What’s on your event planning checklist for A/V at events? A/V is an essential at an event and, when done well, should appear seamless. Here is my event planning checklist for A/V that will ensure you deliver on your client’s event needs before the event even starts.
Find out your client’s basic A/V needs.
Picture this: it’s a typical day as an event planner. The phone rings and your client needs your planning expertise for their upcoming event. They quickly go through the basic information for an event that is six months away. Their agenda is rough, lacking important specifics like the number of presenters, and presenters’ A/V requirements. Their only event A/V requests are a screen, a projector, and sound including microphones. You start probing for more details, but those are all the details they have today.
The first item on my event planning checklist for A/V is finding out my client’s basic A/V needs. As planners, we know it takes some time to figure out what you’ll need from an A/V perspective. So knowing even just what basic needs your client will need will enable you to start a conversation with your A/V provider and get recommendations for the event.
Choose a screen type for presentations and video.
Once you have the basic format of the event figured out, you can choose a screen type. If you have a smaller general session space and audience size, one or two large flat screen monitors are a great option. In general, these types of screens are used for a more intimate setting, where the audience is close to the stage and presenter.
For a larger space and audience, screens and projectors may work better. This comes in handy especially if the presenter has a lot of data to share so people can read smaller fonts in the back row. Presentation screens are 4:3 format or 16:9 format (wide screen), so talk with your client to ensure presentations are designed in the same format as the projection screens.
When selecting projection screens take into consideration the aspect ratio. Presentation screens are 4:3 format or 16:9 format (wide screen), so talk with your client to ensure presentations are designed in the same format as the projection screens. Depending on the size of your space, you’ll need a projector that makes sense. You’ll need a projector with more lumens (brightness) if there are windows or lots of light in the room but your A/V provide should be able to recommend a projector for the job.
Ensure you have the audio essentials.
For house sound and external sound systems that are brought in, make sure there’s a decent size soundboard or mixer. Based on the needs of your client, your A/V provider can suggest a soundboard that can handle multiple microphone inputs and computer inputs. Plan on having video playback from a computer and include a Direct Box to help balance audio going to the soundboard/ mixer and prevent hum and buzzing.
We’ve all attended events where it was tough to hear the presenters. Include a PA with enough speakers around the room, so that audio isn’t an issue. If you have music that is a key element of the program or performances on stage, you will need a more robust sound system.
Include a mix of wireless lavalier microphones, handheld microphones, and one hardwired microphone on a podium or stand on stage (in general, four to eight maximum). But don’t go crazy, too many microphones can be hard to manage.
If audio still has you stumped, hire an audio technician to manage the sound. It will save you a lot of headaches, and lessen the stress during the live event with an expert on-hand to help with issues.
Consult with your A/V provider on the type of video switcher/ mixer.
A video switcher/ mixer is a must have if you have more than one computer to share on the screen, or if you are incorporating camera video of presenters on the screen. In this case, you will need a seamless video switcher.
If you have a simpler show with just a presentation and a few videos, you could use a crunch box. Crunch boxes are less complex video switchers that are perfect for basic presentations. As event planners, we know the importance of having a Plan B. Think of the video switcher/ mixer as the Plan B. If one computer freezes, you can quickly switch to the backup computer with the click of a button.
Put your presenter at ease with the right technology.
Putting your presenter (and your client’s mind) at ease may just come with arming them with the right technology. Equip them with a confidence monitor, which allows the presenter to see their content without turning their back to the screen. It’s a simple solution for your presenter so he or she can engage the audience. Don’t forget a remote clicker with a laser pointer so you can give the presenters control of their content during the event.
Light up the stage.
Another item on my event planning checklist for A/V is event lighting. Most venues have basic stage wash lighting so the presenters can be seen well. If you’re looking to add an extra touch of drama, you can achieve this with stage lighting. Additional lighting can add an inspiring, dynamic look to your overall event design and create an additional opportunity for branding with gobos.
Hire an event producer.
The checklist above covers most of the basics for general sessions. As your event evolves, there may be other requests such as video recording, webcasting, or bringing in remote presenters via video or a conference call.
For more complex shows, hiring an event producer is one of the best decisions you can make for your program’s execution and for your budget. The producer is a key partner who understands the content, the audience, the technology, and the budget. If you’re looking to knock your event out of the park for your client and attendees, an event producer might be a good fit to help you reach event success.
Did we miss any items on our event planning checklist for A/V? Give us a holler on Twitter and let us know what you’d add to the checklist.