AV Tips and Tricks for Stellar Outdoor Events
A good audio-visual experience is the key ingredient of any event. Outdoor events present many unique AV challenges since they are subject to issues like weather, acoustics, and ambient light.
This article will provide helpful tips and best practices to make your open-air activities as memorable as possible – in a good way!
Choosing the Right AV Equipment for Your Event
The first and most crucial step is picking the proper AV hardware. It can literally make or break your outdoor event. A common misconception regarding sound systems is that bigger is always better.
However, a small, intimate gathering could be overwhelmed by a booming sound system, and a large crowd might not fully appreciate the subtle nuances of a softer system.
- Large-scale events such as rock concerts will require a line array system.
- Smaller ones, such as a garden wedding, may require softer, mood-setting audio and delicate fairy lights that twinkle as the night settles in.
Outdoor AV equipment is designed to withstand the elements by default. Ensure you don’t use regular non-weather-proof hardware for an outdoor event – apart from possible technical failures, doing so may pose safety risks.
Speaking of which…
Ensuring Safety with Your AV Setup
As with any electric appliance, AV hardware requires careful operation and precautions to ensure the safety of event organizers and visitors. We already mentioned that using weather-proof equipment is a must.
Here are a few other safety tips:
- Loose cables are a tripping hazard. Secure all cables with gaffer tape or cable covers and keep them out of the walkways as much as possible. If cables must cross walkways, use cable ramps. A wireless AV solution can be a perfect alternative to wired systems, drastically reducing the number of cables needed.
- Ensure that all electrical connections are insulated and waterproof. Keep all power sources and outlets dry and protected from weather elements. Always have a certified electrician to manage power setups.
- Stage structures need to be solid and stable, built to withstand wind, crowd pressure, and the weight of AV equipment.
- The same applies to lighting fixtures, especially those hanging overhead. Use safety cables to prevent them from falling if the primary support fails.
- Have an emergency plan in place in case of power failure, severe weather, fire, or other incidents. It must include evacuation routes, first aid facilities, and emergency lighting.
Managing Power Supply for Your AV Equipment
Getting enough power for an outdoor event may be a tricky task. Map out your power needs meticulously, accounting for every piece of equipment. Ensure there are backup options in case your primary power source goes haywire.
Bringing a spare generator is a good idea if you want to be prepared for any unexpected power supply issues.
Keeping Sound at Bay
Sound behaves differently in open spaces compared to enclosed ones. In an outdoor setting, there are no walls for the sound to bounce off, so it can travel further, possibly disrupting neighboring areas.
To prevent your event from becoming a neighborhood nuisance, consider using directional speakers that focus sound where needed and minimize its spread to surrounding locations.
While you want your event to be memorable, respecting the local noise regulations is essential. Ensure your event complies with local laws, and adjust your sound levels accordingly; failing to do so can result in penalties or even shutdowns.
Considering the Event Lighting
For outdoor events, the lighting means more than just illuminating the area; it sets the mood and dictates the ambiance. As the day transitions into night, your lighting needs will change too. Keep the natural light changes during the event in mind when planning.
For evening events, ensure that the area is well-lit. LED wash lights or motion lighting can add an exciting visual element, turning your event into a visual spectacle. Just remember that some people are sensitive to certain lighting types.
For instance, a stroboscopic effect can be especially hazardous for some participants, causing eye strain, nausea, and headaches.
Checking and Double-Checking the AV Setup
Do multiple pre-event test runs to check all the systems. It will help you adjust for sound clarity, screen visibility, and lighting effects. Moreover, identifying and fixing any potential issues in advance will help prevent embarrassing technical glitches during the event.
Keep checking all AV equipment throughout the event to ensure it works correctly and safely.
Getting Professional Help
No matter the size of the event, you need expert AV help through all stages, from planning to going live. You need certified engineers and technicians to ensure all the safety requirements are met and everything works as it should.
Only an experienced AV team can handle the equipment efficiently, troubleshoot any issues, and make adjustments on-the-fly to ensure your event runs smoothly.
Audio-Video Group can help you plan and run an outdoor event of any scale – from a garden wedding to a rock festival. We have decades of experience and all the AV equipment you may need (and yes, it’s available for rent!).
Want your next outdoor event to wow the audience? Call us, and let’s talk!