Audio visual & IT equipment can be a very confusing to understand and it can be hard to know where to start. There is lots of jargon to understand such as HDMI, aspect ratio, condenser or dynamic mics, lumens etc. Putting it all together can be another thing all together...
This is why we often decide to hire an AV company to do it all for us. This article outlines a few tips to help get the most for your money...
It’s important to make the most of your suppliers and Av companies in particular often offer a range of services related to events. For example, you could ask your AV Supplier for advice on your venue selection, event theming ideas, drapes, red carpets, CAD designs / room layouts, signage printing and customised stage backdrops. If they don't offer a particular service outside of just sound hire, staging, lighting and LED video screens, there is a good chance they will be able to recommend someone else in the business who can help you.
Your AV production company of choice should also be willing to offer content creation services such as creating PowerPoint's and Keynote's, videos, graphics and cutting music for awards dinners. You may also find they offer event filming and live streaming if that is of interest to you.
" We often like the phrase, "If you had to buy a car, would you go out and buy the cheapest one?"
All cars will have wheels and some kind of engine, but that doesn't mean the cheapest one is the same as the latest Aston Martin. Like cars, AV companies vary a lot in quality, experience, knowledge, equipment, size and structure. "
Audio Visual, Staging and Lighting shouldn't be a last minute addition, in fact, by seeking our expert advice as early as possible you can make sure you get several quotes and conduct meetings to select the right supplier, overcome hurdles early and ensure a professional finish to your event. Booking early will also be one more thing off your shoulders.
Getting to know the venue or space you will be using is crucial when it comes to getting your event right. It’s a good idea to also speak with your suppliers about the venue as early as possible, before you commit to booking. Talk is cheap and your suppliers should be more than happy to help advise you on what can or can't be achieved in your desired space.
Your chosen AV Company will have more than likely worked in many different kinds of venues of all types and sizes, from conferences to festivals, and there is a good chance they might already know venue straight away, especially if its based near by their offices (always worth asking).
Before your make any content, first decide the format required. There are lots different ways of showing content such as PowerPoint, Keynote, Prezi or videos & graphics played form a media server. There are also lots of different sizes from ultra wide-screen to square. Obviously you don't want to create square content when you have asked for an ultra-wide LED video wall hire.
Once venue is confirmed and requirements have been agreed, there will still be lots to do.
Start off by making a draft event schedule (even if its not perfect) to include setup times, rehearsals, show times and of course time to dismantle. Show these with your audio visual hire company as its good to make sure the times set out are achievable. Show these to the venue as well.
If you ever have any worries or concerns, pick-up the phone to your supplier. Any good AV company will always be happy to talk and will normally assign at least 1 project manager who will be your first point of call. More than often they will provide you a direct phone or email, so you can discuss anything that comes up.
A week before the event it is always good practice to arrange a final pre-event call or meeting to run through the final schedule and discuss all requirements so that they can ensure everything you want will be delivered.
With an onsite team you can ensure your display will be set up and monitored without glitch free, and you can trust that the equipment is being managed in the right way.
Depending on the nature of your event, you may have dedicated onsite technicians and AV experts as part of your AV hire package. While onsite support and service can entail an additional cost, the result is often well worth the additional expense.
A good AV company will always make you feel as though you can depend on them, that you can entrust them to provide everything required and leave you to go about your business with complete peace of mind knowing that everything is in good hands.
If you ever get the feeling that may not be the case from the first phone call or meeting, then trust your gut. Events only happen once and they need to go perfectly as there is no turning back time to change things.
A good AV supplier will carry key backup Av equipment onsite (not necessarily stated on the quote), dedicated event project managers, very high quality equipment form leading manufacturers and of course, well trained and experienced staff that are friendly and very presentable.
We often like the phrase, "If you had to buy a car, would you go out and buy the cheapest one?"
All cars will have wheels and some kind of engine, but that doesn't mean the cheapest one is the same as the latest Aston Martin. Like cars, AV companies vary a lot in quality, experience, knowledge, equipment, size and structure.
You want to make sure that you select a company with a proven track record, comes recommended, understands your requirements and can work to provide the best for your budget.
In most cases it’s only after a bad experience that sound is given the thought it deserves at events and when things are going well the sound technicians may go unnoticed.
For speech especially, good sound is often subtle. If the level in the room is too low, nobody can hear it and strain their ears in vain trying to do so. If it is too loud, delegates in the room will be wincing with discomfort. Good sound sounds natural, often like there is no sound system or technician present. Good sound should always be clear, natural and evenly dispersed throughout the room, meaning the sound levels should be relatively the same front to back and side to side.
