The Complete AV Checklist for Event Planners

The Complete AV Checklist for Event Planners

5 min read

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AV Equipment for Events

A complete list of AV equipment, production, and services needed for your next virtual, hybrid, or in-person event

With the continued shift of events over the past two years, many event planners are leaning towards virtual or hybrid events, a mix of in-person and online attendees for many reasons; greater audience reach, reduction of in-person attendees to help accommodate health and safety measures, and cost-efficiencies with a reduced in-person audience. But one thing all event professionals need to ensure not to overlook is the AV (audio visual) approach, equipment, and staff needed to pull off an event that has remote and/or in-person attendees. Whether you host a strictly in-person, virtual, or hybrid event, your event approach will be slightly different. But in any case, AV equipment, production, and services will be needed to create a streamlined and memorable experience for your entire audience.

Long gone are the days that you only need to worry about staging, sound equipment, and projectors with wireless presenter remotes that are placed in every breakout room at your in-person venue. While this equipment will still be needed and utilized for your in-person audience, if you add in a virtual component, you must take into consideration more staff, more equipment, a shift in budget, and an updated approach. Let us help you get started with five things to check off your list when planning the AV equipment and production you will need for your next event:

Decide on your event approach.

First off, you will need to decide what your next event will look like. Are you ready to get back to executing a fully in-person event? Will your attendees prefer a fully virtual event? Is it possible to plan an event that includes both in-person and remote attendees with your current resources and staff? An effective way to start the decision-making process is to survey your attendees – they will surely help with your decision on how you will move forward. If much of your audience is not comfortable returning in-person, you will most likely decide on a virtual event, and vice versa if more of your attendees are ready to be back face-to-face this year. If the results are split, hosting a hybrid event is a wonderful option, as you can meet the needs and preferences of all attendees – and reach a wider audience. Making this decision will help you decide the next steps on what your AV needs will be, and what equipment and resources you will need to pull off a successful event.

Select a venue that meets your AV and capacity needs.

So, you decide to go fully in person or to create a hybrid experience. That is awesome! When you are thinking through your AV needs, there are a few important things you really need to take into consideration when selecting your venue. The first is capacity – does space allow you to properly social distance, while still creating a memorable audio-visual experience? Second, does your venue have an onsite AV vendor or venue partner that will have all the equipment and staff needed to execute your event? Finally, can your venue provide the right amount of bandwidth if you need to live stream any portion of your event? By selecting the right amount of space paired with the right AV vendor, you can then start to figure out what types of AV equipment, production, and services you will need to bring your vision to life and execute a streamlined event that takes all attendees into consideration, no matter where they are located.

For in-person events, Earl Brown suggests a complete list of audio-visual equipment that you will need to speak with your vendor about:

  • Microphones
  • In-house lighting
  • In-house sound system
  • Portable or in-house sound system
  • Mixer board(s)
  • Electrical supply
  • Video cameras
  • Desktop or laptop computers
  • Podium
  • Two-way radios
  • Projectors
  • Technicians and staff needed
  • Screens

And if you are live streaming any of your sessions to a remote audience or recording any of the sessions to have available later on-demand, there are some additional things to take into consideration like live stream capabilities in your event management platform and additional video cameras and staff support for recording purposes.

Select a virtual or hybrid event platform and mobile app that can support your AV needs, among your other event goals.

Before selecting the right platforms, you will need to identify your event goals and needs. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you need a platform that can deliver content to both an in-person and a virtual audience?
  • Will you need to live stream your in-person sessions to a remote audience?
  • Do you plan to have sponsors, and if so, will you have both an in-person and a virtual exhibit experience?
  • Will you want robust networking features so you can connect your attendees, sponsors, and speakers, no matter where they are located?
  • Do you need to pre-record some of your content to create on-demand sessions?
  • Do you need to record any of your in-person sessions to have available on your platform later for those who could not attend live?
  • Will you need to have the capability for your attendees to create private meetings?
  • Will you want to have content available year around, or beyond the close of the event?
  • Do you have an in-house staff that can help with your AV production, or do you need a partner that can help you execute your vision and provide AV services?
  • Do you have access to any or all the AV equipment you will need to execute your event?

Once you can answer those questions, you can begin your selection process by attending demos and determining what platform best fits your needs. If you have answered yes to any or all the above, you will want to select a platform with a multitude of features and capabilities, especially when it comes to AV. Think about what your software should include, and what type of partner you will need:

  • Online registration
  • Event website
  • Live stream capabilities
  • Live and on-demand webinar and meeting functions
  • Private or group meeting capabilities with attendees and sponsors
  • Virtual and hybrid AV production services
  • Admin training and support
  • Event mobile app
  • Sponsor and speaker management
  • Agenda building capabilities
  • Robust networking and attendee engagement
  • Data analytics and measurement for ROI
  • Access to AV equipment
  • Event consultation
TIP: Not all virtual and hybrid event platforms are created equal. With Pathable, you have access to all these features, and more. Start your selection process by registering for Pathable’s next live group demo or schedule a one-on-one virtual assessment now.

