AV Equipment for Events: Essentials vs Non-essentials

Have you ever received an audio-visual quote from a venue or partner and found that you don’t have a clue what it means?

Unless you’re immersed in the industry, choosing AV for an event can get really confusing.

Fortunately, you don’t need to understand the technical terms or granular details of what an AV supplier is offering.

To ensure you’re getting the best value for your money, all you really need to do is understand what is essential to the success of your event and what it can survive without.


What are event AV essentials?

AV essentials are the elements that simply can’t be compromised. Without these things, your event wouldn’t be able to run.

Think of your event like a car. Every car has 4 wheels, a steering wheel and an engine. Without these things, your car wouldn’t run.

Well, the same is true for AV – except in this instance, your essentials include audio, visual,  and lighting.

Not every event will need the same balance of these elements, but all events will need them to some degree.

Some common ways to implement AV essentials:

  • A visual display for content e.g. screen and projector
  • A basic (but high quality) sound system – Audio is an often under-rated element. If you don’t have audio, you don’t have an event.
  • Good quality stage lighting – Your presenters must be properly lit on stage and visible to your audience


What are event AV non-essentials?  

Thinking back to the car example, non-essentials are the things that you add on for aesthetic appeal or ‘wow-factor’ like a new sound system, metallic rims or a spoiler.

They’re not necessary for the car to function but they’re cool additions you might like to have.

Event non-essentials are much the same. Your event could survive without them, but they certainly add a little something extra for your guests to get excited about.

Some common AV non-essentials:

  • Lapel microphones for presenters
  • A light show using brand colours
  • Multiple screens for visual content
  • Other elements that add only aesthetic appeal


Working out what AV elements to include

Step 1: Create an essentials & non-essentials list

The very first step in deciding what items to include is breaking down a list of must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Depending on how much experience you have under your belt, you might be able to do this on your own. Otherwise, it’s really beneficial to have a chat with a partner like con-sol who can guide you on what your event really can’t do without.


Step 2: Get 2 separate quotes

The second step is to approach your venue or AV supplier and request two separate quotes based on your must-have and nice-to-have lists.

We cannot stress the importance of this step enough!

Oftentimes, AV suppliers can cloud your judgement by adding all the possibilities under the sun into one quote. This makes it extremely difficult to navigate and can result in you paying for things that you might not have necessarily wanted (or needed).

By separating the two quotes, you know exactly what you’re dealing with and can easily identify areas which could soak up too much of the budget.

Step 3: Making the call on essentials 

At the end of the day, every event must include the essential elements; the decision here is to what degree you include them in your event.

For example, an awards night may require a heavier component of visual and an average component of lighting while audio takes the back seat.

Conversely, a sporting event may be heavier with audio, include some visuals and have very minimal lighting.


Step 4: Making the call on non-essentials

Deciding on non-essentials, on the other hand, is completely discretionary.

The 2 biggest considerations during this process are:
1. How will it impact the budget?
2. Is it worth it?

Just because you can squeeze a non-essential element into the budget doesn’t mean that the value it brings is worth the stretch.

Ask yourself what your attendees will really gain from this experience and decide whether it’s truly worth including or whether there might be a smarter way to utilise that portion of the budget.

It all comes down to wise money management.

Would it be good to have a wireless mic to hand around the crowd during Q&A?

Yes, but a wired mic in the aisle will also produce great results.

How cool would it be to have 360 degrees of screens around the auditorium?

Sure, but investing in more cost-effective elements (such as lighting) to make a single screen more dramatic could be a great alternative.


Get a budget health check with Con-sol

Struggling to manage your budget wisely across essential and non-essential AV elements?

Get in touch with con-sol to see how well your event budget is tracking.

In a con-sol health check, rather than looking at whether your budget is big enough, we’ll work with you to understand how the budget is being spent and what we can do to optimise this process.

It’s easy to get carried away when planning an event and our job is to keep you grounded with a realistic framework that makes your budget work better for you.

Click here for more tips on maximising your AV / event budget.

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