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IMAG: What Event Planners Need to Know

by Paul

Between the high-profile guest speaker lineups, thousands of excited attendees, and a several-day conference, corporate events are every event planner’s dream.

But the success doesn’t come without caveats.

Large-scale events also mean coordinating with nearby hotels, reaching out to new vendors, and learning how to adapt to a larger space than usual.

Take a step back and breathe!

Each of these new hurdles has a tried-and-true solution.

And one of those solutions is IMAG.

When an event includes PowerPoint presentations or speeches by industry leaders, the pros turn to IMAG to ensure no guest misses a moment.

So, as an event planner, what do you need to know about Image MAGnification?

Not all corporate events—or even sweet sixteens—will need IMAG. 

What Is IMAG?

IMAG is an abbreviation for “image magnification,” a technology you’ve likely enjoyed at least once or twice without even realizing it.

This innovative tool records an on-stage performer (i.e., keynote speakers, musicians, or lecturers) with a high-def video camera. The camera then magnifies the feed, projecting it onto large screens elsewhere in the venue.

Every audience member, even those in the back row, can see:

  • Facial expressions
  • Body language
  • The speaker’s mouth moving (oddly enough, this convinces us we hear better)
  • Fine details (a dripping tear, hairstyle, necklace, etc.)

This innovative technology is standard in concert halls, large-scale conference centers, and 50,000-seat stadiums. It’s the same innovation that allows you to see a drummer rocking out from the lawn seats or a ref’s hand signals from the bleachers.

Thanks to IMAG, there are no bad seats!

When IMAG Makes Sense (And When It Definitely Doesn’t)

The second you download a new app, buy a new HD camera, or learn a new skill, you’ll find any excuse to use it. Truthfully, IMAG is no different. The problem with this tool is that, depending on the situation, using it or not using it can ruin an audience’s entire experience.

Let’s talk about when it does and doesn’t make sense to use IMAG.

When to Use IMAG

The entire purpose of IMAG is to magnify a hard-to-see speaker or performer. Relying on this innovative technology makes the most sense for events with:

  • Hundreds (or thousands) of attendees packed into one room
  • At least 20 feet between the stage and back row
  • Large chambers (i.e., hotels, conference centers, stadiums)
  • Speakers or performers (i.e., comedians, preachers, motivational speakers)
  • Large venues where seating is up high (like a stadium) or far back (like longer concert halls)

Some common IMAG uses include large sporting events, concerts, keynote presentations, and church events. If those in the rafters miss what’s happening on stage or on the field, it’s nice to have IMAG.

When to Skip IMAG

You wouldn’t need a zoomed-in video feed for the average bridal shower or Bat Mitzvah unless it’s a packed or unusually large venue.

Bypass IMAG completely if:

  • Everyone can see the stage clearly (even those in the back row).
  • You’re bouncing between two or more speakers rapidly (configuring multiple camera angles is challenging for a solo technician).
  • You’re transitioning between a PowerPoint and a speaker often.
  • The budget is tight.

Chances are, you’ll be using IMAG sporadically in your business-dealings. And only then, it’s for events in huge venues attracting hundreds of ticket holders.

Ask yourself: Will a guest feel slighted or miss something important without IMAG?

Requirements for a Successful Event With IMAG

How to Use IMAG

There’s just something about the latest IMAG innovations that bring out your more creative side. But tackling this A/V strategy isn’t as simple as showing up on event day with cameras in tow.

A successful IMAG event requires:

A Large, Spacious Room

That sprawling conference room can squeeze in 500 to 700 attendees, easy. Yet, when everyone’s in their seats and ready to enjoy the show, is there any room left over for the IMAG gear itself?

A large, spacious venue will have extra room for:

  • 10-20’ screens on either side of the stage
  • A bulky camera in the middle of the auditorium (without blocking anyone’s view)
  • Multiple broadcast cameras (and their camera operators)
  • Several projectors
  • Audio speakers and microphones

If this arrangement will be distracting to viewers or make the room feel cluttered, find a more spacious venue. Or scrap the IMAG altogether—it might not be necessary.

Don’t allow clients to convince you otherwise unless they’re willing to cough up the full cost of IMAG (as you’ll see below, it can get pricey).

The Right Camera/Lens Setup

The right camera and lighting combination will be the difference between a memorable event and snarky whispers in the audience.

A seamless IMAG event needs camera lenses with at least 80x zoom capabilities to capture every fine detail of the keynote speaker. A stable tripod, 45-degree front lighting, and an on-hand light technician can ensure a picture-perfect stream.

A Non-Clashing Backdrop

The only thing more distracting than a humming microphone and glitchy video is a clashing backdrop.

That keynote speaker might be detailing stories of heartache and perseverance, but her black shirt and crisp black background give her a “floating head” appearance.

You have two options to avoid this nightmare:

  1. Coordinate ahead of time with all speakers to find out what they’re wearing.
  2. Have multiple backdrops ready to accommodate any outfit.

Make sure the backdrop isn’t too busy, either, to dodge audience eye strain.

Audio Considerations

IMAG handles the video end of an event’s A/V. But what sense does having HD video make if the back row can’t hear the presentation?

Every IMAG event needs a microphone, cabinet speakers, and amplifiers placed strategically throughout the room. Most venues hide their A/V systems in the rafters and the bleachers.

Ask the management how to connect to their system to provide a full auditory experience (without lip reading). Bringing a sound engineer on board can prevent dreaded audio delays if needed.

A Strategy (Put Yourself in a Visitor’s Shoes)

There’s no sense in using IMAG technology if the sole projection screen is 200 yards away. Every attendee should have a nearby screen that doesn’t strain their necks to view!

