Helpfull information to know before your next event!

February 15, 2018 by Dmitriy Kotlar


Whether it’s a meeting, conference, or tradeshow and whatever the desired effect, we offer specialized personnel to help you develop video, audio, lighting and staging production to meet your needs. Our full-time staff has experience in all areas and can make the necessary recommendations to enhance your state-of-the-art Conference and Tradeshow.

Technology Rental for Corporate Events

Whether you’re responsible for coordinating the company’s shareholder meeting or entertaining a venture capital firm from overseas, Vegas Big Screen Events can provide corporate event services that can handle up to thousands of attendees. Our company is your one-stop shop for corporate event audio video equipment rentals and services.

Conference Rental

Whether your conference requires technology rentals for 100 attendees or 1,000+, Vegas Big Screen Events has the conference solutions that can help. We offer conference technology rentals for:

PowerPoint Presentations

Vegas Big Screen Events can provide both Windows-based and Mac laptop rentals, microphones, sound, lighting and projectors for any keynote or large group presentations.

Breakout Rooms and Workshops

As you know, user conferences provide a variety of subject-specific workshops throughout the day. Depending on the venue, these may be in different rooms, floors or even buildings. Vegas Big Screen Events can provide the right combination of technology rentals for each of these scenarios, including any specific configuration requirements you may have.

Audio Visual / Event Technology / WiFi – An Overview

No doubt about it!  audio visual services and equipment must be a high priority when budgeting for a meeting, function or event.  It would be almost impossible for any type of presentation or performance to be compelling and engaging to an audience without some kind of AV enhancement.  Options span a wide spectrum of equipment and technology ranging from a basic flip chart to a highly technical video conference or high energy extravaganza.

Bandwidth and WiFi – You need to know!
No matter how elementary your audio visual enhancements may be, it is highly likely that wireless access to the Internet will play a big role in the success of your meeting or event.  It may be used for nothing more than to satisfy attendees who want to take notes on their tablets or smartphones, but it could also be as critical as projecting streaming video for a speaker’s presentation or running your wireless on-site office equipment or conference apps.  Bandwidth used to be a mysterious and scary element for meeting planners to understand and impossible to track, but not anymore.  The APEX Bandwidth and Connectivity Workgroup of the Convention Industry Council has dedicated a great deal of time and effort to help meeting professionals get up-to-speed on this issue, and they have done a great job of it! See links below for more info.

Attendee perception of value –
Whatever the reason for bringing people together, the common goal is to have those who attend take away a sense of value and time well spent.  The perception of value for a meeting, of course, will depend upon the presenter, content of the program and networking opportunities.  But regardless of the type of gathering, appropriate lighting, sound, visuals and Internet connectivity for event operations and personal use will play an equal part in determining how successful the experience will be perceived and remembered.

A word of caution!
It is HIGHLY recommended that an AV professional be consulted before you make any booking commitment with a venue or location for your meeting or event to verify –

1) That the geographic locations and facilities you are considering to host your meeting or event have the necessary bandwidth for high speed Internet or satellite transmissions to handle your program without any lag time or distortion during presentations and that streaming images will be displayed crisply and clearly, and

2) That the layout of the function space will accommodate your program’s specific needs for audio visual equipment setup and production, including rigging of lights if needed, without obstacles, low ceilings, reflecting mirrors or windows that would interfere with visibility or diminish the desired effect of your presentations or performances.

Types of Audio Visual (AV) Lights

The types of lighting instruments mentioned here are commonly used to create the desired environment for meetings and events and to enhance the perceived value of presentations and performances.  This list represents only a tiny sampling of the full range of specialty lighting possibilities.

  • Par Can – a floodlight that produces a “wash” of flat light evenly over a wide area, usually oval-shaped
  • Spotlight (Profile or Leko) – produces a narrow, tightly focused beam for podiums or signage
  • Follow spot – a spotlight that is moved by an operator to follow a presenter or performer
  • Fresnel – a lens that produces a “stepped” look with soft edges that create soft shadows rather than a flat look with sharp edges. Most often used for back light or side light
  • Gel – colored filters attached to lamps or more durable glass roundels
  • Gobo. A pattern pre-cut into a piece of thin metal that fits into a fixture to project logos or designs
  • Intelligent lighting. Lights that are remotely controlled by computer and can be set to move anywhere around a room or stage in different patterns
  • LED (Light Emitting Diode).  A type of lighting device that uses less power, produces less heat and is more resistant to shock and vibration than brittle glass tubes or bulbs. Allows color mixtures of red, green and blue to create almost any color
  • Stage lighting. Although the term is also used for meeting presentations, it generally refers to the use of a much wider variety of lighting instruments placed in multiple locations at different angles for more extravagant presentations and performances.
  • Trees, poles, trusses. Structures used to support lights for special angles or flooding the stage.

