A Guide to Basic AV Equipment for Your Small Event Needs

If you find yourself wondering what types of equipment you might need to rent for your small events, such as conference room meetings and gatherings, fundraiser booth setups, trade shows, and other small events, search no further! Small events, for our purposes here, will mean 50 or less people in an area that would be not much bigger than a typical conference room or small outdoor setting. This list will provide the information you might need to know to plan for your event and impress your clients, business partners, stockholders, potential investors, or any audience in between!

Visual Display - a good small event will have a projector or TV (or multiple, depending on the size of the room and audience). This would be used to project slideshows, previously shot footage, a live camera feed, or a live stream feed. If you decide you want to project a live camera feed, you will also have the option to record the presentation and use the footage for your social medias, website, or other marketing uses. Using a computer, you would need an appropriate length HDMI cable to play back the video. A TV stand would be necessary to raise the TV to a proper height as well.

Lighting - a good way to impress clients, investors, partners, or stockholders would be to have enough lighting to make you look professional. This will improve the look of the speaker(s) and give a professional touch. Even if you decide not to record the event, a small amount of controlled lighting will help impress your audience.

Audio playback system - even if you don’t plan on using any microphones because of the size of the room, it would be beneficial to have some speakers to play back any slideshow presentation or pre-recorded video you may have. The speakers don’t need to be big, and they might even already be a part of the room. If you chose to have a TV as your visual display, it would still be most professional to use external speakers. This would mean you would need a computer to play back content you have, and from there you would need to know what cabling you might need. Many speakers use RCA inputs, so you might need a 3.5 mm to RCA cabling system to output the sound of the computer to the speakers.

OPTIONAL for “higher” budget small events:

Camera - to record the event for your own website, social media pages, or other marketing means, a camera and tripod is a must have! This was touched on in visual displays, as you can also project your footage to be bigger onto the screens and make the event more professional. Proper cabling (HDMI, SDI, power supply, maybe XLRs) would be needed too.

Microphones - for more professional audio quality, investing in a lavalier microphone to hide within your clothing or a handheld wireless microphone will be as professional as it gets. With this though, you would need a receiver to receive the signal and the cables associated with outputting that signal into a mixer, usually XLR. And speaking of mixers…

Mixer - a small mixer (8 channels would be work great for small events) can help control the input and output signal and quality of your audio and where you decide to send each channel of audio. If you have a mixer, you can place microphones on different channels, control their levels individually, and send them where you wish. This would also allow you the flexibility to output your computer audio directly to the mixer on its own channel. Then you can hook up your speakers to the output buses on the mixer and send all the audio directly to them, as long as you know what cabling is required for the specific equipment. The mixer will allow the ultimate functionality and connectivity to make your event professional.

Written by: Collin Dewyre

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