Check out each section and ensure everyone has a near-equal view. And block off seating that might distort the experience.

The Cost of IMAG Solutions

Hiring a videographer already adds $750 to $3,000 to a project estimate. But, it’s safe to say that IMAG goes about a dozen steps beyond a standard event highlight reel.

How much does IMAG cost?

Well, it depends on whether you buy the cameras, lenses, big screens, and lighting equipment yourself, or hire a video production company (with their own equipment).

Here’s the difference between these two strategies:

The Hard Truth: How Much Does IMAG Gear Cost?

An IMAG setup can be whatever your budget allows.

A 4K camcorder, 38” x 69” easel video projection screens, and a 4000W lighting kit could run you $3,000 total. That seems like a steal, but those aren’t the highest quality products. So, this defeats the entire purpose of IMAG, which is to give all attendees a close-up and crisp video experience.

A professional IMAG setup will probably run up a $30,000 receipt.

But if you’re regularly planning corporate events and willing to add IMAG to your a la carte services, it could be worth the investment. It might require an annual price increase to help offset the equipment fees without sacrificing revenue.

Make sure it’ll pay itself off before taking the plunge!

Hiring a Professional IMAG Crew

How to hire an IMAG crew

Owning IMAG gear saves you the hassle of subcontracting. But even though you can do it yourself, some things are best left to the professionals.

Hiring a professional crew will probably cost less than $4,000 for the day, including:

  • Wages for media technicians and directors
  • PowerPoint and social media integration
  • Pre-production
  • Equipment “rentals”

If most of your events are too small to need IMAG, but this event could really benefit from it, a one-time IMAG crew will do!

Related: How to Run a Successful Event Planning Business

Using IMAG as a Marketing Tool

IMAG gives all attendees front-row seats, even if they’re way up in the nosebleeds or it’s a standing-room-only event.

But with a tech-savvy twist, you can use this tool to reach audiences across the globe, or even just special guests who couldn’t attend in person!

To use IMAG as a free (or almost free) marketing tool, try:

Live Streaming Your Events

TED Talks are a prime example of IMAG’s true potential.

The CEOs, entrepreneurs, and other movers and shakers might spend $5,000+ for the allure of attending live. But thanks to live-streaming technology, those 1,000 guests can quickly turn into 10,000 or more.

Whether you’re a Periscope, Instagram, or Facebook fanatic, live streaming can:

  • Allow home attendees to feel like they’re there (wide shots, audience pans)
  • Ramp up event revenue by offering web tickets at a steep discount
  • Build your social media following with impressed viewers
  • Give viewers a taste for your event planning style
Caution: IMAG won’t automatically stream a feed online. You’ll need to coordinate with the director to create a hybrid IMAG/stream combo feed.

Using Clips for Marketing

Sharing pics from that authentic Scottish wedding or spooky Halloween expo might gather 20 or so likes. But when a potential client is teetering between you and a competitor, your IMAG archive could come in handy.

Open Final Cut Pro and get to work editing a short marketing reel. Or, hire a freelancer if seamless transitions and heart-stopping editing effects strike your fancy.

Unless you happen to meet a potential customer at one of your events, IMAG clips will be the closest they get. From full-capacity crowd shots to incredible lighting and unforgettable guest speakers, it’ll feel like they’re actually there.

Boost it on Facebook, advertise on Instagram, and share it with your email list!

Find more marketing tips in these articles: Lead Generation for Freelancers.

Other Event Planning Tools You Should Know About

Hiring an IMAG contractor and renting out the venue are steps one and two. But as thousands descend upon your next show, you’ll wish you also pounced on other opportunities to make your event planning less hectic.

These four tools can connect the remaining dots:


With fire codes, a hometown caterer, and room rentals to worry about, tracking (and capping) RSVPs can prevent day-of mayhem.

Eventbrite is the unofficial event planning ticket hub!

Simply create and advertise the event, then watch RSVPs arrive in real-time. Never worry about empty rows, buffet shortages, or revenue losses again.

Social Tables

Formal events like weddings and galas are only as professional as you plan them. Without seating arrangements for each and every table, things can get chaotic.

  • Guests intentionally move chairs (some tables have 17 people, others just 4).
  • Some expensive crystal centerpieces go completely unused—what a waste!
  • Separating exes, frenemies, and angsty in-laws goes out the window.

With Social Tables, you can better manage seating charts with an easy drag-and-drop diagram. Last-minute planning and randomized seat placards are rookie mistakes.


Cvent is like the Costco of event planning apps. It has a little bit of everything!

From invoice tracking and event registration to attendee check-ins and workflow management, Cvent is as high-end as these nifty apps come.

Of course, that shows in the $1,000+/year price tag. Unless you’re hosting companies like Johnson & Johnson or legitimate A-list celebrities, Cvent will be a little costly.


A CRM can turn an event planning hobby into an award-winning business. With rates as low as $9/month, Bloom slashes the price tag on Cvent’s top features:

Don’t thumb through dozens of apps to cover menial tasks! Turn those hot leads into booked clients, and be their first call when the next big event rolls around.

Try Bloom FREE for 14 days!


With a tool like IMAG in your back pocket, you’ll look for any excuse to flaunt it.

But does a five-year-old’s T-rex birthday party really need a video production crew? Or what about a pop-punk concert in a tight 100-person venue?

If you can’t justify the $30,000 gear or lumping it into your pricing plans,


Instead, hire a freelance IMAG team when you need their services. And don’t use stages or echoey auditoriums if a more personal room will do just fine.

Reserve IMAG for the lavish, large-scale, real-life events!

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