Top 5 AV factors to consider when choosing a venue

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Today's guest blog comes from the good folks at Convergence AV:

The right venue today isn’t just about atmosphere and location. With attendees expecting a range of on-screen displays—from straightforward presentations to video and even interactive tools—and crystal-clear sound, it’s essential to pick a venue that enables you to use the AV technology you want, rather than restricting your choices. Here are five key factors our team at Convergence AV has put together to ensure that your event can offer the multimedia experience you imagine.

Room size: how many seats can you really have? Most venues now state their seating capacity for a theatre-style layout. But in reality, the seating space available may be less than they claim if you’re looking to use rear projection—currently popular for interactive whiteboards, for instance—for your presentations. That’s because when you use rear projection, you need more space behind the screen: In fact, the rule of thumb is that whatever the width of your screen, you should allow twice that to accommodate rear projection.

Ceiling height: can they see at the back? A 10-foot ceiling in a room for 100 people may sound sufficient. Indeed, when you’re standing in an empty room of that size, it feels fine. However, when it comes to display, there’s a problem: With a 10-foot ceiling, you can’t use a screen wider than 8 feet. This would create poor lines of sight for the back rows of seats—and would be highly problematic if a top table was required.

Hanging points: saving you floor space When looking at larger venues, check whether there are secure hanging points for mounting lighting bars and other rigging. These are not only invaluable as a way of saving floor space—with no cumbersome lighting stands required—but also improve the overall visual effect.

Power: keeping the lights on This is an area where there really is no room for debate: If you want to have any lighting for your presentation, then three-phase power is a must. A standard ring main can only power eight standard spotlights safely, leaving no capacity for projection or sound equipment. It’s also worth checking the number of power outlets: Older venues tend to have fewer, which can limit your options.

Access: time and space This is always a tricky element to take into consideration. If the venue is likely to be fully booked, the chances are you’ll have a limited time slot for setting up your event. If that’s the case, you need to make sure that you know exactly what time you have, and that the access routes are clear for that time: You don’t want to be sharing that half-hour you have to unload your AV equipment with the catering delivery!

While none of these issues is insurmountable, if you bear them in mind from the outset, you can avoid last-minute hitches and changes, and make sure your event has the best possible audio visual solution.

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