ASAE Annual Visits Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

David Markham, Mara Buckner and Maureen Pickell enjoying ASAE Salt Lake City

If it’s mid-August, it must be time for your intrepid blogger to report on the 2016 ASAE Annual Conference & Exposition. Salt Lake City was the fortunate city this year to host 4,800 attendees anxious to network and attend educational sessions positioned to help them:

  • Grow globally
  • Foster volunteerism
  • Be a collaborative leader
  • Design inclusive, safe and welcoming meetings
  • Establish a disaster plan
  • Educate tomorrows workforce
No these weren’t the window washers!

No these weren’t the window washers!

ASAE’s opening night receptions are always epic, but Salt Lake brought a new dimension to their event held against the dramatic backdrop of the Wasatch and Oquirrh mountain ranges in downtown Library Square. Along with the local food and drink and a giant social wall projected onto the side of the city’s art, science, and technology museum, attendees were treated to aerial dancing on the public library’s glass exterior wall by Project Bandaloop.

That’s right, the WALL of the building served as the stage as we all looked to the sky to follow the intricate performance.

I don’t think that this was planned as the lead-in to the Opening General Session the next morning, but we found ourselves focused heavenward again as astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly enthralled the audience with a dual keynote “conversation” about the challenges connected with their combined 550-some days in outer space.

Using a combination of brotherly bantering and serious reflection, the Kelly’s presentation demonstrated how we should always welcome the opportunity to accomplish something that is hard. Thank you ASAE for kicking off the conference with men of action instead of just “talking heads.”!!

Premium Meeting Accommodations & First Class Service

hyatt regency vancouverIt has been many years since the U.S. dollar was so strong against the Canadian dollar.

The current exchange rate provides U.S. organizations a rare opportunity to experience first class accommodations in Canada at significantly discounted rates. Meeting planners and the traveling public are often not aware of this easy way to extend their purchasing power.

Hold your next event at Hyatt Regency Vancouver and experience premium meeting accommodations and first class service. By booking your event in Vancouver you’ll get rates you won’t believe. At current exchange rates you can benefit from discounts of 30%-35% or more on guest rooms, food & beverage, audio-visual, Internet, displays, décor, DMC, entertainment, printing and much more.

Hyatt Regency Vancouver is a premier convention and meeting destination you won’t soon forget. Our hotel is located in the heart of Vancouver with easy access to everything this unique city has to offer, shopping, dining and attractions.

Learn more about the Hyatt Regency Vancouver.

10 Must-Ask Questions When Choosing Local Suppliers for International Meetings

By Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM

Let’s start with a simple premise: No matter how expert you may be, no matter how many years you have been managing meetings, you should not attempt to plan and execute a meeting overseas without help from local supplier partners. If you think that you can do everything alone, as you may be doing here at home, then stay home. Get local support lined up and you will save time, money, and, quite possibly, your job.

Here are my top 10 questions to ask before you select a supplier, be it a destination management company, professional congress organizer, tour company, transportation company, or any other vendor you are considering:

1. How long has your company been in business?
Three years is usually enough time for a business to achieve some internal stability and a presence in the community. I would never risk a meeting on a startup unless I knew the owner personally and had successfully worked with him/her previously.

2. Can you provide names and contact information for three previous clients whose groups or meetings were similar to mine?
Once you get this information, follow up with an e-mail and a phone call. You want to know if this supplier will really understand the details and nuances of your particular group of attendees and if you can rely on the operations team to carry out the promises made by the salesperson.

3. Can you provide references from your bank and creditors?
Verify financial references. This is not difficult for a public company. For a privately held enterprise about which you know nothing, at the very least ask for a letter from the company’s bank. A statement from a reputable bank confirming that the company has a currently active business account is not a guarantee of future solvency. However, a good relationship with a commercial bank and an active account is one indicator that a business is functional. You could also ask for references from three creditors, to see whether the company’s accounts are up-to-date and if it pays its bills on time. Again, this doesn’t guarantee against bankruptcy in the future, but at least gives snapshot of the current financial health of the company and the responsibility of its management.

4. Is your company and/or its staff active in at least one recognized regional professional association and, preferably, an international professional association?
Membership is not a guarantee of competency or performance, but it does indicate that the management subscribes to an internationally recognized level of professionalism and code of practice. It also indicates a willingness to be accountable to colleagues in the industry and to invest time and money in continuing professional education and training. These are all good signs.

