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Why we recommend the gear we do

  • February 05, 2020
Why we recommend the gear we do

We can “do” AV at a lot of different levels. At VIP Audio Visual, we work with every client to understand the scope of their event, and the level of the show that they want to produce.

When we provide a quote, we do our best to match the equipment we're providing to the client's needs as we understand them. Many times we get questions from a client wondering why we’ve chosen to include a certain piece of gear. On the surface it may appear that we can get by without that equipment, but our years of experience in the industry have helped us recognize the most common problems that are likely to arise, and the tools we need to avoid them – creating a flawless event for you and your guests.

Downstage Monitors

If you haven't worked with downstage monitors (confidence monitors, or DSMs) before, it's hard to grasp the value that they bring to an event. When your presenter is standing on stage, the video screens are almost always behind them. Their focus needs to be on the audience, but they can't see their slides without turning to look at the screen.

Placing a monitor on the floor in front of the stage allows them to reference their slides while still engaging the audience. It also keeps their head turned towards the front of their body, directing their voice toward the microphone (which keeps our audio guys and your audience happy). Read our full article about Working with Confidence Monitors to understand more about what these bring to your event.

Dedicated Show Computers

Clients will often try to save a couple of bucks by choosing to use their own laptops for presentation computers instead of ours. On small shows this may work out okay, but for large events it's important that we have laptops that are specifically designed for presentation use. Our computers are set up to disable all energy saving features, screensavers, notifications, antivirus pop-ups, videos from the wife on Skype, and other distractions that interfere with your presentation.

Our technicians will often network our computers so that we can share files between them, eliminating the need to individually load files via thumb drive onto 6 or more computers for larger shows. For large corporations or healthcare organizations, the IT Department usually has security restrictions on the laptops that lock us out of making critical settings changes, accessing networking, or loading content from USB devices. In the heat of the show, these restrictions can cause major issues leaving us without a workaround.


Stage and decorative lighting can transform your event. Decorative colored lights dress up the room and can be set to match your corporate branding or event colors. While stage lights are critical for video production, they can also help focus the audience's attention on the stage and provide visual cues for the start of a session and transitions to video playback. Even the simplest lighting setup can also be used to provide visual effects for award presentations.

Redundant Equipment

“Wait, seven laptops?” Yep. On large shows we’ll often need more. Smaller shows may get by with two.

On every event, we run a primary and backup laptop. These machines run in sync (which is why we need to use our presentation remotes, not yours). If the primary machine crashes, we can seamlessly switch to the backup machine. If we’re running notes on a DSM (confidence monitor), that adds a third laptop to the set. On large events, we need to have two sets of computers so that the next presentation can be loaded up on standby while the live computer is busy. Add in another machine for video playback, title slides, or other administrative tasks, and we’ve gotten to 7 computers pretty fast. On top of this our video department will often be running additional laptops for timers, network administration and file management, scenic projection, video streaming, and other tasks. It’s not at all unusual for “video village” to host 12-15 computers in addition to our switching, recording and routing hardware.

Every event brings with it a specific set of challenges and requirements. Having the right gear in place gives us the capability to adapt and overcome almost any challenge. If a flawless show is not important to you, then some of this equipment may be able to be eliminated. At VIP Audio Visual, our goal is to produce amazing events that go off without a hitch, which is why we place so much emphasis on having the right gear to do the job. If you’d like to experience the professionalism and expertise that sets us apart from the rest, we’d love to talk.

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