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Corporate AV Blog

Friday, February 22, 2013

Interesting article by NPL on seeing sound

Interesting article by NPL on seeing sound

Hemi-anechoic chamber

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Planner Tip: Negotiate the AV Clauses Before You Sign The Hotel Contract

As a customer you have the power to negotiate rates and rules before you sign the contract. Most times the AV is an overlooked expense and with most in houses giving 50% commission to the property, they have to raise their rates 200% of the fair market rate. This means you as a consumer will be paying big bucks for something our company can provide at half the cost.

Sometimes the hotel will require in house technicians to be on standby or penalties based upon the requirements of your events. It’s easy to be intimidated but as a consumer you have the final say in the contract with a hotel. Make sure the in house AV doesn’t empty your pockets.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Liferay 2012

Here are some photos from our recent Liferay show

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

How to figure out how many wireless microphones you will need

I often find myself or my team in situations where client’s try to cut the budget by shaving off a few mics of their show.   This usually ends up with the entire audience waiting and watching as we take the mics off one group and put them on the next.  It’s an awkward weird moment that stops the show.  Truth be told, there should be enough mics to transition between one group and the next at the highest used incidence.

So if your agenda looks something like this:

7am Opening (Emcee)

7:10am 2 presenters

8am 5 presenters

9am 3 presenters

10am break

10:15am 6 presenters

10:30am 1 presenter

You would need 8 wireless lavs, maybe an additional for Q+A and maybe one for the moderator or emcee.  CEO’s always want their own for a show.  Simple addition from the transition of 8am to 9am shows 8 wireless mics.  But the transition from 9am to 10:15 is interrupted by a break and therefore has a fluid opportunity to switch mics.

You can get away on a panel with wireless handheld to be passed around or use a podium mic to share to save on cost.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It’s Corporate AV’s 10 year anniversary!

Corporate AV, LLC was started in 2002 on a major downturn in the economy with the intention of bridging the gap between tech jargon and event planners. Corporate AV, LLC felt the AV world had a need for better customer service. CAV, LLC was put together as the brain child of Daniel Wisholek whom started the company with the very basics needed to put on a small show. In 2010, Corporate AV, LLC has a multimillion dollar state of the art inventory and a staff of 60+ employees.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

New QSC K12’s and QSC 181 Subs are in

Our new QSC K 12 speakers are now in stock for $80 per day and our new 181 subs are in stock for $150 each per day!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Check us out on Yelp

Check us out on Yelp!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Luke Loves Llamas

Ok they are actually alpacas.  Anyway, every year we do the Alpaca show in Pleasanton at the Alameda County Fairgrounds.  This is a shot of our technician Luke with Chocolate and Vanilla beauties.

Friday, March 9, 2012

New DLP HD Projector in Inventory

Not many people own an affordable HD DLP projector in inventory, we do

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Conference Planning Checklist for Audio Visual

General questions

  • Does the facility have a contract with a particular supplier? Hotels and Convention Centers sometimes have an agreement with a audio visual supplier to be onsite.  Generally these companies share their profits with the facility which means big markups and cut corners on service and product quality.  The benefit is that you have an in house provider, sometimes one bill, and sometimes the facility’s contract will have strict penalties for not using the in house provider.
  • If so, what is the policy on outside vendors in the facility? Sometimes a facility will work into their contract sever penalties on bringing in an outside vendor for audio visual.  Whether its a commission on the outside company’s work, electrical fees, or rules and procedures that make it impossible for the outside AV company to work such as setup times that are too short to prepare your meeting for.  As a planner you have the ultimate power of negotiating the rules before signing, so make sure you don’t allow rules that make it more expensive for your group.
  • What are the union jurisdictions? Organized qualified labor comes at a price.  Your union bill could inflate your AV labor bill estimate by 50- 100% or more.   Its important to know what unions and how many unions are involved in a show.  The more unions and the more separation of responsibility means more cost.
  • Are there charges for setup and move-out days? While small shows and small setups can be done in a couple of hours, trade show floors, general sessions, and events with multiple breakouts take time to set….sometimes even days.   Squeezing the time of setup can make labor charges very expensive, especially if the show has union labor and the show has to be setup after hours.
  • Who locks and unlocks rooms? When? Is there full-time security? Securing the audio visual equipment and your setup is extremely important.  Imagine your AV team has setup the night before and the morning of your show their gear has been stolen and the show cannot go on until it is replaced.  Determining the cost of additional security or if the security is already provided by the venue could be a huge cost savings or value added perk provided.  Not even to mention peace of mind going into your show.
  • Is there an engineer on staff, or is engineering contracted? Most AV requires power of some sort and access to a engineer during the setup could be crucial, especially with lighting or other house only accessible areas and utilities.
  • When are the rooms normally setup? Most AV setups need a stage and podium and other basics provided by the hotel to begin setup.  Arranging the rooms to be set prior to the AV load in could save lots of setup dollars that could be wasted if the crew has to wait for furniture to be set.
  • Is there an accessible dock and elevator for contractors bringing in equipment and staging? Some venues require security, dock supervisors and elevator operators to load into their facility.  Find out the accessibility of the docks to meeting space.  Poorly planned docks could foil plans or add unnecessary cost to an AV setup.
  • What is normally provided by the facility as part of the room? (microphones, house sound system, flipcharts, easels, lecterns, etc.) These things are all value adds when choosing a venue.  While the house sound system might not be ideal for your general session, it could save big dollars off your AV bill.  Check to see if there are patch charges for bringing in your own AV.

