What You Need to Know When Determining Event AV Quality
Can you imagine an event where your attendees stand around quietly, talking into an echo-filled room while darkness envelops them? Then when the main event begins, your guest speaker is shouting into the crowd hoping that they will be heard, even if they can’t be seen…
Your content, no matter how strong, cannot hold its own weight without the sound, visuals, and electronic media displays to showcase it.
Audio visual (AV) isn’t just a job that any event planner can just put together. IN FACT, it is a job that requires an extensive strategy, total organization, coordination, and of course high-grade equipment that will provide the quality required to create an incredible occasion.
Here is what you need to know when booking your AV providers!
What is AV for events?
Before you start the searching and hiring process to find an AV provider, it is important that event planners first understand what types of services and equipment they need. Audiovisual (AV) is sound, content, video, and audio – anything you see on the screens and hear over the system is managed by the event AV team, and, to many, AV can seem like another language. As you peruse different AV providers you will come across equipment and services such as:
- Screen Switching
- LED Screens and Walls
- Augmented Reality
- GeoMod Stage Sets
- Digital Audio Consoles
- Wireless Intercoms
- Powered Speakers
- Digital Signage
- Social Walls
- Second Screens
And these are just a few services that event AV providers will offer you!
If you don’t understand how each service will enhance your event, bringing on a great event planner (like Details!) will help you understand what you need, get quotes and ultimately hire the best AV team for your event. We understand the terminology and equipment, know what is required to complete the look (and sound) you envisioned, and act as a bridge between you and the AV company to ensure you get what you need (and only what you need).
Finding an AV Provider
Before you begin typing “AV provider (city)” into Google, you need to first have a good idea of what your event needs are. This means knowing how big your event is, what AV you would like to have at your venue (ex. augmented reality stations, digital walls, video broadcasting, music played throughout the convention, etc.). Once you have a clear idea of your event size and a general idea of your AV needs should you begin your search.
*Note: AV companies should be brought on early in the planning phase. They can offer expert advice on what you can do for your event. You may think you know, but with technology constantly changing, they may be able to offer something you had not even dreamed of. Having them as part of the strategic planning and relying on them for their expertise is something even the best event planners understand.
One of the best ways to determine if an AV provider will provide QUALITY AV is to get references! Reach out to your network inquire about some of the AV companies others have used. Look at their portfolios – how big was the event? Were they able to accomplish the job without any problems? Have they worked in large venues before? Do they have experience running large conferences? You want to guarantee that you aren’t hiring someone out of their comfort zone.
Finally, before signing on the dotted line, be sure that you have done all of your pre-work. Do you know what the fees are (if any) for bringing in an outside supplier? (You should include that in your contract negotiations!) Do you have a schedule for the presentations and happenings at your event? Knowing your plan and having the pre-work drafted helps your AV team do their job effectively.
Budgeting and Planning for Quality AV
Once you have reached out to the AV company of your choosing, you can expect to receive a quote for services. Not only do you need the equipment, but you need the operators and team to do the strategy, set-up, and management, and you need to budget for the labour.
“25.3% of planners say that cost is the most frustrating thing about event tech, and 18% said getting people to use it was their toughest challenge.” – Event Manager Blog
As hard as it can be, being upfront with your budget will make everyone’s lives easier and you will be more likely to get what you want. If you leave the AV partner guessing they may come up with your dream solution, and leave you disappointed when you can’t afford it. Or, on the flip side, they may under-quote to get the job and you could end up with less than you desired.
Again, if you aren’t comfortable adding AV company management to your plate, get your event planner involved so they can be ready to confirm that everything is set up and running smoothly on the day-of. Event planners know exactly where people need to be on the day-of, who needs to be mic-ed up, who will be telling speakers when to go on stage, etc. so it makes the most sense to have them as the point of contact.
If you don’t have a plan for who will be managing all of this, it is time to ask for help! Send us a message with your event goals and let us be the bridge between the AV world and your fantastic event!