How To Make the Most of Your A/V Vendor
Ask these important questions:
Have you ever worked in the venue that I am having my event?
Every venue has a different layout and if your vendor is familiar with your venue of choice, it can be easier for them to make suggestions about the best size, amount and type of equipment you need! They will know what works and looks best and be able to provide you with visuals so you can see the potential of your own event! Another benefit is that they will know the contacts, rules, policies and any other information that is specific to that venue.
Do you have any examples of work that is similar to the type of production that I am interested in?
If your vendor can provide you with examples of their work, you will get a taste of what they can do in different spaces, at different price points. This may inspire an idea for your event and if they’ve done productions similar to what you’re envisioning, you will know if they can execute it successfully. You can take this question a step further by asking for references. This will show how they have worked with other clients and if they were able to help those clients accomplish their event goals with their services!
What other services do you offer?
This is an important question because some A/V providers offer more than just one service. If you go with a “one-stop shop” company, you could save money! Many times A/V companies carry scenic pieces like pipe and drape, podiums, furniture or even printing capabilities. There are also other services like live streaming, signage, DJ and on-stage talent services, video and audio post-production and more! It’s always important to ask your vendor for a spectrum of services they provide. And many times, when an A/V vendor cannot provide a specific component of a production, they may have valuable industry connections that, when arranged on their end, can save the end client not only time but money on the overall cost of the completed production.
Provide your vendor with this essential information:
Date of the event: Going over the event date with your A/V provider is essential because, depending on the time of year, production calendars may need to be taken into consideration. It is important to make sure that the A/V provider has enough lead-out time to properly plan for the event.
The venue that the event is taking place: Discussing the venue that the production is taking place is important as your A/V provider will want to account for things like room measurements, floor plan layouts, power accessibility and proper methods of loading in and out of the venue.
Call times for delivery, set up, operate and teardown: In order to provide the most accurate pricing for labor, as well as to properly account for how large or small of a crew any particular production will need, it’s important to discuss call times with A/V provider. Does the event start at 6:00 a.m.? Is the hotel requiring a late-night setup the day before the event? All of these factors can affect the size and call times of a production crew.
The scope of the main production: In order to provide the most accurate pricing for equipment, as well as to properly account for how large or small of a crew any particular production will need, it’s important to discuss what the needs and expectations are for a particular production. By providing as much detail as possible about the vision of the event, the A/V vendor can better understand how to meet your needs and make adjustments to equipment, labor and pricing accordingly.
The scope of any additional work (consultation/pre-production, videography/video editing, etc.): These services are often assumed to be tied to the overall cost of production. Express to the vendor your expectations in detail so they know what is expected and can quote you correctly to avoid last minute add-ons and keep you on budget! Do you want your event recorded, live streamed or a sizzle reel made up post-event? Make sure to communicate all of these things in the early stages.
Detailed list of equipment needed OR An accurate description of the vision for your production: The more information you give your vendor, the better! If you have something in mind before your first meeting, it will make it easier for them to turn your vision into a reality in the most effective and efficient way, with the best equipment!
Budget: Every organization has a vision, and every organization has a budget. However, the more budget conscious you are, the more transparent you need to be with your A/V vendor! You may have a certain show in mind, that could end up being way more than you expected, no matter what vendor you choose! However, if you are open about your budget and what your expectations are, your A/V vendor can work to come up with a solution that works best for your event!