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AV Crash Course for Event Planners

Updated: Mar 7, 2022

Projector and Screen Rental from Channel Audio at Business Event

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For event planners, sound and video are an essential part of every project, and your client’s needs can vary from the very simple, right through to the hugely extravagant. Either way, you will need a basic understanding of all of the terminology involved with AV. You may not need to be an expert, but being able to work with your AV team and keep up with the ‘jargon’ is a must! We have put together a crash course on AV to help you.

What is AV?

AV stands for Audio Visual and is an abbreviation you will hear a lot as an event planner. Strictly speaking, it should be AVL because lighting is often involved alongside audio and visual, especially for the larger-scale events. These are the three components that will do all of the things you need to create the environment or mood your client is looking for.

Many years ago AV was synonymous with powerpoint presentations or perhaps an old-school mirror ball. Now it is all about creating a completely immersive environment which will make any event unforgettable. This has been made possible by combining lighting, audio, and visual components with new digital technologies which can take an event to a whole new level.

Private Party Event with two Projection Systems

Why do I need to hire an AV partner?

Hiring an AV partner is an essential part of creating a magical event. Event planners usually are not AV experts so leveraging the vast amount of knowledge of electronics and engineering that an AV partner has is vital for ensuring everything is installed correctly and safely.

For example, event rigging is a dangerous occupation, so any crew members that work in this area have to have a special certification in order to operate the equipment. As an event planner, you simply don’t have the time, resources, or skills to manage all these things.

As well as providing technical expertise, an AV partner can help with the creative side of things, contributing an imaginative and artistic design to your project to make sure your event stands out. Any event planner worth their salt will want to involve an AV professional from the outset. A good AV partner can even give advice on the best venue to meet your vision for your project.

When should I bring the AV partner on board?

The role of the event planner is strategy and management. You won’t be giving any presentations, entertaining the guests, or providing catering services—you will be making sure that everything runs smoothly. The same goes for AV needs.

The size of the AV team will ultimately depend on the individual project, but the earlier you hire them, the more effective they can be in designing your event and giving your audience an amazing, unforgettable experience. This is the case whether your audience is just 50 people right up to huge crowds of 50,000 or more.

Audio Engineer Mixing Music at Concert

Get to know your AV team

The number of team members can be as large or as small as you wish, depending on the needs of your individual project. Various roles within the team will provide different types of help when it comes to the planning and production of your event.

Try to learn the names and roles of your AV partners as they are going to be working very hard, and often long hours on your event. It is important to make them feel appreciated—a friendly hello, and regular provision of food and drink will go a long way towards this, and it will also make them want to work with you on future projects. The better you can gel with your team, the smoother the event planning and implementation will be.

Making Sense of Quotes and Fees

Make sure that you read between the lines when looking at a quote—as an event planner you are probably used to doing this for most contracts, so be sure to apply this to AV. Even if you know a fair amount about AV equipment, sorting through quotes and contracts can be confusing.

Be aware that you may not actually need everything quoted so you can ask to eliminate these or negotiate the price down. You will need to stay vigilant to ensure that your AV partner keeps things within budget, so be sure to keep asking questions and don’t agree to any quote that you are not completely happy with in terms of content and cost.

Check out our blog Choosing an AV Company—Common Terms, What to Expect & Important Questions to Ask for additional information to help you make an informed decision when selecting an AV company.


This article can only give a brief overview since there is so much involved in event AV. You probably have a lot more questions – if so get in touch! The Channel Audio team is looking forward to your call. The more we can help you, the better the design and presentation of your event AV will be.


Sound board/mixer at front of house at a live concert


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