EventTech Insights: AV Chicago

EventTech Insights with AV Chicago

Name: Amanda Eberle

Title: General Manager

Company: AV Chicago

rAVe [PUBS]: Tell us a little bit about who you are and what AV Chicago does.

AMANDA EBERLE: AV Chicago is an event production company based out of Chicago. We work with event/meeting planners, DMCs, colleges/ universities, other event producers and more. While Chicago is in our name, we travel nationwide to support our clients events. Not only are we a team of about 30 professionals focused on delivering exceptional events for our clients we also have a vast inventory of event technology to seamlessly support our clients events. My role is the general manager, where I run the day-to-day operations of our organization. I have the privilege of working with our team to provide a premium service to our clients

rAVe [PUBS]: How did you get involved with the live events community?

AE: My first experience in the live events segment of the ProAV industry was while I was working for AVIXA. In my time there, I was able to meet and connect with various live events business owners and professionals. That got my foot in the door and after learning more from them about what they get to do, I knew that live events was my community. When the opportunity presented itself for me to get to take my career background in organization growth and leadership with a community I felt connected to, I jumped at the opportunity. It also didn’t hurt that I was able to work with co-owners Justin Frick and Andrew Brode whom I had the pleasure of getting to know and working with during my time at AVIXA. During my career in AV, I also was able to volunteer and work for my church where I helped run audio, video and lighting and during the pandemic helped launch and produce the live stream.

rAVe [PUBS]: What’s your approach to collaborating with meeting planners, manufacturers, etc. to ensure a smooth and successful event?

AE: Meeting and event planners are our clients and it is important that we understand the needs of their specific events — what are they trying to accomplish for their attendees, who are their attendees, what content are they trying to deliver at their event, is it social or a fundraiser or is it a corporate event where they are trying to get information across to their attendees, etc. All these play into the technology needed to deliver on their vision.

When it comes to manufactures and technology, we look to partner with brands we can trust to deliver, that are durable and get what we need to get done taking the gear on the road. We don’t install gear, but we set it up and strike it with each event. We are constantly using our gear and we need it to hold up to the job. We have strong brand loyalty to those that deliver. Our relationship with manufacturers is not event-specific, but purchase-specific. We look at lifecycle planning with our technology and look at how we are deploying our systems. Based off the needs of events, trends we are seeing and how much we are subrenting items not in our inventory, factor into our purchase plans and priorities.

rAVe [PUBS]: How do you assess and mitigate potential risks related to tech malfunctions during live events?

AE: At AV Chicago, one of our core beliefs is that we are show ready. Show ready means we think and plan ahead for our clients events — what things could go wrong or might be needed to produce a successful event. This starts in our sales process where we take the time to understand the client’s vision and needs and extends to our onsite team who is executing. Even our warehouse team members will look through what is being sent onsite to make sure we aren’t missing anything. Mistakes and malfunctions are going happen, it is part of what makes live events live events, but if we can plan for the worse case scenario, we are prepared for when mistakes happen. This means having extra microphones, remotes, lamps and more. It also is about communicating with the team and the client and making sure we are all on the same page.

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rAVe [PUBS]: Can you share a particularly challenging live event install you’ve overseen recently? What were the key technical hurdles you encountered and how did you overcome them?

AE: We do events and tech gremlins are a thing. Recently, when we were deploying a large LED wall (think 30-plus feet), we were having issues getting consistent picture to the screen and experiencing some flickering. Troubleshooting is vital as you are working through a tech issue like this. As a team, we came together to try different potential solutions to try and fix the problem. Our team stayed late to make sure that we solved the problem and when we figured it out (a smaller converter fixed the issue), we made sure to procure backups to mitigate the problem, should it happen again. The show went off without a hitch, but this was a particularly challenging situation that pushed us in the final moments to get a solution to deliver for our client.

rAVe [PUBS]: What’s your favorite current live event tech trend and why?

AE: It might seem small, but the advancements in technology continue to push us and help build on the experience of the attendees. For example, we have an adaptive line array from EAW. This allows us to custom tailor the sounds experience to the event. The system will adapt to the environment and help adjust levels based on environment, attendees and what is being pushed out on the speakers. We are able to make adjustments in real time without the attendees knowing which only elevates their experience.

rAVe [PUBS]: Anything else you’d like to add?

AE: As a live events company, we are a niche within ProAV. We live for live and the thrill of rush to get everything setup, tested and show ready for our clients — all to tear it back down at the end of the event to do it all again the next day. While the technology at each event is similar with audio, video and lighting, the outcomes are vastly different. We could be setting up for a commencement, wowing guest at a gala, putting together a captivating general session for a conference and so much more. Our clients come with a vision and we have the privilege to be the artist of technology to execute.