5. Are all necessary licenses current?
Business license requirements, if any, vary from country to country, but if they are required, your local partner should have them up-to-date and available.

6. Is any required insurance current?
Like business licenses, insurance requirements vary. Most developed countries require some kind of business insurance. Even in countries where requirements may be less stringent, most reputable suppliers who work with American clients will carry insurance, since this is such a major concern in the U.S.

7. May I visit your office and meet your staff?
If the answer to this question is not an immediate “yes,” this may be an indication that the supplier may not have the physical and/or human resources required to support your meeting. If there is an office, visit it. In what part of town is it located? What kind of IT and communications equipment are in use? Is the staff busy? Are they pleasant? What overall impression of the company do you get from watching the staff in action?

8. Is the English proficiency of your operations staff as good as that of the sales staff?
Insist on talking with members of the operations staff. If their English is not as proficient as that of the salesperson who so eloquently pitched the business to you, how will you and your staff communicate with them on site, especially in an emergency?

9. Can you work with within my budget?
I always make the meeting and budget parameters clear from the outset. This does not mean that you cannot and should not negotiate with suppliers overseas. It simply provides a foundation for a more efficient and successful negotiation. Accurate and realistic information with which a supplier can prepare a proposal is the first step toward developing a long-term relationship of trust and respect. In many areas of the world, the relationships you do or do not establish may determine the success or failure of your meeting. I have always been straightforward with my suppliers about what I can and cannot spend, and, as a result, I have often gotten more value for my budget. They appreciated an honest, professional dialog that did not waste their time and more often than not found creative ways to add extra value to their proposals.

10. What is my gut telling me?
Trust your instincts. Chemistry, comfort, and trust are crucial. As with all relationships, those we establish with support partners abroad will often depend on intangibles that cannot be measured, researched on the Internet, or provided by references. We like to work with people we like. Sometimes we “click” and develop long and fruitful relationships, sometimes we do not. I have been fortunate to meet and work with extraordinary people all over the world who remain valued colleagues and friends after decades of collaboration. Through them I have met other members of my global resource network and we continue to share assistance and advice as needed.

Carol Krugman, MEd, CMP, CMM, has managed programs in Latin America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the Middle East, as well as in the United States and Canada over the past 30 years. As Director of Meeting and Business Event Management for the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Events Management at Metropolitan State College of Denver, Carol is currently teaching undergraduate courses in meeting and event planning full time.

For more global meetings tips, visit

Manhattan Center Events: There’s Nothing We Can’t Do

manhattan center events

The Manhattan Center, home to the Hammerstein Ballroom and Grand Ballroom, is the venue of choice for any event from meetings, product launches and social events to concerts, galas and fundraisers. Conveniently located on 34th street between 8th and 9th avenue, there’s nothing we can’t do.

With its unique location in the heart of midtown, Manhattan Center proudly serves New York as a world-class facility where media and entertainment come together.

One of New York’s most elegant and versatile special event destinations, The Hammerstein is the venue of choice for meeting and event planners.

The Hammerstein Ballroom is a two-tiered, 12,000-square-foot space with 75 foot hand painted ceilings, two balconies and six opera boxes. Capacities are dependent on the room set up with a maximum of 3500. This flexible space can accommodate 2500 guests theatre style, up to 750 guests for a seated dinner and 2700 for a cocktail reception. Located on the 7th Floor the 10,000 square foot Grand Ballroom was the former rooftop garden of the opera house. The breathtakingly elegant space features a built in stage and full balcony perfect for a reception. Total number of guests is dependent on the room set up with a maximum of 1200 for a cocktail reception or 600 for a seated dinner.

Located on the 7th Floor is New York City’s Best Kept Secret, The Grand Ballroom which, is the ideal location for any multimedia production or live performance.

The Grand integrates elegance and grandeur with a state-of-the-art Nexo concert sound system. The Grand’s dazzling 40-foot-high ceiling includes strategic rigging points catering to any production requirement. Interconnected to our audio recording studios and HD control rooms, The Grand, like The Hammerstein, is the ideal location for any multimedia production or live performance.

Both the Hammerstein Ballroom & Grand Ballroom have amazing acoustics and are complete with state of the art audio visual equipment managed by our in house production department.

