If you are new to event planning, you’re still learning what kind of AV equipment is available, let alone what’s necessary for a particular type and size of event. That’s OK, there’s a lot to learn. And even seasoned pros sometimes need help when it comes to knowing how to plan a small event that makes the best use of audio and visuals.
So, let’s talk about the kind of equipment small events typically require. Even when your audience is small — say, around 75–200 people — you still need entertainment and/or speakers. Every event has some kind of programming, so it’s simply a matter of scale.
Maybe you just need the basics for a meeting with presentations or an awards luncheon that will include a video or live entertainment. Whatever the details, the last thing you want to do is cut corners. The event will reflect on your company or client, and on you as the event planner, so you want it to deliver its professional best.
What AV Will You Need?
Every event is different, and of course, you want yours to be a stand-out. But every event has a budget, too. Your job is to plan a budget that covers all your needs but, hopefully, will be large enough to allow some extras that you want, as well. Here are the basics to consider for a small event:
Sound is the one thing you should never skimp on. If your audience can't hear, your event can't be successful. You want to make sure everyone in the room can see without obstruction and hear without distortion, so they can fully engage with the action, whatever that is.
However, there are other factors that affect equipment needs and costs. For example:
- Cameras are costly, but there are good reasons to record all or part of your event, depending on the content.
- Your venue (size, seating arrangement, etc.) may affect how we set up, and whether there will be additional power costs.
- And, certainly, a multi-day event will require more than a one-day meeting.
The size of your event will determine the size of the AV crew. An event for 200 people will be more involved than one for just 75 attendees, requiring more behind-the-scenes crew. We may use a production manager to manage everything in addition to individual technicians. So we’ll need anywhere from 3–9 people during the live event.
Rehearsal Time Is the Best Investment You Can Make
Rehearsal is key to a successful event. All presenters need a run-through (perhaps more than one) to get comfortable. Rehearsal enables the folks in the limelight to shine, and it enables our crew to confirm that every AV detail is functioning perfectly.
In all, your AV budget for a small event will fall in the $5,000 to $20,000 range. Average is about $10,000.
Great Events Are a Team Effort
One thing successful event planners quickly learn is that their AV team is an indispensable ally. Virtually every event needs some type of sound, visual, or lighting support. And a good AV team knows how to plan a small event that “lives large” for your attendees, while they’re onsite and in their memories afterward.