Tag Archives: av

Transforming your Live Event with Audio Visual Technology

Westlake Village, CA – March 10, 2017

Whether the focus is Brand-Building, Community Awareness, Client-Building or Social Networking, live events and meetings foster relationships, learning and knowledge sharing. Face-to-face connections remain the most effective way to convert leads by offering potential clients or customers the opportunity to experience the look, feel and personality of your brand. Incorporating audio visual elements to events add a component of non-spoken communication as lighting and sound can support a brand identity or set the mood in a room. Great event planners know having the right Audio Visual technicians on-hand makes the difference between an event that sizzles or one that fizzles.

Cost factors involved with incorporating AV technology often cause event planners to cut corners.  With today’s technology, anyone with a smart phone may feel they have all they need to incorporate sound or, at least, some elements of recording and projection.  While this may seem like a logical way to avoid unnecessary expenses, top event planners know the all too expensive cost of a failed mic or projector. Professional AV technicians arrive on-site, with all the experience and gear necessary.

Skilled AV technicians know how to transform a designer’s concepts into real experiences. They consistently communicate with event designers from the planning stage to post production and, most importantly, throughout the actual event.  Professional, experienced technicians provide the backbone to any event, large or small, handling every detail including lighting and sound management, projection, camera operation and live-webcasting to video and recording.  They plan for room size and equipment installation requirements ensuring every element of the production connects with the senses of every person in attendance. This expertise only comes with on-the-job experience and a passion for staying abreast of the latest trends and technology.

Four Costly Production Assumptions (and How to Avoid Them!)

WESTLAKE VILLAGE, CA – June 16, 2015
It’s a known fact of life
.. We learn from our mistakes. (or at least we should!) You burn yourself when you’re a kid and learn not to play too close to fire, you assume that you can jump from the trampoline to the pool and break your arm and realize you aren’t invincible… These life lessons continue as we get older and no one knows these better than event producers and others involved in the events industry.  One must learn quickly to have a plan B, C, and even D if everything is going to run smoothly.

1. Assume that the last person to do the job did it correctly

CablesThis applies to event planners, producers and definitely audio visual technicians.  We are often called into a location that has some of it’s own audio visual equipment and we simply add to it with our own.  We then network it all together for a seamless event.  The problem arises when the A/V team does not properly do it’s research regarding the in-house equipment and simply reads over a list of needed equipment in preparing the order.  Many pieces of equipment simply are not compatible (like Macs vs PCs in the “old days”) and some others simply need the correct cabling.
This also applies to simpler aspects of the event such as confirming that the volume of the speakers are turned down before they are plugged in, the ratio of the projector to screen is correct for what is being presented and the wireless microphone has fresh batteries!

2. Assume there is enough equipment/space for the job

As with the previous assumption, it is common to get a call from a planner at a venue telling you exactly what they need. “We need a projector, no screen, a cable for a laptop, and a technician to set up and run everything“.  This frequent request can be very dangerous to your reputation if you do not already know what the venue has and what is expected of your technician.  If the event begins and the venue only supplied 2 speakers for a 300 person conference, everyone in the back of the room is going to be looking to your technician to resolve the issue when they can’t hear the presenter.  If you investigate beforehand the type of event, location, number of attendees and in house equipment, you can suggest to the planners ways to fix these issues BEFORE they arise.Behind the Scenes Tech

A few weeks ago we received a call for a projector and screen for a private meeting space in a restaurant.  The call was last minute, so we did not have time to check out the space beforehand to determine the proper size screen needed.  Because we have years of experience and all of our guys have “learned the hard way” in one way or another, our tech knew to bring 2 different screens to adjust for the size of the room.. Sure enough, the larger screen that he was planning on using was too big and he had to swap out for the smaller screen on location.

