Author: Quest Audio Visual

Working In Unusual Event Venues


Where you’re hosting your event can say quite a lot by itself, as can how you’re delivering the messaging. Having these two elements work in harmony is key to creating a unified experience for all attendees. However, it’s the latter that must be shaped to fit the setting more so than the other way around; effective audiovisual production must be designed for each specific setting, including unusal event venues.

While many event planners follow similar processes for putting events together – from an AV perspective, each new space can present unique opportunities and challenges. Be it hotels, meeting/convention centres, or a totally out-of-the-box setting. Your AV partner should be prepared to break from any preconceived notions or cookie-cutter-style events in order to support your specific event. In this series, we’ll shed some light on how we as AV production experts look at planning specifically as it applies to these different settings. Our goal is to better inform event planners about what options work best in each environment. Aslo,where major costs lie sooner than later. After all, when it comes to events, all the surprises should be saved for the audience, not the planners.

Unusual Event Venues

To begin this series, we’ll cover the unconventional and otherwise less common places where events might take place. When we say unusual, we’re referring to the tents, hangers, showrooms, churches, cathedrals, lobbies, and whatever else you might come up with. Especially in the warmer months, it may not even be limited to physical structures, favoring open-air settings instead for event venues.

Sometimes, spaces may be chosen due to specific factors. For example; size, accommodations, location, or something more experiential. It’s important to consider these factors when planning the AV production. Not forgetting, at times to even extenuate them as part of the event theme.

Options / Opportunities

From an AV perspective, our goal is always to design an effective system organically around the space. One that is both consistent with event goals and as unobtrusive on the setting as possible. For instance, when the natural aesthetic of the space is a key component of the look and feel of an event.

Conventional projection screens with their drape dress kits aren’t always the best fit (office buildings, tents, museums, libraries…etc.). They consume a lot of space, both horizontally and vertically. Especially in venues with interesting architecture, they can make things look plain. TV monitors will offer more open space, flexibility, and won’t take away from the venue’s aesthetic. In other cases, you can find a projection scenario that fits well within the overall design. Secondly, perhaps ditching the dress kit to find flat reflective surfaces, or using the screen and frame alone hung on walls. Note, that’s just one example. However, it demonstrates the thought process we take into planning the initial stages.

Of course, at times being cost-effective is the primary goal. In which case you may be focused on leveraging anything you can that exists in the venue already. Perhaps there’s a built-in overhead PA system (hangars, cathedrals, showrooms…) that is available to patch into. Additionally, that may reduce costs significantly by itself if the system is appropriate for the task. For things like this, we ALWAYS recommend a site visit to the event venues with your AV partner to test these systems firsthand. After all, anything they don’t personally service and maintain is adding a calculated risk to the equation. Thankfully, in many cases, the reward outweighs those risks (and associated costs of temporary replacement).

Guidelines & Cost Drivers

While the options for unique event spaces can be seemingly endless. The process for planning the significant AV costs is generally the same. The first: is electrical power. Whether you’re in an older structure without modern electrical engineering, or a tent with nothing at all, electrical costs can really move the needle on an event budget or act as a major limitation of what you can afford to do.

While LED screens and basic coloured uplighting won’t drive your cost too much. Projection, heavy sound reinforcement, and elaborate lighting designs will. Generators of all sizes can be a solution to many problems if your location will allow it. Also, tapping into the existing electrical infrastructure. Regardless, consider that any other event components (catering hotplates, coffee makers, cook tent utility lighting…etc.) will also be drawing from that same power source. All of it needs to be addressed and accounted for in advance.

The path of load-in is another, less obvious aspect to consider. Are there stairs with no ramp or elevator? Are there obstacles or narrow spaces to maneuver through? Is the space itself directly accessible with a truck? When you consider how heavy much of the equipment and cabling involved in AV production can be, all of these factors can have great impact on how long your setup will take. Thereby how much time prior to the event start you’ll need to book your venue. It also affects how many people will be required to set it all up. Technical staff can represent nearly 50% of your AV budget or more, and so it’s important to consider that with any new event space.