Room inspection

  • What is the “true” ceiling clearance? Establishing where you can put a screen, pipe and drape poles, and lighting fixtures can make or break an AV setup.  The largest screen you can put in a room is the true ceiling height minus 4 feet.  Low ceilings and big spaces means you will need to tie up more floor space with projectors and screens to get your message across.
  • What is the lowest ceiling point in the room? Chandeliers and columns are lovely for weddings and disastrous for meetings.  Screen placement and obstruction from chandeliers could impact your company’s message.
  • What about any light sources or reflective surfaces (windows, mirrors)? Light from the sun will wash out any projector and mute any accent lighting.  Some places are impossible to use projection in the day time….period.   You can generally use a brighter projector or drapes to combat the light but there becomes a point when it becomes cost prohibitive.
  • How soundproof are portable walls? This is a tough thing to test but should be.  It’s wise to go to a meeting space while a similar meeting is taking place to see their rooms in action.
  • Where are the entrances and exits? What can be blocked by A/V stands, stages or seating? The best laid plans can be thwarted by a fire inspector who deems your setup to be a hazard.  Just because the room exists, it doesn’t mean that it can actually be used for your intended purpose of your event.  Ask about the local fire code for the building.
  • Is there room for the A/V setup and a control? Projectors take room to throw their image from front or back.  The stage takes room.  The camera riser takes room.  The AV control tables take room.  Plan for the AV and stage set to take up to a 1/3rd of the room.  It’s possible to hang projectors but understand your venues rules/fees on hanging objects from their ceilings.
  • Does the room have a permanent stage? Stage lighting? Sound system? These can be great value adds if they are updated and maintained properly.  Many older venues have aging and poorly maintained systems so bring a consultant to test the system if it’s a large enough show.

Sound system

  • Who handles the sound in the facility? Is there a patch fee? Most venues have their in house provider maintain the in house sound system.  These companies sometimes charge by room per day for the use of their sound system.  Sometimes a pair of speakers sound better and cost less.
  • Is there a good quality sound system in the room? (Ask for a demonstration) A consultant can analyze a sound system to its full capability but the venue should be able to demonstrate the sound systems ability.  If you get a quote from the in house provider and they quote speakers on your order, stay away from the house sound.
  • How many microphones do I need? Podiums need mics.  Your moderator needs a mic.  For wireless mics, you need as many mics as two consecutive groups have total.  Ex.  If 3 presenters are on stage and two presenters are waiting to go on stage, you need 5 total so that you can prep the next presenters to not waste time for your audience and keep the show flowing.  Also, you should have wireless handhelds for standing panel discussions and for audience question and answer periods.
  • Audio Recording? Let the Audio Visual Company know if you plan to audio record the event or have members of the press present as they’ll need additional equipment.


  • Where are the house lighting controls? Can they be remote controlled? Its important to know that room lighting is NOT stage lighting and whats good for the audience is not good for the stage.  Does the venue have installed stage lighting?  If yes it can be a huge value add.  If not, you may need to setup and power your own setup which can add cost to your show.
  • How much is power is available for lighting? While lighting can impact an event by changing the atmosphere and stage theatrics, it can draw a huge amount of power.  Find out how much power a venue has to see if your event’s needs can be accommodated.
  • If stage lighting is to be hung from the ceiling, what are the restrictions? Where can it be hung? Who can do the work? Is there a reflected ceiling plan available? A venue can restrict who uses and assign huge fees associated with using hang points on the ceiling.  Most things can be ground supported but when floor space is at a premium, it is essential to negotiate the terms of the ceiling.
  • Are there man lifts, scissor lifts or basket lifts available from the facility? If so, at what cost? If not, from whom? A lift can cost a couple thousand dollars for a show, having the house provide one saves money.