Now offering inclusive packages for the Hammerstein Ballroom & Grand Ballroom.

Contact Jessica Berman for Details: (212) 279-7740 x214 |

Learn more about the Manhattan Center Events.

Share Your Experience

Do you have something to say? blah blah blah

ConventionPlanit is now accepting articles for publication in the e-Alert, a biweekly e-newsletter for meeting planners.

Suggested topics may include what’s trending, challenges or success stories. We’re open to new ideas!

This is the perfect opportunity to promote your personal brand or share your wealth of experience with other planners.

ConventionPlanit was designed by meeting planners for meeting planners – so let your industry peers hear from you!

Comment below with a topic you would like to contribute and we’ll be in touch!


Unlike Anything You Have Experienced

hyatt regency tamaya

Step into the sacred lands of the Santa Ana Pueblo and experience a meeting destination like no other. Nestled at the base of the Sandia Mountains in central New Mexico, Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa is unlike anything you have experienced before.

Discover the beauty and culture of the Southwest, from our sparkling outdoor pools and championship golf course to our award-winning spa and exciting Stables at Tamaya, all surrounded by breathtaking mountain vistas.

The unique meeting facilities at Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa offer your attendees the opportunity to explore the culture of the Tamayame people. State-of-the-art venues, an ideal location between Santa Fe and Albuquerque, and an experienced staff ready to assist in an unforgettable setting combine to create the most successful business gatherings. Take advantage of all the extraordinary services and features of our state-of-the-art conference center, including:

  • Over 31,000 square feet of indoor function space
  • More than 25,000 square feet of outdoor event space
  • Professional meeting and event planners on staff
  • Full-service Business Center and high-speed Internet access
  • Extensive on-site recreation and group activities
  • Special spouse and family programs
  • Enticing dining and entertainment choices
  • 350 spacious guestrooms

Learn more about the Hyatt Regency Tamaya Resort & Spa.

Bigger & Better Conventions

national conference center

Just 35 miles from DC, The National Conference Center delivers warm hospitality within a dedicated conference environment devoted to learning and development. Productivity is supported by sophisticated technology, including powerful Internet connectivity, as well as Certified Meeting Professionals that take care of every detail so you and your team can focus on achieving goals.

Accommodations | All 917 guestrooms—including 78 suites—boast high-end amenities, including flat screen HDTVs, free Wi-Fi, a spacious desk with ergonomic chair plus pillow-top bedding. Camaraderie and teamwork are enhanced by living rooms nestled within each cluster of 18 guestrooms. Groups can even experience a private “conference center within a conference center,” thanks to pods encompassing 150 guestrooms with direct access to the meeting rooms accommodating that program.
Dining & Recreation | The National’s recent multi-million dollar renovation included numerous facility-wide upgrades. A redesigned dining room smartly serves 880 guests for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Private dining—indoors and out—shines a spotlight on Chief Wine Officer Mary Watson, Executive Chef Chris Ferrier and his culinary team. A new yoga/dance studio offers 72 virtual fitness classes on-demand. Built in 2014, The National Challenge Course features high and low ropes elements and a climbing wall, representing one of the DC-area’s most impressive team-building opportunities.

Your group can enjoy all of these amenities and more, situated on a scenic 65-acre campus in DC’s stunning Wine Country. Learn more about The National today at or 877.363.3104.

Must Know AV Tips & Tricks Part 2

av tips and tricks

Part Two: The “Must Know” Basics of AV (continued)


Union can get extremely complicated and can change from venue to venue and from city to city where Union is required. Union can also be double the price for any labor needs. This is important to factor when choosing a venue. We have a full write up on Union labor that we can send to you, just let us know!

Below are a few very important things to remember when it comes to Union:

Things to know

1.    The Union will assign you an Account Manager for your event. They are commonly referred to as a “Steward” or “Administrative Steward”. The job of the Steward is to work directly with you and be your greatest support to ensure you are following all union rules, ensure safety guidelines are followed and oversee all operations while managing the schedule of all Union workers.
2.    Hourly rates/requirements can vary from the type/grade of Union as well as the work being performed
3.    Type of work being performed can affect rates. Example: Breakout Room is different than General Session work.
4.    Safety First: Union will never do anything “illegally” or unsafe when it comes to setting up or operating your event, so it’s best not to ask (yes – they get these request all the time!).
5.    You have the right to establish rules and regulations you deem necessary including conduct, dress, job performance, expectations. Review these expectations with your Union representative and ensure they do not conflict with any terms and conditions of your agreement with the Union or Union regulations.
6.    Lower “grade” of Union worker might be able to perform the same tasks as more expensive grade. Work with your Steward to find the most cost effective option.

