Important audio-visual requirements for a showstopper event

Once upon a time, in the not-too-distant past, a clean room with a lectern and microphone were the key ingredients to a great meeting or conference. As consumer expectations have matured over the years, so have the in-house services offered by Prairieland. To meet the needs of our ever-evolving clientele, we have elevated our audio-visual game to help them produce show-stopping events that will be talked about for years.


Written by Jay Boechler
Manager of A/V Production, Prairieland

Like our clients, each event is one-of-a-kind. Whether we are hosting a business meeting, an industry trade show, a conference, a banquet, or a live performance, we start by getting to know the event and determining its basic needs. As most event planners don’t understand the technical terminology we use amongst ourselves, we use visuals whenever we can to demonstrate what’s possible. It’s our goal to help them get the best “wow factor” for their budget by offering amazing stage presentation options.

So, how do we do it? We start with four crucial questions.

The four basic Audio-Visual questions to ask

The atmosphere in the hall can be spot on, and the aroma wafting from the kitchen may smell divine, but if the speaker cannot be seen clearly or the entertainer cannot be heard audibly, then ‘Houston, we have a problem.’ We ask four basic questions when designing and constructing our in-house events:

  1. Can the entertainer or speaker be heard?
  2. Can the entertainer or speaker be seen?
  3. Can the entertainer or speaker display their visual content successfully?
  4. Can the entertainer or speaker be broadcast globally or be brought in virtually?

Eventgoers will appreciate the crucial addition of network systems and faster internet speeds to deliver the best results. What was once “A/V” has steadily developed into A/V – I.T. – two separate technical skill sets merged into one for today’s tech-savvy demands.

Stay hidden, let the light and sound shine on the speaker(s) and guests

As the manager of Prairieland’s Audio-Visual Production Department for the last 12 years, the team and I have learned many tricks of the trade that can take an ordinary event and make it extraordinary by harnessing the power of light and sound. Collectively, we have over 150 years of professional experience and we bring that cumulative know-how to the table. To achieve each event’s unique atmosphere, we set up the necessary components and then strive to remain hidden in order to seamlessly execute the technical aspects without your guests even knowing we are there.

The main plenary stage of any conference or convention is the centrepiece that determines the overall look and feel of the event. Level audio paired with balanced stage lighting and large-scale visual components are the ways to achieve impressive results for this type of occasion. Smaller décor lighting is nice in this setting, but lighting proportion is key – you want the stage to pop but the room cannot be so dim as to induce sleep. Your keynote speaker will thank you!

Lighting and colour can transform a space and add to the overall experience.

Most people don’t think of lighting or audio when it comes to trade shows, but you would be surprised how much our A/V production department interacts with such setups. High-resolution LED walls provide opportunities for sponsorship recognition and booth information, whereas digital display signs help attendees find their way around the halls. Again, there is a high demand for strong, secure internet service, which can be integral to the success of a 21st-century multi-vendor sales event.

While food quality and service will always be number one when it comes to successful receptions and gala dinners, audio-visual is now coming in a close second. We treat these sit-down meals the same as a live performance. The stage must stand out, yes, but the entire room must be brought into play to create an inviting atmosphere that welcomes a guest the moment they walk in. In this case, colour is everything. Low ambient lighting gives the lighting design prominence, and this is where we can take a typical banquet hall and transform it into something truly outstanding. By using slow-moving lights, bright visuals, décor lighting, and gobos, we can create an environment that will enhance the experience of the meal making a strong audio-visual presentation almost as important as the food on the plate.

The future of A/V tech for events

Light and sound for the smallest show is just as important as the biggest

Great audio-visuals can greatly impact and improve any performance and these days, audience expectations for live stage shows are much higher than they used to be. Strong, clean audio with balanced, fluid lighting, and video must flawlessly accompany the energy of the music to deliver an entire vibe to the audience. Concerts must be stimulating for the eyes and the ears, therefore more components are being used today than ever before to make that happen.

Planning audio-visual for a meeting may seem basic but it’s still an essential element that requires an even audio level, lights strategically focused on a bright visual surface, and a strong enough internet signal for a possible virtual component. As global communication tools advance, virtual speakers and/or a virtual audience are becoming regular features of modern-day meetings.

Since 2012, Prairieland’s audio-visual capabilities have grown from a couple of microphones and speakers into a fully functioning A/V production department with nine full-time staff members and an additional six part-time and casual technicians. By 2018, our component inventory had grown to surpass the standards that clients were receiving at other venues. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Prairieland made a voluntary pivot to include infrastructure that would allow us to host virtual meetings and live-streaming broadcasts. We continuously improve our facility whenever possible and keep our eyes open for the next level of services that we will be able to offer future clients for show-stopping events of their own.

Showstopper  Noun. A performance or segment of a theatrical production that induces a positive audience reaction strong enough to pause the production for applause or appreciation.

Prairieland welcomes over 1.5 million visitors each year to our convention center in Saskatoon, hosting a wide array of client events and self-produced Signature Events. Our overarching vision is to enrich diverse communities by delivering extraordinary experiences through premier events and world-class facilities. If you’d like to know how we can help make your next event extraordinary, reach out and ask to speak with one of our Client Services Coordinators. You can reach us at 1-306-931-7149 or email