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Aspect Ratio

Aspect Ratio – The ratio of width to height of any screen or display device, regardless of resolution. Older TVs have an aspect ratio of 4:3 (4 parts wide by 3 parts tall), Most new TV’s and High Definition displays use a 16:9 ratio. Standard Definition video can also be 16:9. Note that “widescreen” can refer to may  aspect ratios. The most common widescreen ratios are 16:9 (TVs) and 16:10 (computers).


Hands – A general term for laborers hired to set-up and strike a show. Specific “Hands” can be used, such as lighting hands which are laborers who work on lighting. Most hands are used in several areas of set-up and strike.


Breaks – Most labor companies and unions have mandatory breaks such as meal breaks and 15 minute breaks. Break requirements vary by company and union, but generally laborers must be given at least a 15-minute break after every 2 hours of work and a 1-hour meal break after no more than 5 hours. Any time a laborer works past a required break will usually be charged at overtime rates until they get their break.

AV vs Catering

Audio Visual vs Catering

Food at Events

Oddly enough, AV and catering do have some needs in common, mainly the need for floor space and room access. Unfortunately, this little detail is often overlooked and causes logistical problems and frustration with both food servers and Audio-Visual crews. So here are some rules to live by.

First, always let your AV provider know if there is going to be any catering in a room.

This includes buffets & serving stations, bars, and especially served meals. Here’s the kicker, give your AV company this tasty little morsel of information BEFORE they set up the AV! Here’s why. An AV set-up will often block access doors, usually on the wall where the stage is located. If that happens to be where catering needs to enter and exit, guess what? You’ve got a conflict.

In addition to obstacles such as screens, drapery, scenery, projection towers, speaker stands, equipment racks, and AV catering issuesground supported equipment, there is also a string of cables and power cords that hook everything together which can be trip hazards for servers. AV also needs to have a place for their empty road cases, which is most often behind the stage, drape, or screens. Once this is all set up it can be a major undertaking to re-position all this stuff to make access for catering (which, by the way, usually comes with added cost to you). If known in advance, an AV company can usually work around catering needs, even though a solution may not make either party completely happy.

Second, plan on space for catering and set some ground rules.

Speaker stacks, equipment racks, camera platforms, and stage pieces are completely off limits for use as serving platforms! Serving stations that are set-up near or in front of technical positions can also cause some unraveling of nerves. Believe it or not, these things are common problems.

Finally, schedule accordingly.AV Catering same event

Catering needs time in the room to set tables and prep food and drinks. This can be a problem if there is still AV gear being set-up and dialed in, or if there is a scheduled rehearsal or equipment check going on. Also let your AV provider know of any room changes in advance, such as closing or opening of air walls, any changes in seating configuration, or anything else that will affect room space.

There is one more thing to keep in mind. AV gear such as cameras and technical positions always require cabling, which is often run along the floor and taped down. These cables may need to traverse open floor space as well as doorways. AV companies will do their best, but often have few options when it comes to cable paths.

A2 multiple audio technicians

A2 – An audio technician usually responsible for setting up microphones and interfacing instruments on stage, as well as putting mics on presenters. An A2 will usually be required if there are a lot of audio changes on stage, such as multiple bands, or if there are several microphones and instruments being used. A monitor engineer will often handle the responsibilities of an A2, but not always.


Blended Image

Blended Image – A switching and display technology where a single image is divided among multiple projectors which are then “blended” together to create one projected image that is larger than any one projector can make. These images are usually very wide (like a movie screen) or tall. These images can also have multiple PiPs (Picture in Picture, or “windows”) that can display anything from camera shots to PowerPoint presentations. Advantages are that screens can be used for scenery and can display a lot of content in many ways. Plus, they are just plain cool to look at! Disadvantages are costs – switching packages are expensive and graphics must be custom designed.


Balun – Short for a “Balancing/Unbalancing” device. A Balun is a device that will convert audio and video signals to be carried over Cat5 cable. Baluns have 2 parts: a transmitter and a receiver with a Cat5 cable in between. Baluns do NOT digitize signal (turn signal into digital code) and are NOT to be used with computer networks and will, in fact, damage computer routers and switches.