Audio Visual Projection

The type of projector needed for your meeting, event or function will be determined by the kind of presentation to be given, the ambient light in the room and the size of the room and the audience.  You will need to know from your presenters the type of AV equipment they prefer, but be prepared for requests for equipment and services that could exceed your budget (they want to look their best!).  If that is the case, an AV professional will be able to advise you of cost-effective alternatives that can produce similar results and still satisfy your presenters or performers.  Speakers and entertainers will ordinarily be courteous and flexible about substitutions IF they are made aware far enough in advance to make any necessary adjustments to their presentations.  If video is to be used, it is extremely important to know whether it is to be displayed in Standard Definition (SD) or High Definition (HD).  Not all projectors can support HD so be sure the projector you use is rated for it.

The projector types most commonly used for presentations in standard business meetings or social events and for educational and training purposes are defined in the link below.  When using projectors you will need to have on hand a remote control to make adjustments or advance slides from a distance, an extra light bulb or light source, and the necessary hook-up cables to interface the projector with a computer.  Verify that you have all the necessary components, label them for easy identification when hooking-up, and keep everything together with the instructions in the projector’s carrying case.

Several of these projectors can be set-up and operated by someone with little audio visual experience unless the model includes several on-screen menus and sub-menus that can be confusing or if the cable interface is not compatible.  In any case, it is advisable to test all systems in advance to ensure compatibility of the hardware (computer to projector) and the software if created on one computer for projection from another.  It is also advisable to have someone present throughout your program that has technical expertise in case there is a glitch.  If the program requires sophisticated projection, contract with a reputable AV professional to handle your needs.  Nothing seems more disastrous to a meeting than AV disruption or failure.

Audio Visual Screens, Monitors, Displays

Front screen projection – 
If the projector is to be placed on a table in front of the screen it is referred to as front projection.  Many meeting and function rooms come equipped with a front projection screen that drops down from the ceiling, but if a portable screen is necessary, you will have to choose the appropriate size for the room and the audience –

  •  Tripod
 4 to 8 ft. high. Pulls down from top of support frame. Most portable.
  •  Cradle
 Up to 12 ft. high. Must sit on a table or riser. Pulls up from the bottom.
  •  Fast Fold
 5 to 30 ft. high. Folding aluminum frame. Can be used for front or rear screen projection.

There are specific guidelines on the placement of screens in order to ensure the greatest visibility from any seat in the room, but these guidelines vary significantly based on the height of the ceiling and dimensions of the room.

1. Keep the bottom of the screen at least 5 ft. from the ground so that anyone can see the bottom of it when looking over the person seated in front of them, and
2. To ensure the best viewing, don’t seat anyone closer than 2 times the height of the screen and no further away than 8 times the height.

Rear screen projection – 

When the projector is placed behind the screen, it provides a higher quality image through the back of the screen.  The screen has to be draped to conceal the equipment behind it, which is labor intensive.  It takes considerable space at the front of the room to accommodate rear screen projection, so seating will have to be set further back in the room and some seating capability removed.

Flat panel displays –
Plasma or LCD flat panel displays that can be permanently mounted on a wall have become increasingly popular for workshops or seminars that are held in smaller rooms such as a classroom or breakout room in a hotel.  Plasma flat panels vary from approximately 42 inches to 65 inches diagonally, and LCD’s range from 19 inches to 70 inches.  They will generally be less in height than width.

Your choice between a Plasma or LCD flat panel would depend on the type of images to be displayed and whether the image source is from a camera, DVD or computer and what kind of light will be used in the room.  Although effective for presentations from an online web site or a corporate server, the speed of connection necessary for successful display would be critical and must be carefully tested before confirming capability to a presenter.

Multi-image display –
This technology no longer requires multiple screens and projectors in order to display more than one image at a time.  Newer versions can now overlap and blend images by merging input from one or more devices.  Most applications will produce high resolution images from a live video of a keynote speaker along with details of the content being presented.  An AV professional and tech support will be required if your will be using this type of projection.

A trusted audio visual professional will provide the guidance you need when choosing the best type of screen or monitor to meet the needs of your speaker’s presentations.

