Virtual event production comes to us fairly easily due to our vast experience in production and doing live television. This past March, just as the pandemic was taking off, we got our chance to show what was possible.
While in the midst of planning to shoot a video for a local non-profit that was to be played during their largest fundraising event in May, the event was canceled. We stepped up to help them with their virtual event production.
There are several solutions for putting on virtual events and most of them involved a solution like Skype or Zoom and the participants calling in from their respective homes or offices. The client chose a pre-recorded approach using the YouTube premiere feature to debut the video at the original time of the scheduled event. Either way works fine, the pre-recorded approach does 2 things. It takes a lot of the stress of a live production out the equation and on the downside, it takes a lot of the excitement of a live production out the mix.
Virtual event production means being flexible
The screenshots above are from the video. It’s good to go into virtual event production with a plan, but also being flexible will help you out considerably.
For the actual premiere, we had entertainment from Multi-keyboardist, Mark Cardenas, performing 2 live sets from his home that were recorded earlier and edited into the “show” This was the pre-show entertainment. We went live with this about 10 minutes before the published time for the folks who showed up early.
Following the actual running order of the planned event is a good start, but working with a company that’s flexibility is the key a smooth and timely delivery. With fundraisers, there’s a bit of hat-tipping that has to be given to key sponsors. It’s not unusual to have additional event sponsors come on board right up until showtime.
To keep the presenters at a safe distance we set up two separate areas for them to address the audience. This is shown in the 2 shot over the black background.
Keeping the show moving
Keeping the program moving and not letting it drag is huge advantage of a taped vs actual live event. We’re also able to create a sense of space and tossing the focus from area to area not unlike a newscast. The host chats with the organization’s founder and the bring in a chef as he’s making roast beef sliders to keep it light as we build-up to the keynote speaker, this case an iPhone video submitted by New York Times best-selling author Stephanie Land.
This format is pretty standard for most live fundraiser events. There’s some context to the cause supported by a key speaker and it this case we also had a success story of one of the service recipients that’s pretty heartwarming. Mel’s story is the video we originally were commissioned to produce.
Then comes the ask for donations, and a final thank you to the sponsors, a good night, and more music.
All and all the event went off really well for Housing Hope. And the great thing is the event is living on their website and viewers can still make donations to the organization.
If you’re thinking of or planning a virtual event give us a call or hit us up. Hang in there and stay safe.