5 tips that will make your AV production more productive
By Neil Rosenbaum, General Manager
Planning AV can sometimes be the most daunting, overlooked and important part of an event. I have worked on events that ranged from small board meetings to Super Bowl events; and I have learned that if it lights up or makes sound it will have a key role in your events success.
1. Use the venue event managers: Whether you are at a venue repeatedly or it’s your first event, there is a group of people who attend events at that venue everyday. Often times your event managers experience in the venue space is the best advice you can get. Ping them for what works really well in the space and encourage them to speak up when your production starts getting in uncharted territories. Be open minded going into venues and let the venue work for you, instead of trying to force your event in the space. The venue staff’s experience is a big key to successful AV.
2. Let the creators be creative: Many times with AV productions, clients have specific visions of how their event should look, specifying lights, video and scenic items. What clients are trying to ask for is a specific feeling or vibe. Lean on the production and AV companies and their technical directors, lighting designers and audio engineers. They are creative problem solvers that have built careers by doing more with less. These creative types have found ways to get the look and feel they needed with tight turnarounds, limited budgets and impossible clients. If anyone is going to have a solution it will be the TD’s, LD’s and Audio engineers.
3. Let your budget dictate the AV and the event: I have seen countless events where the clients start planning an event asking for a $500,000.00 production and on a $50,000.00 budget. This mind set means that nothing short of finding a company that can deliver $500,000 for $50,000 will make this event work. Ask any event planner, you don’t want to find yourself at an event load-in hoping your discount AV company is going to deliver as promised. Instead, use your AV company to deliver the best products and service for your budget. Since AV is usually the first budget on the event to get cut, make sure it’s on your radar from event inception and during the venue selection process. Planning AV at inception will save costs on executing the AV for the largest and smallest event.
4. Know your weakness: This plays in to the first three tips. If you are the type of person who doesn’t speak the AV lingo make sure who know someone who does or work with a team that speaks in a language you understand. Chances are if you were as well versed in AV as the AV company you hire, you’d be working for an AV company and not planning events. Make sure to ask clarifying questions about timelines, technologies and areas of redundancy. Never assume that your AV company knows what is the key element that has to go 100% perfect. If something still doesn’t make sense keep asking until it does. Learning more about AV will make your events better and more cost effective.
5. Pick a partner: Build a great relationship with your AV company. If you have the right team on your side it will make the planning process run like a well oiled machine. With each event you will be able to depend and rely on your partners even more. Often AV companies work nationally, travel and have preferred vendors wherever they go, this will still keep them competitive with local AV companies, but the confidence of trusting your partner is well worth the expense.