Planning tips for an Award Ceremony

Different types of Award Ceremonies

There are a variety of awards ceremonies which you could be planning for, from Film & TV awards, Music awards, Industry & Business awards to School and University awards. Whatever the award ceremony is for, we will help you prepare for your awards event to win a trophy of its own! An award ceremony should be helping to celebrate the success stories, and at London Audio Visual we want to ensure that we can help you achieve this.


Rehearsals are equally as important as the event as it itself. Our technicians can attend rehearsals, so they are aware of how you want the final show to look. This will also give you the chance to see what the possible problems could be, and we can discuss other options with you, we won’t commit to any changed until you are happy with the final look.

You may wish to hire a laptop from us, for your rehearsals, as it may be worth editing the script there and then (time saver tip) and then may be good to have a final run through with the use of the autocue, this will allow the presenters to get used to all the equipment.

Another useful tip is to have large timers on the lecterns/stage stands to ensure that the presenters and winners making speeches are sticking to strict timings, so the award ceremony can cover all the original aspects planned.

Timings for technicians to set-up and de-rig timings

You must factor in making sure there is enough time for the technicians to set all of the equipment up and also for de-rigging. You will need to check this with the Venue Co-ordinator to check that the times are within their venue hire charges, if not, you may need to negotiate this. Remember to be realistic, as de-rigging takes time. If you are unsure of the time it will take, speak to a member of our technical team and they will look at the amount of equipment you have and give you an honest time frame.

Seating arrangements

Think about the layout of the venue, make sure your seating arrangement works around any pillars or other obstacles which will block your guests view. Guests who will not have a clear view of the stage, will need to be near a plasma screen or projector. You may wish to go for the more traditional round tables, or if space is limited, long tables will seat more people.  A seating plan will help organise guests, and this information could be put on a plasma screen in the lobby, rather than you having to design the plan in a traditional form, this will allow you to make use of your time elsewhere.

Sound Systems

There is nothing worse than being seated at the back of the hall and not being able to hear a word of the key speaker! Remember to think carefully about the room size, not only for number of guest but also important for the sound equipment, our technical team will complete an on-site visit to go through where the best place will be to position the sound systems, so everyone can hear the same quality of the sound. If you can attend this on-site visit, it will be beneficial, however we understand that your schedule may not be able to fit this is, so as long as we have discussed with you what your desired look and position of all equipment it, we will still be able to carry out the site visit without you. Once the visit is completed, we will relay our thoughts on the original plan and advise you on any changes which will improve the audience’s visual and audio experience.

You will also want to consider sound technicians playing intro and outro music during the actual award ceremony. Having the technicians watching the show in rehearsals allows them to programme the lights to the sound of the music, creating an awe inspiring show for the audience.

Projections/Plasma screens

Also, if you are inviting a large number of guest (remember to make sure that all guests are accounted for…don’t invite 500 and only cater for 400!) you may want to think about large scale projections around the venue, to ensure that no parts of the event are missed by your guests. If you wish to have a more formal look, then large plasma screens will do the same job. Plasma screens can also be used to showcase important footage or information from the event e.g. nominees and winners, sponsors, etc.

You can also use the projector to showcase graphics or brand logos onto the stage or around the venue. If you are want a more artistic look to your awards events, then projections can have that desired effect.

Mic Systems

Remember to think about the Mic system you want to have. You may want to have your main presenters with wireless mics, lapel mics and then have the guest speakers have either a hand-held mic or speak from a lectern.

Where possible, you want to also have wireless systems. The last thing you want is for the wires to ruin the decor of your amazing award ceremony. Our technicians are also safety trained, so all wires (if used) will be concealed in a safe manner, allow no chance of guests tripping up!

If there will be performers on the stage, you will need to take into consideration that mic stands will be needed for the artists, and mics placed around any instruments on the stage for the sound to be amplified, thus allowing the audience to enjoy the acoustics.


