What are intelligent lights?

Or “What are moving lights?” “What is automated lighting?”

Intelligent Light
An intelligent light fixture

So you’re planning an event and want to impress some executives. You’ve already put uplights around the perimeter of the room and ordered a gobo of the company logo. What’s next? If you want to take things to the next level you might consider intelligent lights. Continue reading What are intelligent lights?

What are delay or repeater screens?

Or: “What do I do if the ceiling is very low?” or “How do I make sure everyone can see?”

Delay screens

At one property I worked at, the highest the ceilings got were 12 feet. But the room also had chandeliers, so the usable height was closer to 9 feet. So you could only fit screens up to a certain size. In scenarios like this if you have enough attendees they’ll be too far away to see. So what can you do to make sure all your attendees can enjoy the content? Continue reading What are delay or repeater screens?

What is a gobo?

Bermuda shorts
Forever cursed with the mark of Bermuda.

One time I was working an event for the Bermuda Department of Tourism and wasn’t paying close enough attention. I took a gobo out while it was still hot and got half of the word “Bermuda” burned on my hand, kind of like that guy from Indiana Jones. Does that answer your question of what a gobo is?

Just kidding, a gobo is a stencil or pattern placed in front of a light source and projected onto a surface. Continue reading What is a gobo?

What is a switcher?

Or “Do I need a switcher?”

Folsom Presentation Pro Switcher
Workhorse switcher

The previous presenter finished. My colleague went up to help the next speaker. Everyone in the room watched as they removed one laptop, wrapped up its power cable, unplugged the mouse, plugged in the new computer and switched the video cable. The next presenter’s laptop came up on the screen and everyone could see the desktop was entirely covered in files – while my colleague tried to assist the presenter find the correct powerpoint, 125 people started checking their email and chatting among themselves. They needed a switcher! Continue reading What is a switcher?

How do I put together an audio visual RFP?

Or: “What information should I include on an RFP?”

Old computer
“Computer should come fully equipped with MS DOS”

A few months back I was communicating with a client about a three day event and they sent an RFP (request for proposal) including a list of specific equipment. Any other potential partners they were in touch with got the same document. I couldn’t create a quote based on the info provided so I had to give them a call. The gear listed was maybe a decade old, and it didn’t mention number of attendees or which rooms would be used. The truth is I enjoy a chance to discuss events over the phone, but the level of detail was unfortunate, because every potential partner who received it would have to either call the organizer or make a bunch of assumptions about the event. So how should you put together your RFP? Continue reading How do I put together an audio visual RFP?

What is a confidence monitor?

Or “What is a downstage monitor?” or “How can I make sure my presenter sees their slides?”

Podium and confidence monitor
A podium overlooking a confidence monitor

Did you ever take a public speaking class? One of the points they always stress is the importance of eye contact and engaging the audience. When your presenter is speaking often the computer isn’t visible, which means they have to constantly look backwards, which can throw off the vibe. Continue reading What is a confidence monitor?

Do I have to use the in-house AV provider?

Or “Do I have to pay these fees to use a different audio visual company?”

Just like that contract from Little Mermaid

I had this conversation a lot with the hotel conference service manager: “This company wants to use outside AV. Do we need to charge them this fee?” Me: “No, that’s fine, they’re at least getting internet from us.” Or more commonly: “This client is bringing in a production company. We’re not charging them anything to do it. Also if they need anything from you there’s a 20% discount on AV in the contract.” And that was that. Continue reading Do I have to use the in-house AV provider?

Should I use house sound?

Or: “What is the difference between house sound and stand-alone speakers?”

I am not afraid of any ghost

When I was first starting out in corporate AV I worked in a hotel in NJ. There were speakers installed in the ceiling and a big control box in the back hallway. The system was possessed. If you closed the air walls all of the sudden one portion wouldn’t work any more. I would plug a microphone into the wall and it would work when I tested it, then later once the event started it would cut out. And even when it was working, it sounded pretty bad. Continue reading Should I use house sound?

What questions should I ask a potential AV partner?

Or: How do I evaluate AV providers? Or: How do I choose an AV partner?

Time to get some answers.

I was talking to Sarah Ichangedherrealname and she wanted to do something special – create a cool scenic set that people hadn’t seen before, and one of her presenters was going to video conference in from the other side of the country. Continue reading What questions should I ask a potential AV partner?