If you're looking into audio visual equipment hire for your event, you might be a little in the dark when it comes to what goes into the setting up of said equipment. From the unloading of the truck to setting up microphones properly, there's a lot that goes into setting up audio visual equipment that you were probably unaware of.
That's why we thought we would use this space to enlighten you, so you can develop a better understanding of what really goes into audio visual set up ahead of an event.
Loading Up, Transportation, and Unloading of AV Equipment
When it comes to the AV hire in London, or anywhere else for that matter, the first step of the process is loading up everything required for the event onto a lorry or small truck in preparation of transportation to the venue.
All of the equipment will be tested before loading, and the necessary assortment of accompanying cables will be selected and put on board alongside the hardware. The truck will be loaded in reverse order to aid a faster set up on-site, with the items required first being loaded last at our warehouse.
Once we have arrived on site, we then find a parking area close to the venue with plenty of space for the technicians to begin the unloading process. Much like loading up, unloading is a process that has to have health and safety considered as a priority. Some audio visual devices can be bulky, requiring best practice lifting techniques and careful use of wheeled dollies to move the most substantial items safely. But even the lightest of audio visual equipment items need great care taken over them as even the slightest drop or knock could damage them.
Once the equipment has been unloaded, it's time to start setting up the venue ready for the event in question.
Preparing and Assembling Set Pieces
Before our teams get onto the electrical items, it's best to start with the accompanying set pieces. In the case of audio visual equipment, this is most often a projector screen of some description. But it could also an LED screen or a stage backdrop. As this can be quite an extensive task in some scenarios (depending on the nature of the event and the venue in question), this is a job that usually requires several staff members.
Once items such as the stage and the projector screen have been assembled, it's time to start setting up the electronic equipment, which starts by laying and dressing the required cables.
Laying and Dressing Cables
Since almost all audio visual equipment needs both a power supply and then subsequent data or signal transfer cabling, the next stage is to start laying those cables, initially from the power sources. Once power cables have been laid, the same process needs to be to repeated for any signal or data transfer cables. All wires need to be carefully run away from high-traffic areas to avoid presenting any danger to your attendees.
During the laying processing, our teams are also "dressing" the cables. What we mean by dressing is taping them up or tacking them down to make sure that they stay in place and don't move during the event.
While we can use gaffer tape in rooms where cables are unlikely to come into contact with anyone apart from ourselves, if wires have to be run through high-footfall areas, then we will have to use brightly-coloured hazard tape or use a plastic cable ramp to alert your guests to the potential trip hazard.
Audio Equipment Set Up – Microphones
Once all of the cables and set pieces are taken care of it's time to set up the audio equipment and run through of all the necessary checks. The first place we usually start is with the microphones. The setup here is very dependent on the type of microphone you have chosen to hire. The main distinction is between wireless and wired microphone.
Wired microphones are directly connected to the audio mixer by a cable terminated with XLR connectors. These microphones tend to be used at fixed locations, such as attached to a podium, or on a table if you have a panel of speakers.
By contrast, wireless microphones are a little more complicated. They are based on a two-part system – a transmitter and a receiver. The microphone is directly wired to a transmitter which operates on a battery. The receiver, usually identified as a black box with an antenna, is directly connected to the mixer. The antennas receive signals from the microphone's transmitter and then send the signals to the mixing desk.
When setting up, it's essential to test both types of setups to make sure the sound is suitable for the venue, ensuring that your speakers or presenters will be heard loud and clear. We also match the pickup pattern to the type of event to make sure the mic picks up the sounds you want to amplify and rejects the rest.
Audio Equipment Set Up – Mixing Desk
When learning how to set up audio visual equipment, the mixing desk is one of the most crucial pieces of the jigsaw pieces. It's responsible for balancing all of the hired sound equipment to ensure everything is at precisely the right volume.
It's used to balance each microphone, each speaker, every other possible sound element. It acts as the signal management centre, transferring sound from the origin to its destination. For example, a mixing desk manages the signal transfer between the microphones and the speakers placed at the side of the stage. They are the devices that link all of the sound equipment together.
We use it to make sure everything is performing as it should be, and they are essential during the event itself as this is where our sound engineer will mute mics, or turn up the speakers for a video presentation for example.
Audio Equipment Set Up – Speakers
As highlighted above, sound works on the three-stage principle. A device emits a sound, it's then balanced and controlled through the mixer, and then the signal is sent to an end destination such as a PA speaker system.
