Posted on: April 1st, 2019 by Straight Street Event Services
Do your research and ask questions.
There are many AV providers out there but they are not all the same. Some provide Sound and Lighting only, others provide or can help with most of your technical requirements as well as many times book or at the least suggest your entertainment options. A reputable AV company can help with most of these. They can also negotiate power and wi-fi for you and most times can get a much better rate for you. By hiring a provider that can check off more than one box when it comes to planning your event while staying within your budget can be a time and financial advantage to you. There is a good chance that whatever venue you choose, many AV companies have done an event there at one time or another and know the rooms which is a bonus for you! They may already know the layout and can suggest to you what will and what may not work within your chosen space.
Very Important!! Lines of communication need to be open between you and your AV provider. You need to be available, especially during business hours by phone, landline and cell, or email to answer quickly any questions that may come up. Any delay in response means a delay in the completion of the quote or planning.
The Site Inspection
Once you have chosen your AV provider it is very important, especially if they don’t know the venue, to arrange a site inspection with them as early as possible in the planning stage. You can explain your ideas to them and they can provide you with valuable information that you may not be aware of when it comes to room layout.
It is important to provide your AV provider with your budget. Without knowing what is available they can’t recommend the best systems for the type of event you are having. You may want the top of the line equipment but it doesn’t fit within your budget. Think of it like buying a car – there’s lot of them out there but the salesman needs to know which ones you can afford to proceed with your purchase. Your AV provider will have options and sure to have one that fits your budget. They may even be able to trim your budget and take out things you think you need but really don’t. That money can then be used to ‘upgrade’ your AV.
How Lighting can take your event to the next level without breaking the bank
Lighting changes the mood of the room. There are many options but not all will be suitable for your event or budget. Uplighting a wall or drape at key points in the room can add a wash of color and ambiance to your event and is an inexpensive option. Custom Gobos are also an enhancement for your lighting to provide many different effects. We will talk more about Lighting options and Gobos in our next BLOG.
Research, research, research! You take time choosing your venue, do the same choosing your vendors. Ask questions!
Meetings! Face to face are better than phone or email when possible, especially in the beginning stages.
Lists. Make a list of all of your questions and concerns. Be sure to ‘jot’ them down as they pop into your head so you don’t forget anything. The more information you can provide the better
Your AV provider is there to help you and is the most important vendor you hire, next to the caterer. They are knowledgeable in many aspects and their suggestions can be invaluable to you.
Posted on: May 16th, 2018 by Straight Street Event Services
Event management isn’t easy—and we speak from decades of experience in working with event planners.
Audio visual execution is the key to a successful event not only because it raises the quality in attendees’ memories, but because people notice when things seem off instead of just going well.
Follow this checklist to make sure you haven’t missed anything critical (including experts to install the equipment!). Ready for peace of mind?
Lighting is arguably the most important aspect of your event venue.The only thing worse than not being able to hear event speakers is not being able to see them.
Effective lighting can be deployed with a variety of angles, colours, patterns, timers, and equipment types. The options are out there—it’s a question of accomplishing what you want on a cost-effective budget.
First, you need to make sure that the venue can support lighting for at least 40 or 50 people, if not more. Your event venue might have some lighting inside, or it might be held outside. Even hybrid events need strategic lighting for small things, like the transition areas.
Pick at least two spots where people will gather socially and focus the lighting there. It could be any of these locations:
A dance floor
Those lights might need dimming controls if there are going to be “phases” to the event, like a wedding. Dances call for dimmed lights, whereas open mingling calls for wide lighting. You’ll also need three-point lighting on the presenter’s podium or stage.
Think about which of those styles will produce the lighting for your event. Create a checklist of the things you need (or questions about how to implement them) before you need them.
And don’t forget to ask your AV partner about the rigging!
Being heard is just as important as being seen for most events, but there’s more to it than just grabbing a microphone before taking the stage.
You need to think about how the sound is going to reach attendees who aren’t up at the very front with the speaker.
