Van Gogh Immersive show, New York

Stay on Top of AV Innovations to Set Your Event Apart

In the dynamic world of events, where average doesn’t cut it anymore, stepping up your audiovisual game is a great way to set your event apart.

Join us on a journey as we explore how astute event organizers are leveraging new AV technologies to create immersive environments, captivate audiences, and craft unforgettable experiences—all while staying within budget.

We’ll delve into the creative potential of LED displays, projection mapping, and much more. However, creating a memorable event experience doesn’t always require teleporting your attendees to a distant universe. We begin by examining the fundamentals and answering the question: How can standard light and sound components enhance an event?

Good Lighting Is Key

Enhance the visual impact and overall ambiance of your show with inexpensive lighting upgrades.

In the realm of larger trade shows, emphasis on lighting hasn’t always been top of mind. That’s changing. As in-person events make a comeback, event planners are recognizing the need to create aesthetically pleasing environments that go beyond what can be experienced from a laptop screen. Upgrading lighting is a simple and affordable way to achieve this.

Lighting at USITT show
A palette of cool tones and spotlights set the mood at the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s annual show

In addition to basic projections and screens, your AV team should have a robust lighting strategy that spans the entire venue. Appropriate area lighting can complement the mood of a show, facilitate transitions between sessions, or (literally) shine a light on an activation that might otherwise go unnoticed amid the hustle and bustle of a busy event.

The Art of Strategic Soundscapes

Use background sound to tap into the energy of a crowd or create a calming atmosphere to engage attendees in different states of mind.

Just as lighting influences our visual senses, background sound affects our auditory senses. It complements a show’s theme and enhances the mood in subtle ways. 

For larger shows, nothing compares to the electric buzz of an engaged crowd. Skillful sound design builds upon this natural energy, taking it to new heights. Think house music

On the other hand, well-timed sound cues can slow things down, fostering a contemplative state of mind. By using soothing sounds, you can create a tranquil oasis for overstimulated attendees to unwind, particularly as people readjust to the clamor of live events after the pandemic pause.

Digital-First Signage and LED Displays

Use LED signage and displays to showcase dynamic content sustainably and cost-effectively.

The LED revolution is in full swing. Lower costs, the dynamic nature of LED displays, and a growing emphasis on sustainability within the event industry have made digital-first signage an attractive choice.

When most people think of digital displays they think of screens that are flat as a pancake. However, LED panels and towers can be creatively combined and arranged to add depth to a stage or replace hard set pieces in other areas like entrances.

There are so many ways LED displays are changing the texture of trade shows and conferences. They can be used to create flexible video surfaces for animations, sponsor logos, or convey vital wayfinding information. 

Digital displays have the added advantage of being cheaper to ship than bulky set pieces. As shipping costs rise, we expect the shift to digital to continue.

MAGIC Las Vegas LED wall with cutouts at entrance
A dynamic array of video panels with upper levels of the venue peeking out makes a monumental impression on attendees of MAGIC in Las Vegas.

For bigger budgets, LED panels outfitted with sensors can respond to the movements of event attendees, creating an immersive experience that is still novel enough to make a big impression.

AV for Keynote Presentations

Leverage spotlights, ambient lighting, dynamic effects, LED panels, projection mapping, and live feeds to create an impactful keynote experience.

The keynote experience often shapes attendees’ lasting impressions of an event. Lighting and audio play pivotal roles in setting the mood and focusing attention on the stage. A well-designed stage setup combines spotlights, ambient lighting, and dynamic lighting effects to heighten the speaker’s visual impact.

Consider incorporating LED panels or projection mapping techniques to add depth and dimension to the stage design. For larger venues, live feeds of the speaker can help distant attendees connect better, fostering a more engaging and immersive environment.

Keynote presentation at Aveva
McCune, our West Coast AV team specializing in corporate conferences, enhanced this speaker’s visual impact with LED video displays

Livestreaming and Content Capture

Maximize your event’s reach and sponsorship opportunities by live-streaming, capturing content, and consider on-site broadcasting to engage attendees throughout the venue.

With the rise of hybrid and virtual events, live-streaming key presentations has become essential. This can be accomplished through a variety of platforms, including social media platforms, dedicated live-streaming services, or event websites. 

A good portion of viewership comes after the live-stream has ended. So it makes sense to use a live streaming studio or platform that allows you to record your live video for replay and continue racking up views online.

This could be a selling point for potential sponsors, as branded content can continue to garner engagement for the sponsor’s brand long after the event has passed.

On-Site Broadcasting

We’d be remiss if we didn’t mention on-site broadcasting. It’s essentially the livestreaming of content within the physical event space itself. For this you’ll need dedicated broadcasting infrastructure to distribute the AV feed to screens or displays throughout the venue. 

On-site broadcasting allows attendees to watch from wherever they find themselves, be it an overflow room, a lounge or exhibition space, without having to physically be in the main event area. 

Social Media Integration and Audience Interaction

If your event doesn’t have a hashtag, did it really happen?

It’s a bit of a cliche to say we’re living in a connected world, but it’s true. For many, their experience of a live event will be mediated or augmented by their engagement on relevant social media platforms. 

Incorporating social media and audience interaction into your event is a win-win. Event attendees can share their excitement with their peers while helping spread your event’s reach. Plus, you’ll have plenty of entertaining GIFs and memes to enjoy long after the event is over. 

AV producers have an array of tricks up their sleeves, including real-time social media boards that display the social buzz surrounding a show, encouraging attendees to keep the conversation going online. 

Another engaging approach is the use of audience response systems. Apps like Vevox and MeetingPulse enable instant polling, Q&A sessions, word clouds, and quizzes, providing valuable feedback and enhancing attendee engagement.

Projection Mapping for Immersive Experiences

Harness the transformative power – and novelty factor – of projection mapping.

Projection mapping is a cutting-edge AV technology that uses projectors to transform objects or surfaces—such as walls, floors, or architectural features—into dynamic displays. Projection-mapped spaces have an almost painted-on quality that delights audience members, particularly those who may be encountering the technology for the first time. 

A prominent example of projection mapping’s potential is the Immersive Van Gogh shows, co-produced by Impact Museums and Lighthouse Immersive, which brought Van Gogh’s paintings to life in cities worldwide during the pandemic. As expertise in projection mapping becomes more accessible, we expect to see its integration into more conventional and lower budget event settings.

A look at the New York exhibit of Immersive Van Gogh. Photo by Metropolitan Transit Authority via Flickr

Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality

Leverage VR and AR to enhance demos, activations, and in-booth experiences.

For bigger budgets, VR and AR installations can add interesting options for demos, activations, and in-booth experiences. The key to successful deployment of these immersive technologies is to ensure they align with the brand message or end goal of the event.

While VR and AR are remarkable technologies, we think the strongest impressions come from meaningful conversations about topics that matter to event attendees. Focus on storytelling and social connection to make a lasting impact.

Final Thoughts

To set your event apart and leave a lasting impression on your customers, collaborate with an AV production partner who rocks in these key areas. And remember that the goal is not merely to adopt the latest technology and lighting advancements, but rather to identify the options that best align with your specific customer and their objectives. 

The AV production partner who will always win out is the one who really collaborates and stays open to whatever new AV tech will get the job done right. Learn more about how Shepard AV can set your next event apart.

Shepard is a full-service event production company. We design, develop and manage trade shows, corporate and other events throughout the U.S.