It takes a lot of effort to make sure your next meeting is a success. Part of that involves getting all the logistics of the event in order, including your audio visual equipment and set up. While every event will vary in size, number of guests, venue types, and so forth, this guide is meant to give you the basics when it comes to dealing with your audio visual services and hotel.

Room Sizes and Variations

Different rooms will have different sizes and configurations. Board rooms will have large tables with chairs surrounding them, while theatres will have rows of seating without any tables. How your AV will be set up will depend in the type of room size and configuration you’re dealing with.

For theater rooms, considering allowing about 10 square feet per audience member. The equation goes like this:

  • Subtract 42 feet from the length of the room
  • Multiply that number by the width of the room (in feet)
  • Divide that number by 10

Let’s illustrate:

Room dimensions: 115’ (length) x 75’ (width)

115’ – 42’ = 73’

73’ x 75’ = 5,475 square feet

Seating capacity: 5,475 ÷ 10 = 548

Therefore, 548 people can be seated in a theater setting

Figuring it out in this manner will take into account the aisles, doorways, room shape, stage and backstage area if you use rear-projection video.

Reservations – When you are reserving this space, be sure to allow for lots of room for set-up, meetings, and the final tear-down. The AV company will need a while to build the set and set up the lighting and equipment (upwards of 6 hours or more). Also, make sure you practice every presentation you plan on making on stage with the video playback.

Time required – Find out exactly how much time your AV company will need for set-up, crew breaks, and tear-down. Get a clear idea of this required time, then add a few hours just to be on the safe side. If something goes wrong, this extra time allowed will save you some headaches.

Rehearsals – Every presenter should already have practiced before they even rehearse on stage before the event. Make sure you communicate this requirement to the presenters before the event date. Failure to do this could have you wasting time and money when the presenter is left revising their PowerPoint slides during rehearsal when it should have been done beforehand. Time spent on stage should be left for those who are already familiar with the prompt monitor, stage layout and lighting.


The following are the main components of your staging set-up:

Risers – These are used to build the stage. A 12” stage may only be required for a smaller audience no more than 125 guests. For larger audiences, the risers will increase in height. With over 300 guests, 30” stage risers will be needed, while a medium-sized audience will need risers between 18” to 24”.

rent stage

Two sets of steps should be ordered for presenters on stage. In addition, the stage should be a minimum of 12’ deep, and 16’ wide to provide ample space for the presenter to move around comfortably.

Podium – The right podium should feature a functional light for the speaker to accurately see his or her notes, as well as a shelf to hold a glass of water. Make sure you find out if the podium will be provided by the AV company or the hotel.

podium Rental

Backdrop – Make sure the backdrop you choose suits the theme of the event, is visually appealing, is easy to set up, and doesn’t get in the way of the audience’s view of the screen.

rent black background

Screen – This will be the surface upon which the PowerPoint slides and videos will be projected onto. It’s recommended to use rear-screen projection because front-screen projectors tend to be noisy and disturb the audience. Rear-screen projectors are also easier to mount.

rent a tripod screen

If rear-projection is not an option, you can still successfully use front-projection. Just make sure the last row of seats isn’t further away than six times the width of the screen. For instance, if the back row is 50 feet from the screen, then the screen should be a minimum of about 8 feet wide (50 feet divided by 6). Just keep in mind that you might need a bigger projector to accommodate the screen. In addition, make sure the screen isn’t too low that guests are unable to see it. A good rule of thumb is to keep the screen no less than 4 to 5 feet off the floor.

Video Playback

You’ll need to switch between video sources and your PC source throughout the event, which should be done smoothly. Keep the following pointers in mind:

Inform your AV service provider that a DVD player will be used to play back videos. Determine if it will be you or them that is to provide the DVD player. Make sure the player is tested beforehand so that it works properly.

Test out any compatibility issues with the DVD player if it is an older model. The video engineer may let you use the RGB connector or S-Video from the DVD player to the projector to give a better quality image. It’s important that the video playback engineer is familiar with the format of the DVD you provide.

A small cueing monitor will be required for the DVD and tape deck.

A 42” plasma will need to be placed on the floor in front of the stage for the presenters to see what is being shown without having to look behind them at the screen.

PowerPoint Display

All of your PowerPoint presentations should be loaded onto the same laptop for both the rehearsals and the show. Make sure to group multiple presenters’ presentations into one larger presentation to improve the flow of the meeting.

A PowerPoint computer operator may be available for hire from your AV company if this realm is too complex for you. If this is the case, make sure you provide clearly marked scripts so they’re aware of when to move onto the next slide.

Ask your AV company to set up a “dummy-light” so that presenters can cue their own graphics changes instead of marking the cues in the script. The light will be in front of the computer operator, advancing to the next slide simply by pressing a button.

Audio Elements

The primary audio elements include the following:

  • Audio mixing board – This is the sound board that is used to control the levels of the sound sources being used.
  • Microphones – The podium mic will be mounted on the podium to be used by presenters who stay the podium. In this case, a wired microphone is recommended to improve reliability. A wireless mic is very convenient and easy to use, but it’s more expensive. For speakers who will be roaming across the stage or into the audience, a wireless handheld mic may be necessary.
  • Speakers – Quality speakers are important. Smaller audiences can get by with 2 speakers, but most audiences will most likely need at least 4 speakers. Just make sure you’re getting crisp, clear sound with enough volume.
  • CD player


Your AV company will help you determine your lighting needs based on your set design, power availability, and ceiling height. You’ll probably need approximately 6 to 12 ellipsoid lighting instruments, dimmers, a lighting control board, lighting stands, and lighting trusses.

Before the meeting starts, make sure you’ve established a comfortable light level. Presenters will not want the light shining in their eyes, but the lighting technician and audience will want the lights brighter. You’ll have to find a comfortable compromise for both.

The “house” lights will need to be predetermined. For instance, you’ll need a “walk-in” level, which will be brighter, when the audience walks into the room. A “show level” will also be needed during the meeting.

Someone should be assigned to control the house lights. If the house light controls are scattered across the room, more than one person will be needed.

Contact us today to help you design and set up your next event!