8 ways you can add more spice to your hybrid conference video production
You’ve been to or had the pleasure of viewing a conference where the video production is just plain boring. There’s nothing but people sitting in chairs, talking one at a time, and then you only see their back as they walk away from the camera.
And if you have been following my posts recently you will see that boring and bland content is something that I keep railing about. It’s up to the event production team to smarten up the video content, make it exciting and give it life.
So what can you do to make your video production more interesting? In this blog post, we will give you 8 ways to spice up your event video so that it stands out from all of the others!
Table of Contents
Add a video intro to your conference
When your guests first land into your virtual event, it can be a great introduction to provide a video to welcome them in. Giving them an overview of what they can experience and do on the platform as well as making them feel like they are greeted at the door to your event.
You could even if the platform allows having a video networking room that they can join, that is public and give them a chance to ask questions as soon as they come in.
This type of welcome will make them feel like they are at a real event and not just video conferencing.
Unique Tip: If you have any video of the first keynote speaker, consider adding that to the video intro so it feels more personal or inspirational for your guests.
Use lower thirds and overlays to give the video more movement
In the television industry, a lower third is a graphic overlay placed in the title-safe lower area of the screen, though not necessarily the entire lower third of it, as the name suggests. In its simplest form, a lower third can just be text overlaying the video.
Spending the time to create a run list, get some graphic design and working with your AV team to manage the showing of the lower thirds is work, but the instant uplift to the quality of your production is palpable.
It instantly shows that there is more to your event than just a single camera at a podium, it starts to make it feel more like a broadcast production, and for any hybrid event to feel exceptional, this is a must!
Include an interactive element on your website for viewers to share their thoughts and opinions about the conference
Giving your audience some way to communicate with your speakers and other guests is pretty important however and many platforms will include features like text chat, polls, q/a and video networking, and most are good, however, I think there is little value in chat for an event.
Using services like Slido will help you instantly get feedback from attendees and video networking is much more interactive and instant, so look for platforms that let you talk directly to guests, without the filter of a keyboard.
Additionally, if you have this level of interactivity and feedback from your guests, and of course you pay attention to it, then you will be able to build on top of it to create more exciting and engaging events in the future.
Treat the stages like a studio and the event hall like a field report
I have said this a lot in previous posts but I really believe that events now are broadcast events, and should be treated as a field studio. You can have content focussed around the main stages, as you would expect. But you also have a hall full of interesting products, knowledge and people that can make some really compelling viewing.
Firstly the main stage, having a single camera pointed at a speaker on a podium is going to make really boring content, so it’s worth talking to your AV team and having 2 or even 3 cameras that are shooting the event.
Two cameras point at different views of your speaker, and then a third on the crowd, this way the team can cut between all 3 cameras and this dynamic video makes a far more engaging production.
What a lot of event managers also seem to forget is that you have an event hall full of industry experts that with a small amount of planning, you can turn into huge amounts of content that can be used.
Not only is this great to generate more exposure for your paying sponsors and exhibitors, but it also adds more interesting information to your event that your guests can watch for their own pleasure.
Make sure that the content is not ugly
It’s really easy these days to make a good looking video and you don’t need lots of technology to do something really pretty.
If you are doing a fully desktop production then investing in a webcam like the Logitech c922 or even the new Facecam by Envato means that the quality of the video itself will elevate from looking like it was shot on a potato to something well produced.
The second part is to make sure you have an external microphone, and not rely on the computer mic. At a stretch, you can use the Bluetooth headphones or if you have nothing else, then a wired headphone and mic, but putting $50 into a USB microphone will instantly enhance the quality of your production.
If you are going to have multiple presenters, do a little pre-production and send them a pack that they can use, and instantly you will increase the quality.
For your event, DO NOT SAVE A FEW BUCKS and get the cheapest possible setup your AV team will do. Allowing a budget to deliver 2 cameras to your event is a massive step up, and then with a vision mixer operating the live stream, you can now have the video switching between a close-up, a wide shot, the slides and overlaying graphics on the video.
Beyond anything else, this is going to increase engagement of your content, more than chat or games or anything else, interesting video, keeps people watching.
Intersperse the video content with ads
You know what people need every now and again? a break, and you know what works really well to break up a long droning presentation, a short ad.
I know that it seems counterintuitive, but showing your viewers an ad with a countdown will give them a chance to focus on something else for a moment, it gives their mind a rest, and that means, that after the ad is finished, that you have an audience that is reengaging with the content again.
You can’t overdo this, of course, one ad is more than enough, and only 30 seconds or so is more than enough, even 15 seconds is good. Also, you need to make sure it’s well-produced and introduced, and that it is posted at the right time but this break can add something to your event that others will not have.
It makes your event, far more like a broadcast, and that, that is important!
Tell an overarching story with your content and presentations
In the ’70s and ’80s there bands like Pink Floyd and Jethro Tull were making concept albums, these musical journies were up to 2 hours long and they told a story, from start to finish they were created to take the listener on a journey.
Your event programming needs to do the same. You need to plan your content to take your guests on a narrative journey, that lets the next presentation build on the ideas of the last.
Let’s say you are doing an event about business creation or starting a startup. You could start out with a presentation on how to come up with the idea, then move to find co-founders, then on to a presentation about finding coders and developers to help you build an MVP, then what is an MVP and so on.
The idea is that your event is telling a narrative arc that keeps building on the last presentation to tell a whole story. Now, this is going to require some creative thinking and industry knowledge of course, but if you launch an event with how to raise money for your series b round, and then follow that with how to build an MVP product, it makes no narrative sense. And people that are watching from different skill levels will be in and out of the event, and not engaged from start to end.
Provide additional content to inspire further reading
How many times have you either been having a call or watch a presentation and the topic that was covered was ok, but it really could have had another 2 hours to expound a point.
Or a presentation that was building on research that was previously done, if you have the ability to add additional content that a user can download and read at a later day or event during a presentation, you are adding so much more value to your guests who attend online.
Worksheets, forms, and so on, all add more value to the users and the presentations that you just wouldn’t get in person.
Hybrid conferences and events should be engaging and entertaining, and it’s up to you the event manager to put in the work to produce an interesting and engaging show.
In this post, we covered ways you can use video to welcome audiences to your event, use graphics and overlays to keep a video dynamic, engage your audiences with interactive elements, think about your event like a broadcast production, thinking about the aesthetics of the video, use ads to break up long stretches, Tell narrative stories with the event programming and provide additional content to inspire more reading.