Live streaming, virtual demos, and live event production
It seems like we might have turned a corner on this pandemic. We’re getting a better understanding of it, every day, which is making it possible to find safe ways to move the business forward. If you had planned for a product launch, you still have options beyond postponement. Maybe it’s time to consider a virtual event or product demo.
Things will be a lot different
Going forward, the new norm will be a lot different than what we once knew. Besides the social distancing, working from home, the quarantines, and sickness and loss of life, when we all get back to work, nothing will look quite the same.
The bar has already hit the floor
For years I’ve been amazed at how the quality of videos created by videographers has increased with the price of entry falling so low. What used to cost tens of thousands of dollars to get into, can now be achieved for less than $2000, with borderline professional results. Caveat: There are lots of pretty videos, but the content is weak on substance. I’ll get into that in another post.
As more and more companies have taken the craft of video production and have marginally brought it in-house, the quality has been sliding lower and lower. The drive for more content, more quickly, led to the proliferation of the iPhone video. You can get amazing results with an iPhone, but the same thoughtful craftsmanship is needed to create a high-quality corporate video. Check out the article I wrote on why to hire a production company.
To the middle of March 2020. With a global pandemic underway and most non-essential businesses forcing employees to work from home, a new darling emerged.
The new video realm
Zoom, the clean and efficient video conferencing app is suddenly very cool. It totally exploded as the de-facto video conferencing app. Enter the ubiquitous mosaic of thumbnails of people who would not normally have their video turned on. Now, the video is always on and the mic is rarely muted. What started as corporate communications during an emergency shutdown has become the new norm for social connection. So how can we leverage that for marketing? Customer-facing. Poorly backlit. Jittery video, even getting Zoom bombed. There’s a lot to consider.
A pretty good virtual event
I recently watched a virtual press conference from Canon. It was from the Imagining division. The people who make high-end digital cinema cameras.
The press conference started out strong, with a VP being shot in his home in front of a fireplace, which looked great and conveyed a strong message. Then each presenter, in turn, shooting their own video, sent it to an editor. The weakest presentation was a PowerPoint with voice over, including some pretty bad footage from an online meeting. Other than that, it looked good but felt a bit cobbled together. Canon makes great cameras, but they’re not video producers. Even so, and acknowledging that this might be an extreme case, the video has already gotten 14K views on YouTube.
How many people would have seen the press conference otherwise?
Would they have even recorded it? This week, NAB, the annual tradeshow for broadcasters was canceled, so I’m sure Canon had to act quickly to get their new product announcements out, virtually. It was a smart pivot, and one I expect we’ll see a lot more of in the near future.
How we’re doing it
Our clients were in a similar boat. They’d had a live event in the works for months, a major fundraising push for their nonprofit. We helped them pivot by putting together a virtual fundraiser to replace the cancelled event. We shot it remotely where we could, and kept our distance between the cast and crew (under 10 people) where we couldn’t.
Then we edited it together into a half-hour program.
I planned it out as a live event with each person doing their bit right into the camera with no 2nd takes, unless it was absolutely necessary, to give it a feeling of a live event. It could have been done live from our studio and pushed out on either YouTube, Facebook or even Twitter, but we chose to embed a YouTube premiere video on the client’s website, helping them build out the page as well. It goes live in early May. I’ll let you know how it goes.
Business must continue
Business needs to keep going. A lot of businesses will shut down or be severely affected. The ones that stay open and even thrive will need to seize the opportunity to get creative in their marketing and communications. Communication tools will replace face to face for a while, maybe for a very long time. What will happen to trade shows? Conferences and companywide sales meetings? Fundraisers? All these events will be skewed and will morph. We can help shape what they will become.
One thought I have is there will be a lot fewer people attending events in person, and more attending virtually.
The success of the virtual event for the companies who invest in quality presentations will win over customers vs the companies doing it all on a Zoom call.