videos to music, lighting, staging and special effects. But is your current meeting space set up to accommodate a live event? Depending on the complexity of your event, additional technology beyond your current AV system might be needed. There are many differences between integrated AV and event AV and bridging the two is not as easy as you might think, there are a few key elements you should keep in mind when planning live events.

Event Details

A live event is very different from a typical presentation or meeting that usually takes place in a large conference room. Though your internal space might work for town halls and internal company presentations, is it conducive for more complex live events? Is there enough space for seating, catering and event support staff? You also need to consider the additional elements that contribute to large events such as staging, lighting, audio and video recording and how these might work in the space.

Considering the goals of the event and the type and style of presentations will help determine how to set up the space for an optimal experience. Details like room and seating setup, lighting and special effects need to be considered. Also, don’t forget ceiling height. Even if you have enough floor space for 300 people, if you want them all to view a presentation on a screen and your ceiling is 8 feet tall, any screen will be too small for 300 people in a traditional event configuration. Also, many internal spaces have columns. While one or two columns may not be a big deal, if they are in a bad spot they can wreak havoc on an event. It might be helpful to seek advice on the functionality of a space before you decide to use it to save time, money and prevent headaches.

Technology Requirements

For live events, you will probably require additional technology beyond your space’s normal capabilities – whether it is more robust audio to accommodate a large audience, decorative lighting, special effects or professionally produced videos. Things to consider include:

  • Are microphones needed for the presenters or audience members?
  • Will music and sound effects be played?
  • How will you display presentations and videos – do you need additional screens and projectors?
  • Is media switching needed? Switching is always necessary when using PowerPoint and another form of media
  • How do you plan on connecting remote participants?
  • Will you be recording and streaming the live event?

Often for live events, recording and streaming is necessary in order to involve all necessary participants. Even if you have a video teleconference system integrated in your space, it might not be the best option if you want to do a one-way professional web cast. An outsourced option might work best to ensure a quality experience.

When designing new spaces in your facility, if you think there is a possibility of using the space for large events, you can work with your AV partner to make sure to accommodate for outside audio, video and other aspects required for large events as part of your overall solution.

Support Plan

A large event often requires a specialized crew to help make everything run smoothly. Technical assistance by experts who have experience working in live events can help manage audio, video, lighting and special effects. They often might bring event-specific equipment that is built for use by trained professionals, providing them with a high level of control over every aspect of the production.

Remember that during a live event, there isn’t a lot of time to react to change. Make sure to plan in advance with outside and internal resources, determine the details for set up and make sure to walk through all elements of the event in advance. Having a properly staffed event and a properly prepared staff means a more polished and responsive on-site experience.

Event Success Strategy

The best strategy to guarantee a successful event and prevent any issues is to allow plenty of time to plan your event and iron out all the details so that you have the right technology and support staff in place. Block off the space for a full day before the event so there is plenty of time to test the technology and rehearse. The key is clear communication between the event stakeholders, planners, internal AV and IT teams and outside technicians. With patience and attention to detail, you can make your event a success.

Check out our 10 Tips for Event Success for more helpful hints or read our Case Study detailing how we helped the American Association of Cancer Research produce flawless events.