9 AV Tips For Setting Up The Stage

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There’s no better feeling than seeing the stage set up perfectly, but we all know that doesn’t always happen. Sometimes it takes a few attempts to get things just right and there is always room for improvement. So here are 9 tips on how to make your next event look like you knew what you were doing from day one! 

Find the perfect spot in the room for your Audio Visual equipment

You want your equipment placed at the right place to achieve the best form. This is where you can make or break your event. Before setting up, it’s recommended to find out what kind of equipment will be used on the stage and how much space should be placed in between these screens to prevent shadows, reflections etc.

If there are any obstructions like pillars or other walls in the room it’s important to take that into account when placing your screens. Trying to cover up the pillar with a screen is not always the best option, because it can cause light leakage and make your screens look like they are half on and half off. It’s better to opt for good curtains or drapes that will block out any sunlight coming in from the windows.

Pick a theme for your AV system

It’s always nice to go with a theme for your Audio Visual system. It will create that wow factor when people walk into the room and it ties everything together into one big experience. If you don’t care too much about themes then just stick with good old black and white, but if you want something more unique then here is some cool ideas:

Urban Theme – Black background with small amount of lighting, usually enough to see the stage properly

Futuristic Theme – White clean lines, usually a touch screen display or video wall behind the presenter at larger events

Classical Theme – Gold and massive! Usually seen only in bigger corporate events or award shows. Usually a large stage with grand speaker systems underneath

Multi-Layered Theme – This is usually a combination of all the above and more. Very versatile and creates a stunning effect.

Place your speakers at the right angle

Speakers play an important role in every event and it’s great to find out if you can get them set up before or during the build process, as this will ensure everything runs smoothly on the big day.

For example, if using floor standing speakers for main audio then these should be placed at 45 degrees from where people will most likely be standing. It’s always recommended to test out your speaker system prior to any events as this gives you peace of mind that there won’t be any surprises on show day.

Typically speaking, if speakers are on stage they should be pointed towards the audience so the sound is projecting at the people and not behind them. Pointing them upwards or downwards can be a recipe for disaster and will cause serious feedback during an event.

Get your lighting right

Setting up the right lighting takes practice but don’t get discouraged if you need to tweak things along the way. It’s always good to start with all lights off except one key source of white light such as a halogen or LED PAR64 lamp, which should be placed very close to the equipment on stage so it doesn’t create shadows on screens etc.

Once this basic setup has been achieved then slowly add in more lights step by step until everything looks balanced and professional. 

Get rid of clutter from the stage area

You don’t want any kind of distraction around the stage area by clutter or equipment that’s not needed. If possible, try to label everything so it can be put back in the same place after the event is over.

It might be a good idea to have someone around the day before who knows how everything should be positioned so there are no mistakes on show day.

Make sure your cable management system makes sense

It’s always best practice to have a nice clean look behind the stage with all cables hidden away wherever possible. It will ensure that your AV company crew don’t trip over any lines, which could potentially drag down your event if something goes wrong!

So keep cables out of sight, but close to where they’re needed and try to only use the exact cables that are needed. If there’s a bit of slack then loop it up and place it into a cable tray for later.

Good cable management also means less time spent at the venue during setup and more time for other important things like catering ahead of an event;-)

Use a wireless microphone to avoid tripping on cables

If you’re feeling brave then it’s possible to use wireless microphones during an exhibition or big corporate event, although it’s recommended to test them well in advance. The main advantage here is that if the microphone gets unplugged the speaker can just hold onto the transmitter and walk around announcing details instead!

A wireless handheld mic has a range of about 100m so this gives you plenty of room to roam. Just make sure there are no obstacles between you and your receiver at the right angle because this will cause signal dropouts if too much metal is in the way.

Place your projector so it's not too close to a window or door

It’s important to have your projector at the right height so anyone seated or standing can see it clearly without having to strain their neck. This height will depend on the size of the screen you’re using as well as how far back people are from it.

In most cases though, a good height is about 1m above floor level and definitely not higher than 5m since this could cause problems with keystoning which happens when projecting onto a squeezed or stretched out image.

Avoid placing a projector near a window because direct sunlight can make it impossible for people to see anything while having a door opening nearby creates the chance for any loud noise to be picked up by the mic – not ideal!

Test out all of your AV equipment before the event starts

Don’t be tempted to just unpack everything and start setting up. The best AV companies never do this because it means they can fully test all equipment to make sure there are no errors or issues before guests start arriving.

This testing process should include sound from speakers, video from a projector as well as any LED screens perhaps if you’re feeling ambitious! In most cases, though it’s good to keep the number of different source types down – not everyone needs a video feed to their laptop for example – unless you really think you need it.

There are many different ways to set up a stage. Some people may be more comfortable with the traditional setup, while others might prefer something that’s less formal and puts the focus on their performance rather than themselves as an artist.

It is important for Audio Visual professionals to consider all of these factors when setting up stages so they can offer clients what best suits them and makes them feel at home in front of an audience.

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