Virtual Events - TrimTab Media

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

Our Guide below includes:

1. Event Format + Content

2. Decide on a Virtual Event Platform

3. Pre-Event Production, Testing & Rehearsals

4. Day of Event Production, Interaction & Engagement

5. Post-Event Resources


 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 attendees, and provide them with a rich and engaging experience. Also – how will this event help with your marketing and communication objectives?

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.  


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, visuals and go live! But when you’re bringing together multiple presenters, panelists and attendees into the program, it gets more complex.

Broadcast – One Presenter 

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 Presenters
An event that is broadcast from two or more locations – like TV news with reporters in the field, a conference with multiple people presenting 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 Presenter
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 Presenters
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 a poor quality 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. 

We’ve started sending a “remote presenter kit” to each presenter we’re working with, which includes an HD webcam, microphone and audio.

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. 

Here are just a few:

Zoom Webinar, Zoom Meeting, Crowdrise, GoToMeeting, YouTube, Vimeo or Social Streaming (Facebook, Linkedin, Twitch, etc)


3. Pre-Event Production, Testing & Rehearsals

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.

If you’re using multiple platforms to host different live-streaming and interactive components of your event, we recommend building a “home base” for the event on your organization’s website, so that attendees have all the links and agenda in one place. Or – use an event app to gather all these details.

Testing and rehearsals are extremely important for virtual events – there can be a lot of moving parts and transitions, that take time to get right. The more prep time you can build in for your vendors, staff and presenters, the better. We recommend at least one dry run, and one dress rehearsal for each event, with all hands on deck. 


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

When it’s time to go live, it should be a well-oiled machine. Make sure to have staff ready to assist with any technical issues attendees have. Here are the roles we recommend:

Event Host – support attendees, coordinate staff roles
Panelist Manager – coordinate with all presenters
Media Manager – run slides, pre-recorded video, transitions, etc
Q&A Moderator – on camera, asks prepared and attendee questions
Chat Moderator – monitor chat, polls and questions throughout
Closed Captioner – input live closed captions for all live content/presentations)
Panelists /Presenters – staff and other people who will be onscreen


5. Post-Event Resources

Once a virtual event is finished, it’s easy to walk away – but followup is important! After your event, how will you engage with your attendees? Are there any resources or recordings you can send afterward? This will increase the impact of your event.  

And – how will you thank your presenters, staff and vendors? Some simple gratitude and a gift go a long way in recognizing the hard work of your team to produce a successful event.

We know it’s a lot, 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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