17 AV Terms That Every Meeting Planner Should Know

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The humble AV department is often a misunderstood one. Those who don’t work in the industry think that all an AV company does is set up a projector and flip a switch. But there’s so much more to it than that! So, as an “AV expert”, here are 17 terms you’ll hear floating around your next event planning meeting: 

Draping

This refers to anything hung from the ceiling or walls (like drape panels). It can also refer to curtains used at window openings such as windows, sliding doors and glass entryways. Curtains can be made of fabric or even metal depending on what they’re being used for. 

Hang points

These are spots where we attach items like lighting fixtures to the ceiling. Generally, there are nails built into the walls which are called hang points. These nail locations are typically spaced at 12 inches. If you need to hang something at a location that isn’t 12 inches off the ground, it’s important to find out if there are other “hang points” in the room so your items have some support the entire way up.

Cable trays/ducts

If you have multiple pieces of AV equipment, they will need to be connected together somehow, right? Cable trays or cable ducts are metal frameworks that allow for a lot of different types of wiring to be carried in one continuous piece all across your room.

The cable can then be run through these channels to keep them neat and organized. Then at the end, they will come out to each piece of equipment (laptop, projector etc). If you don’t do this it becomes an absolute nightmare to set everything up (trust me on this!).

Trussing

This refers to metal beams used in stage design and for hanging lighting fixtures or projection screens high in ceilings where heavyweight is needed. Trusses come in different shapes and sizes depending on what they’re being used for. We use trussing when we want to suspend some weight from above rather than attaching it to walls or floors below.

Rigging

This term is used in both the stage and AV worlds. When you hear someone say “rigging” it’s usually referring to something heavy you want to hang like lighting trusses or speaker systems.

Rigging that is specific for theatrical use often includes steel cables, carabiners, turnbuckles and other devices that are used to ensure safety (and also looks cool).

Tracks

Tracks are everywhere at events, even if you can’t see them. Examples of tracks would be items like drape panels, cable trays or ducting because they all run along the ceiling or walls hidden from view.

If you traced out all the different tracks at an event, your drawing could literally cover miles! But don’t worry, it’s all kept nice and tidy by having a plan for where everything goes before it’s installed.

Data cables

A data cable isn’t just something to connect your phone to your computer anymore. Data cables today work in tandem with other forms of AV equipment giving us endless options on how we can create our designs down to even what type of hardware use.

For example, if you wanted to communicate between devices at an event or have a computer operate your projector, data cables are required to make this happen!

Conferencing system

Having this type of set-up at your meeting will allow everyone attending to hear what’s being presented at any given time. You are able to dial into different rooms depending on who you need/want to reach out to so not everyone needs their own microphone etc. But having one central mic means it’s easy for everyone to hear, even if they are in the back of the room.

LED panels/video walls

These terms are often used interchangeably although technically not quite the same thing. Both LED panels and video walls refer to a grouping of multiple screens being placed together which create a massive display that would usually span across one main wall in a room. LED stands for light-emitting diodes which allows the panels to show colourful and vibrant images that are easy to view from all angles.

Projection screens

This refers to the cloth panels (usually made of vinyl, PVC or nylon) which show images through projection. The quality of what’s projected onto them is dependent on three things:

1) the size

2) the type and

3) how good the projector is

There are many different types of materials used for screens, including ‘perf’, ‘acoustic transparent’ and ‘front/rear lit’.

If you’re looking for a budget option then there’s also mesh fabric which is really lightweight but only suitable up close as it has no opacity or true black colour. However, it does perform really well in rooms where ambient light isn’t an issue because it doesn’t reflect as much as other materials.

If you’re going for a multi-purpose room, then the best choice long-term would be a perforated screen which is designed to have no gaps in its surface pattern so it doesn’t pick up dirt or dust as easily as other fabrics.

In terms of projection quality, front/rear lit screens are really good at showing high levels of contrast (black = black) whereas LED panels show more accurate colours but aren’t quite as bright.

Projector

You know those big boxes that sit at the front of a room and beam things onto a large flat surface? It’s called a projector and is very useful when you want everyone at an event to see what’s going on! Big thanks to projector inventors who made this possible. Our world would be very different without them!

Projection mapping

This is a term used to describe the process of illuminating and projecting images onto flat and three-dimensional objects, such as walls, floors and other surfaces. This can create really funky effects for your events!

For example, you could project animals onto a wall that appear as though they’re jumping out at people. Or maybe even display words that seem like they’re floating in mid-air. The possibilities are endless!

Confidence monitor

This is a small TV monitor that you might want to have at events if your speakers are presenting remotely. This way, everyone can see what they’re doing and where they are in the presentation without having to constantly look over towards the big screen which could be distracting for those looking at it. Speakers are able to refer to the monitor at all times which is much more convenient.

Gobo/flag

This is a small frame that you can attach to the front of your projector which alters the light being projected. There are lots of different shapes and sizes depending on what you need/want to use it for.

A gobo might be teardrop, star, circle or rectangle in shape while flags are used to block light entirely from entering the lens e.g. if someone has walked in front of the screen at an inappropriate moment!

Moddim tiles

These are interlocking display tiles that come in a range of different sizes and colours which makes it very easy to customise any backdrop.

You can create the shape you want and then simply add them together to make one larger display area. They’re really great for temporary events (e.g. awards ceremonies, etc.) where you might not know the size or dimensions of what will be displayed on them before-hand.

Lit facade/wall

Pretty much what it says! It’s a large wall that lights up thanks to LED strips fixed behind each panel which allows you to add images onto it (or play video). The fact that its entire surface is an ‘image’ means that everyone can see whatever message or graphics are displayed on it from all angles.

Lightboxes

These are rectangular, acrylic glass structures that contain LED strips with built-in controls so you can change their appearance and add text/graphics onto them. They’re really useful for making statements such as ‘Welcome’ or ‘Thank you for attending.’ You can even add animated GIFs – just like on social media!

It’s not always easy to keep up with the latest meetings jargon. Even if you’re a seasoned meeting planner, there are certain acronyms and terms that might slip your mind from time to time. However, we hope you had fun reading this blog post and learned some new terms that can be can be handy when planning your next meeting project!

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