The current heart of a conference lies in the design and configuration of its A/V system. Conferences are held to dispel information in a group setting and regardless of if the basis is corporate, educational or informative, the A/V system determines how that happens. To a great degree, the quality and configuration of the system dictates how successful the conference will be.
When it comes to systems and equipment for conferences, meetings or convention settings, clear intelligibility, event design options that fulfill specific requirements and an expert level of reliable operation are paramount. Acousticians, architects, and operating staff all need to contribute. Each piece of equipment functions in relationship to the other, so an overall A/V systems design scheme at the outset is primary. There are some basics that act as a kind of conference A/V system blueprint that can be used as guidelines for a fundamental foundation.
Sound Conditions and Microphones
Communication begins with hearing. So the design of the conference room begins with creating optimal sound conditions – everyone in the room must comfortably hear the speaker. Decent room acoustics are primary. Proper microphones and microphone placement are the next consideration. One must pay maximum attention to the type of microphones used because they are the first line of electronic defense. There is no subsequent point when creating an A/V system at which one can make up for a problem with the mic, or inferior mic quality, or the wrong mic for the intended purpose and accompanying equipment. So choose well when selecting and think from large picture to small picture. The correct types and polar patterns of mics and speakers increase gain before feedback while keeping ambient noise to a minimum – this is key to your choice. Keep in mind that the right mic improves voice quality and this can save money on the entire setup.
Unidirectional microphones and speakers and their proper placement in the venue assure a minimum of reverberation, and this is optimal. Consider acoustic wall and ceiling tiles as well. There are of course all types of microphones from full wireless systems to the quite essential wireless lapel Lavaliere, each with its own merit depending on your needs. Wireless mics are used when hardware mics are neither aesthetic nor practical, so providing combinations of microphones for the conference covers all the bases.
Screen and Stage
First there is sound – then there are visuals. A front screen projection and (or) flat panel display integration are the next components to the setup. These components provide the means in which to effectively share computer information, images, and video display with conference attendants. Choose from as diverse visual components as a State of the Art 20 foot wide recessed projection screen system to 55” LCD wall mounted-panels. Multiple screens and panels may also be used depending on the seating arrangement and size of the venue. There are also a variety of audio elements and a control system that must support your setup.
Though it may seem inconsequential or overlooked, the amount and kind of electric that can be supplied also determines the quality and amount of audio, lighting, visual and any other technical elements or services that can be employed. If you are bringing in conference A/V services or elements, make certain to double check the electrical specs of the venue. Newer equipment may not match an older electrical setup so make certain to know about the venue’s electrical capacities.
Large Scale and Small Scale
Conferences can include the use of main halls as well as smaller rooms for meetings and detailed work. The smaller meeting rooms provide important support for the main event. A basic list of essentials for an A/V setup can include: a projection screen, a lavaliere wireless lapel microphone, hand held mic option, video projection system and required cables for a laptop, repeater monitor, a hand held remote to support slides, a high powered sound system for video and audio, interface elements and adapters. Support rooms can also be wired to connect to the main conference room events for interaction.
Certainly planning and expertise go into a conference A/V setup, along with a select engineer to see it all through. A brief guiding punch list of reminders can be helpful.
- The speaker must be able to see the screen or stage so make certain the front of the room is arranged to accommodate sight lines.
- The speaker must be seen and must also be able to see – so there should be podium lights for speech text and a light wash on the room for conferencees’ vision
- Mic must be mounted on the side of the podium closest to the screen especially for slides to assure speaker speaks directly into mic when interacting with the projection screen.
- Lavalier mic is a must for speaker using an overhead projector to prevent going “off-mic” when interacting with projector.
- Flipcharts are for use only with small groups, larger groups use an overhead projector with roll and marking pens.
- Wireless provides greater mobility and they require batteries. So spare batteries are also a must.
- Bottom of projection screen should be a minimum of 48” from the floor for assured visibility.
- Screen size is calculated by ensuring that the distance to the farthest seat is no more than 10 times the width of the projection screen.
- The viewing angle of a rear projection screen is narrower than that of a front projection screen.
- Laser pointers are more accurate, travel further and are more readily visible, than electric pointers, especially when the screen is far from the podium.
It is no small task to organize a well orchestrated A/V conference setup. At Herman ProAV we have invested almost 50 years in serving the electronics industry and we are proud to offer every kind of quality equipment needed to produce a successful conference. Please contact us by calling 888-736-6888 if you have any questions or comments about manufacturers, products, or any other technological or A/V area; it is our pleasure and business to help.