Audiovisual and the Meeting Planner – Top things to review when ordering AV!
When I started out as a meeting planner in 2006, I had no idea how many details I would be responsible for! I had to learn the hard way over the last 12 years, and (through many conversations with my Audiovisual partners) how to execute a successful event by utilizing event technology in a smart and efficient way. Now, as a meeting planner who works at an AV company, I have the inside view of what your AV team needs to know to execute your event well. Of course there are many other things to discuss, this is just a starting point!
16:9 vs 4:3 aspect ratios for presentations
A few years ago, many AV companies started moving in the direction of using the wider 16:9 format for screens, and it has been confusing for many presenters and speakers to adjust their presentations accordingly. Take a close look at your AV order, it should indicate whether the screen is 4:3 or 16:9, and make sure that your presenters know in advance.
Embedded videos and presentations that require internet
Embedded videos can be a source of event failure if they are not embedded properly into the presentation. This is why we like to get presentations in advance so that we can test them. If any of your presentations required access to the internet in real time, you will want to order an internet hard line to the tech table, as wi-fi can be unreliable.
Those handy little devices that presenters use to change their powerpoints are not always included with your order. Make sure that each of your breakout rooms has one too! For a larger general session, you will need a more powerful device that can transmit across the space, called a cue light and slide advancer.
HDMI vs VGA? How are devices being connected? And what kind of device?
Not all connections are equal. As a planner, communicating to your AV provider what types of devices are being connected to the projector (is it a Mac, PC, iPad, phone?) and what the connection type is allows us to provide the right connections from the beginning and reduces delays. Sometimes our presenters surprise us, but most of the time we can find out in advance and save everyone time onsite.
What do you want shown on your confidence monitors?
You can have a mirror of what is up on the screens, notes, or the next slide. Try to get speaker preferences in advance so you can make decisions before the event.
Space and Time
Will your desired setup fit into the space?
A good rule of thumb is that about 20% of your event space will be taken up by the AV setup, so when looking at floor plans, make sure to account for that! Also, ceiling height is a factor…if you order a screen that is too large, it might not fit into the room! Ask for your venue and AV provider to provide floor plans to confirm.
When can you get into your space to set up?
Each type of event has varying times for setup and strike. Make sure your venue is allowing you adequate time to have your AV team set up. Daytime setups are preferred most of the time. Bring your AV provider into the process early, ask us how much time we may need, and get that time built into your venue contract.
To rehearse or not to rehearse, that is the question!
It really depends on the type of event, but most people like to rehearse their presentation. Be sure to build time into your setup schedule for this and always give it a little more time than you think it will take!
Your audiovisual team should be happy to review these questions and other details in advance so that there are as few surprises as possible. Events always have unexpected things pop up, but these are easy questions to ask that can change the outcome of your event.