Meeting planners don’t have to go school to learn all the AV terms to plan a great event. They do, however, need to understand some terms of the AV industry in order to effectively plan a successful event. The list of terms can seem endless, and it changes with each new technological advancement. A few AV terms meeting planners should be familiar with are, the front of house, downstage monitor, aspect ratio, IMAG, rigging & truss, microphone varieties, stage décor, gobo and Moddim tiles. For an extended AV Glossary terms.
1) Front of house
This is where in the event space, the AV techs set up (sound and lighting console) their equipment. Why is this important? Because planners need to accommodate that space in their floor plans. If not, things could get crowded.
2) Downstage monitor
It’s scary enough for presenters to stand in front of a crowd without them having to worry about whether the correct image is appearing on the screen behind them. Downstage monitors are video screens strategically placed in view of the presenter, usually duplicating what the audience sees. Presenters on stage are able to look down discreetly and help them present more naturally.
3) Microphone varieties
There are simple table mics or podium mics, which are self-explanatory. There are also mobile mics, including lavalier mics (or lav mics), which attach to the front of a person’s clothing, headset mics, which wrap around a person’s ear to extend the mic in front of their mouth, and handheld mics. For Q&A a mic can be set up in the audience to allow questions and comments. Another cool Q&A mic is a CatchBox, the world's first soft throwable microphone.
4) Aspect ratio
If you’ve ever watched TV and wondered why there are black bars on the top and bottom or on the sides of the picture, the reason is...aspect ratio. The aspect ratio is the width of a screen (or an image) versus the height, with the numbers separated by a colon. Widescreen, or a typical movie view, can be 16:9, while a traditional screen view is 4:3. Most media is formatted for widescreen these days.
IMAG is short for image magnification and it refers to the large screens throughout the venue that provides a close-up of the presenter on stage. Depending on the room, planners need to allocate space for IMAG cameras and screens.
6) Rigging & Truss
Rigging refers to the system of ropes, cables, or chains employed to support suspend lighting, projectors or sound equipment from the ceiling of a venue. Planners need to know whether the venue can accommodate rigging or if stands will have to be brought in, depending on the size of the event, it can be a problem. Trusses are a part of the rigging. They are used to hang lights, speakers or other AV equipment. They can be connected to fit whatever size is needed.
7) Stage décor
Depending on the event budget, this could be elaborate lighting creations or simple drapes and uplights. It’s the overall look and feel of the stage.
Part of stage décor, a gobo is a simple way to customize or brand an event. It’s a glass or metal template that fits inside a lighting instrument to project a company logo, event logo, words or other design onto a backdrop, ceiling, dance floor or wall.
9) Moddim tiles
Also part of stage décor, Moddim tiles are customizable backdrops for stage settings. These versatile, interlocking tiles come in several designs and can be clear or solid. They are easily lit from behind or below to create different effects, It provides a unique look at the back of your stage and it’s a nice way to warm up a room. Again, this is just a sample of the AV terms that will help planners get through discussions with AV professionals. But really, it’s those discussions that can be key to a well-planned event. Planners need to communicate their budget, intended outcome for the event, and the desired flow of the program. Those conversations yield ideas and solutions to achieve those goals.