How to Choose the Right AV Equipment for Your Event

The audio-visual (AV) equipment you choose for your event is just as important as selecting the guests or the food. AV equipment includes everything from microphones and speakers to projectors and screens, and choosing the right setup can be the difference between a memorable event and a forgettable one.

Whether you’re planning a conference, award ceremony or product launch, the right AV setup ensures your message is heard loud and clear and creates an engaging atmosphere for your audience.

Types of AV Equipment

When it comes to choosing your AV equipment, you need to tailor your choice to your event’s needs. After all, setting up for a conference, a fashion show, or a summit each demands a different approach to AV equipment. Is your primary goal amplifying sound, displaying visuals, or both? The size of your venue and the number of attendees will significantly influence the type and quantity of equipment needed to ensure everyone can see and hear properly. 

Once you identify the main purpose of the AV gear you need, you can streamline your options.

Sound 

Microphones for your sound system are an excellent place to start. Handheld microphones are versatile and can be passed around, making them a good choice for events with multiple speakers. Lapel microphones are small and clip onto the speaker’s clothing, offering freedom of movement. 

Speakers must be powerful enough to fill your venue with clear, undistorted sound. Consider the size of the space and the number of attendees when choosing your speakers, as larger areas and crowds will require more powerful speakers to ensure everyone can hear clearly. 

Lighting 

There are various types of lighting equipment to consider for your event. Stage lights light up the whole stage, making them visible to the audience, whereas spotlights focus attention on specific areas or individuals.

When choosing your event lighting, consider the size of the venue, the mood you want to create, and technical aspects, such as whether you need lighting that is controlled remotely or synced to music. 

Visuals 

If you need to display any visuals at your event, projectors and screens are a must. Projectors will be better suited for smaller indoor events, whereas screens and video walls will be needed for larger audiences. 

Choosing AV Equipment for Different Settings

Festivals 

Festivals and live music events require complex production to create spectacular experiences for massive audiences. 

Lighting is an integral part of this, helping to highlight performers and enhance the atmosphere across the entire site. Large moving lights are commonly used to spotlight performers on stage with dramatic effects. Meanwhile coloured lights and outdoor floodlights are needed to fully illuminate the audience viewing areas and surroundings. To light the performers, stage lighting fixtures like LED PAR lights ensure visibility for their sets under intense conditions. Additional under-truss lighting and LED tubes strung around the festival grounds also work to build the vibe.

Although lighting sets the scene, quality sound production is equally important for festivals. The scale demands industrial-strength speaker systems to ensure clear audio is delivered to every audience member. Multi-channel digital mixing consoles from Allen & Heath, provide front-of-house engineers precise control over the complex audio mixes. 

Appropriate monitoring is also required, using monitors and in-ear systems backed to support performers’ needs. Wireless microphones deliver clear vocals without restriction of movement. Backline equipment handles amplified live music, from mixing desks to turntables and DJ equipment. Special effects such as lasers, haze and confetti production enhance the atmosphere.

To further amplify the festival experience, large-scale visuals are incorporated. Projectors mounted on structures throw content onto screens and video walls, sometimes as big as 20m wide by 10m high. Fast-fold screens enable spontaneous stage reconfigurations between performances and acts, and using broadcast cameras captures the magic for live streaming to global virtual audiences.

Thoughtfully designed staging accommodates multiple performance areas and the flow of tens of thousands of attendees. Tiered outdoor stages and raised truss towers ensure secure rigging and crowd management. 

STLS has been transforming festivals and events with its state-of-the-art solutions across London & Surrey for over a decade. With a formidable reputation for delivering excellence, STLS undertook a momentous task: to amplify Black Pride 2023 at the iconic Olympic Park, providing an immersive experience for attendees.

Corporate Conferences

Conferences often require a setup that’s compatible with a variety of devices to accommodate presentations from numerous speakers, each potentially using different laptops and equipment. 

When it comes to microphones for conferences, wireless lapel and headset microphones are ideal for speakers as they allow the presenter to move freely, making their delivery more engaging. For Q&A sessions, handheld microphones can be passed around the audience, facilitating interactive discussions, or some conferences use push-to-talk mics, which help manage the speaking order of a panel. For the main stage, lecterns and lectern microphones are standard, providing clear audio for keynote speeches.

A conference needs a professional sound system and clear audio to ensure everyone in the audience can hear the speakers. High-quality PA speakers ensure the audience can hear the speakers clearly, regardless of their seating position. Analogue or digital mixers are usually required for adjusting audio levels, guaranteeing that all speakers are heard at an appropriate volume.

For visuals, projectors and screens are commonly used for presentations, especially those with large audiences. For displaying visuals,  LED monitors on stands offer additional display options, often used for supplemental content or signage, as well as LED video walls, which have become increasingly popular due to their large size and visual impact. 

It’s essential to pay close attention to connectivity options, making sure that all devices can be easily connected without any hiccups. In our video equipment hire range, you’ll find various products for smooth transitions between presentations, like all the necessary cables and adaptors for different types of laptops. 

Lighting sets the mood and focus for a conference. Stage lighting with different presets can highlight speakers while uplighting, enhances the overall atmosphere of the venue.

To add a professional touch to your event, why not project your company logo around the venue. 

If you’re planning to livestream or record your conference, you’ll need to hire cameras, and a video switcher allows for smooth transitions between different camera feeds. For your event presenters,  Comfort monitors can help them see what’s being displayed to the audience without turning their back on them. 

STLS are the proud AV equipment supplier for Chelsea and Kensington town halls, which often host corporate events and conferences, and is used as our case study for what equipment we choose for these events.

Award Ceremonies

Award ceremonies require AV equipment that not only supports the presentations but also adds to the celebratory atmosphere.

For award ceremonies, additional microphones should be considered for award recipients and acceptance speeches, and high-quality PA speakers ensure that every speech and announcement is heard clearly. For the backstage and presenting teams, in-ear monitoring and communication systems are also beneficial, especially in a live event setting, allowing presenters to hear themselves and the event’s audio feed. To keep the night going, after-parties require a sound system that supports a band and DJ for music and dancing.

Visuals for an award ceremony, like large screens displaying nominees and winners, make it easy for the audience to follow the event’s progression. LED video walls, a significant trend, offer a visually striking way to present information. Projectors and screens are also used for additional visuals, such as background scenes.

Lighting at award ceremonies is about more than visibility; it’s about creating an atmosphere. Spotlighting is used to focus attention on award presenters and recipients, ensuring they are the centre of attention. Decorative lighting, like fairy lights, enhances the venue’s ambience, contributing to the event’s overall mood. Custom Gobo logos for brands or events allow for personalised branding within the event space. Moving lights and uplighting add dynamism and colour to the event. And you’ll need truss stands, or trusses, to mount and position these lighting fixtures effectively

The stage design is fundamental in award ceremonies. It needs to be both functional and visually appealing. Custom stage builds with carpet provide a prestigious look and feel, and custom-branded lecterns can add a personalised and professional touch to your event. Including disability ramps will also ensure accessibility for all attendees and award recipients.

 

Choose the Best AV Equipment with STLS 

Choosing and planning the AV aspects of an event can be quite complex, with various elements to consider for a successful and memorable experience for all attendees. If this feels overwhelming, why not let us handle it for you?

With a wide range of AV equipment for hire and a team of experts, we can guide you through the process, ensuring you have everything you need for a successful event. From helping you understand your specific requirements to providing high-quality equipment tailored to your event, we’ve got you covered. Don’t hesitate to get in touch and let us help you make your event successful.