With more equipment comes more empty cases – and they’ll need a place to stay during the event. These unusual event spaces may be the right fit for your attendees, but what doesn’t meet the eye may be another cost driver. It’s true that empty cases can always be taken back and removed for the duration of the event. But, just consider that extra time will be necessary on the way in AND on the way out, and that the extra time may play a role in your costs. On the other hand, if there are other event components, breakout rooms, or cocktail parties that don’t set up right away, you’ll either need a place to stash the gear or end up needing to schedule a separate delivery.


The first step is the same as always: what’s the format of the event? Is it a cocktail event that is focused entirely on networking and fun? Or, is it presentation driven with a stage, MC, podium…etc. This will often dictate the layou. Many spaces will have an optimum location for a presentation area. If there’s no presentation, then you have free range; but if not, you may be best served to start there.

Then, the visuals will be the next major decision to make, as that will often take up the most real estate. Consider the notes above on projection vs TV monitors, and be prepared to get creative if necessary. Audio and lighting are often a bit more flexible and forgiving in terms of specific placements of things, but everything will have to be planned precisely nonetheless. Since your unusual event space may not be perfectly rectangular like a hotel ballroom, you’ll need to have a clear plan. To do so, conducting site visits are absolutely key. Taking measurements and other detailed production notes along with having in-depth discussions and visualizations together with your AV partner will offer both a clear mental image of what your event will look like and the assurance that the plan will work.

One Last Thing

Lastly, in addition to your AV partner, you should also use your venue contacts as a knowledge resource. Generally speaking, they will know their space the best, and you may even find that the best design for your event can be drawn from their past experiences. Many will recommend the most common setup and orientation that they’ve seen within their space; and who could blame them? There are fewer surprises and challenges which makes their jobs the easiest. But if you ask the questions, you may find some inspiration at the very least with your event venues.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, equipment, virtual streaming services, tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Video Formats

At the heart of audiovisual production, and indeed live events in general, there is a message that needs to be communicated. Whether it’s spoken word alone, performance based, or entirely visual, taking care of the delivery of the message is absolutely critical. This is why video formats are important.

It’s very often that our clients’ events are centered around showing a video. One that’s been created with great care, attention to detail, and of course money. However, for the same reasons you might want to catch a new film in a theater as opposed to on your couch, the quality of the video’s presentation – its delivery – can make or break the impact it has on its audience. An equal amount of care should be given to the delivery as with its creation. Firstly, it all starts with planning.

Before The Event

Aside from designing an optimal physical setup, whenever possible, the videos (and all other visual content) should be sent to your audiovisual partner in advance of the event date. This allows us to check the quality of the video. Most importantly, the formatting and adding it to our workflow on the very same laptop that will be used to roll it during the show. The purpose is to rule out any and all variables possible that could lead to a flawed delivery. There are plenty of times when we catch problems at this stage. Sometimes it’s a spelling error, an editing gaff, or even an incorrect, corrupted, or unfinished file, but regardless, catching it early is key.

The industry’s best practice for delivering videos is to use a program specifically designed for live event video playback. This is called Playback Pro. The best choices of video format to use with this program are either .MOV or .MP4. There are options for converting files. For example, adding one more variable to control. However, since most video editing software can render several different file formats it is best to create it in one of those two at the source.

All of this is of course best-case scenario. There are times when flash drives are handed to us shortly before we’re asked to roll those videos. Open communication of concerns is important at every step of the way. But rest assured, that when the doors open and the lights come on, we’re always on the same team. We are ready to work with you however we need to in order to produce a successful event.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, equipment, virtual streaming services, tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Venues with Installed AV Systems: 3 Things to Consider

It’s common sense. The venue seems to have everything you need at your disposal: the Food & Beverage, stages, tables, and AV systems. By pulling a bit more value from your venue, you can save 15-20% of your event budget. The reality is, you could be totally right. Modern, consumer-friendly AV equipment is now commonplace. Spanning your wireless home sound system to the smartphone apps that we can control them with. Today, if you have enough time, a good system design, and a bit of tech know-how, you may just be in the clear. But before you arrive for set up, there are a few things to consider.


The first, and arguably the most important thing to ask yourself before deciding to use the installed AV equipment at a venue is. Will we have someone on-site familiar with all the technology we rely on? Some components might seem obvious enough, but you may forget how much time you’ve spent sifting through instruction booklets. Digital? Analog? VGA or HDMI? Do you need both? You can end up racking your brain to get a logo on-screen, while your cocktail music gets lost in the walls between your client’s iPad and the overhead speakers. The line between success and failure is always thin onsite. The half-hour you lost scrolling through menus and toggling inputs could just be that.

