How do I make my event more accessible?

It’s not only right and fair to make your event inclusive and accessible, but it also increases the value! Quite simply, more people can take part.

Accessibility tools
💚 Induction loops (in-room)
💚Bluetooth for hearing aids
💚BSL / ASL
💚Captions

It seems obvious to say, but the best option is all of the above. That way, people in the audience can chose and even change throughout the day (reducing fatigue). Captions for example are now so popular that 80% of Netflix shows include them. So should we have them on all our events?

And did you know our captioners are often working from home, so there is less travel and environmental impact, as well as a smaller space requirement.


Audio production and AI…

The old truth has always and will always be true (probably) and that is, if you want great audio, get the microphone as close to the source as possible. Not only that, but always record in a space that has as little noise as possible. In this particularly post, I’m talking about recording the voice in particular.

Noise is a distraction, it’s annoying. And it actually makes speech less intelligible.

Over the last few years, especially since lockdown we’ve seen the rise in automated audio processing in platforms like Teams, Zoom and Webex and they all work a little differently.

First, lets talk about compression. This is the process whereby the loudest audio is made quieter. That means that all ‘speech’ is similar in level, there is less dynamic range. If that audio is then normalised, that is that it’s increased to the ‘standard’ level, then all speech is similar in volume and as loud as all over speech.

But what happens if there isn’t only speech in the audio, what happens if there is noise? If the level of the speech is increased, then so is the noise, and we end up with noisey audio.

Introducing, the noise gate. This kind of does what it says on the tin. The noise gate is set to the threshold so that noise that is quieter than the threshold is muted, and voice that is louder is unmuted.

Problem solved….

But how do we know what the threshold should be. Automated systems will look for a constant level, the ‘noise floor’ and will set the threshold around there. Now… we play in music which is so heavily compressed that the platform thinks it’s noise (it often is). And now the processor mutes EVERYTHING.

Where are we going with this? AI.

New AI technology actually listens to the audio, detects the voices. More than that, it listens to the words so it knows what is speech and what isn’t. That way, it can actually eliminate real noise but keep speech, even where they’re at a similar level. In fact, it can then isolate the speech and manipulate it to make it even more intelligible.

We could take it one step further and change the voice, from male to female or vice versa for example. But lets leave that one for another post…


Exploring the World of Microphones

In the realm of audio technology, microphones play a pivotal role in capturing, transmitting, and amplifying sound. It’s a huge and diverse field, with nuanced differences and very specific applications. So let’s go over what we use, and why we use it.

Lapel microphones, also known as lavalier microphones, are designed to be clipped onto clothing, making them inconspicuous and perfect for situations where visibility and mobility matters. Typically an Omnidirectional Condenser, they are sensitive, detailed and consistent. Perfect for presentations and interviews, our Sennheiser Wireless Lapel mics are a permanent feature in our productions.

Handheld microphones are perhaps the most recognizable type of microphone. Their ergonomic and familiar design allows speakers, presenters, and performers to have control over their audio as they move around the stage or set. Typically a Hyper-Cardioid Dynamic microphone, they provide a very focused and powerful sound, minimising bleed from the environment and providing a clear signal on the busiest of stages. Our Sennheiser Handheld microphones are also wireless, providing maximum mobility and comfort; meaning they’re also an extremely popular and useful tool.

Lectern microphones are designed for use on podiums or lecterns, offering a convenient solution for speakers addressing an audience. These microphones are engineered to minimize feedback and capture the speaker’s voice clearly, even when they’re positioned a bit further away from the microphone. They provide a stable and consistent solution for talks and conferences with multiple speakers addressing the audience in turn, and keeping the speaker physically free from any microphones can benefit their presentation.

Finally, Boundary microphones, or “boundary mics,” use the principle of phase cancellation to capture sound waves reflected off surfaces, resulting in a natural and ambient audio capture. These microphones are often placed on large surfaces like conference tables or theatre stages, making them ideal for recording meetings, conferences and theatrical performances. They’re a useful tool due to the ease of use and minimal technical footprint, making them a great choice for more simple setups where a wide area needs to be covered effectively.

The world of microphones is diverse and adaptable, catering to a wide range of commercial applications. Whether you’re capturing the ambiance of a conference, recording a podcast, addressing a large audience, or amplifying a musical performance, there’s a microphone type that’s perfectly suited for the task.


Lets talk about connectivity…

What do you do if you internet isn’t great and you need to stream. Perhaps the wifi is slow, or you’re in a rural area. We can connect multiple internet connection together using a process called ‘bonding’.

We use a device that connects multiple internet connections together from a company call Peplink. It allows us to provide stronger, more resilient internet on site for streaming, in the homes of remote contributors and even in remote location. We can connect 3G, 4G, KASAT and starlink, fibre and wifi. Talk to us if you want to know more.

If you want to know more about how we use this technology, or how to get better internet in hard to reach places, drop us a line – kieron@presentcommunications.com


Building out a content pipeline…

With larger events now fully back in the calendar but smaller meetings and training replaced by virtual ones, consistent engagement throughout the year is more important than ever. Much of this is done online and content creation is now a key engagement activity, where networking and workshops used to be.

Many organisations’ major events calendar has been reduced to a single ‘big day’. Make sure you take full advantage of all your potential content and increase the longevity of your event by capturing as much as possible.

You have your ideal audience, speakers and experts in one place. This is the perfect opportunity to capture as much content as possible, an opportunity not to be missed. We build simple, cost-effective studios in events, exhibitions, seminars, congresses, just like yours.

Create a space for presenters to POP in, delegates to POP by.