Lights, cameras, sound-check, action!
Creating a complete experience for event participants is so important. The venue, food, speakers – it all blends together. And, of course, there’s the audio-visual component.
We’ve all been at events where the audio just isn’t working. Situations like when people at the back of the room can’t hear the speaker. Or where the microphones are suffering from interference. The list of potential issues is long.
With the increased adoption of virtual and hybrid events, the importance of the audio-visual set up is more critical than ever. Audio-visual technologies play a critical role in bringing digitally-enabled events to life and ensuring an engaging experience for all involved.
To delve into some of the issues around audio-visual for events, Michael Curley, AV Technical Manager at Cliftons, shares his tips, tricks and troubleshooting. From participating in the tech team at high school to managing the audio-visual elements for events ranging from community theatre, AGMs for billion-dollar companies, government launches and public lectures, Michael has done it all. He now uses that experience to plan and deliver successful events for our clients.
The big picture
Michael’s a big believer that a good audio-visual professional never loses sight of the event’s goals and all the elements that need to come together. This means, as well as the visual and sound elements, he considers all the event logistics. Factors like the room experience, seating configurations, even catering all form part of the mix for determining what audio-visual set up will best meet your event needs.
It’s vital to remember what the event needs to communicate. Technology plays a role in getting across the event message, but it’s the message that’s key, not the technology. This means we start with the goal in mind and what the event needs to achieve and let that guide our choices, rather than having technology dictate the event, says Michael
Partnering with an audio-visual professional means that you can explore different ways to deliver an event that successfully communicates your message and meets your objectives. Rather than “just another Zoom link”, you can get a well-planned technical operation that seamlessly blends all the event elements across multiple locations and platforms.
Expectations versus reality
Of course, as anyone who’s ever planned an event will know, a lot of your options come down to budget. Sometimes, this might mean adjusting your expectations about what audio-visual elements can suit the available funds.
The best outcomes are achieved when our clients are clear about their budget. We can be upfront about what’s possible, what limitations you might encounter and what compromises might need to be made,” says Michael. “When we know this from the start, it avoids situations of trying to deliver all the bells and whistles with a sub-par approach. Or if what you need to achieve really does need a big investment, we can help you to determine what other areas of your event budget can be reduced to prioritise AV.
Often, especially with hybrid events where speakers may be connecting remotely from their office, there can be challenges with equipment. Factors like internet speed and connection quality, consumer-grade cameras and microphones, and the platform you opt for can all create unpredictability.
“It’s important to acknowledge that sometimes you need to accept the limitations of a platform. There are things that we just can’t change with something like Zoom, for example. In addition, platforms can update overnight and create new challenges. We can sometimes deliver custom solutions based on your brief, but other times we need to work within the system limitations,” continues Michael. “Clear, upfront conversations and a strong brief help us to decide how to achieve the best possible result.”
Bringing the WOW factor
At Cliftons Venues, we’re able to provide you with options beyond the standard consumer platforms at an affordable price point. Our team can provide you with an overview of various AV platforms and technologies, integrating participant experience. You’ll be guided through the choices and how best to deliver an event that meets all your goals. For information, speak to Stephen Cox on 1800 629 088 or visit www.cliftons.com/contact
Cliftons Venues are a valued PCOA Business Partner.