Poor sound often has a lot of distractions which make the message of the speaker unclear or inaudible. These include distortion, noise, electrical hum, RF interference and feedback to name a few. Sound technicians actually need quite a bit of knowledge and skill to remove these distractions from the audio that he is delivering, but the thing about a distraction is that we only notice it when it is present.
During the rig, the sound engineer might be making all kinds of noise as he induces feedback and often pushes things louder than he needs to in order to tune the sound system so it sounds smooth and intelligible. When it comes to the event itself though a good sound technician often makes his work look effortless. A production company not used to hiring a specialist sound technician may even question the seeming ease at which the sound technician gets through the day, in turn thinking of cutting back on the practise of using a dedicated sound technician. This of course is counterproductive.
By and large my experience is that many end clients and production companies do know the benefits of good professional audio. Many also know the cost of poorly delivered audio- from painful experience. In educating others about good sound how can we communicate its’ benefits? Many good things go unnoticed and without a song and dance. Think about water for instance, most of us are blessed enough to get it on tap, it has massive health benefits and actually we couldn’t live without it- but if my water supply were polluted for some reason I would definitely know about it. Maybe we need to think about good audio in the events sector in a similar vein: it is pretty much essential to the message on stage being delivered.
Looking for good sound at your next event?
Stage Engage can provide the complete service.
Contact us today.
Choosing the right venue for your event can make a vast difference for your guests. When you are looking at a venue, whether it’s for a large conference, an intimate wedding reception or a lavish dinner, there are lots of things to consider to ensure you exceed expectations.
We have put together a few simple top tips to help you pick the best event venue possible.
The venue location needs to be the most important decision for your event. It should have good transport links, parking space nearby and accommodation if the event is more than a day.
It’s essential to evaluate where your guests will be travelling from and ensure that the location is accessible for the majority as well as being an attractive venue.
Don’t forget to consider marquee hire; flexible, mobile event spaces are attractive, create a great atmosphere and can be set up easily anywhere you like, as well as giving you more control over catering and brand display.
Whether you are hosting a drinks reception, stand-up buffet, cabaret style dinner or conference presentation, ensure the venue has experience and plans in place to cater for your desired style and seating arrangements. You can also ask the venue if they have a seating plan or a gallery of images from past events that have used your desired style to ensure the format will match your expectations.
If you are considering stage hire or rigging this is even more important, but a professional stage hire team will help you plan down to the last detail. Remember, you know what you need, but the venue staff and your set provider will know what can be done! Work together and you’ll arrive at a great result.
The venue size and capacity needs to be considered carefully so that it can make your guests feel comfortable.
Most venues should have capacity numbers available for all their rooms; if you aim to be ever so slightly under the capacity limit it helps to create the right, relaxed ambience.
Great food and drink is essential for success. Whatever you are providing, ensure you have something available for everyone’s tastes. Provide non-alcoholic and vegetarian alternatives as well as catering for those with food allergies. Considering every eventuality is key to letting your guests enjoy every minute.
Date and Time
Make sure you check your calendar for significant events around the time you are planning, both within your industry (similar competitor events for example), seasonal events and in particular events local to your desired location.
The date is crucial to maximise your attendance numbers.
Lighting and Sound
Whether you're in a plain conference suite or a baroque dining room, good lighting and sound is essential in getting the best out of your venue. Highlight features and create interest in the room with smartly placed lighting, and make sure every speaker is heard with crystal clarity by working with your venue and a professional AV supplier. Properly integrated lighting, sound and video projection makes for enjoyable and memorable events, and the services of a great AV design team will keep the process as stress free as possible. Ambient light is to be considered as the brighter the room, the brighter the projector will need to be. In very bright rooms, you should consider plasma screens.
Events take time and trying to create a successful within a few weeks is not easy. Invitations needed to be sent out in time to allow for possible attendees to check their diaries and other commitments. When setting up for your event bear your requirements in mind, and try to allow yourself enough time to overcome any problems. One hard-and-fast truth of event planning is that something always crops up! Knowing what time you will have access to the venue, and when you need to be out by can make the difference in terms of equipment setup. For larger events, it is worth booking out the venue for a day earlier to have time to get in and set up.
Event planning is many things; exciting, challenging and rewarding to name only a few. By working with a professional event support team you will minimise your worries and maximise your impact. For advice, ideas and anything else, contact us today and make your next event your best yet!
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Stage Engage London, Brook Lane Business Centre, Brentford, London, TW8 0PP
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