How much space do I need for the projector and screen?

Or: “What is throw distance?” “What is throw ratio?”

Screen head
Don’t let this be your attendee.

I was setting up for an internal hotel staff event and the sales manager came in: “Can you push the screen back? We need room for the dessert station.” The screen was set up for rear projection and unfortunately I needed at least 10 feet between the screen and projector, so the dessert station had to find a new home. The good news is it was a low stakes internal event and we had some flexibility. But you don’t want any surprises for your event. How do you plan to have the right amount of space? Continue reading How much space do I need for the projector and screen?

What is aspect ratio?

Or “What is the difference between 4:3 and 16:9?” “Why should I care about aspect ratio?”

A 4:3 image inside a 16:9 screen. Extra space could have been used for graphs!

Suppose you’re having a meeting for all your top executives and they’ve spent a lot of time putting together presentations with spreadsheets and charts and graphs. The day of the event the first executive loads her slide deck, but the image doesn’t fill the screen. There’s gaps along the edges. You’ve got pretty big screens but the actual presentation seems smaller. What’s the problem? The aspect ratio of the source material and displays don’t match.

Continue reading What is aspect ratio?

How do I save money on my AV bill?

Or: “How can I lower my AV costs?”

Gold podium
Tip: Ask if they have a podium that isn’t made of gold and encrusted with jewels

I had talked to a client about their event, this was the first time this particular meeting was being held. It was a few days, with a general session and four breakout rooms along with a special awards gala. I put together a proposal and sent it. I immediately heard back from them – “This is three times what I can spend!” This wasn’t the first time I had a conversation like this; maybe you’ve experienced it as well. Especially when you’re working with a constrained budget, what can you do to lower your AV bill? Continue reading How do I save money on my AV bill?

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?