Where can virtual events be used most effectively?
So many places. It depends on what you are trying to accomplish. Inevitably, information and excitement can be created in any virtual event. Although it takes planning to do this format justice.
What exactly is a “virtual event”?
A virtual event is a hybrid between a live event and a broadcast TV show. Agendas, content, and media need to be developed the same as you would for your live event, but everything is planned a little tighter. Pre-produced media and interstitials can be used to pump up the event an make it feel more produced. And everything tends to be planned in shorter time increments. Imagine watching a 30-minute speech on your laptop versus a live event. In the live event, you will sit and watch the whole speech, but in broadcast, attendees can get up and walk away – so we need to keep the content short and concise.
Related Link: Are Virtual Events The Right Move For You? — Laura Ramos, Forrester
What virtual event options do we recommend?
Virtual events can be produced through several different means, based on budget (and currently on coronavirus distancing regulations).
- 100% Virtual Event
This is where no two people are in the same place, so we use virtual meeting technology to “pull in” presenters from various locations into our production switcher and then cut together the outbound broadcast to a single stream to attendees.
- Production Studio Broadcast
In this scenario, we would host presenters in our studio and cut together live camera shots of presenters that are cut together with media and/or speech support that is broadcast to your attendees.
- Studio Broadcast with an Audience
If a small audience is desired, then a larger broadcast studio is used. Here we would bring our equipment into a partner studio that has more space plus more accommodations that naturally come with a large studio (multiple green rooms, full kitchen, etc.) plus there is more space to put in chairs for a small audience. Larger audiences would require a space like a ballroom.
- Pre-Recorded Broadcast
An alternative to bringing all of the presenters together at once is to bring them into our studio facility one at a time to record their presentations. Then we use the recordings to cut together the live broadcast at a later time. This could still be done with a host or emcee to give it that live feel as well. Presenters that are in other locations could also be pre-recorded and presented as part of the broadcast.
- Broadcast from Several Locations Live
This gets more complicated. This would have content coming in from multiple studios or locations all during one program. Separate studios would be secured and set up as part of the overall program with those streams being fed to our production switcher remotely. We then cut together the show and broadcast it out to your audience as a single stream.
What kinds of events can be done well virtually?
Nearly all kinds of events can be done. You should consider the “tone” or “production value” you want for your event. It is harder to keep people’s attention and/or create excitement in a broadcast, so expect that some pre-production budgets will have to be increased to accomplish your goals.
What do we do about the presenters?
The demands on your presenters will depend on which type of virtual event you want, or can, produce based on rules and regulations at that time. For the most part, you would prepare your presenters as you would with any event. There are logistics we would need to consider in terms of presenters’ locations and their ability to be part of the live program either remotely or from a studio location.
Can we have Q&A?
Yes. There are a number of ways to accomplish this. Social media, polling, and our Livestream platform all provide options for hosting questions during your presentations.
What makes a virtual event different than a virtual meeting, or a Zoom meeting?
The greatest single difference is that a virtual event is “produced” not unlike a television broadcast, where a virtual meeting is more basic, meaning that each presentation can be enhanced by the system and environment they present from.
Zoom meetings, or their equivalent, have become pervasive across businesses. They work very well for bringing a smaller group together for either a presentation or a collaborative workgroup. Unfortunately, they are notorious for their lower production values. Virtual meetings are only as good as the camera, mic, and lighting available on the presenters’ side of the meeting. We have all seen examples of poor lighting or weak sound quality. That is perfectly fine for a workgroup, but not so for a virtual event.
With a virtual event, we focus on consistent quality across the presentations. If certain presenters need to be brought into a 100% virtual event via Zoom or other meeting software, then we would pre-test those systems for quality. If the quality is not good enough, then we will work with those presenters to upgrade their systems or we will provide a high-quality system to those presenters to use during their event. We will make this easy for everyone.
What about security?
Depending on your situation, we can offer several options for security. Our webcast platform allows us to apply password protection to anyone that tries to log-on, or we can work with your IT department to “nest” the broadcast into your intranet or website. The latter will put the security measures into the hands of your IT department.
How much does it cost?
Since most events are unique, budgets may vary greatly based on the program you are putting together. AVFX has several virtual event options that can be customized very easily. We will work with you to develop a budget and production plan based on your needs.
Where do I begin planning a virtual event?
Start by calling us today. If you can provide an agenda, schedule, and objectives of your event, then we can put together a proposal and a work plan for producing your event. If you’re not sure and want to discuss some options based on your needs and our experience—Lets Talk.
With any event, we would also work with you to plan the agenda very carefully to make it a “produced” event. This means we will make recommendations on methods to keep the program tight, interesting, and flowing from one presenter to the next.
From there, it is not much different than producing any event. Content is developed. We host rehearsals (timing is more critical here – you do not want presenters going over their time). We schedule a broadcast test. And then the event is executed at the scheduled date/time.