So you’re in charge of planning the annual conference for the fan club of Knight Rider and you need some advice on renting audio/visual equipment, right? No? Okay, perhaps you’re the chapter president for the northeast Meerkat TV watchers association and you need advice on audio/visual for your national convention. Still not you? Alright, one more shot. You are putting together an event to raise money for your daughter’s three-legged pet cat to get fitted with one of those cool prosthetics like Oscar Pistorius wore in the Olympics and you’re needing some information about audio/visual for your fundraiser. Surely, I’m getting close, right?
No matter what kind of event you may be organizing, one of the most important factors you need to consider in your planning is what audio/visual needs you are going to encounter. There are several things to consider and we’re going to help you out a bit with some advice. So what do you need to do when organizing your event in terms of audio/video?
Determine your budget
You’ll need to go into your planning with a clear understanding of how much you can spend. This will help ensure you don’t out-plan your budget.
Consult an expert
Perhaps someone within your organization is an audio/visual aficionado and would be willing to oversee this part of the planning. If not, you can search your network for anyone who is knowledgeable in audio/visual or hire someone who can plan and manage the audio/visual component of your event.
Get input from your event special guests and attractions
If musicians and speakers are a part of your event you will need to get them involved in the planning of the event as early as possible. They will have needs based on their preferences and functions. Musicians will especially want to be given the opportunity for input as early as possible.
Determine your audio/visual needs and make a list
Is there going to be musicians, video presentations or speakers at your event? This will help you better determine exactly what equipment you will need such as TV screens, projectors, video or audio recorders, and or microphones. Perhaps a band will require specific mic setup which will increase the price.
Once you know exactly who your special guests, speakers, and entertainment will be and get their input, then you can put together a list of exactly what you need.
So now you have your list of audio/visual needs together and you’re ready to move on to the next step. AV rental can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unsure of what you will need. So here are some tips to help you make it a bit easier to find the right supplier.
Do your research. If you were going to buy a car or rent a cabin in the mountains you would do your research and find the best value for your money, right? This is no different. Be diligent in your research. Read reviews, talk to people who organize other events, check BBB, Yelp, or Weddingwire ratings. And of course the obvious but sometimes overlooked, ask others for recommended suppliers. If you are a bit new in the industry, get on LinkedIn and jump into a few event professional Groups and ask around. I have a lot of luck here and make some great connections in the process by being active.
Use a consultant
Hopefully, you already found someone to help you in the planning of your event who is an audio/visual authority. If so they will be invaluable in helping you find the best renters to get your equipment. They will know who is reliable, and has high quality customer service from first-hand experience.
Check with the venue
Sometimes venues already have high-quality AV equipment on site. Just make sure it has the capabilities you’ll need to handle your event, and don’t forget to find out what their limitations are. Using in-house AV often saves on budget but might not always be adequate.
Now, that you have your event planned and you have found the right supplier for your AV rental needs, there are still a few things you’ll need to do. Don’t worry you’re getting close to having your event AV needs handled but first here are a couple of absolutes to do before your event.
Negotiate with your AV rental company
Many times AV rental companies will offer you a better deal on an audio/visual package as opposed to just the pieces you need. You may get a better deal on a package that includes components that you can add to your event to make it better. Also, sometimes you can get better deals when you negotiate multi-event or multi-year contracts with the company. Ask if that AV company does partnered deals with other services in the industry with other services you may still need for your event.
Order your AV equipment early
You will want to get your equipment ready to go in enough time to take care of any issues and make sure they will have it for you on the date(s) you will need. Because, sometimes when an AV company doesn’t have it available they will rent it out from another company and that means it will cost YOU more. And you don’t want that.