You will also need to think about how you want the light to work with the presenters, traditional spot lights are used to follow the presenters on the stage, as well as follow the journey of the winner from the audience to the stage. This is a classic and timeless way to highlight the important people at the event, and we love the Oscars feel of it! Don’t forget to give the technicians a seating plan so they know exactly where and who to direct the spotlight on or change the lighting colour around them if needed, at a certain point.

Stage lighting is so important, you will need to think about the overall look of the stage and how you want the guests to feel when they first see the stage. We can work with you to come up with different light design ideas. You also place LED uplighters around the stage in any choice of colour, so you can stick to your theme or your brand colours.

Lighting does not have to be limited to just the stage. Remember that your venue design will extend beyond the main stage, so think about lighting options for around the room. Talk to the technicians about the theme and feel of your event and they can suggest some subtle lighting or more extravagant options to suit your event.

Remember, if you want to use display effects lasers you will need to check if you can use them, as they pose a health risk for epileptic guests.

Modern Ideas

You might be thinking of different ways to bring an award ceremony into the 21st Century. We will go through a variety of ideas with you, and are happy to hear your ideas and turn them into reality. You may want the guests to interact with the main presenter throughout the event, we could place a tablet on each table for guests to participate in a bit of live voting or even a quick quiz in-between the awards to keep the momentum going! On-going entertainment throughout the ceremony is important, if you require music to keep running throughout we can link the sound systems in to make there is never a dull moment!

Stage and Set designs

We can design custom made sets and staging for your award ceremony. You may be an award ceremony with a live judging panel, for which we could set up a separate or a slightly raised stage. Remember, even if you don’t have a judging panel, you may not want a flat stage, you may want to have raised sections to help make the design more interesting and also you may want to think about incorporating small or large scale steps, for grand entrances. If you are filming your event, you may also want to have a main set with mini sets as this will allow cameras to be positioned and ready to cut to the action, rather than waiting for people to get to the stage or have the camera move shakily to the next part of the action…last thing we want is for the live feed to look like a home movie!

Every stage needs a backdrop and lighting. If you have an unusual idea for a backdrop we are happy to help, tell us what you want and we can make it happen!

A podium or lectern can be installed on your stage, for key speakers/presenters. Why not think about personalising your lecterns, so you can place the name of institute on the front, further advertising your brand.


Don’t forget to budget for the AV equipment, most of the time, AV equipment is the last aspect that you will end up thinking about, but don’t forget it is the most important element!   

Make your budget realistic. AV equipment is not the only element you will need to account for, venue hire, catering, drinks, waiters, awards, all of these are are just a few things you’ll need to take into consideration.

Logistics on the day

Remember that the door person will also need to be aware of who is attending the award ceremony and be able to guide the guests to their correct places. We can provide tablets, so this is all done electronically, we can also wire up a headset for the door person to be in contact with the main event organiser or the whole team, in case a problem should arise.

Video filming

Remember that the filming of the event is not the only element being recorded. If you want the audience to see the nominees or cut to the presenter in amongst the audience, you will require a live feed. You could also link up your live feed from guests arriving on the red carpet, so those who have already arrived don’t miss any entrances!

Tip: Remember to think about all the angles you want covered, and make sure you have the right number of cameras and camera crew. You may also wish to explore crane cameras, which can easily capture the footage in one sweep.


When the main ceremony is over, don’t forget about the importance of the after party. These parties are not only a way to keep the buzz of the event going, but also a way for you to keep advertising your brand, allow other sponsors to advertise and also allow for networking amongst guests to happen. You could either use plasma screens with advertisers logos or have the option of the company logo being printed onto vinyl to stick to onto stage backdrops.

Once the networking is over, it will be time to party, it is an after party, after all! We can provide a range of different dance floors for after party Think about the theme you want to go, don’t compromise on the design front just because the award ceremony is over. Once you have your theme, we can arrange for your guests to continue partying after the main event.

Remember, the venue for an after-party is just as important as the main event itself. If your award ceremony or after party is in a marquee or isolated location, remember to discuss a temporary power source with the Audio Visual Company.