How to use light and AV creatively & to a budget!

Understanding AV and lighting can be a mine-field if you’re trying to design your party, as well as trying to keep in budget. We have spoken to the experts in production to answer just that. This Expert Series we chat through how to use AV and lighting as well as the top tips to enhance your party further!

“On any event, the use of lighting and AV equipment can be transformative and not cost the earth.”

“Although, there are a few ground rules in order to achieve this. My first bit of advice would be, before you start planning any event, ensure you understand the venue. This includes the architecture, the layout alongside the way guests engage with the event spaces.

By asking the right questions at an early stage, this unlocks potential. Major factors to consider are rigging, the time you have to install, natural light as well as acoustics along with projection potential! If projection is something you’re looking for, obtain 3D plans of the venue if possible.”

“In terms of lighting, I’d advise working with the architecture as the most effective way of working to a budget. Often venues present a structured architectural layout which predetermines the way that light forms. Similarly, modern interiors present opportunities to break convention, yet also allow for simple lighting design techniques which can still have an impact.

Yet lighting is only one aspect. Most technology can work together – therefore we move away from considering lighting, sound and AV as three completely separate disciplines. Why not think about how a system can be designed to work together.

 Also, this can be an immediate money saver, reducing the extent of infrastructure and making it much faster to install. Similarly, with a wider range of equipment now responding to wireless, the new opportunities are there for development – not to mention reduce the budget significantly!”

Get in touch for further advice on your AV and lighting needs.

Jason Larcombe, Project Manager, White Light

“As a party planner who specialises in weddings and parties and work mainly in marquees, lighting plays a huge part in all our events.”

“As it’s taken for granted that the dining area and dancefloor will have lighting of some kind I thought I would concentrate on the other areas that often get forgotten!”

The Reception Lawn

“The majority of our parties are through the summer therefore it doesn’t get dark until around 9.30pm. Reception drinks have taken place on the lawn in front of the marquee, guests then get called in to dinner and that’s that. Although, we think it shouldn’t be.

The reception lawn can become another room, albeit outside. With the use of carefully positioned lighting under large trees and strings of beautiful festoon lights, you can very quickly light the lawn. We believe this creates an atmospheric area to adjourn to after dinner. The venue can often create an excellent back drop on which to project a message or use for video mapping. You might also want to have a slide show for guests to enjoy while taking a break from dancing.”

After Dinner

“Again it’s the little things that make a huge difference to a party. Is the route to the outside bathrooms well lit? One doesn’t want to be stumbling around in the dark to find the conveniences! Having said that it doesn’t need to be much, a few well positioned ground floor lights is all that’s needed.”

The Catering Tent

“Here we think about your suppliers. Once dinner has finished, the caterers will perhaps start to break down. It’s therefore so important to make sure they have an area lit behind the catering tent for which to load their vans and clear down. Again, it doesn’t have to be much, but very effective as the last thing you want is anything left behind because they couldn’t see them.”

The way home

“Finally after an amazing evening, all good things do come to end and one has to go home. Tiki torches make a really simple and very cost effective way of lighting a path. You can buy them from Amazon or good garden centres, you then need the citronella fuel as this helps keep away the bugs too. It’s the difference of walking into a puddle, to having a hassle free departure, driving home with a huge smile across your face.

Finally if you’re using a planner they will probably have these areas covered and will have included them in the budget at very little additional cost.”

Get in touch for further event planning and marquee advice.

Tim Hanbury, Managing Director, Apollo Event Consultants

“The first thing is to consider what the venue can already do or what it already has.”

“Often and especially in London, venues have fantastically interesting lighting features. Things like big chandeliers are great, which look beautiful in a dark orange hue when dimmed. Whereas the modern venues have LED or florescent lighting features. It’s important to choose a venue where the existing architecture is complimentary to the event theme. There are venues across the UK built in all periods of history, choose one that represents your event so that the Lighting and AV can compliment this. 

Our clients often have elaborate and creative ideas, which we love! Also, everyone wants to try a new design or create a twist to their theme. It is important to do so that the chosen venue can facilitate the technical behind the creative.”

“The primary thing for connecting lighting to the theme is the colour and texture. Woodlands would naturally attract green hues with heavy breakup GOBOs for example. We believe the best way to surprise guests, is to focus their attention elsewhere with lighting. In an event over the summer, we created a surprise where the guests would control the lighting in the room via a button that they didn’t realise was going to do so!”

Key questions to consider

“How much power is available?”

The load in process; “How can we get the equipment in?”

Rules of the venue; “Are there any restrictions to where the technical equipment can be placed?”

To finish, we would ideally like a sketched floor plan so we can be clear on what is going where for the event, this way we can plan our cabling etc around the main areas!”

Top tips for rigging and on-site questions to ask before booking the venue

“Provide CAD plans and technical specifications.

Be clear about what the whole event is, don’t hold back on information as it could cause technical issues and more expense down the line.

We would recommend you asking the venue about the access times and the loading facilities.

Also, if there are any restrictions when setting up the lighting. What is the cost for set up charged by the venue; any hire fees?”

For further technical advice and how to create impact a your event, get in touch!

The Production and Design Team, Lux Technical

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