How to Execute a Flawless Live Event
Pentegra was fortunate to partner with Catalyst Schools to plan and provide an audio and video solution for their newly remodeled auditorium.
The beautiful space was perfect for in-person performances and presentations until the disruptions of 2020 caused many cancellations. Determined to move forward with the timely hosting of The Symposium on Racial Reconciliation, Catalyst again reached out to Pentegra to transform an on-site presentation into a virtual live event.
Many organizations across the country are faced with the same challenges – the desire to share important experiences but lacking the knowledge to successfully execute a live presentation on a virtual platform.
A good audio-visual partner will be able to tackle the technical challenges. An exceptional partner looks beyond the technology to help transform a traditional event into a vivid and memorable experience.
Here is how your virtual event can be as successful as Catalyst’s was.
Step 1: Focus on the Event’s Purpose
While proper lighting and sound quality are essential for a live event, the primary focus should be on the purpose of the event.
Why is your organization hosting the event? Who are you trying to reach and what do you hope that your audience learns by participating? What needs to be shared, and in what formats, to deliver the message?
Answering these key questions will drive the discussions on the technology needed to achieve the goals.
Step 2: Plan, Prepare, and Rehearse
An event that flows flawlessly does not happen by accident. To pull off a show-stopping event, your organization must:
- Identify the size and location of the event
- Identify presenters and determine if they will be on-location or joining virtually
- Confirm the types of presentation content that will be included, and their sources
- Determine which platform, such as Facebook Live, to use for your remote audience
- Decide if the event will be available to view after the live streaming
- Ensure cameras, lighting, and microphone needs are addressed for all presenters to ensure an optimal visual and auditory experience for your audience
- Develop a presentation agenda and a detailed timeline for the stage management team to ensure the transition from one presenter to the next is seamless
- Determine logistical details for on-location presenters and select the remote video conferencing solution for remote presenters
- Blend different presentation components such as slides, videos, and audio into one cohesive presentation. Identify who will run the presentation during the event
- Check camera shots and white balance for optimal online viewing
- Check and verify that the host/facilitator’s online connection is more than adequate and stable
- Create filler content to have as needed if a presenter loses connectivity, or gets through their content ahead of schedule
- Ensure the live streaming platform can record the event for future use
- Perform a dry run with your video conferencing and live streaming platforms to ensure both connect smoothly
- Check to be sure that videos play without lag
- Play through audio cues to ensure presenters know when to start and stop
- Remind presenters of the importance of silencing background noise to reduce interruptions
- Practice using the tools available with the online platform, such as muting participants, polls, and recording
- If you can, simulate potential issues so you practice how to resolve them quickly
No event takes place without a hitch but being prepared and planning for issues in advance will allow your team to quickly mitigate issues to maintain an event that flows seamlessly for your audience. And when in doubt, be prepared to troubleshoot on the fly.
Step 3: Advance Troubleshooting
While some issues may arise that you may not have had the foresight to plan for, some common problems can be avoided with a bit of advance troubleshooting.
- One day before the event, test network speeds at various times throughout the day to ensure adequate bandwidth
- Before the event starts, replace and test microphone batteries to ensure every mic is functioning at peak levels
- Have teammates log in to a test environment.
- Avoid interference on microphones by making sure you are on the clearest frequency possible
- Check sound levels before going live to make sure the virtual audience will not have to strain to hear valuable content
In today’s remote environment, connecting with audiences can be more challenging than we’ve all become accustomed to. Hosting a live-streamed event does not have to be daunting; planning and practice are key.
Finding a valuable partner to help create a well thought out plan can make all the difference in creating an engaging, memorable experience that fills the void created by the decrease in face-to-face communication.