3. Assuming any guy with production experience is right for the job

confusedTo explain how we work, I often compare us to a general contractor.  If you want someone to install some drywall and expand your closet they can probably do it all.  The same is true for us, if you want a couple projectors, speakers and microphones any of our technicians can “do it all”.  However, if you want to do a complete remodel of your bathroom, the contractor will probably do most of the work, but call in a plumber when the major pipe work needs to be done.  If you call in the painter to repair the pipes, you’re probably going to have some major plumbing issues!  Again, the same is true for us.  If you need the projection/audio set up AND an LED video wall, we will call in the “video wall guy” along with our general technicians.  We’re not going to call our our lead audio technician to set up the video wall.  We know our strengths which means we also know when we need specific additional support for bigger or unique productions!

A few months ago I was on a job supporting the production team in the tech booth at an event.  The producer had called in some technicians with dozens of years of production experience who were supposed to create an amazing technical experience.  The problem was, all of their experience was working with a certain set of equipment and we had provided some different,  very specific equipment for a very unique job.  Even with three guys with 15+ years each of experience it took them hours to figure out how to set up and run the specific equipment because they were not properly trained and experienced with it. 

4. Assuming you can achieve any concept on the client’s budget

Everyone in the event world (and most people out of it) know that for every event or production there is a budget.  Sometimes the budget is flexible to meet the concept and other times the concept is flexible to meet the budget.  An event production team tends to run into problems when neither the budget nor the concept is flexible in the eyes of the client.  This is when producers tend to start cutting corners with their vendors.  Some cost cutting changes won’t have a major effect on the overall experience of the event – chicken instead of fish, simple cotton tablecloths and smaller floral arrangements.  Other changes can majorly affect the ambiance, such as one projection screen instead of two or half the number of speakers.  A great rule of thumb is to never promise the client something BEFORE you know the entire scope of the event.

There are a great deal of variables when planning an event and it all starts with having a great plan and a great team to execute that plan.  Analyzing the good and the bad after each event will always help you be more prepared for the next time, and the more you do this, the fewer problems you will have.  In conclusion – trust your team, learn from your mistakes, and always have a back-up plan up your sleeve!


Rent vs Own – Audio Visual Equipment

October 1, 2014   –    By: Lacey Foss

The idea of “Rent vs. Own”For RENT in the current economy has become a huge discussion with lengthy pro and con debates, whether the subject is your next home, car, or even a boat. When it comes to audio visual equipment, large companies, schools, hotels and event spaces all must have the same conversation. Is it worth the cost to buy the projectors, the screens, the wireless microphones and all of the other equipment needed to provide for their event space? What about the other costs incurred by owning this equipment?
So why is it better to rent? Here are some reasons:

  • Minimal Responsibility – When you buy, for example, a 2 speaker fancy new PA system you may spend a couple thousand.  Think of this “investment” long term.  Is it insured? For how long? And if so, when you take it in for repairs what are you going to use in the mean time? With equipment rentals this is not a factor, the rental company is responsible for all maintenance and  insuring that the speakers are in top working order at all times.  Also, what about when this equipment is out of date? Do you remember when everything started to switch to HD and your TV only had one, or maybe no HD port? This is not a factor with rentals.  The rental company is responsible for making sure every piece of equipment is up to date and compatible with the entire production.
  • Lower Costs Incurred – From maintenance to having experts on site who are familiar with the equipment, simply owning the equipment isn’t always enough.  Also, if you have an event space, the cost of renting the microphones, staging, speakers, lighting and everything else can be passed onto the client, so you can ensure the client top tier service without having to do anything other than make a simple phone call, to us of course!
  • Flexibility –  Even if you own an arsenal of equipment, it is very difficult to cover all of your bases and make sure everyone has exactly what they need.  For example, maybe you have 10 meeting spaces and 20 microphones, however a client wants to come in and run simultaneous meetings with three speakers a piece? 20 microphones may have sounded like plenty before, but now something as simple as microphones could make or break your relationship with that client.  Another example, what if that same client wants a 27′ projector screen and you only carry 24′?

Maybe in your particular industry you have exactly what you need for the space you provide.  Excellent.  However are there any negatives to having an audiovisual rental company on hand that you trust? For that “just incase” moment?
With rentals, you can be sure that you always have exactly what you need, exactly when you need it.