Figure out how each of your sessions will be delivered.

There are many ways to deliver content and entertainment to your audience, even when they are remote. When using a hybrid or virtual event platform, you will want everyone to feel like part of the action, especially if you have a hybrid event where some of your attendees are in-person, and some are attending remotely. Here are some options to consider when you are determining how your attendees will receive information, and the AV equipment, features, services, staff, and production that you will have to consider when solidifying your approach:

Live streaming: Live streaming is when a streamed video is sent over the internet in real time, without first being recorded, and is different from a live online seminar, where you are delivering your content from a web-based application. So, first off, you will want to determine how many, and which sessions will be live streamed to your remote audience. Setting up every general session and breakout room for a live stream experience can get costly, so it is good to select a few locations that will support live stream and ensure the session(s) you want your remote audience to see live take place in those areas.

You can create even greater engagement by adding video effects to content that is being streamed live. That would entail end-to-end virtual event production and the ability to seamlessly switch HD content, so ensure you select a platform that has support and production staff to help you with those needs. Once you figure this out, you can get a better picture of the amount of AV equipment needed, and the staff needed to support your approach.

Live webinars: In a nutshell, a live webinar is a session that is delivered in real-time using a platform such as Pathable or Zoom. In a live webinar format, the audience will be able to hear and see presenters and/or panelists, but presenters and panelists will not be able to hear or see them. Attendees typically connect with the presenter(s) through a live chat or Q&A panel function, and different webinar platforms all have capabilities such as polls and surveys for even more engagement.

Pre-recorded content: Recording content in advance and creating a thoughtfully produced experience to share with your attendees during your event can be the difference between a good and a momentous event. Pre-recorded content also has longevity, as you can make it accessible after the event and even year-round if you select a platform that gives you that option.

Pre-recording your content can be as minimal as recording a session in Zoom and playing back the recording during your event at a specific time, or after your event. But if you want your virtual crowd engaged and not falling asleep during your pre-recorded session, you may want to consider a more thoughtful approach. Add AV production with graphics, a virtual background, lower thirds, lighting and audio enhancements during recording, and professional editing for a more dynamic program.

Stream operation: When switching back and forth between live webinars, live streaming, and live and pre-recorded content, you will want to ensure a seamless transition. You can create a more dynamic experience and operationalize your live streaming behind the scenes for attendees with stream operators that can control how event attendees experience your content. Work with your internal staff and external AV provider to ensure this service is accounted for when solidifying the AV requirements for your event.

Are you not sure what you need? Choose a vendor with technical experts you can work directly with to carry out your needs. Leveraging their experience and subject matter expertise to offer recommendations and help manage all the content needs for your event will help you immensely overall.

Meet with your AV partner well in advance of your event.

When it comes to events in general, the further in advance you plan, the better. Figuring out your AV requirements is no exception. Especially if there is any pre-event production needed. We met with Orlando Monge from Encore (formerly PSAV), and he had some tips and tricks for when you meet with your AV team. Here’s what he had to say:

  • Account for onsite space coordination to ensure your attendees are socially distanced properly. This may cause an increase in space needs, which, in turn, requires more AV setup and a potential increase in cost. Think through your layouts and get creative with your AV needs to cut costs.
  • If you are live streaming, choose a few rooms (as opposed to every meeting room onsite), where you will hold live streamed meetings or sessions. This will help your budget overall, as you will limit the amount of equipment and staff needed to execute your live streaming needs.
  • Consider pre-recording some content for your virtual attendees – this is a cost-effective way to bring value for those who cannot attend onsite and reduce the number of staff and equipment needed onsite to record every session.
  • Make sure you are working together with both your AV event production partner as well as your onsite AV partner to create a seamless event. When everyone is communicating, you ensure both your face-to-face and your remote attendees are being taken into consideration and all receiving the same value at your event.
  • The bottom line is, you don’t have to ditch your old way of approaching AV, especially if you have an in-person element for your next event. But if you decide to add a virtual element and bring in remote attendees in combination with your face-to-face attendees, give yourself some extra time to ensure your transition is seamless, and partner with a vendor and an event management platform that can provide all the bells and whistles to ensure your next event is a success, no matter which format you move forward with.
Learn More:

Take advantage of Pathable’s premium AV planning services alongside our virtual and hybrid event platform to address all your needs in one place. Contact us today to get started!