Bradford Lowery is the Lead Production Designer at AVFX. He knows that the venue is the costliest portion of almost any event and he feels strongly that how venues work with AV companies can be unnecessarily costly if you don’t get it right.
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I’m here to help you avoid some of the biggest pitfalls. Be aware that venues want you to use their in-house AV because they are major profit centers. This necessitates much higher pricing compared to outside AV companies as the venue gets a large percentage of the in-house pricing. Last-minute changes will quickly eat away at your budget. So whether working with in-house or outside AV here are the key venue questions.
- For basic AV, is there a requirement to hire union or in-house technicians to install the gear?
- Are there other related requirements like one-to-one crewing from outside to in-house AV labor?
- And is there a requirement to hire union or in-house technicians to run the gear?
- For rigging, can outside AV build free-standing trusts and attach equipment to that trust?
- Are there overhead rigging points for motors and what are the per point costs?
- And finally, what is the ceiling height and low point for chandeliers.
- For timing, does the install window include required overtime due to early or late hours?
- Will there be a fast turnaround because the venue has another group coming in? If so, you’ll need more crew in budget and will have to negotiate carefully with the venue to save yourself the costs associated with that turnaround.
- For power, power available ability varies from venue to venue so be sure to ask how many circuits are available. Can the outside AV tie in their power distribution to the in-house cam locks?
- Is there even a cam lock service in the space and what amperage does it provide?
- And will the venue require an electrician to come into the space to install cam locks into a power panel?
- For load-in, are there truck docks, elevators, and what is the distance to push a case from the dock into the room?
Answers to these questions can dramatically affect the costs and impact of your show, possibly forcing you to rethink and redesign your original AV plan. For these reasons, we recommend that you take the time to ask these questions of the venue and work closely with your AV firm before and during venue contract negotiations. Both can help save you time, money, and headaches.