Audio Visual (AV) Sound Systems for Meetings & Events

Microphones – 
Microphones can be wired or wireless, hand-held or fixed on a table or floor stand or gooseneck podium, unidirectional (sensitive to sounds from only one direction) or omnidirectional (picks up sound from almost any direction).  Wired microphones are less expensive and ideal if the presenters are to stay in one position during their program, such as panelists at a table or a small group setting.  Their movements will be limited based on the length of the cord attached to the microphones.  Wireless microphones will be preferred if the speakers plan to move around the stage or room.

A lavaliere microphone is a small device that can be clipped to a speaker’s clothing or on an earpiece with a battery placed in a pocket or attached to a belt or waistband.

If more than one microphone is to be used in the same room, the potential exists for screeching feedback and distorted sound.  A sound mixer will be required to avoid such problems and to increase or decrease the volume from each microphone to complement both the soft-spoken and the dynamic presenters speaking on the same panel.

Rule-of-Thumb on Microphones and Mixers
One mixer for two to four microphones and two mixers for five to eight.

Amplifiers, Speakers, Mixers – 
In-house systems in most meeting rooms are distributed throughout the room and are designed to amplify the spoken word without altering it.  If more than one microphone is to be used, however, or if music is included in the program, it will be necessary to provide additional amplifiers, speakers and a mixer board to balance the sound.  A sound mixer is used to control the screeching feedback that can ruin a presentation, to increase or decrease the volume of microphones to accommodate both the soft-spoken and the dynamic presenter on the same panel, to balance and enhance the sound of musical instruments, etc.

Placement of the speakers for a sound system is always a challenge.  If placed toward the back of a stage behind microphones, that horrible screeching feedback is likely.  If placed on either side of the stage, visibility of the presenter can be blocked for anyone seated to the left or right edge of the stage.  If placed in the corners of a room or if not properly balanced, speakers can blast anyone seated in front of them. Amplifiers and speakers for music work better if clustered or stacked.

Using the services of a sound engineer or technician is always recommended to help you choose the appropriate sound equipment needed for the best results, to set it up properly, and to monitor it during the performance.  This is a responsibility you won’t want to take on yourself unless your audio visual needs are very basic.

Using Audio Visual Risers for Podium | Staging

Creating a stage or podium in a meeting room or function space using risers will be necessary to enhance visibility of presenters or entertainers from anywhere in a room.  Risers come in sections that allow flexibility in the size and placement of your stage or podium, but they are space-intensive and will reduce seating capacity.  Elevating a presenter may not be a practical thing to do if the room or space is small.

Rental of risers can be handled through an audio visual company or a standard equipment rental company that specializes in meetings and events.  Some meeting, convention and banquet venues have their own inventory of risers that can be ordered through your service manager.  Coordination of set-up time for your staging will be critical, since sound equipment such as microphones cannot be placed until after the risers are in place.

Safety issues –
Keep safety foremost in mind when creating staging.  Unless the back side of the staging can be placed flush against a wall, it will be important to have a railing installed to prevent anyone from slipping off the back when stepping backwards or moving a chair back away from a head table.  Not all railings are sturdy enough to prevent a fall, so choose your equipment carefully.

A set of one or two steps will be required for performers to access the stage, and a railing is recommended there also if more than one step is required to reach the stage.

Although most risers come with a carpeted or non-slip surface, verify it when you are placing your order.

Basic sizes –
Risers come in sections that are designed to be combined and locked together to create the staging size needed.  The most common size of each section is 4 ft. x 8 ft.  The staging can be raised from 6 inches to 12, 16, 24 or 32 inches from the floor and can be stacked to create tiers.  Skirting to cover the framework of the risers may be a special order item at extra cost, but it is usually included.How to estimate space needed for meeting and function setups

Space recommendations per person –
For a general idea of the amount of space needed to accommodate the size of group you expect for a function, meeting or event, the following rule-of-thumb for various set-up styles will help you.  But remember, this will only give you an IDEA of space requirements and is not exact.  It is meant to help you grasp quickly whether those who attend will be too crowded in the room you are considering or if the attendees will feel lost if the function space is too big.  There should be a maximum capacity posted in each function room.  Take it seriously since it was approved by the fire marshal of the city or county and anything over capacity can be a safety hazard.  Requirements established by the American with Disabilities Act can also affect the amount of space you will need.

