A Guide to the AV Equipment for Your Large Events

Continuing our series to list out different AV equipment for different sized events and needs, we finally get to the large event installation. Here, we will talk a little bit about what a large event is, and what types of products and services you should expect from your AV company. Firstly, large events are productions in large rooms that would expect to bring in a minimum of 200 people. They can also be outdoor events that expect to bring an audience potentially in the thousands. These types of events would include music festivals, dance competitions, fashion shows, large corporate gatherings and presentations, any televised programs with a live audience, and so much more. The world of events is very expansive and we couldn’t simply name every type of large event, but using our blogs about small, medium, and large, you can gather a better grasp of what your event will be. Here is a basic list for all the equipment you might need for your large event.

Microphones, stands, transmitters, receivers - wired, wireless, lapel, boom. There are many types of microphones. Large events will probably require a variety of them. Music events will mostly be wired for instruments and vocalists, as well as potentially a wireless mic for singers who plan on being mobile. Lapel mics are great for hiding the microphone if the event is being recorded and the intention is to have no visible microphones in the shot. Boom microphones are specific to recorded media for television and film. Wireless mics require receivers which then output using XLR cables to the mixer.

Speakers and stands - For large events, especially outdoors, there will likely need to be many types of speakers. Normal speakers on stands on either side of the stage with subwoofers will provide a good amount of high quality sound. However, especially for large music events, line arrays will be necessary to truly blow your audience away. On-stage monitors for the musicians/speakers/dancers/etc. will also be necessary so they can hear a mix-down of what is happening and be able to hear themselves and the rest of what is happening clearly. Relying on speakers facing the audience would be a fatal error.

Lighting - different types of lights (uplights, spotlights, moving lights, etc.) will be needed to make your event more professional looking, and truly impress your audience. Different types of lighting provides different functions for your event. With the lights, we can control your color palette if you have a preference that follows your branding, or control different scenes to make your function really pop out!

Trussing - trusses are structural supports to be able to hang lights and/or speakers above the stage, or elsewhere in the room to present the event professionally to your audience. These are heady duty pieces that up the professional production quality of your event. Knowing the size and layout of the room, how many people will roughly be attending, and other questions we may ask will give us an insight about how much trussing to bring and what we will use them for.

Cameras - at least 1 camera (and SD card) is needed to record your event and/or present life feed onto bigger screens such as the TVs or projectors. We would recommend 2 cameras or more so that multiple angles can be taken and allow for different views when editing takes place, as well as multiple angles for the live feed production.

Visual Display and Video Switcher - a TV or two, or a projector or two will allow all of your audience, even those in the back, to see what is happening on stage. The cameras can produce a live feed of what is happening and control how the audience sees the event. The video switcher, or sometimes a designated software in the front of house will be used to control what video source will be displayed and when. This gives the event a very professional look and gives you the flexibility to project a PowerPoint or other video footage.

Mixer and Computer systems - To control the audio signals, cabling requirements, and mixing capabilities, a mixer will control where all the audio is coming from and going. This could include different audio specific equipment, such as snakes which take many microphone inputs at once and send them to the mixer with typically one cable. The computer can also add background music in case there are times where general music is needed to play while people walk in. The computer will also be the main hub where video is controlled for the live feed of what is caught by the camera, any live streaming that is needed to be done, and any light scenes that may need to be created and controlled.

Stage - usually provided by the venue, a stage is absolutely necessary. Not only will it bring the performers or presenters above the audience and allow for ease of viewership, the stage is also utilized by AV crews to hide the many types of cables that are needed for the production. And speaking of cables…

Cabling - without cables, your event will be absolutely hopeless! Virtually every type of equipment requires cables, and sometimes several types. Audio cables include XLR, 1/4” cables, RCA, different types of snake cables, etc. There are different types of cables for video and lighting, such as DMX, HDMI, SDI, VGA, etc. and knowing your event needs will help us know what to bring, including any adaptors! If a band is performing, a direct input box (DI box) might be needed to transfer line level signal to output from an XLR. Of course we will always bring extras in case of malfunctioning cables. Knowing the space of the room and outdoor area will also help us plan for how we will best hide our cables from plain sight and to keep the audience from tripping on any loose cables. This is often done with ethernet cables (such as Cat 5) or digital snakes to minimize the amount of long running cables.

High-speed Internet - a large bandwidth from the venue WiFi or an Ethernet cable to power the programs in the front of house is an absolute necessity. Most venues will have a standardized setup for this that will be communicated to the AV company to know what to prepare for and where they will place their front of house control area.

Carpeting & Stanchion - this would be for a more formal large event, such as award shows, fashion shows, game shows or other such events. This makes the event look very professional and will really impress your client!

This concludes our series listing AV equipment for different sized events. If you have any questions, contact QAV today and we can figure out your needs, get a sense of the equipment needed, and get a quote for your event!

Written by: Collin Dewyre

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