We’ve created this guide to help you shift a previously-planned in-person gathering online, or plan a successful virtual event from the ground up.

 1. Event Format + Content

Before you start worrying about what platform you’re going to use, what would you like to do? If you’re adapting a previously-planned in-person event to a virtual format, what needs to change?

Think about what will be valuable to your audience, and provide them with the experience they are looking for. Also – how will this event help with your marketing and communication objectives?

 

Virtual Considerations

We’re all familiar with keynote presentations, panel discussions, breakout groups and networking sessions at traditional events. But when we bring them online, there are additional considerations. 

BROADCASTED VS. INTERACTIVE & NUMBER OF SOURCES

How many sources will your event have? If you’re simply streaming a one-person presentation on social media or Zoom, it can be fairly straightforward – just figure out your technical setup and go live! But when you’re bringing together multiple presenters, panelists and attendees into the program, it gets more complex.

Broadcast – One Source 
An event that is simply a broadcast from one location – like an live-streamed concert, a webinar presentation or statement from a CEO that viewers “tune in” to. Viewers may be able to comment with text in a comments feed, but they’re not visible onscreen.

Broadcast – Multiple Sources
An event that is broadcast from two or more locations – like TV news with reporters in the field, a conference with multiple presenters Skype-ing in from their homes or offices. Viewers may be able to comment with text in a comments feed, but they’re not visible onscreen.

Interactive – One Source
An event where presentations or content are delivered from a single location, but attendees can also interact directly with the presenter and/or each other – either directly or in breakout rooms.

Interactive – Multiple Sources
An event where presentations or content are delivered from two or more locations, but attendees can also interact directly with the presenter and/or each other – either directly or in breakout rooms.

Consistent Video & audio quality 

When presenters deliver their presentations from home, they also are using different equipment to present to your attendees. While one presenter might have a high-resolution video camera with a professional microphone connected to their computer, while another might be presenting from a 10-year-old laptop computer with an awful camera and mic.

For a consistent, professional “look” for your keynote presentations and panels, it’s important to level the playing field with standard A/V equipment. 

Create a minimum standard for video, audio and lighting, coach your presenters on creating their “look” before the actual event, and provide technical support for consistent video and audio quality.

Live, Pre-Recorded, or a Hybrid?

Even when presenters present live from standard AV equipment on their home computers, the success of your event’s program is reliant on the individual technical troubleshooting ability of each of your presenters. If there’s a problem with their slide deck, webcam, lighting, audio or internet speed, your attendees will have to endure a potentially glitchy presentation with delays, and you may event be forced to on to the next presenter if it’s really bad. And – most people aren’t used to presenting from home, and they may not nail their presentation live.

Pre-recording and editing some or all of your main presentations can eliminate some of this risk. 

Ask your presenters to record their keynotes at home (as many takes as needed) and submit them for you to program live.  You can also pre-record panel discussions using Zoom or another videoconferencing service and present this during your virtual event at a much higher quality, and without worrying that something might go wrong live in front of 2,000 virtual attendees. 

But – Some things have to happen live

For presentations that need to happen live – you can prepare for the unexpected by having backup systems and content at the ready, and a technical producer to help with troubleshooting on the day-of the event.

And – when it comes to engaging with your attendees and providing opportunities for interaction, there’s no substitute for getting people together in a virtual breakout room.

 

2. Decide on the Virtual Event Platform

 There are dozens of platforms out there that might work. Selection of the ideal platform will depend upon whether your event will be live, pre-recorded, or a hybrid event, and the number of attendees, and whether there will be interactions between attendees and presenters. 

Zoom

Crowdrise

GoToMeeting

Vimeo

Social Streaming (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitch, etc)

 

3. Pre-Event Production, Setup & Testing

How will you register event attendees? Will your event be free or fee-based?
Many platforms have registration features built in, but some don’t. It may make sense to collect registrations on your organization’s website, and deliver a custom or password-protected link to the event page once they’ve registered. 

 

4. Day-Of-Event Production, Interaction & Engagement

How will you register event attendees? Will your event be free or fee-based

 

5. Post-Event Resources

 

How will you register event attendees? Will your event be free or fee-based?

 

We know it’s confusing, and we’re here to help.

Please Note: we’re modifying projects requiring photography or video crews by:
• Eliminating all in-person shoots that create additional risk of infection for our clients, crew members, or local communities
• Sending a production kit to your location and conduct interviews and video shoots virtually, when possible
• Providing all-local crews when in-person production is necessary and safe, to minimize travel

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