Recently I have been working with a lot of clients who have come to me with woes of the AV (audio visual) elements of their events. Either they are confused by the terminology used by AV companies or confounded by the expense of it all. AV for an event can be anything from simply a projector and screen to display your powerpoint to an all singing all dancing stage where they only real limit is your mind (or your budget).
The following are some simple things that can save you a lot of time, heartache and money.
Venues & AV
In the planning stages of your event when it comes to looking at your AV requirements consult with the venue you are using. If your AV needs are minimal then more than likely your venue will be able to provide you with what you need. There may be additional hire costs however a possible way to avoid such costs is in your venue research.
When looking for that perfect space to host your event find out if any AV equipment can provided as part of the room hire price. I find that most modern meeting room spaces usually have a mounted projector or a plasma screen hanging on the wall in the room so as part of my visit I always check if its included in the hire fees.
If your AV needs are more than the standard list of equipment that a venue have you need the venues list of preferred AV suppliers.
When I receive this list I always ask the following questions directly to the venue:
- Who would the venue recommend?
- Who is the most popular choice from other clients events?
- Who's the cheapest and most expensive?
When it comes to choosing your AV team some people choose based on budget, however going with the cheapest isn't always the best decision. As the old saying goes, you get what you pay for, and so if you're not prepared to pay for it, then don't expect them to do wonders for your event.
Do your research.
Speak to the companies, find out about them, ask them questions. They are there to help you and at the end of the day they are tendering for your business so they should be keen to answer you with any questions you have to impress you with their knowledge and expertise.
Getting the quote
After you've provided your requirements to the AV company they will send you a quote. Always ask for this to be itemised so you can see EXACTLY whats included. The quote will look daunting and will be full of names of equipment that mean very little to you so ask the company exactly what these names mean if it isn't obvious.
Ask the company to go through each item to find out what is for. Sometimes you will find things that really aren't required which is most often down to a misunderstanding in your original requirements however do go through it just to double check everything and what it does.
When you have decided on your team ask them to meet you at the venue to go through the event with them. I find really helpful so that you, the venue and the AV team can all be 'singing from the same song sheet' when it comes to your event. Your AV team will your technical friend during the event so it's good to meet and start to build a relationship with them before the day.
If you keep the lines of communication open and ask any questions you have to your AV team then from a technology point of view your event should run smoothly.
Following the Event
If you have enjoyed working with the team, and hopefully you will have then keep their details and keep in contact with them. At a conference I managed a few years ago I met one company who are now my go to team for all AV questions I may have. I have also got them into some venues I have worked with even if they aren't on the preferred suppliers list.
My last and final tip would be to get anything created for the event by the AV company that is bespoke to you/your event. For example if you have a gobo made of your logo, and paid for it, then ask the AV Team for it at the end. They have no need for it as it can't be used for another client of theirs. You will then be able to take this with you to other events, venues and teams you may work with in the future.
Over To You...
What are you AV headaches and woes? Would love to hear what frustrates you or on the flip side if you have any AV tips and advice that you can share please put them in the comments below.