  • Where does the electrical service originate in the room? Finding out how much power and where it is located can make or break an event.  Have a plan.  Ask your AV provider how much power you need for your event.
  • Who provides hook-up service? Most venues have an electrician and having one available for the load in of your show is essential.  Inquire with your event coordinator.
  • Do they also provide distribution of the service? Your AV company may need to bring distribution for power for your general session.  Have your AV provider contact the venue to arrange.
  • What is the cost for hook-up and use? You are generally at the mercy of a venue who may charge you for using the outlets on the wall to distribution for your general session.  This added cost could severely inflate the cost of your meeting space.

Communications and computers

  • What type of telephone, data and high-speed transmission service is available in the facility (Analog phone line, digital phone line, ISDN lines, T1 line, other)? At what cost? This is especially important for your attendees as well as presenters wanting to demo or video conferencing.
  • Are two-way radios available? Are there places where these do not function? Some facilities have a hard time with the brick and mortar of a facility and having your cell phones and walkie talkies is essential in communicating time critical instructions to your staff and an annoyance level to your attendees.
  • Do any of the presenters need assistance with their powerpoints? Last minute changes are common in an instantly changing world of information.  Having an powerpoint specialist to adjust and manage presentations helps maintain the flow and professionalism of your show.

A/V Requirements for Speaker Presentations


  • Does speaker prefer handheld or lavaliere (lapel) microphone? Your moderator and presenters should have a lavaliere unless they are a performer(comedian, singer, etc.) .  Handhelds are also good to pass between panel members or for audience question and answer periods.   The number of lavalieres you need are the amount of presenters of the two largest groups of presenters.  Say one group of 3 presents and then a group of 2 presents, you need 5 lavaliere microphones so that there is no lapse changing mics in the show.
  • Does speaker prefer wireless or wired microphone? While wired mics are 4 times cheaper, the mobility issue especially for lavalieres is a concern for presenters.
  • Is a mixer required? If you have more than one source of audio(microphone, Mp3 player, DVD, Computer Demo audio), you need one.  The more devices you have, the larger mixer you will need to control them.
  • Is a sound technician needed? If you have a recording, a VIP, or more than 4 audio sources you really should have one.
  • Can we use the house sound system? Most house sound systems are not maintained and can have various issues.  Unless you have tested the house sound system, we recommend bringing your own audio setup.
  • Will other input devices be used (Demos, ipads, mp3 players, computers, dvd players)? If so, how many? Knowing how many devices or letting your AV company know how many devices will be providing sound will help your determine how to best support them.

Projectors and Screens

  • Is the slide show in standard or widescreen? Establishing which format your presentations will be in will determine what screens, projectors, video equipment and computers will need to be.
  • What size screen? The largest screen you can put in a room is the height of the room minus 4.  So, if the room is 13 feet tall, the largest screen would be a 9×12.  If the room is short but covering a large area, you may need multiple screens to convey the message.
  • Is standard tripod screen or fast-fold screen preferred? Tripods are cheaper and they look such.  Fast folds need to be set up by a professional and cost more to rent but look nicer.
  • Does you want the presentation need to be front or rear projection? The projector always needs room to throw its image, whether its from front, back or from above.  Having the screen rear means space allocated for back stage and drape to mask it.
  • Is wireless remote control needed? This will allow your presenter to roam the room and interact with the audience.  We have a basic remote and professional show remote available for rent(perfect cue)
  • Does the presenter have notes or need a teleprompter? Having a monitor in from of the stage for the presenter to work off of can make your talent’s job easier and allow them to roam from their computer.


  • What size and format? Let your AV company know what format your video is in and how it will play(embedded?).  Special equipment may need to be brought in to playback.
  • Computer interface? A computer interface will be needed to each computer that will be providing video and audio.
  • What make and model computer will be used? Macs need special adapters and having the right adapter to hook into the projector is essential.
  • What is the presentation resolution? Making sure the projection will look good on screen is very important, so make sure your av company knows about any wide screen or HD presentations.
  • How many computers, playback devices? This will determine the switcher you will need to present to the screens.  The more inputs, the larger the switcher.
  • Does the speaker need an Internet connection? Sometimes the presenter will have a remote presenter or demonstration to present.  Having an adequate connection is essential.


  • What is the purpose of the recording? Is it for reference, training purposes, sale, or for a client?  These questions along with your budget will help your AV company provide a solution to best suit your needs for a recording.

Some last notes

  • Have equipment set one hour prior to meeting time.
  • If the speaker wants equipment setup the night before a meeting (for rehearsal purposes, etc.), make sure you arrange personnel to operate and with the venue for such
  • If technical specialists are required, allow for 4-hour minimum and overtime rate after 5 p.m. and on weekends
  • Communicate A/V requirements to A/V contractor as soon as possible. Some equipment may need to be special ordered