Be sure to have an events team in place that includes someone that has a thorough understanding of the equipment. It can be venue staff with proper system training, an outside AV production partner, or an internal media services team who can join you on your site visits and plan accordingly. Otherwise, it’s just another thing that’s all on you.


Installed AV also presents challenges in a broader sense; the very nature of installing something makes it permanent and exists with its own set of limitations. When the production level goes up and you need to maintain a level of flexibility, be sure you know whether or not your event needs can be met.

Beyond just the physical parameters, this AV equipment almost always involves some custom programming work. This is usually done by a third-party installation team. This introduces a human element into the equation. The design of the AV systems could be flawed, outdated, or even just a bad fit for your event flow. Especially in venues with air walls and different room configurations. Therefore, you could be leaving the door open to annoying control (or a lack thereof) issues.

Of course, the design can be great too, but your ideal event flow may just be out of sync with its capabilities. In some cases, the configurations can be altered, but be warned: the third-party engineers who installed the AV equipment are likely the only people who can address it. So, if you’re thinking outside the box, you’re going to need to leave yourself the time to get proper assistance. Most importantly, you should always have a backup plan.

Find that person you trust to know the installed AV systems in and out, and talk through your event program with them in detail. You may discover conflicts that were not apparent or advantages you could have missed out on. In the case of conflict, be sure to ask if there’s anything you can do to supplement the installed AV system with outside equipment. You don’t always have to choose exclusively between venue assets, and the right tools for the show. Be advised, it’s not always as simple as bringing in an extra microphone, and the total cost increase varies with each situation – but it’s still less than if you had to build everything from the ground up.


An age-old and often hard to ask question: “What happens if there’s a problem?”

Most won’t wish it on their enemies. However, the reality is there is any number of ways for something to go wrong. There are controllable things like human error or poor planning. In addition, there are uncontrollable and unforeseen circumstances like equipment failure. Technology is thus far inherently flawed; AV equipment can break or otherwise fail, especially as it ages. Of course, everything is maintained and tested incessantly, but it’s the reason larger-scale productions will include redundancy at every avenue their budgets will provide for.

In the case of installed AV systems, it all comes down to one word: “liability.” Who’s responsible for what? Especially if you happen to have a third-party audiovisual partner supplementing an installed AV system, it’s important to know where their responsibility ends and the venue’s begins. And if there is any preparation work that needs to take place, there should be a clear expectation set for all parties on who’s doing what.

Frankly, it’s usually a simple answer and a quick conversation, but you’ll be glad you had it if you’re ever caught in the middle. Talk with your venue staff, your internal team, or your AV production partner prior to every event and gather thoughts and concerns. That way, whatever happens after the lights come on and the cameras start recording, everyone will be on the same page.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, av equipment, virtual streaming services, av tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Flying vs. Ground Supporting

When it comes to designing a production, and especially in hotels, one question comes up often. “To hang it, or not to hang it?” You may hear this referred to as “flying” or “rigging”, vs. “ground supporting” or “ground-stacking.”

The main benefits to hanging anything are: it can free up a lot of space. Also, it can solve technological challenges, and it just looks better. To attendees, it’s an immediately noticeable indicator of production value. That there’s a level of permanence to what you’ve set up for them can make an impact on how seriously they view the content, and your group.

But there are times when the decision isn’t clear. So, what do you do? Flying or ground supporting?

Lighting Truss Images – Browse 8,311 Stock Photos, Vectors, and Video | Adobe Stock

Just consider this: aside from costing more, hanging equipment starts first with needing more time. Think of the setup day as a full setup day. Setting up a show with significant rigging takes a lot of coordination between multiple ends of the AV production spectrum alone, and even coordination with banquets or event staff.

After the hours spent attaching the gear to the appropriate lifting apparatus (chains, motors…etc.), we will likely also need to service the equipment once it’s up there to get everything focused properly. That means a lift beeping and buzzing its way around the event space for more hours still. No tables can be set underneath, and other ends of our team and the hotel staff may be unable to continue working until it’s done. So you end up with some waiting around, and that’s just the nature of it. It has to be right – safety is of paramount concern, so the time is necessary.

