AV Lingo: 10 Words To Help You Stay On Top of The Game

The event technology industry is full of awesome people with an incredible ability to summarize big words and sentences thereby creating their own slang, you could say, which is often a completely foreign language to most Event Managers, Directors of Education and even Marketing Directors.  Since my forte in Fat Fish Media is video direction and production every once in a while our AV Director, Isaac Gonzalez, would say something that I find hard to understand due to the so called “AV Lingo”.  The premise of the slang in the event technology industry is not exclusivity, instead its purpose is to facilitate communication. However, the lack of popularity of the terms does exclude those who are ignorant to the terms, so with that in  mind, I found it necessary to give you a quick list of 10 words to help you stay on top of the game.

1. A/V

This is a simple acronym that stands for Audio and Visual.  So what exactly is Audio and Visual?  It’s the technical production necessary to properly present and execute a live event. Some examples of A/V equipment are: projectors, microphones, speakers, screens, cameras, staging and lighting.

2. Stage Wash

The use of multiple lights (par lights or ellipsoidals) that smoothly cover the entire stage or general area of a stage.  This lighting technique is often used when lighting up a stage to enable better visibility for the audience.  At Fat Fish Media we use this lighting technique to effectively and evenly light up our speakers for optimal detail visibility when recording keynote/powerpoint presentations. 

3. House

Often referred to as the area where the audience sits.  It can also be a reference to the facility or hotel. For example, “house” sound would mean lights in the area where the audience sits such as a ballroom, whereas a “house” AV Director would be a main tech employed by the facility where the event is taking place.

4. iMag

iMag is the abbreviation for “Image Magnification.”  So what is image magnification?  The process in which a single or multiple cameras are plugged into a video switcher which is used to output live video to projectors which magnify the main speaker(s) on large screens.  This service often takes a number of elements which include: cameras, video switcher, converter boxes, lots of cables, projectors, screens, proper lighting and a video director (that would be me).


iMag at Megaplex Theatres at Jordan Commons in Sandy, Utah

5. Tech Table

The table often placed in the back area of the meeting area containing all the AV equipment controls such as lighting consoles, audio mixing boards, projection computers, video switchers etc..  This is also the place where you are most likely to find the AV and Video Directors at an event.

6. Strike

I think this a funny expression.  It means to take down/put away, and pack up the AV equipment before or after a show. Strike is also often used to describe tearing down or removing a specific item. For example, to strike a chair from the stage would mean to remove the chair from the stage.

7. Power Drop

A dedicated source of electrical power. For larger shows lighting, sound, and video may each require their own power drops.

8. Gobo

Often a metal insert used in a lighting large surfaces to project patterns. Gobos are also available in glass.

9. Side Fill

A single or multiple speakers used to cover side areas of the audience that might not be covered by the main speakers.

10. SPL – Sound Pressure Level

A measure of how loud a sound is at a specific place (like your ears) and is measured in dB (decibels). The threshold of hearing is about 10dB. The threshold of pain is about 130dB. Conversational speech is normally around 70dB (depending on the person of course). Some facilities may actually have limits on SPL, such as outdoor areas. (View source)

I hope this list helps you keep up a conversation with every AV guy out there.  If you have any questions or want random AV tips, give us a call we’d love to help you out!


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