Originally published March 13, 2020. Updated September 8, 2022.
One of the reasons why you should include AV in your early event planning is to be sure your audiovisual planner is present for the event venue walk-through. In addition to learning details about the space through the questions you ask, your AV planner will also note and evaluate aspects of the venue that have specific implications for audiovisual set-up and management. And if you are planning a hybrid event, including your AV planner at the outset is especially important.
Width by Height and More
The dimensions of your event space have direct impact on audiovisual production. Your AV planner will check the actual size of the room(s) and compare those measurements to the floorplans your venue manager provides.
- The size of the space and planned locations for tables and seating impact the number and placement of audio speakers.
- The ceiling height and the depth of the room determine the size of screens, as well as lighting and projection choices.
- The location of doorways and other access points affect the location of the tech table and where cables are run.
- The locations of electrical outlets will also be noted. While there aren’t specific adjustments to be made because of power placement, knowing the locations in advance improves set-up efficiency.
- Internet connectivity is critical if your are livestreaming your event. Your AV planner will evaluate availability, access, and speed of the internet at the event
Load-In and Parking
Ideally, venues will have easy-to-access loading docks and direct pathways to event rooms. That’s not always the case. Being able to assess load-in restrictions during the walk-through is a valuable time-saver during set-up. The availability and size of parking spaces by the loading dock affect load-in plans and coordination. It’s helpful to know how large a truck can access the loading dock and if it can be parked nearby until load-out. Your AV planner will also review the size of the elevator and note special areas of the venue where care needs to be taken when moving cases and equipment in and out.
Technical event production requires the skilled use of carefully selected, professional audiovisual equipment — which is why you’re hiring an AV production company. Your AV planner will want to evaluate any in-house AV equipment such as built-in screens, rigging points for truss and lights, and access to house lighting.
A walk-through provides the opportunity to solve issues before they become problems. It is also a time to think creatively about the atmosphere of the event. What are the unique architectural details that lighting can enhance? What colors are already present in the venue that can be brought into the theme of the event? Including your AV planner in the walk-through allows them to answer questions and brainstorm creative ideas with your event team. If the venue is new to you and your AV company has worked in there before, your AV planner will be able to offer great advice based on past experience in that space.
Most Importantly, Communication
Inviting your AV planner to join your full event team on the venue walk-through increases collaboration and communication among everyone involved. Your AV planner will be able to connect directly with the venue manager and ask audiovisual-specific questions without you having to be the go-between. You have more than enough other event details to plan.