Here are the strategies you can use as a planner to choose the right event tech platform and AV production solutions for a virtual event.
Choosing a virtual event platform and delivering content online present the biggest challenges to planners who are new to virtual events. Shiloh’s master class shares a structured approach any planner can follow to pick a platform and produce their conference agenda online. Our panel of platform and AV production experts deliver behind-the-scenes tips and tricks to developing the skills and thought process needed for successful virtual event planning.
Watch the full video to learn more and check out our experts’ responses to all the audience Q&A we didn’t have time to get to in our live show below.
JT Naughton is president of Four Moon Productions.With 20+ years of experience in the production world, JT founded Four Moon after recognizing a real need for customer service in the production industry. JT started the company with a core value of putting people first and as a result, Four Moon has benefited from a loyal and expanding list of customers.
Curt Johnson is director of sales with Four Moon Productions. Curt has decades of experience & is knowledgeable of the production industry’s inner-workings. He prides himself on customer service, helping clients with seamless execution from concept to successful completion.
Filiz Altinturk is the lead front end developer at Boomset & has over 10 yrs experience as a developer and event organizer. Her focus is on developing the Boomset virtual platform and creating awesome event experiences.
Nick Beard is director of business development at Boomset and joined the event space with a passion for bringing people together and fostering interactive learning environments through innovative solutions.
In addition to the questions answered in our live event, planners who attended wanted to know:
What is the average lead time for producing pre-recorded content.
Lead time depends on the number and duration of each recording, which vary greatly. Here’s a scenario; Let’s say a production team has 100 presentations to record at 30 minutes each. Allot a minimum of one hour for each session which includes time to do a tech check and get the speaker comfortable with the process. We would recommend putting aside two to three weeks for the records, and an additional week for any rerecords.
What are some of the main challenges in executing pre-recorded presentations?
We typically see the following two challenges:
1. You’ll want to make sure production editors have all assets (lower thirds, opening animations, branding bugs, etc..) before beginning the first record. After the first record is finished, video editors jump in immediately.
2. You’ll also want to make sure you have enough staff available to review the edits. If either of these criteria are not met, we risk running right up against the point where the conference goes live, or even worse, missing the conference dates completely.
Do you always recommend a keynote speaker? How long should a session be?
This varies per company, but we typically do see a keynote speaker in play – even it if it is for 10 minutes at the beginning and end of the conference.
Best length for sessions is a judgement call based on the amount of content to be delivered. Overall we are seeing much shorter sessions for online than we would see at an in-person event. 25-30 minutes seems to be the sweet spot.
How long should a virtual conference be for a successful program?
This depends on the objective of a program. We are seeing conferences coming in at 1-4 days, but usually with shorter days of three to four hours each. The average attention span is limited in the virtual world.
What time of day is working best for a non-profit looking to engage donors? We are playing with the idea of running our 30 minute program during the day knowing that people are reluctant to give up their evenings to more Zoom time.
We agree with your idea of leaving the evening to family/personal time. That said, it again depends on the program objectives as we are seeing some non-profits have success with family-friendly event programs that run evenings and weekends. Additionally, if this is a celebration, or a recreational meeting, evening events work. Rule-of-thumb; if the in-person event would take place in the evening, it is perfectly fine to have an evening event online.
We’ve checked internet speed by running Speedtest and the results were below the recommended 10MB up/down speeds for reliable AV. What next?
We recommend the following:
1. Hardwire your modem to your computer using an ethernet cable.
2. Move your computer closer to your router.
3. Add a “mifi” hotspot from your cell phone provider.
4. Use your mobile phone as a hotspot.
5. And worst case, move to a different venue, if possible.
Are there any additional production considerations for simulcasting on Facebook or YouTube??
Adding a simulcast is a straight forward process for a production team. We can add an encoder and software to stream the event to most any social media platform.
On the organizers side, you’ll have to decide if you want this to be a private or public event. You’ll also need to be aware of music copyright laws and ensure your program is compliant or risk having your stream suspended by the platforms.
With so many variables for virtual events, how do you coach customers around issues such as VPNs and other limitations with accessibility?
We often advise that a VPN is circumnavigated as they impact the reliability of a majority of streaming services. The good news is there are other reliable security measures we can implement to ensure privacy. For companies that prohibit using specific streaming services (Zoom, WebEx, GoToMeeting, Skype) there are plenty of other options to consider.
We have a way to automatically resolve this in our system, but given the nature of VPNs and firewalls a video stream can still be blocked. We encourage those who are having trouble viewing the video stream to use our iOS/Android App or a different device.
Is polling an option in a pre-recorded session? Would you ever recommend pre-recording Q&A?
Polling is typically not used in a pre-record as it is geared towards a live audience. Polls do show up in a VOD (Video on Demand) recording though. VOD’s are used so that attendees who cannot make the live program, can watch the program at a later date.
We do recommend as much pre-recording as possible since it is the safest, most polished way to execute a virtual event. The benefit to pre-recorded Q&A is you can script specific, relevant questions, and avoid duplicate questions and questions that don’t suit the topic. The downsides include taking Q&A out of your audience’s hands and removing the engagement boost it delivers.
Polling is do-able in a pre-record session but not ideal. In Boomset we can embed a static poll that starts before the event, but it’s always best if interactive elements are LIVE!