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4 Crucial Tips for a Seamless Audio Visual Setup

From galas to trade shows, audio visual (AV) setup is a crucial part of every event. But, if you’re not careful, AV can also be the place where even the most mindful event consultant can lose control of the price tag.

Follow these tips for a seamless audio visual setup that will help you stay in budget and in control of the show:

Always compare

The key to staying within your budget is to find the best offer. This may mean reaching out to multiple vendors for quotes. While many venues offer in-house AV services, this is not always the best option for cost and scope. When comparing in-house and third-party services, keep the following in mind:

  • Getting the gear on site
    In-house AV companies can meet your last-minute needs because their gear is already at the venue. Third-party vendors need to transport these items, so last minute add-ons may cost a pretty penny, if they are possible at all.
  • Factoring in custom needs
    Third party vendors may be able to offer you a more customized AV set up. There’s nothing better than hearing a vendor tell you they can do exactly what you want, but be mindful, because…
  • Understanding the venue’s needs
    In-house vendors have intimate knowledge of the venue, and will know exactly what will work and what won’t. These companies are the best equipped to keep your plans in check. You may not get the same kind of insider information with a third-party service.
  • Scanning the venue’s contract
    Keep in mind that venues may charge you for not using their services. If they do, budget that number into any third-party quotes when you compare costs of service.

Ask – don’t assume

A lot goes in to setting up AV for an event, so get all the information you can, upfront, from your venue. Ask questions like:

  • Is WiFi included in the contract? What about power? If not, find out the associated costs.
  • Where are the rigging points in the space? Is use of these points included in the contract?
  • What restrictions on AV setup does the venue have?

Everything is important when it comes to budgeting and planning your event’s AV set up, so ask all the questions you can about the space. Rigging information is especially important if you’re using an outside vendor and designer, so they recognize their limitations in the space.

Know exactly what gear you need

How many inputs are needed for your event? What about outputs, screens and  microphones? Having  a complete idea of what you will need before you sign a contract will save a lot of headaches later on because adding items can end up increasing the cost. Also, keep your agenda in mind when determining your gear list. For example, you may only have two speakers on stage at a time, but if your program schedules two panels back to back, you’ll need to account for four mics so you can prep consecutive panels without interrupting the run of show.

Account for set up and take down

Your event may run from 6 – 9 pm, but you’ll need to have some cushion added for set up beforehand and tear down after. Venues can and will book events back to back, so never assume your space will be available outside of your contracted time. Reserve the time all at once, which will help you avoid penalty fees later down the road. And don’t forget to budget for necessary time and labor costs!

Keep all of these tips in mind, and it will be much easier to stay in budget and in control when you order AV for your next event. What tricks do you have to making the most of your AV budget? Tell us in the comments below!

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