When hosting a meeting of any size, one of the most important considerations is the audio-visual setup of your meeting room. Whether you have a speaker at a microphone, visual slides, or something more technically elaborate – having a strong A/V setup can make the difference between a good presentation, and a great one.
Trends and best practices in A/V are constantly improving. Luckily, Winnipeg has a great community of A/V professionals with the technological expertise to help make your next event a success. Freeman Audio Visual has been providing a suite of technical solutions for meetings for over 50 years, with strong roots in the Winnipeg market. Meetings Winnipeg sat down with Tom Borsa, Director of Client Solutions for Freeman Audio Visual, to learn more about A/V setup best practices, and how his team can help meeting and convention planners make their events shine.
Credit: Strauss Association and Event Management
Why is it so important to have a proper A/V setup?
A/V is a crucial part of your presentation, because it helps you better communicate your message, while engaging people and retaining their attention. If you lose the audience, you’re not achieving the full goal of what you set out to do. No two presentations are the same, and that’s why I’ll never have the same day twice. Depending on the presentation, we could be setting up anything from a screen and projector, to an event with holograms that pushes the envelope in what’s technologically available in the market. That’s one of my favourite parts of my job – the variety of what’s requested and what’s needed.
How have you used A/V to maximize an event’s impact in the past?
One of the proudest moments in my career was looking after all of the audio and visual components during the Truth and Reconciliation Commission process in Winnipeg. Our team had to be careful on how to capture survivors’ statements – we took great care in recording everything in the highest-quality format possible to make sure these records were going to stand as long as we possibly could. The meeting itself involved lots of sharing of some very personal stories, but the most important thing for us was to use technology in order to save the history being shared.
That was an uncommon example, but speaks to the type of work we do as an A/V company. We want to establish a platform for people to conduct their work and get their results in a productive way. When someone is presenting on-stage at an event we manage, that could be the most important day in their career. They could be applying for a grant to keep their dream alive, a company launching a new product, or sharing their stories of trauma. The scope of what’s being said is always different, but the importance to the client is always the same.
Credit: Manuel Sousa Photography
How do you go about finding the scope of your customers’ presentations?
We always prefer to do face-to-face meetings with our clients when we work with them. That way, we get to know them, their product, their target audience, and their objectives. When you meet with someone in person, you can see the energy and passion they bring. When they light up about a certain topic, you immediately know what’s most important to them.
When we build a quote for someone, we like to know all the details – room, location, date, budget, and any other relevant details. If the client really wants something, or if there’s something they’d like to have, we want to work with them every step of the way. We can always build an event specifically for a client, so that communication up-front is key.
Are you seeing any technological changes in your industry?
From a larger picture, we’re trying to deal in high-definition (HD) whenever possible. We’ve taken great strides at Freeman in the past few years to eliminate ‘old’ technology from our suite of products offered. It’s a large investment to get a fully HD-compatible front-to-back inventory, but that commitment to quality helps set us apart. That also means we need to constantly update our inventory, which is great for the client to have access to.
As we move further into the digital market, there are many more intricacies, and more options available. Offerings like webcasting, multi-projectors blending and 4K are becoming more common and cost-effective. Recently, we helped a client bring someone in from San Diego via hologram – from a distance, it was like they were standing on-stage in the flesh. With something like that there is a next-to-zero chance of error; you really need to hit all your marks as the A/V company for a seamless presentation.
The good thing about operating in a technology market is that presenters are increasingly comfortable using technology, so it’s integrated more into presentations. If we provide a remote and monitor on-stage, presenters don’t have to look over their shoulder at the screens, and focus on their presentation. We see how much of a difference that makes on audience impact at events.
Credit: Strauss Association and Event Management
What should customers consider when selecting an A/V package?
The most important thing meeting planners need to consider is their audience. No matter the size of the crowd, they need to see and hear things properly. It’s also important that presenters have the tools available on-stage to help, and the comfort to use them. When in doubt, ask a representative from Freeman to answer any questions they may have, and let us help identify your needs.
For more information about Freeman Audio Visual, visit their website or email Tom directly.