Ask the Pros: 7 Event Lighting and Sound Tips to Make Your Event Special

Whether your big event is going to be in a stadium or arena or a hotel ballroom, everybody would love to have the same kinds of sound and lighting as the pros use. But what if you don’t have access to all that big equipment? You can still use some of their tips.

“The impact of your event depends a lot on the talent and creativity of your AV team,” says Mike Rice, production manager here at Heroic Productions.

So, if you want your event to be extra special, he suggests remembering that there shouldn’t be a “standard” setup for sound and lighting. It should always be based on the venue. “You should mix sound in a glass wall ballroom completely differently than in a stadium,” he notes.

Here are Mike’s insider tips for event lighting and sound that will leave your attendees stunned. In a good way, of course.

  1. Consider your space. Is it a meeting room or a stadium? Huge glass windows might afford a spectacular view, but they can create serious reverberation problems. Other types of hard or soft surfaces, low ceilings, physical barriers, and the sheer size of your venue can all affect the way sound and light work.
  2. Lighting comes in a full palette of colors. By blending different hues, you can match your official colors then play off that by blending colors that complement or provide a contrasting accent.
  3. Creativity is as important as the functional side of event lighting. You’ll get the best results by taking an holistic approach. Clever use of just a few lights, combined with making use of and controlling existing room lighting, allows you to light your speaker without washing out her video presentation. You can use various lighting techniques to create an overall effect that is subtle yet powerful.
  4. Change it up. Remember that your goal is to create an atmosphere as well as light specific areas or aspects of the event. Use multiple lighting elements (such as up-lighting, moving lights) and vary the light levels to create visual interest or dramatic effects.
  5. The same is true for house sound systems. Tie-in to the main system or bypass it entirely to ensure the folks sitting in or under the balcony have the same excellent experience as those seated in “prime” spots.
  6. Just as with lighting, “sound” isn’t a single pitch. It’s a blend of notes and levels. You want people to hear everything clearly, but sound can do so much more. When it all comes together synchronously, your audio will really pop.
  7. With live music, don’t just take the easy way out. And don’t mistake loud for good. Instead of simply plugging the audio sources into a mixer and pushing up faders, consider the tone of the instruments, and use the full frequency range. Accentuate and remove certain frequencies to tie sounds together. When you have the right balance between instruments and vocals, your audience will hear exactly the harmonious blend the band intends.

Mike’s final piece of advice sounds simple, but it’s the mantra for production pros. “Use the room you’re given, for better or worse,” he advises. “There are audio-visual challenges in every room.”

Photo Credit: Katie Thering – (“Home For Life Gala” at International Market Square. Jane Goodall, guest speaker)