AV Best Practices
Is your audio visual production partner following these AV best practices? Review the list to ensure your bases are covered.
The world of audio visual event production isn’t just about the latest and greatest technologies. It’s about what you are trying to achieve and the best way to achieve it. It’s also about consistency in following AV best practices.
Our clients value a real total show production partner vs. a vendor. They rely on us for video, audio, lighting, staging, project management, and new show ideas, and we’re continually expanding our reach and reinforcing our AV best practices in order to deliver.
Of all of the AV best practices I’m covering here, the single most effective way to ensure each event meets all expectations is through pre-production planning. TST can handle all aspects of pre-production, including schedules and paperwork, site visits, internal resource coordination, and external vendor support and coordination.
Our efforts start well before event resources arrive onsite. TST reviews all available information regarding the event and the venue to ensure all systems include all cables, connectors, and other parts needed for deployment and operation. In addition, our dedicated team of operations personnel maintains machines and equipment, checking all of it before every departure from our facility and testing all of it during setup. All TST computers are “show machines” free of email alerts, screen savers, update notifications, and previous show content. We reset computers, test all inputs and outputs, physically clean equipment, and replace filters and other consumables.
Rigging Plans, Technical Schematics, and Renders
Each property has its own safety standards and processes for customizing rigging, lighting, speakers, and wiring. Different truss and rigging elements have specific weight capacities, operating speeds, and performance characteristics, and OSHA has procedures for loading counterweights and performing other common stage tasks.
TST regularly creates rigging plans and load calculation plans that include isometric shots and point-of-view shots. We also regularly prepare technical event schematics, including room layouts for indoor and outdoor spaces, including unconventional spaces like performing arts centers and tented environments. We can produce custom, photo-realistic representations of events in advance, handling all approvals, installation, and installation removal.
Fire Marshal Plans
While the International Fire Code is the standard throughout the United States, many state and local governments maintain even stricter building codes. Assuming approval won’t be needed or delaying approvals until the last minute could result in fines. Worse, your event could get shut down. TST can help by identifying state and local codes for occupancy thresholds and requirements, submitting drawings, and getting official fire marshal approval.
TST works closely with those responsible for creating show content so still images and presentations have a standardized, on-brand look and feel. TST also tests content on the exact systems used on show site.
It’s wise to set aside extra time for rehearsals guided by experienced audiovisual professionals – the more rehearsal time, the better. In addition to creating a flexible plan, we do a dry run to enable the team to fine-tune the event and nail down the pacing. Rehearsals can run the spectrum from presenters simply familiarizing themselves with the space all the way to multiple, complete, cue-to-cue rehearsals in real time.
Risk management is critically important, making it one of our non-negotiable AV best practices. If an issue arises, TST is prepared to respond in a rapid, effective manner. TST has permanent on-call staff available to rectify issues immediately by installing spare/backup resources, replacing equipment, reworking onsite resources, and repurposing backup equipment.
In addition, even the most reliable equipment needs to be checked on show site. TST tests all audiovisual equipment before the show and takes active steps to ensure each show goes exactly as planned.We maintain every piece of equipment to the highest standards and provide concurrent backup equipment wherever possible, including a backup PowerPoint machine, backup Keynote machine, backup video playback machine, backup projector, and backup wireless microphones.
The amount of audiovisual support each show needs depends on what’s happening, how fast it’s happening, and the specific event goals. Understaffing can be dangerous; overstaffing can be costly. A right-sized team covers all video, audio, lighting, staging, project management, and creative services needs, providing ample diversification and the right level of expertise in each discipline. TST works closely with the client team to review the show pace and show flow, ensuring staffing levels correlate with expectations and show demands.
Integrated Video Systems – Projectors and Screens
TST provides video projectors and screens efficiently tailored and scaled for the room. We determine what equipment is needed for the event – a massive screen or multiple projectors. We select and size projectors and video projection screens based on attendance, screen placement, seating, and limiting factors such as ceiling height and available projection distance. We use a redundant backup projector concurrently with the main projector so screen projection continues even if a projector fails. Where possible, TST calculates light measurements during pre-show site visits to archive specifications based on the content being shown.
Integrated Audio Systems
Not all audio systems are created equal. We design and engineer audio equipment with event and attendee needs in mind, collaborating closely with our client to review event scope and needs. Our high-quality audio systems address speaker placement, seating, and limiting factors such as ceiling height, available weight loads, and the need for quiet spots such as lounges. Our comprehensive audio design includes large speakers, speakers near the stage, front fills, and delays, as well as cables, connectors, and other parts needed for deployment and operation.
Integrated Lighting Systems
TST works with the client team to outline lighting specifications that draw attention when and where it should go. Our lighting specifications bear in mind all event needs, including stage size, lighting placement, camera or video needs, and perceived production value. The lighting system includes adequate control, sufficient fixtures, power and control accessories, and hardware to affix the system in intended locations.
We select and size LED displays based on attendance, screen placement, seating, and limiting factors such as ceiling height and available weight load. The chosen pixel pitch of the LED product is optimal for the room design and audience viewing distance. All LED controllers have backups onsite. All signals to the LED wall are run “both ways” so a cable failure of a section of LED won’t render the entire display inoperable.
AV Best Practices
Our clients want new ideas, creative alternatives, and viable solutions that optimize their budgets, make a big impact on the look and feel of their events, and bring consistent results in line with their needs and goals. They want guidance from the planning stage all the way to successful execution of their vision.
We put on a good show, engage attendees, and make our clients look good – every time. By following these AV best practices, we reliably deliver client event experiences that are memorable for all the right reasons.
Why Total Show Technology?
TST is the total show production solution for anyone who hosts, plans, manages, or produces events, meetings, and trade shows. We own the Pacific Southwest market and travel with our clients all across the country. Our clients have relied on us to deliver audio, video, lighting, equipment rental, and show production for conventions, corporate meetings and events, and trade shows since 1996.
Whether you’re looking for audio visual support or advanced event technologies that enable you to deliver your message effectively, we follow AV best practices to help your shows go off without a hitch and always make you look good. In an industry where almost anything can go wrong, we make sure everything goes right.