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Crafting the Perfect Event: A Step-by-Step Guide to AV Planning

Updated: Apr 24

Modern conference room prepared for an event with rows of chairs, AV equipment, and a large screen displaying 'Crafting the Perfect Event: A Step-by-Step Guide to AV Planning'.

Prefer to listen to this article? Check out our narrated version.

Are you planning an event and feeling an event and feeling overwhelmed by the audiovisual (AV) requirements? Fear not! We designed a comprehensive checklist to guide event planners through the essential AV elements for a successful event, even for those apprehensive about technology.

Essential AV Equipment and Considerations for Your Event

1. Mixer/Soundboard: Crucial for balancing sound and controlling feedback in events with multiple microphones. Ensure your AV team is aware of the number of microphones needed. For audience participation, confirm the mixer's channel capacity. 

Pro tip: Consider installing monitor speakers for better audience-speaker interaction.

2. Aspect Ratio for Screens: Familiarize yourself with the common aspect ratios: 16:9 (widescreen) and 4:3 (standard definition). Encourage speakers to format their presentations to fit the chosen screen ratio.

3. Projectors: Choose a projector based on your event's needs, considering brightness (especially in well-lit rooms) and content type (presentations or streaming).

A close-up view of a microphone on a stand with a bokeh background, highlighting its use in live performances and audio events.

4. Microphones: Determine the type based on use and mobility. Wired microphones for stationary speakers, wireless handhelds for interactive sessions and lavalier mics for hands-free presentations are popular choices. Remember, wireless mics require a transmitter.

5. Bandwidth Requirements: Estimate bandwidth needs based on the number of devices attendees will bring. Adequate bandwidth ensures smooth streaming and internet connectivity.

Close-up of a Shure ULXD wireless microphone receivers rack setup, showcasing the advanced audio technology for seamless sound management. Credit: Shure Official Website
Credit: Shure Official Website

6. Frequency Band Management: Ensure your wireless devices, especially microphones, operate on compatible frequency bands to avoid interference.

7. Transmitters and Receivers: For events with live streaming or wireless microphones, verify you have compatible transmitters and receivers to facilitate seamless audiovisual transmission.

Various adapters and dongles neatly arranged in a portable tech organizer bag alongside audio cables, an Audio-Technica headphone, and USB cables.

8. Adapters and Dongles: Keep a variety of adapters and dongles handy for different types of laptops and projectors to avoid connectivity issues.

Maximizing Event Success with Proper AV Planning

Understanding these AV components will boost your confidence and enhance your ability to manage event budgets effectively. Always test equipment before the event to avoid technical glitches.

Share Your Experience and Insights

Every event is unique, and your experiences can provide valuable insights for others in the industry. If you've used different equipment or have tips to share, comment below! 

Remember, a well-planned AV setup is essential to a successful event. Share this guide with colleagues to help demystify the world of event AV technology.

Professional event planner pointing at laptop screen displaying floor plans, with planning notebook, mobile device, and stylish stationery on desk.

Optimize Your Event's AV Experience: 7 Crucial Steps

1. Identify Your Client’s AV Needs: As an event planner, your first step is to understand the specific audiovisual requirements of your client. Begin by gathering information about the event's size, the number of presenters and additional AV needs, such as screens, projectors and sound systems, including microphones.

2. Select the Right Screen Type: Choose screens based on the size and nature of the event. For smaller, intimate events, large flat-screen monitors may be suitable. Large events might require projection screens. Remember to discuss the screen format (4:3 or 16:9) with your client to ensure compatibility with their presentations.

3. Optimize AV Setup with Diagramming Tools: Utilize diagramming tools to plan your audiovisual setup efficiently. This planning includes choosing projectors with appropriate brightness (lumens) for the venue, especially if there's natural light.

4. Ensure Comprehensive Audio Coverage: Ensure your setup includes a capable soundboard or mixer for managing multiple inputs. Make sure you have enough speakers to fill the room and a variety of microphones, including wireless, handheld and hardwired options. 

Close-up view of a Blackmagic Design video switcher with buttons for ON, OFF, KEY, PICTURE IN PICTURE, MIX, DIP, FTB, and AUTO, used for managing video feeds in broadcasting and live production.

5. Consult on Video Switching Solutions: Depending on the complexity of your event, choose between a seamless video switcher for multiple inputs and camera feeds or a basic switcher for simple presentations. A reliable video switcher acts as a contingency plan, allowing quick transitions between different feeds.

6. Equip Presenters with the Necessary Technology: Enhance presenter trust with tools like confidence monitors, a TV screen that sits on the floor facing the speaker which allows them to see their presenting screen behind them, and remote clickers with laser pointers. These technologies enable presenters to engage with the audience while maintaining control of their presentation.

7. Consider Hiring an Event Producer: For events with additional complexities like video recording, webcasting or remote presenting, an experienced event producer can be invaluable. They bring expertise in content, audience engagement, technology and budget management, ensuring a successful event outcome.

By following these steps, you can significantly enhance the audiovisual experience of any event, ensuring client satisfaction and attendee engagement.

Top 5 Topics to Discuss with Your AV Provider for Flawless Event Execution

Ensuring a successful event involves meticulous coordination with your AV company. Here's what you need to ask for a seamless setup.

1. Determine the "Front of House" Location

Understanding where the "Front of House" (FOH) is crucial. It's the control hub for audio, lighting and sometimes video technicians. The ideal location is one offering a complete view of the stage and all controlled elements. Common placements include the center rear, middle of the room or off to the sides. The FOH location influences the event’s footprint and may incur additional costs depending on its position and the required cabling.

For events without lighting, the AV team might prefer being backstage, with audio and video controls managed remotely.

2. Plan Your Power Sources

Event planners often overlook the power source for their AV needs. Collaborate with your AV team to identify power sources and plan accordingly. The location of power drops is essential to avoid last-minute rearrangements of equipment and cables.

3. Consider Cable Management

In an industry yet to be completely wireless, cable management is key. Discuss with your AV provider their plan for cable placement, considering safety standards, aesthetic preferences and your layout. Options range from simple taping to complex cable management systems, each impacting the event's look and budget.

A modern HD projector casting bright light beams in a dimly lit room, showcasing the device's powerful projection capabilities.

4. Decide Projector Placement

Decide between front or rear projection for your event. Each has its advantages. Rear projection saves space and prevents shadows, but requires more room behind the stage. Front projection offers flexibility but might occupy valuable space. Discuss with your team to find the best solution, including rigging options for projectors.

5. Visualize the Setup

Request a 3D design of the AV setup because it can help ensure you have a clear picture of how the stage, screens and lighting will look, avoiding any surprises on the event day. Modern software can even simulate different lighting scenarios and provide virtual walkthroughs.


In addition to these crucial questions, stay informed about other aspects like hotel AV contract specifics and general AV planning. Equip yourself with essential AV equipment knowledge, including mixers, projectors and microphones. 


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


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