Avoiding AV Headaches

Avoiding AV Headaches

February 4th, 2014 0 Comments

by Todd Carruth

My first job in the event industry involved me crawling around on all fours in a suit hooking up RCA connectors and taping down pesky power cords in hotel ballrooms across Dallas.

I can’t say with all honesty that I really enjoyed every aspect of that job, but for the most part, I truly love dealing with anything audio/visual.  And after working for The Expo Group developing interactive marketing content and helping exhibitors on the show floor for over five years,  I’ve got a few tips to share when it comes to avoiding A/V headaches.

    1.   Power Problem – Never, ever assume that your booth comes with electricity included. At The Expo Group, when you order any kind of audio/visual device for your exhibit, we make it a priority to contact you and ask if you want power for that device. But that is not an industry standard, so take note. Also, if you see a power cord behind the drape in your booth and you plug into it, be ready to pay for it. Those electricians don’t mess around!

    2.   Cord Confusion – I know you brought your Mac computer, but they packed a VGA cord and now you can’t connect to the plasma to run your presentation.  Now, I’m actually seeing this problem less and less with HDMI cords becoming the norm, but older laptops don’t have an HD connection and those panicky trips to Best Buy can be a pain.  Make sure you pack a backup cord for the device that is powering your presentation.

    3.    Missing Mount– You’ve got the perfect spot to hang up that 65” flat screen you ordered on your exhibit wall but the A/V rep says no can do.  The reason?  No mounting hardware.  When you rent a monitor, you get…the monitor.  Not a wall mount and a monitor.  When creating your exhibit, your builder needs to plan for thathardware so be sure and discuss who will provide the mount.  Along those same lines, always make sure your wall can handle the weight of that 65” behemoth and include some sort of cutout in the back for cords.

    4.  Streaming Struggles – The exhibit hall has free Wi-Fi so, hey, why bother with ordering Internet, right?  Wrong. Too many times I’ve seen  product demos deteriorate when the exhibitor relied on free convention center Wi-Fi.  If your exhibit messaging depends on an online demonstration, pay for the hard-wired connection.

    5.   Time for Testing – This really should go without saying, but test your content and your devices before you get to show site.  Will that video play on your laptop? How does the volume sound?  Test out that connection on your TV at home in place of the showsite plasma.  Make sure the microphone works and your batteries are fresh. If all you have is a DVD, double-check and make sure it works before you get to the show and yikes! discover a giant scratch.   Practice means peace-of-mind and will allow you to focus on the business of making those important face-to-face connections.

Have you found some easy solutions for any A/V problems at showsite?  Feel free to share in the comments.

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