Learn to speak audio visual.

Read definitions of some of the most common audio visual terms, acronyms and phrases we use.

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Audio visual technology is constantly changing. New tools and more efficient solutions are announced on what seems like a daily basis.

To help our clients keep up with the latest trends and the most used terms, we have compiled an audio visual technology glossary specifically related to meetings and events.

Our audiovisual technology glossary is not meant to be a comprehensive resource. Instead, this is a collection of the most common words, acronyms and phrases we use. We want to hear from you! What words are missing from this audio visual technology glossary?  Send us an email with your thoughts and suggestions.

4:3, 16.9:

These two numbers are aspect ratios of images, which describe the proportional relationship between its width and its height. Two of the most common aspect ratios in still photography are 4:3 and 16:9.

ARS:

An acronym that means audience response system, which is a system that allows a group of people to interact with each other and a presenter by voting on a topic or answering a question. Depending on the audience response solution chosen, each person has a device with which selections can be made. In a hardware solution, each remote communicates with a computer via receivers located around the room or via a single receiver connected to the presenter’s computer using a USB connector. In a software solution, each device communicates with the question via SMS or the Internet. After a specific amount of time has passed, the ARS ends the polling and the results are instantly made available to the participants displayed on the projector but can also be viewed in a web browser.

Aspect Ratio:

For viewing presentations on a screen, the two most common aspect ratios are 16:9/widescreen and 4:3/standard.

Bandwidth:

A measurement of the ability of an electronic communications device or system (like a computer network) to send and receive information.

Cat5:

An abbreviation of Category 5, network cabling supports speeds up to 1000 Mbps.

ColorBlast TR:

ColorBlast TR is a full-color LED trademarked lighting fixture. It produce millions of colors without gels or filters.

Confidence monitor:

A downstage video monitor that most often doubles what’s on the main projection screens. It’s for the convenience of the presenter on stage, and just like its name implies, it gives the presenter the “confidence” to not turn and look at the main projection screens; instead the presenter can glance down at the confidence monitor and know his/her presentation is properly synched.

Current and next:

When giving a talk in a general session, some speakers prefer to have two downstage monitors in front of them: one displaying the current slide and one displaying the next slide.

D plug:

The Type D electrical plug has three large round pins in a triangular pattern. Type M plugs are often used alongside Type D plugs for larger appliances and as a result, some sockets work with both Type D and Type M plugs.

Direct Input:

You might have figured out that AV folks like abbreviations. Here’s another: DI for direct input, which refers to a device used to connect a high-impedance, line level, unbalanced output signal to a low-impedance microphone level balanced input, /impedance bridging to minimize noise, distortion and ground loops.

Dongle:

An adapter used to convert one type of signal to another; for example most Apple products need a dongle to convert the video output to VGA so a projector will accept it.

Down stage monitor (also floor monitors or confidence monitors):

These are large video screens placed on the floor between the presenter and the audience.

Downstage:

The front of the stage (nearest to the audience).

DVI:

An acronym that means digital visual interface. For a cleaner, crisper image on the screen, digital cabling, such as DVI, is used.

Embedded Files:

We like to abbreviate embedded files and call them beds; by embedded files we usually mean music tracks that are the base, or in the background, for corporate videos or videos that are embedded into your powerpoint presentation.

Ethernet:

Another word for CAT5.

Fiber optics:

The use of thin flexible fibers of glass or other transparent solids to transmit light signals, chiefly for telecommunications or for internal examination of the body.

Flip/Reset the room:

When a room layout (tables and/or AV) needs to be changed a quick way to say it needs to be reset is to say it needs to be “flipped.”

Floor monitors:

These are large video screens placed on the floor between the presenter and the audience.

Front/rear screen projection:

When the projector is in front of the screen where the crowd can see it, front projection is being used. When it’s hiding behind the screen, we’re using rear projection.

Gaff tape or gaffer tape:

Our favorite kind of tape because it’s made of tough cotton that’s pressure-sensitive and stays stuck to stuff.

General Session:

General Sessions are frequently associated with larger conferences or conventions. They usually run between one and two hours and the organizer’s leadership will cover general agenda items, and outline the objectives for the overall program. Presenters help set the tone of the meeting or event.

Gobo:

Not to be confused with Bogo, the name Gobo comes from “Go between” or “Goes before o” It’s a template with slots that’s placed in front of a lighting source, used to control the shape of emitted light.

Ground lift:

This is a technique used to reduce or eliminate ground-related noise when connecting signal lines between two or more pieces of equipment.