Speakers are crucial for almost all events since they ensure that whether you are running a presentation or a meeting of industry panel experts your attendees will have no trouble hearing what is said. You may also want to use amplifiers for your event, but some mixers and a lot of speaker systems have this function built-in.
Once we've handled the sound, we're quickly onto the visual requirements.
Visual Equipment Set Up – Projector
Whether you're running a conference in London or making a company presentation in a Surrey hotel, projectors are usually the go-to devices for the visual elements of your event. The most important part of the projector set up is positioning. Getting the positioning wrong will either leave you with only a portion of the projector screen being filled (too far away), or overrunning your screen and missing vital aspects of your presentation (too close).
Luckily, our team are a dab hand at positioning our projectors. But if you've got no idea where to start, it can be useful to multiply the screen width by two to discover the appropriate distance for the projector to be away from the screen.
Next, you've got to make sure that the projector is away from your attendees as it will make a possible distracting whirring noise caused by the fan. Ventilation is critical too since projectors can get very hot. In fact, they shut down if they run too warm, so don't forget to keep this in mind.
Once you've got it positioned, it's time to run the cables to it and then start testing the connection with your laptop or video player (remember to check which cable you need for this purpose). You can then adjust the settings until you've got a picture you're happy with. A top tip is to walk around the room to make sure everyone has a pleasant viewing experience.
Visual Equipment Set Up – LED Screens/Monitors
You may choose to hire LED screens to display additional information or use them as your sole visual devices depending on the nature and scale of your event. The first part of the set up will have already been taken care of, as you will have likely specified a set-piece mounting preference for your screen.
With the mount set up, it's a case of attaching the screen carefully to ensure no damage occurs and that no unsightly fingerprints are left. As was the case with the projector, positioning is essential. You need to ensure that everyone can see the screen in question and that it doesn't impede the projector screen if you plan on utilising both mediums
Then it's merely a case of running the necessary cables, one to a power source, the other to a device such as a laptop or a DVD player. Once the connections have been established, it's time to run tests to ensure that everything works correctly.
Audio Visual Equipment Set Up Troubleshooting
Once everything is set up and operational, it's time to test everything across the spectrum to uncover anything that could potentially cause issues during the event itself. You're looking for things such as the correct resolution on your laptop/projector set up, or dead spots where the microphone won't transmit to the receiver.
Once they've been discovered and tidied them up, you're ready to run your event!
'Striking' the Room
Though technically not part of the 'set up' of audio visual equipment, you've got to factor disassembly and cleaning up the room after the event into your audio visual equipment hire plans. This is a process that requires planning; it's not merely a case of pack everything up, bundle it all back on the lorry, and forget about it.
Before loading everything back up, cables have to be coiled correctly and placed with their respective devices. Mounts and screens need to the taken down with care, ensuring all of their components are carefully packed away. Devices need to go back into their protective cases to ensure they can be used without issue for the next event.
Poorly-planned and rushed 'striking' of the room can lead to damaged equipment, or more likely, missing items that were misplaced in the hurry to get everything packed away and back to the warehouse. It shouldn't be an afterthought.
Avoid the Hassle of Setting Up Audio Visual Equipment by Hiring On Tour Events Instead
As you can see, there's an awful lot that goes into the audio visual set up before an event, perhaps more than you'd first considered. As event organiser, it doesn't make sense for you to stress over these aspects when you've got enough on your plate as it is. Instead, it makes much more sense to hire professionals who run events such as award shows, fashion events, and music festivals on a weekly basis.
Not only will you gain access to the best audio visual equipment hire in London and the surrounding areas, but you'll also have experience engineers and technicians included within the cost. No more worrying about a mic cutting out or trying to sort out a poor picture from your projector. Instead, you can focus on running your event while we take care of all of your audio visual requirements.
So if you want a stress-free experience regarding the technical aspects of your event, don't hesitate to contact us at On Tour Events. We look forward to hearing from you.
On Tour Events: Technical Audio Visual Event Services London OFFICE & WAREHOUSE: +PHONE: 020 8058 0093 +MONDAY - FRIDAY 08:00 - 20:00 +EMAIL: INFO@ONTOUREVENTS.CO.UK +POST: Office 108 Belgrove House Belgrove Street, London, WC1H8AA +FACEBOOK.COM/EVENTPRODUCTIONHIRE +TWITTER.COM/ONTOUREVENTS +INSTAGRAM.COM/ONTOUREVENTS