Ill Equipped

If you have an event planning guide you give to clients, there should be a substantial section covering audio/video equipment for your client.  Whether it’s yours rented to them or from an outside source you will need to inform your client why equipment is necessary, what to get, and where. Perhaps you have been the planner at an event and had the spine chilling moment when you realized that equipment was needed that simply wasn’t there.  The audience can’t see what the presenter is holding in his hand, or worse, they can’t hear him. The amount of technical equipment required for an event will depend on the sort of people attending and the size of the event. An event production company will be able to assist you in all of this. A good place to start is usually to consider what media to utilize to depict your messages. Here are a couple ideas to get you going.

Ask these questions to your speakers/presenters: What visual media can be seen in their presentations? PowerPoint slides, video, DVD? What kind of screen needs to be used? A simple screen, a projector and lap top, or even a harder stage-set with lighting and graphics? Many of those may depend on the size of your audience. Usually the larger the guest list, the more equipment you will want. Are we dealing with front, back, or fly projection?  Is a Public Performance License needed for videos, DVD’s, or music you wish to play?

Now let’s talk about some practical stuff. How large of a PA System and exactly how many microphones are needed? Should microphones be lapel, handheld, or lectern? It’s handy to procure backups too.

I was at an event recently that was clearly lacking in roving mics readily available for a huge Q & A session. The audience consisted of 300 business people. I saw the client give the organizer a real verbal grilling following the event.  Don’t let this be you.  Do your homework. Bear in mind that errors similar to this could lose you and the company a major contract. That is the reason to prepare in advance and why it can be so vital to a successful event. Another significant thing is to have mic runners, or mic stands fired up and ready to go.  This will ensure that everyone who speaks will be heard at the right time. With many different companies, recording everything digitally is crucial.  They like to review and study the Q & A for months after.

Also think about how your team will communicate. Can you use walkie talkies?  How many technicians are you going to need?  In many cases a production company can supply you with the appropriate amount of folks.  An event production company can offer recommendations of many other systems, such as electronic badges, data readers to assemble barcode information, and bank card payments for offers made at events. All these things are increasingly utilized by larger events these days. While you are responsive only to exactly what you need, you should design your own “mini event planning guide” for your clients that tells them everything.  Mine becomes my bible.

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