What is an equalizer?

Or “Why do I need an EQ?” or “How do I prevent feedback?”


Early in my career I worked at a company where I didn’t have a piece of equipment: an equalizer. I did ok on events with one podium microphone and a wireless handheld. But then I had a panel using eight wireless lavaliers, and it was impossible to boost anyone to audible levels without squealing feedback. I made sure management purchased one after that. Continue reading What is an equalizer?

Why are these two audio visual quotes so different?

Or “Why is X provider so much more expensive?” or “Why is my bill so different this year?”


I recently sent an event proposal for $20,000 and the hotel AV provider’s quote was $30,000. (And their total was after a 30% discount.) On the other hand another recent proposal was $14k and we lost to the in house provider on price. Why do AV quotes seem to vary so much? Continue reading Why are these two audio visual quotes so different?

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?