Conference Production - the Technical Requirements

There are very few perfect venues and every organiserís technical requirements differs. The key to running an event smoothly is close communication with the venue finding agency, the venue and the production company.

There are four pieces of information that a production company will need to know:
  • What is the available access into the meeting space
  • The dimensions of the meeting room or area
  • The power distribution in the meeting room
  • Timings

Access

It's very simple for you to walk to the function room from reception, but how does the production company bring its equipment in to the meeting space? The venue will have an idea of what should be used. There is a large variety of equipment which could be brought into the space depending on the requirements for that particular event.

Dimensions

This information has improved dramatically with the internet, as venues now have websites with downloadable floor plans. But look out for pillars that don't appear on the floor plan and also the accuracy of dimensions. Make sure you check the height and width of doors, ceiling height and beware of chandeliers.

Power

75% of events will need addition lighting, normally in the form of three or single phase power. Often this is not fully understood by venue staff and it could become an expensive mistake if they don't have the correct power requirements, as you'll end up with a bill to hire alternative power options. So ask to check with their technical staff.

Timings

Not an obvious question, but this will become complicated if venue has multiple bookings with different companies setting up and de-rigging. The time it will take can only be estimated once the venue has been seen and all the technical equipment has been booked. There is also the issue of booking the crew, based on budget and the amount of time allowed to set up for the event.

There are other production requirements to bear in mind, such as facilities to hang equipment from points in the ceiling and the dimensions of the room. A venue may say they have capacity for 400 people, but is this for a dinner or a conference? The big difference here is understanding the technical requirements and using the correct size screen for the audience.

The picture shows the use of plasma relay screens when using a front screen which is too small for the size of audience in a room with a low ceiling height. The main objective is to find the right venue and to do this the organiser needs to talk to everyone involved, so they all understand the requirements before the venue search can start. Site inspections are important so make sure you ask the right questions!

From Event Organiserís Guide

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