5 Audio Visual Solutions for Tiny to Terrific Event Budgets

5 Audio Visual Solutions for Tiny to Terrific Event Budgets

Some event planners avoid diving deep into audio visual services because they assume they can’t afford them. Instead, they go along with the bare minimum of what a venue can offer because it’s easy. But making decisions based on assumptions can leave your attendees with a lackluster view of your event.


You might be surprised to know that there is audio visual technology available at every price point whether you have a small, medium, or blowout budget. We’ll help you understand how you can incorporate the technology you want at a cost level you can afford.


Every event is different - as are the finances behind them. We’ve laid out some of the most requested AV production categories and how you can employ a version of them, regardless of your budget.


You can use these suggestions as a way to cut costs in your AV expenditure or as tips for getting so much more from your audio visual in areas that are important to you.


Use Projections to Deliver Experience

Projections run the gamut for cost. The more intricate and the larger the space, the more costly they are. But don’t write them off just because your budget is more peanuts than Paris.


What are projections?

Projections use projectors to apply a light image onto a surface. Some light projections fit a 1-dimensional surface, while projection mapping can project a design on a 3-dimensional object completely transforming it.


Cost-conscious budgeting option:

A Wall ProjectionA wall projection. This simple approach projects something like a logo or non-animated design on a focus wall. It can be ideal as a stage backdrop, above a buffet table, or over an area that gets a lot of foot traffic or views like an entrance floor.



Budgeting with a little wiggle room:

Small-area projection mapping. Projection mapping can get quite costly quickly, especially if you start having massively creative ideas of turning the decor of your convention center into the command room for a spaceship. However, you can use it if you only have a mid-range budget as well. You just need to be a little more directed. Look for a smaller area that will get noticed. Again, this could be a wall behind registration or the buffet.


Keep in mind projection mapping can do some intense things with animation. You can create a fishbowl design to captivate your audience’s interest. Costs will incrementally increase the larger and more complex your idea.


Dream budget:

3D-court projection mapping. If you are fortunate enough to have a client who believes in going big or going home and has the bank account to back that up, jump all in to 3D-court projection mapping. Not only can this AV service transform a wall into appearing to be something else (like a factory or control panel) it does so in 3D, so the surface now comes alive. Check out this example from the Cleveland Cavaliers:


Book Audio Services That Resonate with Your Guests

It doesn’t matter much what you say if your audience can’t hear you. Good audio services are a must, but what can you afford?


Cost-conscious budgeting option:

Advanced mic system and speakers. Whenever possible, consider upgrading from your venue’s standard offering. They’re not in the AV business. They make their money on food and beverage. It’s likely they haven’t updated their mics and speakers in a while. Inquire about the details of their technology and bring in an outside AV company if necessary.

Advanced Mic system and speakers

Budgeting with a little wiggle room:

Traveling mics, tailored sound systems. Traveling mics cost a couple hundred dollars but can add a lot of pizzazz to your event. Instead of using a walking mic holder for questions, you can toss the travel mic to the person. These mics are a lot of fun for a tiny upcharge. You also should consider different AV based on the room you’re using and the session media. For example, a live stream in a warehouse space will require different AV needs than a live speaker at a coffee shop venue.


Dream budget:

Incorporating the above items with stage effects, computer support, content management, and digital services. If you still have money to spend, consider doing all of the above with stage effects. Walk-up music, lighting, and smoke machines can all add dramatic effect. Some AV companies also offer the nice-to-have benefits of someone else managing your content, support, and implementation. Fewer worries, mean a smoother event.


Use Clever Lighting Design to Set the Scene

Lighting sets the mood. An investment in lighting can communicate much more than simply being able to see the stage.


Cost-conscious budgeting option:

LED fixtures. LED fixtures create gorgeous light without the heat of traditional bulbs. They’re also energy efficient, which could help on your budget if you’re being billed for usage.


Budgeting with a little wiggle room:

Intelligent fixtures with digital consoles and programming. More and more event planners are embracing intelligent fixtures which light up as programmed or when someone walks by. You can create an incredible statement because these lights seem magical when really they’re simply programmed to light.


Dream budget:

Special effects with interactive capabilities. At this higher budget level, you create a more interactive experience. This type of smart lighting seems almost animated as it can “interact” with your audience, matching patterns, interacting with a beat, and more.



Pick Visual Technology That Gets Attention

Visual technology is a broad category that encompasses everything from projections to cameras, just as the name denotes.


Cost-conscious budgeting option:

A wall projector and screenA wall projector and screen. You can easily turn a blank wall into a branding opportunity or something else of interest with a projector. If you don’t have a flat surface, you can create one temporarily with a makeshift screen that covers the wall.

image source


Budgeting with a little wiggle room:

HD projector and LED walls. Another cool projection idea, if you have a slightly larger budget, is LED walls. These items are as clear as television screens but provide a futuristic look. They can be partially transparent, allowing people to see through them, or they can create a background that looks exceptionally lifelike.


Dream budget:

Live video feed from multiple cameras, live edited with content from the screens. If you have a budget with few limitations, there are a lot of amazing AV services you can work with. You could use a live video feed with multiple cameras, projecting onto live video walls and edited/spliced with interactive content.


Be Savvy with Digital & Interactive Technology to Be a Cut Above

This area of tech tends to be a little pricier, but within the category, we’ve split out the least expensive area of entry all the way up to high AV budget options.


Cost-conscious budgeting option:

High-res LED tiles. LED tiles, like the walls, can provide a very cool effect and area of interest. Tiles tend to be a little less expensive than huge LED display walls, but when grouped together can offer a dramatic statement. They can be arranged in geometric shapes or at random along a wall for a very different look.


Budgeting with a little wiggle room:

Interactive, transparent OLED. If you’ve ever watched a science fiction movie, like Minority Report, you may have seen semi-transparent screens that allow for projection and interaction with the content. They’re beguiling for the audience and incredibly futuristic looking. The good news is that they’re now a real option that you can implement at your event. If you have a little extra in your budget, they are an impactful addition. These interactive OLED screens are ideal for product unveilings and presenting information without obscuring anyone’s view.


Dream budgets:

Virtual reality and augmented reality. If you are working with a larger AV services budget, you may want to consider using virtual or augmented reality at your event. Virtual reality involves putting on headgear and feeling as if you’ve been transported to another world. The technology is immersive but physically you are alone in your pursuits.


Want to bring others into the virtual world with you? Augmented reality fits “over” the real world through projections or devices that enable you to see special things, bonuses, additional content, etc. Pokemon Go! is an example of augmented reality. It allowed you to see creatures hiding in your real-world environment through your smartphone.


Some museums and cruise ships have implemented augmented reality technology to provide additional learning for the artwork or schedules. Events could use it by telling attendees what was next on the agenda just by focusing the phone on an area in the conference room.



If you’re not an AV expert, it’s difficult to fully understand all of your options. While hiring an AV tech can seem expensive, there are plenty of ways you can afford and customize a small service for big impact. A little bit more budget can make a huge difference in terms of wow factor. Partnering with an AV production company can help you understand what you can afford and how to bring those services to your event for maximum attendee enjoyment.


AV tech companies work with event planners in a variety of ways from consultative (telling you what you need and leaving it up to you to bring it all together) to hands-on set-up, execution, and management - like ON Services. At ON Services, we work as an extension of your event planning team so AV production is one less thing you have to worry about. But that one thing has an extraordinary effect on your audience, so you don’t want to leave it as an afterthought.


If you’d like to find out more about how to stretch your AV budget or what AV tech you can afford for your next event, get a free quote and suggestions today.

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