Make sure you…

1.    Track all Union labor worked every day and for every shift. Have each employee sign the hour tracking or have your Steward track all hours with your daily approval.
2.    Employer needs to present a Certificate of Coverage showing a current workers compensation Insurance policy is in effect
3.    General Liability: Ensure you prepare general liability paperwork far in advance from the start of your event and ensure you have a copy with you at all times. Without it, your event can be greatly delayed or cancelled all together (Yes – events have been cancelled because of missing of general liability documentation – the venue will not take the risk).
4.    Book time in your contract with your venue to allow for set up the day before the event and during regular business hours. Any hours worked outside regular business hours will increase labor costs dramatically.

Insiders tips directly from the Union workers

1.    “Nice” goes a long way
2.    Meet with your Steward far in advance of your event. Review your event, your expectations and possible challenges and concerns. This is not only an excellent way to meet and get know your Steward, yet provide needed time to resolve issues far before you come to the venue. They will appreciate your efforts to get to know them and understand their requirements.
3.    Appreciate your Steward: the Steward has the ability to make or break your event.  Make efforts to work with them and rely on them as much as possible
4.    Keeping a sense of humor and keeping things in perspective: Problems will work themselves out and the event will go on.  Stay positive!!
5.    Everyone wants the same results: It’s everyone’s best interest for a successful event as this is the easiest and best approach for everyone involved. It truly is a team effort
6.    Communicate: Take the time to go out of your way to ensure clear and updated information.  Be a good source of information as best you can, and when you do not have an answer, be honest with all parties – everyone will work better knowing the situations at hand.

1.    Make sure you determine the amount of devices expected to be used for internet use, not the amount of users. The average person has 2 to 3 devices they will use at an event.
2.    Determine how the internet will be used:
·         Low: Email and simple web surfing
·         Medium: Web applications and streaming audio
·         High: Instructor web training, large file transfers, video streaming
3.    Determine your estimated bandwidth. A good example is 700 devices (about 350 users) using medium internet usage is about 36MB/s per day.
4.    You can find good broadband estimators online to determine your broadband needs. Calculate your needs and integrate those needs with prices in your contract.
5.    Your internet provider or venue can provide you with all internet usage during your event (amount of users, type of use, how many are logged in at any given time – all internet analytics). Ask them for daily updates.
6.    You can easily place user name and passwords to log into your dedicated internet to keep unwanted users from logging in.
7.    When possible, include your internet charges and the promised broadband in your contract. Also, state in your terms that your rates will not increase if you use an outside AV company. Why? Unfortunately, many in-house AV companies provide you an internet quote with the goal of being your AV vendor. But if they are not selected, they increase your internet rate. Many time doubling their rates. Ensure any quote provided to you is valid no matter who you use as your AV vendor.
8.    You don’t have to always use the in-house internet. There are other options available to you via Verizon and AT&T where you create a separate, fully functioning internet system. For example, MiMedia Productions works directly with Verizon Wireless setting up full internet access with the use of “cradle points”. You bypass the venue internet entirely and go directly through Verizon’s wireless system. This can supply internet up to 1200 devices.
Networking / Speaker Presentation Rooms

Networking is extremely valuable when connecting computers or equipment for easy access anywhere in a venue. Examples: would include speaker presentations available to all breakouts and general session rooms or printing to any location in a venue. When networking is needed, remember that you will need access to the venues network. You may be charged for network access and certain scenarios determine availability and cost. Networking can help you streamline breakout rooms and insure they start on time and without difficulty.