It’s easy to put the speakers at the front of the venue where the speakers stand, but that doesn’t help everyone—and the people in the front row are going to lose their hearing with too many speakers blaring
Great events bring the sound to each person based on where they’re sitting or standing. Bring speakers for every corner of the room! You can place them on the ground or mount them higher up—your audio visual partner will be able to lean in on ideal speaker placement and what’s needed to support them.
This all needs to fit into your budget, of course, meaning that you’ll need to take a look renting vs owning certain pieces of equipment, depending on how often your event is held.
Projection and Screens
What event would be complete without visual aides? Projectors tend to go hand-in-hand with event management due to the size of venues, but you’ll also need to think about:
What kind of projector works with your venue
Where the projector can and will be mounted
The distance from the screen
Larger events might even require screens at the periphery for everyone to see and hear what’s going on.
Audio visual teams can install these without a problem, and the best ones can even consult with you about strategic placement. Don’t be afraid to lean on them for expertise.
Screens aren’t as affordable as microphones, so be sure to ask your AV partner about how to make it all work on a budget (while still leaving room for the unforeseen). This will go a long way toward fitting the projectors and screens into your budget.
There’s everything else that goes with your event; these things become overlooked because they’re often out of sight.
For example, we’ve had a client order lights without realizing they needed to order the fixtures needed to mount them!
Add these items to your checklist and then run the list:
Rigging for lights
Foot covers for cables running throughout a venue, if needed
Secondary audio inputs
Smaller light sources for the ground
Cameras for recording everything
And don’t forget the on-site technicians! Audio visual production companies will have these on staff, but it’s always worth double-checking what your teams can cover (between in-house and external teams).
Checklists underpin successful execution of every process, and event planning is no exception. You need a repeatable process to follow to make sure that no detail slips through the cracks.
The reason for this is simple: small details on the technical side can trip up an entire event. People tend to notice things that are missing or out of place just as often (or perhaps more often) than when everything fits together nicely.
Make lists even if you don’t need every item on those lists—it’s much better to have too much than not enough. Get checklists for everything from experts in the know, or ask them for introductions to people who can provide them. Someone will be able to give you a checklist to get started.
Professionals may not want to give you a checklist for free, but you can get detailed estimates from them with itemized breakdowns for any proposal. Ask for one if you encounter resistance to get an idea of how much everything will cost.
Create a Corporate Event Planning Team
You can’t plan an entire event by yourself, especially in cities as busy as Toronto.
Establish point people for specific aspects of the event. They could look like this:
stage and lighting preparation
catering and dining tables
music and entertainment
You might not have the budget or company size to warrant a separate point person for each set of responsibilities, and that’s okay. Divide them up evenly among the people who can lend a hand and ask for regular updates from them every few days.
With everyone on board to plan the event, you can move into the bread and butter of the planning stages. This starts with the budget. Your budget will define the scope of the entire event, but don’t fall into the trap of spending it all. You’ll need to leave some in reserve to handle unexpected hiccups of all kinds.
If you have a budget of $15,000 to spend on your corporate event, then you should aim to leave $2,500 to $3,000 in reserve. People could forget something like cutlery, sound equipment, coat racks, or even just indoor decorations for the venue. These things can pop up at any time, so give yourself some financial breathing room to adapt.
Here’s where you can expect to spend your budget for a corporate event in Toronto:
Don’t forget to compare notes between different vendors, too! We’ve provided pages just above that list various venues, caterers, and entertainment groups in the Toronto area. You’ll find the best prices by comparing packages from different sources.
Be sure to decide if you need to purchase or rent equipment instead of paying vendors to supply them. Venues can supply certain items, but it might make sense to purchase others if your corporate event will continue for years down the road.
Secure Your Venue and Audio-Visual Equipment
Venues go quickly, so book them well in advance—especially if you want government funding. You might need to shift your day schedule in order to call venue owners at the right time of day and tour the facilities. Start your search with this list of 30 venues in the city.
Give your AV partner (a vendor) the floor plans and a chance to see the venue once it’s secured. You could even ask them about which venues have provided the best experience in the past to generate some ideas if the search has been delayed. Either way, your audio-visual experts will need to see the event space to plan for these elements: