Beware and recognize potential event production budget killers.
The audio-visual elements of a large-scale event can be a not-so-insignificant portion of and event planner’s budget. Let’s look at what can drive up AV costs if not properly managed.
First, go broad and consider the level of technical complexity. Large, multi-day events involve intricate AV setups, e.g. multiple screens, live streaming, interactive displays, or immersive experiences. That means understanding how much and what kind of gear you’ll need.
Newer gear, for example, delivers greater capability, while older equipment could supply the same proficiency but at a lower rental cost. While quality is important, it’s essential to strike a balance between quality and cost-effectiveness.
Also the greater the complexity, the more technical expertise in the form of experienced production techs will be required to understand how all that equipment gets integrated and operated. Subsequently, labor costs can rise if the setup is complex.
Then there’s the space. Not all event venues have the necessary infrastructure for your AV needs (power outlets, rigging points, internet connectivity, etc.). You might need to invest in temporary solutions, which can be costly.
As we like to ask our clients, “Are you planning a meeting or putting on a show?” Elaborate set designs, staging, and backdrops can be visually stunning. Adding special effects such as advanced lighting schemes, pyrotechnics, fog machines, or projections can significantly increase AV costs due to the intricacy of equipment and, yes, higher production and labor costs.
Then there is streaming and recording, which now should be considered even must-haves with most of today’s events. You’ll need to consider the cost of streaming platforms, cameras, microphones, encoders, and technicians to manage the live stream.
Along with that capability is Internet connectivity. A stable and high-speed internet connection is essential. This might require additional costs for securing reliable connectivity, especially with hotels.
What’s the payoff for planning all the preceding points? It comes in the form of last-minute changes. Making alterations to the AV setup close to the event date can lead to rush fees, additional equipment rentals, and extra labor costs.
To avoid these AV budget killers, it’s important to thoroughly assess your event production needs. Without proper planning and attention, a range of production elements could go rogue and turn your experience into an accounting nightmare.