On top of that, there’s often another group involved – whether it’s the in-house AV department or an outside rigging company, you may run into a contractual obligation to have another group actually handle the physical hanging of the equipment. That often means a whole separate crew showing up for just that, and cost efficiency goes down.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, equipment, virtual streaming services, tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Group Meeting AV vendors meeting

Do You Consider Your AV Vendor A Partner?

Depending on the needs of internal or external clients, your event may require working with any number of AV vendors to achieve your goals. But when does a vendor become more like a partner? Is there a point where your contact becomes more valuable to you than just a point of transaction? Of course, the answer to this question varies depending on how critical that service is to the success of the event, and also on how confident you are with that particular aspect as well.

However, technology is constantly developing and requires dedicated attention to stay as cost-effective as possible without sacrificing best practices. As AV production specialists, it’s our job to continuously find the best ways to deliver your message to a live audience. And since audiovisual is usually one of the top three costs for any event, the onus is on you as an event planner to extract as much value from it as possible.

An Ideal Partnership

The best place to start this kind of conversation is to establish what an ideal partnership with an AV production team looks like. To do so, we’ve spoken to several of our long-term clients to hear from them what they value most in the relationship as part of our annual training program. What we noticed was that each of their answers certainly differed, but that there were three common threads.

  • Performance: It all has to be right. No partnership can form if your AV production team doesn’t deliver. It could be due to systematic flaws, poor planning or communication, or just an inclination towards costly mistakes – the ability to deliver a quality service that meets your expectations is really the first pillar of a partnership.
  • Consistency/Reliability: It isn’t enough to only provide one good experience. The experience – from the initial estimates to the planning, and finally to the on-site execution – is extremely important, and after a few events, there should be a clear sense of consistency. We take it a step further by keeping the same pool of technicians dedicated to working with each group. From that, we’ve learned that familiarity both in point of contact and in the faces our clients see onsite generates confidence that they know what they’re getting.
  • Creativity: Especially for groups who constantly have to fight “last year syndrome” where everything tends to mimic what was done the year before, it can be hard to keep events feeling fresh. In any case, a true AV partner should be a resource to help revamp an event, offer new ideas on brand activations, or design and build a unique experience for guests.

If this year’s experiences with AV production don’t leave you feeling like all three boxes above are being checked off, then you’re not getting as much value from it as possible. Maybe you work with different vendors for different events, or you are talked into using an in-house AV vendor (you almost never have to use them), or even if you just haven’t thought to consolidate down to one AV relationship for your team of event planners, it could be a missed opportunity on a number of benefits.

Reducing Costs

Aside from the main three points above, seeing your AV production provider as a partner also offers cost benefits as well. Think of it as a strategic relationship on one of your highest annual costs. When the transaction is only one event, pricing can only reflect that one instance, and any situational costs incurred by the AV vendor may be factored in. If you’re looking at it as multiple events – perhaps there are others in the year you know you’ll need audiovisual for – then there may be opportunities for a more favorable pricing structure. Advanced planning is the best way for us as AV providers to keep our costs down, and so if we have dates to plan around, we can pass those savings along.

There are also seasonal factors involved which will help to know. Typically, the high-volume seasons for AV providers are the Spring and Fall months. During these times, supply is high on both equipment and technical staff, and those costs are driven up. Likewise, in the Summer and Winter, demand is low. Knowing your AV partner’s seasonal trends may help you plan your event budgets accordingly to get the most value for your dollar at any time of year.

It’s also very common that groups will have certain events with much tighter budgets than others. As the relationship between you and your AV vendor develops, you may be able to work out a favorable agreement to bring costs down on those events, leveraging your full calendar of events. Each situation will be slightly different, but if you don’t think to develop that relationship, you won’t see the advantages.

Save Time

Building a partnership with an AV provider is also a great way to reduce the time you have to spend planning around it. Obviously, there are events that will be mostly duplicating a past event, and in these cases working with the same AV production team will be night-and-day over a new team. Of course, that’s one of the things that makes it so hard to change! But for groups with multiple event planners across various internal departments, having a true partner for your organization is a great way to increase productivity.

Familiarity can be built up across everything your team is working on, creating a much clearer understanding of your brand, expectations, stakeholder preferences, and whatever else you might otherwise have to explain again and again. It puts your AV vendor in a position to be intuitive and anticipate your needs, and that goes a long way in your overall experience.

