Anyone who has ever planned an event, from a kid’s birthday party to a weeklong trade show, knows how much effort goes into it. Trying to coordinate the guests, food, drinks, entertainment, and everything else needed to put on a successful event can be a challenge for even the most seasoned veterans of event planning.
To add even more pressure, corporate events are getting more and more spectacular, with high profile bands, artists, and comedians headlining shows put on at stunning convention centers and event venues. To impress your guests and create something memorable, you need to pull out all the stops. One of the best ways to enhance any event is to provide a professional audio and visual experience for everyone in attendance. House lights and a small PA system are fine for certain situations, but to really take your event to the next level and truly drive the message and experience you want to convey, upgrading what people hear and see is crucial.
There is much to consider when planning the audio and video production for a corporate event. Here are some ways to upgrade your next event and help you stay organized and confident that you have what you need to be successful.
Know your event needs and know them well
The first thing you will want to do is to nail down everything you will need and make a list. This will include, quite literally, everything. You will undoubtedly need a full audio system along with solid lighting. Many business conferences and corporate events have a large, main room or auditorium then several smaller rooms for breakout sessions or smaller meetings. Each room will have its own audio and video equipment and possibly staging as well.
Every speaker or presenter will have their own needs. Some may need a wireless microphone; some might be fine standing at a podium. Many presenters like to have visual aids, like PowerPoint presentations or photos, and others might need to add music or special lighting. Talk to your presenters and make them give you specific information about what their plans are. Having this information will also help you plan what presenter will be in what room. If you have multiple rooms, as mentioned above, you can match up presenters’ requirements and have them be in the same room. For example, you may only need to be set up for wireless in one room if only a handful of speakers require it.
When thinking about audio and visual needs, consider how big your attendee list is. If the group will be smaller then you obviously won’t need huge speaker systems. But for larger groups you will want to make sure the sound reaches everyone in the room from the sides to all the way in the back.
Know your venue and know it well
A good venue should have a professional sound system and many times professional lighting. But not every venue is the same. Some might have great A/V equipment. Others could have a good amount of gear but perhaps it’s not in the best shape. The only way to know for sure is to get in there and inspect what they have.
The first thing is to ask what all they can provide from your list. You can check out the quality and condition of what they have and, if it’s sufficient for your needs, cross it off your list. If the venue has a stage plot, which is essentially a technical map of the venue, get a copy of that so you can see where electrical outlets are and how the sound cabling is run. Inquire about their internet capabilities as well. Do they have reliable high-speed internet? Will you need WiFi and, if so, is the venue’s WiFi secure and able to handle the demand of your guests?
If you’re planning on having more complicated stage and lighting setups, does the venue have the rigging needed or will you need to provide that as well? Also, ask what the ceiling clearance is and look for any obstructions that could get in the way of your stage plan. Check to see what the acoustics in the room are like and what kind of sound conditioning they have. If you’re planning on having entertainment like live music or a DJ you will want to know what to expect.
If you are an A/V person, plan out the equipment you need
If your team is planning to handle the production, you will want to be sure to line up everything you need to put the event on. You have your list, and you know what can be provided by the venue. But you’ll need to get your hands on all the gear you don’t have access to.
The easiest way to get all the gear on your list not already available to you is to work with a reputable company that rents out audio and visual equipment. The best A/V equipment rental companies will have an extensive inventory of audio gear, lighting systems, stage equipment, speaker rentals, instrument rentals, etc. They should be well versed in planning corporate events and trade shows so they will be able to help you hone in on the best gear for what you are looking to accomplish. Many rental companies deliver and can help set up to ensure everything is functioning properly and that you have all the cables and accessories you need.
If you aren’t an A/V person, hire an expert
If you don’t have extensive experience in the audio and video world it is highly recommended that you hire a company that specializes in event production. There are so many different aspects to putting on a large event. It’s worth it to contract someone who knows the ins and outs of audio and visual production. There will inevitably be hiccups and professional audio and visual technicians will know what to do and how to fix any issues fast. The last thing you want is to be fumbling around while your speaker and guests are waiting.
Another advantage of hiring an expert is that they will become the singular point of contact for anyone’s audio and visual needs. It frees you and your team up to handle other aspects of the event and not get bogged down with the nuances of A/V production. If a presenter shows up unprepared or lacking some of the technology they need to present, an AV technician will be able to rectify the situation where you might not know what to do, especially on short notice when you’re dealing with a multitude of other tasks.
Putting on a corporate event can be challenging but you can save yourself a lot of stress by being well prepared and knowing when to call in help. Whether you need to rent audio equipment, lighting, or speakers or if you need full production services, consider hiring a company with knowledge, experience, and inventory like On-Stage Rentals in Los Angeles.