Space requirements for equipment, food stations –
In addition to the space required for seating or for a good flow for standing receptions, etc., you must also calculate the space that will be required for the set-up of food stations, audiovisual equipment, staging, and so on.  These additional set-up requirements can be extremely space intensive and will increase the size of room or function space you need significantly. There may also be built-in features and doors that can affect seating or equipment placement and reduce the amount of usable space available to you.

Function room capacities –
Keep in mind that the function space capacity that is included in meeting planning brochures from hotels and other venues will give square footage for each room or space and the maximum number of people that can be accommodated in them.  It will not include the additional space you will need for AV equipment, food and beverage stations, stand-up banners, etc.

Set-Up Type  Estimated Space Requirement  Recommendations
 Reception 9 to 10 square feet per person For good flow.
 Theater 12 to 13 square feet per person Set chairs 24-in. from the back of one row to the front of the next with seats 2-in. apart when possible. Emergency codes may require chairs to be connected.  Allow additional space for any row that is to accommodate wheelchairs.
 Classroom 17 to 22 square feet per person 6 ft. or 8 ft. x 18 inch tables.  Allow 2 ft. of table space per person minimum, but 2.5 – 3 ft. much preferred.  Leave 24-in from the back of each chair to the table behind.  Allow additional space for any table that is to accommodate wheelchairs.
 Meeting Pods 17 to 22 square feet per person Ideal for interactive meetings where flexibility in seating and collaboration is required.  Set clusters of 2 tables either 6 ‘ x 30″ or 6″ x 18″ side-by-side then cluster 6 chairs, prefrably on rollers, around it.  Participants can move about the room, pull the tables apart and use them as singles or whatever is conducive to creative  and productive thinking.
Hollow Square
Same as classroom for actual seating but extra space in the center makes this set-up much more space intensive U-shape is the same as hollow square except that one end is left open for access to the inside of the U by the presenter.  To avoid uncomfortable crowding, do not seat anyone closer than 1 foot to a shared corner.
 Banquet  Rounds 13.5 to 14 square feet per person 60″ tables seat 8 people, 72″ tables seat 10. Allow 5 feet between tables for seating and aisles.  Allow wider aisles and less seating per table if wheelchairs are to be accommodated.
 Staging  Risers 4′ x 8′ sections standard. Available in 6′ x 8′ sections. Heights can be 6, 12, 16, 24 or 32 inches. Order handrails for steps and along the back of riser if not flush against a wall … for safety!  First row of seats should be 6 ft. away or twice the height of a screen, whichever is further.
 Audiovisual  Varies Space requirement depends on the type and number of presentations and the size of a production.  It can be extremely space intensive and should be a major consideration before booking function space.  Space for audiovisual should not be limited if the quality of the presentation or production is to meet expectations.
See links below for sample diagram and a more complete table of seating types.
Resources: Convention Industry Council Manual 7th Edition, Professional Meeting Management Fifth Edition

You may need more or less space, depending on the food and beverage, audiovisual and other equipment set-up you need to support your program.  The dimensions of the room, obstructions along the walls, and placement of doors and windows may also affect how the room can be set.

If a room is too large for the size of the group, the perception may be that the meeting or event is not well attended.  When attendance is not what you expect, whether more or less, you can make the space feel larger or smaller in some cases by changing the set-up style.  For example –

  • If attendance was expected to be 100 and only 50 register, change the seating from theater style to classroom so the room still looks full and well-attended.
  • Or change the set-up from a standard classroom set-up in straight rows to herringbone (v-shape) so the angle of the tables fills more space.
  • If the venue you are using has potted plants scattered in foyers, ask if they can be placed inside your meeting room to fill empty space, etc.
  • If more register than expected and the room is too small and for the classroom set-up you planned, change to theater-style.

Verify the time frame allowable in your contract to re-set a meeting or function room without incurring an additional charge – usually a day or two in advance of the event!  Re-setting on the day of the event can be costly and may not even be possible based on equipment inventory and staff availability.

The no-show factor –
One of the most difficult things for a meeting planner to conquer is the fear that a room will be too small to accommodate the number of people that show up or that there will not be enough food and beverage to serve everyone.  It is always a touch-and-go situation because of the variables that can determine how many will actually show up.  Rarely, however, will the group materialize at the maximum number you expect so a “no-show” factor should be considered and the number reduced by a certain percentage.  Keeping good records from similar programs that the group held in the past is the surest way to determine what that percentage should be, but if it is a first-time event you may want to consider a 10-20% decrease if attendance is voluntary rather than required.

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Helpfull information to know before your next event! was last modified: February 15th, 2018 by Dmitriy Kotlar

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