Many know that the audio-visual or “AV” portion of an event is key to a successful event. However, when it comes to the world of AV, many cringe at the thought of AV. The AV world has become a chilling, unwelcome world – one many do not like to venture into as it is considered far too complicated and complex. But AV is so important and so needed. Why can’t it be simpler?
We are going to help show you what a wonderful, and easy, world AV truly is.
Part One: The “Must Know” Basics of AV
For Part One of our Five-Part Series, we want to take a step back and review the basics of AV. Though we are calling them the basics, in many ways they are the fundamentals of AV. These will give you a better understanding of how things work while helping you save time and money on your next event.
Rigging or “flown” equipment
Rigging is where any type of equipment is ”rigged” or “flown” in the air. The equipment is connected to “rigging points” or “points” in the venue ceiling. These points are engineered for rigging equipment and have a pre-determined load barriers. The venue will have all important point and rigging information and diagrams needed.
Rigging or “flown” equipment will always be more expensive than equipment that is placed on the ground. Flown equipment can include LCD projectors, lights, speakers, drape and cables.
1. The equipment stays out of the way and allows for more space in the room for larger audience or for rooms that are at capacity.
2. The sound can be better if flown and your screens will be easier to see for those in the mid to back of the room.
3. Lighting, this allows for great light presentation.
Keep in mind:
1. When rigging is required, more than likely the in-house AV company is required to conduct all rigging in the venue which includes labor, truss or “sticks” and rigging motors and equipment.
2. Much more time is needed for set up and strike (teardown) when rigging is involved. Plan accordingly with your venue contact.
3. Rigging will always be more expensive than “ground supported” equipment.
4. Your outside AV company will draft room layout diagrams and drawings and will work with the in-house AV company closely to get everything in place for rigging.
Keep in mind:
1. Know when each and every room is available for set up including dates and times and share this information with your AV company – especially during the bidding process. This can greatly
effect labor rates.
2. Always ask for more time on the front and back end of your event to make sure you have enough time for setup and teardown. You can always release the space if you don’t need it as it is harder to add time and space after the contract is signed.
3. Provide room set up diagrams and audience size to your AV company at the quote stage. This ensures the correct equipment will be used for each room and will provide clear expectations for equipment set up. Also, your AV company can use thee diagrams to look for possible concerns or challenges with each room set up.
Consider the following:
1. How your audience will walk into a room. This helps determine where the wiring for equipment will go during set up. Also, when possible, it is ideal that your audience see your screen and stage when they walk into a room.
2. In most cases allowing equipment to be set up and checked the day before your event starts. If not possible, ensure you are providing ample time for set up. Given ample time will reduce the amount of techs that are needed and will help avoid any challenges that may arise.
3. Schedule sound checks and rehearsals for your general sessions well in advance of the event start time.
Changes in any room midday can be an AV nightmare and can get very expensive and can also cause problems and delays. Avoid changes to any room as much as possible – especially when you are dividing a room with air walls. If you do need to change a room, allow for ample turn-over time, especially when dealing with changes in the audio and video equipment. Remember: tight turn-around times require more techs to complete which means additional labor hours.
1. Request that your AV company strike and replace expensive AV equipment at the end of each day including microphones, LCD projectors, audio mixers. These are easy to strike and set up each day and do not require a lot of time. Though secured rooms are a benefit, they are not always thief proof.
2. Always plan on providing your AV company a secured “bone room” or storage room to keep equipment
safe with limited access to room during the event. In many cases they can “share” your office or meeting space.
Share the date and time equipment must be removed from a room during or at the conclusion of an event. Allow ample and realistic time for striking of equipment – especially when rigging was used. Also, try to request that the striking of equipment be conducted during daytime hours and weekday hours for lower labor rates.
1. Let your AV company know if your event is a “simple” or “complex” event when dealing with labor to ensure you are getting the right amount of techs to run and oversee your event effectively.
2. General session: always plan to have at least one dedicated Audio Tech (A1) and one dedicated Video Tech (V1) for your general sessions. More may be needed, yet this is bare minimum for a successful general session.
3. As mentioned, always provide set up times and strike times for each and every room. Also, always provide event start and stop times for each day and for each room. Each will greatly impact your labor.
4. When possible, request or hire an Event Producer to oversee and run your event. The Event Producer works directly with you months before your event and is present at your event to ensure the event goes smoothly. They are your “right hand man” when it comes to anything and everything AV. Make sure your AV company is providing you an Event Producer for your event and that the costs are included in your AV quote. MiMedia Productions provides a dedicated Event Producer for each event we work with. This is very unique in our industry and is a must for a successful event.
5. Rates are much lower during the week and between 8am and 5pm and much higher on the weekends and after hours and holidays. Weekends and after hours are usually time and a half and weekends can be as much as double time. Also, general techs (set up, strike, run event) have lower hourly rates than higher qualified techs.
6. Different labor grades:
a. Used for equipment set up and strike
b. Run and oversee breakout rooms and speaker ready rooms
c. Assist with event production
a. A1: Lead Audio Engineer (oversees set up/runs equipment and sound board)
b. A2: Lead Audio Assistant (Assists A1)
c. L1/Head Electrical: Electrical and Lighting
a. V1: Lead Video Engineer (may act as computer lead as well and work with graphics)
b. V2: Video Assistant
c. V3: Video Assistant
a. Lead Rigger
b. Assisting Rigger*Note: You must book two riggers for all rigging. One rigger is “in the air’ or on the scissor lift completing all needs above the ground and the second is “on the ground” and working all needs on the floor. The rigger in the air is the Lead Rigger
By: Stephen O’Connor