As we’ve discussed in earlier blogs, planning an event of any size can cause stress, headaches, and frustration. There are so many moving parts and people to manage that even the best event management companies in the industry can fall victim to the pitfalls possible when planning an event. But despite how bleak that sounds, any event planner will tell you that the best way to combat these negatives is by being well educated and well prepared.
One aspect of event planning that often trips people up is the audio and visual. There are many different components to having effective sound and stellar lighting. You need the right equipment for the space and the knowledge or staff to run it properly. To help navigate the rocky waters of organizing the audio and video of an event, here is a guide outlining the typical setups for common events.
Graduation and commencement ceremonies are some of the most memorable moments graduates and their friends and families will have in their lives. So, it is vital to get the sound, lighting, and video right to ensure a great experience for everyone. Additionally, having an impressive stage setup is crucial since everyone in the audience will have their phones out taking pictures and video along with any professional photographers and videographers. Many schools hold ceremonies in auditoriums that are already equipped with large stages. But if the ceremony is outdoors, at a location without a stage, or if the stage simply needs some sprucing up then renting stage equipment will be something you will need to look into.
If the graduation ceremony is taking place in a school’s auditorium, then there will be a sound system, generally equipped with most everything you would need to handle the audio for the event. If additional equipment is needed or if you’re having to pull an entire audio system together then, once again, you’ll need to look at an audio equipment rental company to provide the sound equipment you will require. If the venue doesn’t have a system, then a PA system rental will be necessary. The scale of the system will depend on the size of the space. Simple PA systems can be an amplifier, a couple of speakers and stands, along with microphones and cables. Larger systems might include stage monitors, more speakers, and more advanced mixers and effects.
It’s also important to know the needs of anyone speaking, whether that’s the person calling out names or the valedictorian giving their speech. Anyone who will be talking on stage with a microphone will need to let you know what their plan is. Many times, a simple wired mic at a podium will do. But occasionally someone might want a wireless mic to move around or even a lavalier microphone, sometimes called a lapel mic, to give them more freedom. If music will be played, then having a laptop or phone available to connect to the PA system will be required. Be sure to have the correct cables depending on how you plan to connect.
Lighting is also an important part of a ceremony. Poor stage lighting will lead to a lot of pictures with dark shadows and little clarity. Lighting systems consist of the light fixtures themselves along with any rigging needed to hang them. The placement of the lights will need to be determined based on where the grads will be entering and leaving the stage, along with where any speakers will be standing. Everything needed to put on a ceremony with great visuals and perfect sound can be rented from an audio and video rental company and the people there should be able to help with production advice or even be available to be hired to handle it for you.
Like graduations, weddings are events that end up being the most memorable of peoples’ lives so, again, the sound and visuals need to be on point. The amount of audio and visual rentals you will need depends on what the soon to be married couple requires and what the venue can provide. Some weddings are very small and only need simple setups while others are enormous and will have far more elaborate systems to put in place.
The biggest need from an audio perspective is generally for the reception. Most weddings planners these days hire DJs to provide the music, but some weddings still hire bands to play. In the case of the latter, you’ll want to read up on the audio equipment you’ll need to consider. For the purposes of this guide, we’ll assume a DJ is hired. Any indoor spot that is considered a true wedding venue will have a full sound system and, generally, most of the equipment you’ll need. DJs who specialize in weddings will also be well equipped to handle anything you would need outside of the music itself like microphones for any speeches or other special requirements.
Outdoor weddings are generally more complicated since everything related to the sound and visuals will need to be set up and, more often than not, rented. Choosing the right lighting and sound equipment can be difficult but as long as you know the guest list and general size of the area any knowledgeable audio and video rental company can recommend the best speaker rentals, PA systems, and lighting for your event.
Oftentimes DJs will have access to small PA systems if the wedding is on the smaller side, like in a modest backyard. They may even have some simple lighting setups for the “dance floor” and perhaps some fun effects like lasers or fog machines. No matter where the wedding is taking place, the important thing is to know what the expectations of the clients are and communicate with them, the DJ or band, and the venue to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Not every A/V rental and production company in the country has to be knowledgeable about how-to put-on movie or TV premieres but when you’re in the Los Angeles area, it helps. Premieres vary greatly in size and scope but no matter what the size you’ll want to have an impressive red-carpet entrance with plenty of spots to stop for pictures. A large, well-lit display or even stage showcasing the title of the project for people to take photos in front of is vital for the mood of the event and serves as free marketing considering many people will be posting the pictures, they take on their social media feeds.
You will also want to make sure the red carpet and any displays have proper lighting so plan for light fixtures and rigging. Larger premieres might have LED displays or other visual components to help elevate the event and make it more impressive for the attendees.
Anyone throwing a party, whether it’s a backyard BBQ or a celebrity birthday part, wants to impress partygoers and provide a memorable experience. If you’re looking to go big, hiring a company to handle the audio and visual rentals as well as the production is highly recommended. You will undoubtedly have a laundry list of tasks to focus on before, during, and after the event. Taking the audio visual production off of that list will go a long way to keeping you organized.
A professional audio visual production company will be able to plan and execute any sound, lighting, and staging projects involved in the event. Stages for bands or DJs, backline equipment, lighting systems, soundboard and mixers, and LED displays are all common needs for large scale parties. There is a ton of equipment involved in events like these so hiring an audio technician to choose the right gear and have the ability to run it all will go a long way towards putting on an exciting event.