By Jody Long When it comes to Audio Visual, let's be honest, it can be very overwhelming if you don't have the most technical background. You may only need a flip chart and podium, but you may be planning a more elaborate event that calls for double screens, overhead projection, lighting and sound. Either way, you want your event to be professional, but also within your budget. So here are some basics for you to keep in mind for your next event. Even if there is an AV company at your event site ready to help you, this will allow you to understand their quote, and enable you to know exactly what you need and what you don't. Keep this list handy when conducting your site visits, and when choosing an AV company. · Lighting: Lighting can really enhance the experience, and set the right mood for the event. Even in a small meeting room, be sure to check what the options are for dimming lights if you are using a projector and screen. · Sound (speakers, microphones): Whether you need a microphone or not depends on the size of the room, the number of attendees, and the speaker's preference. If you have more than 40-50 people in the room, it's best to have a microphone. If your speaker walks around the room during the presentation, consider a wireless/lavaliere microphone. If there are any videos in the presentation, order speakers. Always do a sound check before the presentation begins. · Projection: Will you be bringing your own projector, or using one at the event site? Projectors are one of the more pricy items on the AV rental list, so plan accordingly and consider purchasing your own if you tend to rent them often. Choosing a good projector will last you a long time, and can be used in a wide variety of settings, both large audiences and small. · Screen: If you have a large room, or a large audience, consider two screens, one on either side of the presenter. · Internet: Is there free Wi-Fi throughout the event site? If there is, check to see what the capacity is, and if everyone will be able to get on. Consider purchasing internet connections so everyone can get online. · Flip chart and/or whiteboard: Ask if you can bring your own, to save on costs. These are often much more expensive if they are rented, versus buying and bringing in your own. Don't forget the markers! Buy some fresh ones to be on the safe side. · Podium: Will the speaker be presenting from a podium? Do they need a microphone at the podium? Does the podium need a light? · Computers: Will the presenter bring their own, or do you need to provide one? · Audio or video players: Will music or videos need to be played separately from a computer? · Video recording: Is your presentation or event something that you'd like to keep on record? · On-site technicians: The more complex your event, the more complex your AV. Consider having the AV company technicians on site to help with any technical issues that may come up, especially if you are bringing in any of your own equipment and don't have your own technicians.