The most common AV stuff-ups at events

It is remarkable how often the most obvious thing in the arrangement of so many meetings – the operational usefulness of the audio/visual equipment – is not addressed beforehand when glitches can be fixed so easily. Besides annoying the participants to buggery at the meeting, seminar or conference, it usually reveals the organiser to be an incompetent oaf or so lazy as to ruin the whole experience. It’s also the easiest thing to fix before any pain is endured.

The American blog that targets event planners – azavista.com – has come up with ten of the most common sins in the AV department, although I’m sure they could easily have stretched it out to twenty or more. Or, one could just reduce the list to one – ask ‘do the bloody machines actually work’?

But, given that the Yanks just love to go on and on and on about technology, the least we can do, for the sake of Australian-American harmony, is list all ten.

  1. Avoid the curse of ‘letter-boxing’, the painful appearance of two mighty black lines on the side of the screen.
  2. Don’t assume that power is included in the costs at your venue. Check it out first.
  3. Failing to count the number of audio inputs you will need.
  4. Failing to count the number of visual inputs you will need.
  5. Failing to count the many display outputs you will need.
  6. Failure to consider the availability of ‘rigging points’ (places on the ceiling from which one can hang equipment).
  7. Don’t assume the in-house A/V support is the best deal (get external quotes as well).
  8. Don’t skimp on the audio arrangements. Poor sound quality can easily ruin an event, as we all know.
  9. Not taking into account the set-up and take-down times involved. If you don’t, the venue might sting you cruelly.
  10. Above all, don’t skimp on the number and quality of microphones, nothing is more annoying that mikes that don’t work.

Well, there you have it. Ten of the most blindingly obvious commandments that even blind Freddy would be embarrassed to hold up, addressed to the very people who put on events for a living. But, as noted in the second paragraph, it all comes down to learning, one hopes very quickly, from the most common A/V mistake of event organizers – test the damn things before the meeting.