Audio Visual Tips for Conference Organisers – Part 1 by Tom Gilmartin
Organising a conference or seminar can be a lot of work and audio visual is just a part of that. In this article we’re going to go over a few items that are often overlooked and can make the conference run much more smoothly or professionally. In part 1 we will concentrate on the visual side which is what the audience/delegates (and presenter) see.
When we operate a conference at Blue Shadow Group we prefer to run all the presentations off of a laptop at the operations desk (we use a presenter check-in desk for large conferences). This means that if there are any glitches or issues with the speaker’s presentation the AV operator can look after it whilst the speaker continues. In the event of a problem the audience will quickly see the holding slide or animation while a glitch with a presentation is fixed and then returned to the screen seamlessly.
Because the laptop is not in front of the presenter we will ensure that you also order a remote mouse (often referred to as a “clicker”) so the presenter can still control their slides from the stage. Once again in the event of an enthusiastic presenter clicking too far ahead while explaining something complex our operator will in most cases notice the problem and rectify it to save embarrassment.
With this set up you should ensure you have a foldback monitor (sometimes incorrectly called a feedback monitor) or screen on the stage so the presenter does not have to look over his/her shoulder to check that the slide has advanced. This is usually an LCD screen on a tilted floor mount.
Projectors work best in a dark room so if possible have all drapes or blinds closed during the visual presentations, this also eradicates any distractions outside. Appropriate lighting can be added to keep the mood and allow notes to be taken.
When ordering a projector we will specify the appropriate projector based on the screen size, room and distance from the screen. Projector brightness is measured in “Lumens”, the higher the number the brighter the image will be. For smaller screens (6-8ft) a 2000-3000 Lumens projector is generally acceptable, for medium screens (10-12ft) go with a 3500-5000 Lumens projector and for larger screens 6000 and up. If the room is going to be brightly lit you’re better off with a brighter/stronger projector.
Remember to order DVD players if any of the presenters are playing video. It looks and works much better than playing it off a laptop or USB. When there is more than one source for the screen (eg 2 laptops, dvds etc) you will need a presentation switcher. This changes between sources seamlessly and provides a much more professional looking conference as the operator switches between media according to the events run sheet.
Even if you are only using one laptop it’s always a good idea to add another laptop and switcher and create a holding slide or animation, this would be put on screen when changing presentations and during breaks in the day.
In part 2… Audio…
For Brisbane & Gold Coast Audio Visual Hire always think Blue Shadow Group.