What options do I have on taking my event digital?
Going fully digital with an event is a new experience for everyone. Digital aspects were almost always a part of a physical event. There was an event management company that helped with: budgeting, registration, run of show, etc. You sometimes had a scenic company that designed what registration looked like, the furniture placement, and even designed the stage that represented the brand and theme of the event. There was an audio visual team that made sure that each presenter was properly mic’d up and had their presentation ready to play. In most cases they also provided lighting packages for the stage and custom lighting elements that set the overall atmosphere of the room(s).
When going digital, all of these aspects are still required to put on a successful event. The rolls, perspectives and responsibilities may just be different.
So let’s talk about a few of the ways people, companies and other entities are delivering their training, meetings, and conferences online. We have broken up the most used platforms into 3 main categories:
1. Video Conferencing
Video conferencing was designed to bring the typical 2-12 in person meeting (or more), from office to online. The attendees did not have to travel to a set destination. Online face to face video communication was the natural progression of telephone conference calls.
Over the last decade, products like Zoom Meetings, Google Hangouts, GoToMeeting and Blue Jeans have been pretty common terms in work places across the globe. These meetings allow more control for the presenter.
This gives the presenter the capacity to block and mute the video or audio feeds. Some of these online services even allow for polls, chat feeds, and other integrations that can elevate your meeting.
2. Live Streaming
Live streaming, in some form, has almost always been part of an event nowadays. It is designed to engage a larger audience with presenters and exhibits in real time. No clutter of seeing individual attendees on your computer screen.
Services such as Facebook Live, Vimeo, and YouTube are very reliable. They’re basically free. These platforms are a great way to broadcast a wedding or any event to those who cannot physically be there. These services allow for comments, emojis, and many other ways to communicate and interact.
3. Virtual Event Platforms
Virtual event platforms aren’t completely new, but are more necessary now than ever before. It is a place for your attendees to login, see your event branding, decide which speaker to listen to, and interact with other attendees online. It’s a combination of video conferencing, live-streams, pre-recorded footage, data, and interactive web portals for sponsors.
Virtual event platforms are a high cost and hands on approach to taking a corporate event online, but also have best delivery potential, engagement, and an overall great experience for the attendees.
A few options for taking your whole event online are: Pathable, BrandLive, and Custom Designed Event Microsites.
What new opportunities do virtual events bring?
This is an opportunity for the industry to think differently and learn new skills that are relevant to the evolution of the industry. Diversification is never a bad thing!
Online events provide opportunities to expand reach and gain attendees, without any obligations of traveling across the country. If companies can find a way to increase their attendance using these tools, we believe that the events will see an expansion in venues and in attendance.
Do you have any technical recommendations for a smooth event?
The number one obstacle taking an event online is unreliable internet connections. If you have 3 keynote speakers in different parts of the country or world, you may be relying on their at home internet connection. This can prove difficult for the presentation to stream. Unless they have a dedicated internet line…it only takes a few people using the same bandwidth to drastically alter your connection and internet speed. Sometimes you might see a 4MB download speed at 8 P.M. and 100MB at 2 A.M. Hiring the right team can solve some of these issues.
As far as weddings go, we want to be clear that the live-stream of your special day will not look anything like professional wedding videos. These are highly produced, consisting of multiple shots and can take weeks of post-production and color grading. It will simply be a live feed of what is currently happening.
How do you engage your audience?
If a large venue is out of your budget, non traditional areas such as your living room or office space can be used. Elements of a large scale production can be integrated into these locations. This can transform a daily environment into a captivating studio space.
Another way to add production value is by adding multiple cameras. This gives the live stream team the capability of having different shots to pick from for the viewers at home. You can have a tight shot of the ceremony and then cut to the wide shot while everyone moves around, while the 2nd camera finds the next best shot. The more cameras that are used, the better and more interesting your live-stream will be.
Before the event, pre-shoot video content to play as the viewers start tuning into the live stream. You can have a video editor onsite taking the footage from the event. This can include footage that was shot of the bride and groom getting ready, beauty shots of the venue, everyone arriving laughing and smiling, etc. We can compile this quickly so that it can be shown on the live feed prior to the ceremony.
If the venue is outside and has the proper airspace clearance, aerial drone shots will enhance production value tremendously.
*It is very important to note that there are always uncontrollable factors when piloting a drone. Safety is first when flying, so clients will need to be understanding if the drone pilot says the conditions are hazardous.
Founder and CEO of Craft Productions, LLC