Room size, room set up, environment, audience size, impact and budget all effect the type of equipment needed for room set up’s. However, below are some general guidelines for room set ups to give you a starting point for needed equipment:

 1 to 30 people:
1.    Audio: typically no audio needed. You can use computer speakers if needed for presentations that have audio.
2.    Video: 6ft to 8ft screen / 2500 to 3500 Lumens projector

30 to 80 people
1.    Audio: two speakers (type TBD), mixer, microphones
2.    Video: 8ft screen / 3500 Lumens to 4000 Lumens

80 to 150 people
1.    Audio: 4 speakers (type TBD), mixer, microphones (“delay” speakers may be needed as well)
2.    Video: One or two 9×12 screen (4:3 format) / 5000 to 6500 Lumens

150 to 350 people
1.    Audio: Line Array system or 6 speakers with sub woofers, mixer, microphones (using delay speakers when needed)
2.    Video: One or two 10.5 x 14 screens (4:3 format), 6500 Lumens to 7000 Lumens

350 to 1000 People
1.    Audio: Line Array system (flown is option) or 8 speakers with sub woofers, larger mixer, microphones
2.    Video: One, two or more 10.5 x 14 screens (4×3), 7000 Lumens to 10000 Lumens

 1000 to 3000 people
1.    Very complex system for both Audio and Video. See your AV provider or call us for event review.


1.    Room layouts provided by the venue are extremely helpful in determining the best equipment needs and best layout. This will also help determine if rigging is needed. Whenever possible, have your room layouts available at RFP stage. Also, for complex rooms and General Sessions, your AV provider can (and should) provide you with their own renderings for easy review and considerations.
2.    Rooms with windows that do not provide window covers will need brighter LCD Projectors for use during the day.
3.    The “Lumens” on an LCD Projector (example: 3000 Lumens) references to the strength, clarity and brightness of the LCD projectors bulb. The higher the lumens, the higher the quality (and higher the price).
4.    You will always need room behind or in front of a screen for the LCD Projectors light “throw” or “projection”. The type of lens the LCD projector offers will determine how much room is needed. Also, you can attach a different type of lens to some LCD projectors if more room is needed or if you need to project from the back of the room over your audience.
5.    Any room with sound should have a mixer included. This allows for quick control of the audio as well as allows for multiple pieces of equipment to be used with one sound system (example: 2 mics, one iPod, one computer). Small 4 to 6 channel mixers are common in breakout rooms. More advanced mixers are needed for General Sessions or with special audio needs.
6.    Your room layout may require more cables, power and cords for the equipment set up. Be prepared for some flexibility in costs to accommodate the room layout.
7.    For large audiences, determine ahead of time the layout of the room and where you will be placing the stage as well as the stage size. This will help the AV company determine the best equipment for that layout. Also, remember that a change in the layout can dramatically affect the equipment being used.  You can always ask your AV company for their recommendations on size of stage and layout.
8.    Let the AV company know if you are using 4:3 or 16:9 format. This will effect screen size, LCD Projector set up and video switcher equipment. Also, 16:9 screens are usually a little more expensive yet a better look and becoming more common. Let all your presenters know the format you are using to ensure they build their presentation in the correct format.
9.    “Bring Your Own Device” (BYOD) is very popular with speakers. You will need to know what devices they are going to use so you can prepare the correct connections. For computers, ask if they are using a PC or MAC. If PC, ask if the output is “VGA” or “HDMI”. For MAC, ask what version of computer they are using (MAC frequently changes their video output so many adaptors may be needed). Remember, BYOD situations can create a chaotic situation for both you and your AV staff, especially when you have more than 3 breakout rooms. Try having your AV company provide computers in each room,
10.Encourage your presenters to “embed” any presentation video in their presentation. This way they will not need to rely on internet to play video. This will save on costs as well
Beyond your basic equipment, consider having the following included

General session

1.    Audio mixer large enough to handle last minute audio connections
2.    Back up computer
3.    One video switcher for smooth switching from one video source to another
4.    Confidence monitor for speakers (so they can stay on track and not have to turn away from the audience to look at the screens
5.    Mini audio jack for sound source (iPod/iPad/tablet/music player/other)
6.    Ensure your speakers embed video in their presentations so not to rely on internet access to show video’s.

Breakout Rooms

1.    Mixer in all rooms with sound
2.    Mini audio jack for sound from presenters computer
3.    For small rooms without microphones or sound systems, consider small computer speakers for sound from presenters laptops
4.    Wireless mouse/presenter mouse
5.    Have your AV company provide the needed computers for breakout rooms to keep multiple speaker set ups easier and to avoid problems.

