What Event Planners Need to Know About Virtual Events
We all miss the feeling of walking into an event and taking in the grandiose decor, picking up your overflowing swag bag, meandering your way to the buffet table, and bumping into your friends. While the timeline of the pandemic is still unknown to us, we can still try to invent new, safe ways to meet, connect, and create memorable experiences. Entire Productions has done over 60 virtual events in the last six months. They are determined to support the event industry by sharing their knowledge.
In today’s article, the team from Entire Productions is sharing what event planners need to know about virtual events.
Virtual events are something entirely different than in-person events.
Virtual events have been around since before the pandemic and they are here to stay. You’re doing your virtual or hybrid event a disservice by thinking of it as a replacement for your in-person experience. You cannot simply take the same content from your in-person event and make it digital. For instance, if your event is typically a multi-day conference you cannot expect attendees to take the time off to log on for multiple hours a day. Instead, use a virtual event platform and break up the content into easily digestible segments with plenty of opportunities to network.
Instead of finding a venue, you will need to find a virtual event platform or an app that meets the needs of your virtual event. You will most likely need to partner with a production company to help with audiovisual and tech support. Instead of your speakers or talent being on a stage, you will need to send them to a professional recording or streaming studio. Event planners now need to know key production terms to be able to speak the lingo. You should start to educate yourself about the different production equipment you will need to produce your virtual events such as lavalier mics, green screens, cameras, and even some editing software.
Some key production terms for virtual event planning are as follows:
Pre-production is anything that happens before the filming such as storyboarding, run of show creation, venue sourcing, rehearsals, etc.
Production is everything that happens on the day of filming.
Post-Production typically refers to editing but for planners, this is also marketing.
StoryBoard – A detailed graphic illustration of the sequence in which the story takes place
Live to Tape vs. Live – Live to tape means you are performing as if life and the recording to be used for a later date.
Run of Show – A document that includes production day duties and cues
Shot List – This is not the same as a storyboard. This is a detailed list of shots including close-up shots, medium shots, and long shots, angles, tilts, and more.
4K -The highest quality your video can be shot in but not always great for webinars/virtual events
Lower Thirds – Graphics over your video that typically indicate who or what is in the video and is located in the title-safe lower area of the screen.
Title-Safe refers to the areas on the video that can be seen on television screens. You don’t want to place anything beneath the title safe in case it gets cut off.
Motion Graphics refers to editing graphics or illustrations to make them appear to move.
Aspect Ratio is the size of the picture from width to height. Most videos have an aspect ratio of 16:9 or 1920×1080 pixels.
Get Comfortable Getting Really Techy
Event planners will also need to get really techy in order to carry out quality virtual events. Even the simplest of Zoom webinars requires some tech knowledge. For instance, our monthly event experience, The EntireVariety Show, is held on Zoom (meetings) and while we use this to show our clients a simple and effective way to execute a virtual event, it still requires knowledge of best practices.
Best practices should always include dress rehearsals and run-throughs. We always do a dress rehearsal to check our talent’s audio and visual and almost always have some technical troubleshooting to make it look and sound better. While Zoom is an easy and reliable way to deliver virtual events, you should also be aware of the many solutions out there.
Keep Attendees Engaged Virtually
In-person events attract attendees for a slew of reasons but food, drink, and human connection are the main drivers. We stand to lose those tangible elements in the virtual realm. One of the most important things to remember in the virtual landscape is that the only thing keeping your audience engaged is what’s on the screen. In-person events can offer so many things to keep guests occupied and engaged, even just through lighting, decor, live entertainment, background music, rooms to explore, people to network with, etc. Honestly, in-person events seem more like a Willy Wonka experience now than ever before! There’s SO much to do and look at compared to dialing in remotely.
With virtual events, your guests are only occupied with what’s directly in front of them. So, keep your content short and to-the-point; don’t skimp on interactive elements or moments of entertainment and fun; think about what you can send to guests in a care package that might keep them occupied or engaged for days or weeks following your event; and more.
THIS IS NOT THE TIME TO BE FRUGAL WITH BUDGET but spend it on things that are going to bring your audience joy and delight rather than fancy slideshows or lengthy interviews. By sending thoughtfully curated party kits, incorporating entertainment, and interactive elements such as chat functions, gamification, and polls, we’ve been keeping our guests engaged the entire time.
In the new digital sphere, event planners will need to view virtual events as an opportunity to create a safe and memorable experience for a larger audience. This means exploring technical solutions, learning video production jargon, finding a source for corporate gifting, and having a database of world-class entertainment to choose from. Entire Productions offers all of these and is excited to partner with Allseated for their new platform, exVo.
exVo is the next generation of Expos, Meetings and Events, tailor-made for today’s reality with both in-person and virtual attendance. It’s an incredibly immersive experience unlike anything out there, or anyone’s ever been part of before. Click here to learn more about exVo and register for a demo session too!