This familiarity also means no more reinventing the wheel. There will certainly be times when a totally new design is needed, but for similar programs, any updates or modifications can be easily made once there’s an established format. Otherwise, our process with a new client or event always starts with collecting as much information as possible about what the event look and feel will be, what the event goals are, who’s involved…etc. – and that conversation can be much more condensed each following time.

Build Trust

While it may not be as flashy as time and money, building trust is a key component of any good partnership. AV production is unique in the role it plays at events – we are the ones physically running your show or program, and the truth is that failure represents literal public humiliation! That does tend to forge a bond between client and vendor, and one that carries from one event to the next.

Having an AV vendor means knowing that no matter what project, curveball, or unique challenge that’s presented, you’re not alone in it. It also means you can unload some of that thought onto someone else and trust they can get it done, freeing you up to focus on other things. Of course, peace of mind in both planning and execution onsite is appreciated best by those who’ve experienced the opposite; so, if you haven’t been under fire like that before, then you’ll have to just take our word for it.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, equipment, virtual streaming services, tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Preventative Maintenance: Make Your AV Equipment Last

Are you aware of preventative maintenance? Many organizations use audiovisual equipment on a day-to-day basis. Tasks like communicating with customers, working on open projects, and brainstorming for future directives, often require AV technology being in working order. Companies that regularly host live events face even more risk. From live streams to charity galas, their success tends to rely heavily on the use of AV equipment. If something goes wrong, malfunctions, or stops working, the event will come to a grinding halt, and a poor impression will be made upon your attendees.

Different Types of Audio-Visual Equipment


Preventative maintenance may seem optional, and many choose to wait until there’s a problem to fix it. Without maintenance security, insurance, or a warranty, extensive repairs can be expensive and time-consuming. Failure of the equipment can easily compromise your business image to your customers and cause frustration among your team members. Preventative maintenance can save the day, knocking out potential issues before they derail your budget and schedule.

Here are the benefits of performing preventive maintenance on your AV equipment before your next event:

Keep Your Schedule On Track

One of the benefits of carrying out preventive maintenance on your AV equipment is that you can easily plan and anticipate your maintenance check-up. Schedule your maintenance well in advance. This way, you can avoid emergency maintenance being performed immediately before or during the event, when you will need your AV equipment to be doing its task. Without your AV equipment, the whole presentation and schedule could come grinding to a halt. With preventative maintenance, it should all be smooth sailing.

Loss of Business

It’s frustrating enough when your audiovisual equipment stops working. When it is being used by (or in the presence of) customers or leads, a whole new layer of pain is added. Not only will the repair be costly, but it could also cost you business.

Imagine the following scenario: you’re hosting a large conference showcasing your new services to current and potential clients. Suddenly, the speakers turn to static, producing a loud and irritating noise. This avoidable situation will make it harder to convince your audience that you offer top-quality services.

Failing to perform preventive maintenance is a risk no one would wish to encounter when trying to maximize profits or grow your client base. Preventive maintenance is worth the cost when compared to the cost of losing customers. With the confidence that your AV equipment is in fighting shape, you can easily meet the expectations of your patron and build a positive image of your company.

Optimize System Performance

Almost all audiovisual equipment are made to operate in a certain way, and that has to be maintained. Software and hardware updates are an important aspect of preventive maintenance. Carrying out regular updates will help keep your AV equipment rentals working the way it was made to work.

Preventive maintenance will help you protect your assets and ensure that your equipment keeps functioning in the best conditions possible, potentially prolonging the life expectancy of the Audio Visual equipment.


Waiting for AV equipment to break is a costly mistake. Replacement or repair can be time-consuming and expensive. Malfunction and failure can strike at critical moments, compromising many aspects of your business. Preventative maintenance is not optional. It’s a necessity that could not only save your next event but could save your business.

Quest AV Would like to help!

If you’re looking to create an event experience to be remembered, we at Quest Audio Visual would love to help.
We provide expert event planning advice, equipment, virtual streaming services, tech support, and more!
Contact our team today to learn more about our professional AV and event production services.

Get a Quote Now!

Sign up for Quest Insights

Share your email with us to receive quarterly insights and resources that will boost your event production industry knowledge.