General Equipment

1.    Apps are nearly essential in today’s events. Beyond the tremendous value they bring an event, one of the values is the ability to quickly change schedules, send push notifications and communicate with all attendees – anytime, instantly. MiMedia Productions provides event app services and many times offers a complimentary event app for your event.
2.    Radio’s/push-to-talk phones are extremely valuable especially when dealing with multiple venue levels and a team of people. Know which type of radios you want to use and if there is a different in costs.

The Webcast vs. Webinar
When planning a webcast – remember it is a “broadcast” like golf, Nascar, and football – with a production truck in a “box” or computer that takes all the media, video, audio and graphics and is live switched to make the viewing experience equal to our years of live TV events.

Webinar style utilizes a laptop and operator and hardline internet connection. This is the >easiest way in which we use a service like GoTo meeting and the presenters PPT is loaded on this local laptop and then the audio feed from the room is directly run to the audio input of the laptop OR via a “Gentner” audio to telephone adapter and into a phone line and dialed into the GoTo meeting service. The Operator then follows along with the presenter and the viewer sees the slides and hears the presenter. Requires a one day prior internet set and test.

Webcast Single Camera

utilizes a desktop video/graphics (Tricaster) switcher and operator, and a camera and camera operator. This 2-man team gives a viewing experience of the PPT slides and a close-up shot of the presenter. The operator chooses to switch between the camera and PPT based on the delivery of the presenter and what is best for the “viewer” to follow the program and stay engaged. This service utilizes a CDN or content delivery network of server computers that broadcasts the stream out to your audience across the internet with solid performance and multi-platform/device confidence. This requires a landing page on clients website for player or we can provide a standalone unbranded page. Requires venue internet and a one-day prior setup and test.

Webcast – 2 Camera and Cam Switcher OP

Takes the single cam webcast (above) and elevates the experience to include a second wide shot, allowing second shot such as a panel or on stage interview to also been seen. You would then cut to the close-up and back to the graphics and so forth. Requires a 3-man team, equipment, venue internet, and a one-day prior setup and test.

Webcast – 3 Camera and Cam Switcher OP

A third camera can be added to show the room, the audience and often a wide shot of both the side of the presenter and the audience. This is extremely important if there is Q&A and you want to see and hear the audience participation. There are additional costs of this additional camera and operator and builds on the two camera option (above) for a rich multi-camera experience. Requires a team of techs, equipment, venue internet and a one-day prior setup and test.

IMAG/Video Recording

This guide describes the approach we use for creating a better “live” experience and the difference of what is needed to create a good viewing experience.

Live IMAG Camera

IMAG stands for “Image Magnification” and is just that, a manned camera that holds a close up shot of the presenters and the screen video switcher and can hose to put this on the screens which usually is about 20% of the time and the other 80% is the PPT.  This close up shot with no graphics can be recorded but only shows the presenter in the recording.

Record for Editing

This include the IMAG close up camera and a Second wide static (unmanned) second camera that shows the stage and the screen so that an editor can take the close up and the wide and the PPT slides and edit together a nice video of the presentation for distribution.

Recording 2 Camera Live Switch

This is a good way to have an edited version of the program available for immediate distribution. This takes the single IMAG cam and elevates the experience by adding a second manned camera with a wide shot so if there is a panel or an on stage interview that the multiple people can be seen. The cameras are run to a video switcher computer (separate of the screen switcher) and operator called camera director and allows the two cameras, audio, and graphics to be mixed live and recorder.

Recording 3 Camera and Live Switch

A third camera can be added to show the room, the audience and often a wide shot of both the side of the presenter and the audience. This is extremely important if there is Q&A
and you want to see and hear the audience participation.

By: Stephen O’Connor
MiMedia Productions

Must Know Tips & Tricks to the AV World Part 1

av tips and tricks

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?

Well, we have made it simpler for you – welcoming in fact. Everything you need to know to thrive in the AV world is now provided to you in our five-part series “The Must Know Tips & Tricks to the AV World”: Part One and Two will cover “The “Must Know” Basics of AV”, Part Three reviews “AV Secrets”, Part Four covers “How to Win At The AV Game”, and in Part Five we “Answer Your Tough AV Questions.”

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.

Room Information

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.

Room changes

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:
General Tech
a. Used for equipment set up and strike
b. Run and oversee breakout rooms and speaker ready rooms
c. Assist with event production

Audio Specialist
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

Video Specialist
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
Computer/Networking tech

By: Stephen O’Connor
MiMedia Productions

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