Keystone effect or tombstone effect:

The keystone effect happens when attempting to project an image onto a surface at an angle. For example, when a projector is not centered on the screen it is projecting on, the projected image dimensions are distorted, making a square look like a trapezoid. Keystoning a projector allows us to make the image squarer on a screen and less trapezoidal.

LCD:

LCD stands for liquid crystal display, which is a type of display used in digital watches and many portable computers that use two sheets of polarizing material with a liquid crystal solution between them.

LCD monitor:

A monitor that uses LCD technologies instead of the conventional CRT technologies used by most desktop monitors. The main advantage of LCD monitors is that they can produce very bright and sharp images.

LCD printer:

A type of printer that shines a light through a liquid crystal panel.

LED:

The abbreviation stands for light emitting diode. We typically talk about LEDs for backlighting LCD televisions, lightweight laptop displays and light source for DLP projectors.

Leko:

Leko is short for Lekolite and it’s a brand of ellipsoidal reflector spotlights used for a spotlight, stage wash or Gobo.

Lighting tree:

A vertical pipe that is placed on the side of the stage to hold lighting instruments. Another common way to refer to a lighting tree is to call it a boom.

Load-in:

The process of putting the set together on stage.

Load-out:

The process of taking the set onstage down. And it’s also a song co-written and performed live by Jackson Browne from his 1977 album Running on Empty.

Lumen:

The unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total amount of visible light emitted by a source. The higher the lumen of a projector, the stronger the lamp and brighter the image.

Matrix Switcher:

A matrix switcher is a combination or array of electronic switches which route a number of signal sources to one or more designations. Using a matrix switcher allows us to have multiple sources to be able to view on screen with the press of a button.

Microphone runner:

Microphone runners or mic runners as we like to abbreviate, are those really thoughtful people that carry microphones and bring them to members of the audience with questions so that everyone in the audience can hear the questions.

Mirror mode:

Mirror mode is the feature that allows you to see the same image on the screen and on your computer.

Operating System (OS):

The most important program that runs on a computer. Computers and mobile devices must have an operating system to run programs. Examples: Microsoft Windows, Unix and OS X by Apple, Inc.

Partial/full strike:

To take down or dismantle the current room layout and set-up.

Pipe and drape:

To give more of a formal look in a General Session, we typically use pipe and drape behind the stage and on either side of the screens, which lights can then be projected onto for more color.

Play-ons:

Music used to introduce presenters as they walk up to the stage.

Printer networking:

When several people are in an office and all need to use multiple printers, they can be put on a network to allow wireless printing so you don’t have to take your laptop over to the printer each time.

Projector throw:

Here’s a term we borrow from the golden era of movies. Throw is the distance of a projector from the screen, meaning it‘s the distance the image is thrown onto the screen, and it has a large effect on screen size. The shorter the throw of the projector, the closer to the screen it can be when in use.

RAM:

An acronym for “random access memory,” RAM is a type of computer memory that can be accessed randomly; that is, any byte of memory can be accessed without touching the preceding bytes. RAM is the most common type of memory found in computers and other devices, such as printers.

Rental agreement (RA):

We often reference the agreements we have with our vendors.

Resolution:

Refers to the sharpness and clarity of an image. When we talk about resolution, we’re usually describing monitors, printers and graphic images.

Seamless screen or seamless interface:

A seamless interface is the joining of two computer programs so that they appear to be one program with a single user interface, which means one program works with another one and the user can use both of them.

Show flow:

The show flow includes: start and stop times of presentations and who the presenter is for any given General Session or meeting. These two things combine to give us the show flow.

Spike:

Just like in modern theater, we refer to the mark on the stage where the presenter stands, as the spike

Spike tape:

To create the presenter’s mark on stage, a.k.a. the spike, we use spike tape. We use good quality gaffer’s tape that doesn’t leave a residue when removed from the stage.

Streaming audio/video:

Streaming audio/video or media streaming is a technique for transferring data so that it can be processed as a steady and continuous stream.

Subwoofer:

A subwoofer is a complete loudspeaker, which means it reproduces low-pitched audio frequencies known as bass. We typically use subwoofers in general session rooms to add bass audio to give a full range sound.

Tripod screen:

For most breakout rooms, we typically use a 6 feet, 7 feet or 8 feet tripod screen to project images onto.

Truss:

The metal lattice tower used to support a projector, Leko light, screen or drape is considered a truss. Typically trusses are 6 feet or taller.

Turnaround:

The time it takes to receive, produce, finish and deliver a file or project.

Voice of God:

When making general announcements or introductions in a General Session, the audio tech uses their microphone for a ‘Voice of God’ announcement.

Working agenda or Hotel BEO:

Two names we often use for contractual agreements, which spell-out the objectives and details of a meeting or event between the guest(s) and the facility.