Create An Event

Introduction

Hybrid events: mix in-person and virtual events to bring participants from various areas together to take part in a single event. This allows attendees to interact with other attendees and participate in live activities while allowing them to experience the event from the comfort of their own homes or other designated locations.

Aim of the Article: This article seeks to provide a thorough understanding of hybrid events, including their advantages, drawbacks, and best practices for organizing and carrying out influential hybrid events. Additionally, the paper will discuss several hybrid events kinds, the value of clear communication, and best practices for planning these events.

stage of an event with and broadcasting

What are Hybrid Events?

Definition and explanation of hybrid events: A hybrid event combines online and offline components to provide participants with a distinctive and engaging experience. They can take many different shapes, such as live-streamed events, live events with virtual features, and virtual and live events that are thoroughly combined. The purpose of hybrid events is to give participants the choice to take part in the event from the convenience of their homes or other designated locations while also giving them the chance to interact with other participants and take part in live events.

Hybrid events’ distinctive traits: Hybrid events differ from conventional events in several ways. They frequently combine live and virtual elements, such as live-streamed panel discussions, virtual networking possibilities, and virtual keynote addresses. To give guests an engaged and exciting experience, they frequently leverage technology like video conferencing and online event platforms.

Advantages of Hybrid Events: Compared to traditional events, hybrid events have several advantages. They make it more straightforward and easier for participants to attend by enabling them to take part in the event from wherever they are. Being able to join virtually from any location gives them a special chance to reach a wider audience. Hybrid events frequently cost less than regular gatherings since they do not require travel or hotel costs for virtual attendees. Additionally, they provide chances for more participatory and exciting encounters, such as live Q&A sessions and online networking opportunities.

Virtual events with live components are mostly held online, with a small number of live, in-person features. For instance, live keynote addresses and panel discussions may be streamed to virtual attendees during a virtual conference. These events’ live elements allow attendees to interact with the speakers and other attendees. The virtual features, on the other hand, offer a flexible and practical approach to taking part in the event.

Live Events with Virtual Components: Live Events with Virtual Components refer to conventional in-person events that also feature virtual components. A live trade fair, for instance, might also provide virtual keynote addresses, virtual keynote speeches, and virtual networking chances for guests. Visitors attending these events have a special opportunity to interact offline and online with exhibitors and other guests.

Live-streamed events are broadcast to online viewers in real-time. These occasions may feature live keynote addresses, panels, or other live elements. They are a fantastic approach to engaging a broader audience and letting participants participate in the event from wherever they are.

Hybrid Events with Fully Integrated Virtual and Live Components: These hybrid events smoothly combine virtual and in-person components. A fully integrated hybrid event, for instance, might feature live-streamed panel discussions, virtual keynote addresses, and in-person networking possibilities. These events combine the most significant aspects of virtual and physical events to provide spectators with a completely immersive and interactive experience.

person  watching a conference event on computer

Challenges of Hybrid Events

Technical Challenges: Regarding hybrid events, technical difficulties might be a big problem. Technical problems, such as slow internet connectivity or audio and video glitches, might interfere with the event’s flow and detract from attendance’s overall experience. To reduce the likelihood of technical issues, it is essential to have a sound technical strategy and to do extensive testing before the event.

Ensuring Engagement: In hybrid events, ensuring engagement from live and virtual guests can be difficult. It is crucial to design participatory and exciting experiences for both groups, like online networking opportunities, in-person Q&A sessions, and interactive surveys. This will support maintaining connections and engagement among attendees during the event.

Managing Virtual and Real Attendees: Managing virtual and live attendees in hybrid events can be difficult. To ensure that the event runs smoothly and successfully, giving both parties clear communication and directions is crucial. Equal participation and networking opportunities must be made available to both online and in-person guests.

Virtual and Live Component Integration: In hybrid events, virtual and live component integration might be difficult. Whether participants participate in-person or electronically, creating a seamless and coherent event experience is crucial. This could entail utilizing technology to give participants an immersive and engaging experience, such as live streaming, video conferencing, and virtual event platforms.

Planning and Execution of Hybrid Events

Important Things to Keep in Mind: When organizing and running hybrid events, there are a number of important things to keep in mind. These could include the target audience, the sort of event, the budget and resources available, the desired event outcome, and the infrastructure and technology required to support the event.

Best Practices: A number of best practices can be used to make hybrid events successful. These may include establishing specific goals and objectives, creating a thorough event plan, conducting extensive testing ahead of the event, ensuring technical dependability, enabling interaction and connection between virtual and physical attendees, and utilizing technology like virtual event platforms and video conferencing to give attendees an immersive and interactive experience.

Success Tips: There are a number of guidelines that must be followed in order for hybrid events to be successful. These can include explaining the event’s goals and expectations, giving attendees—both online and in person—clear directions, making sure they have an involved and interesting experience, and giving them the chance to offer feedback and make ideas.

The Value of Clear Communication: The success of hybrid events depends on effective communication. Giving guests clear and straightforward directions is crucial, explaining the event’s goals and objectives, and providing ongoing updates and reminders is crucial. The event’s aims and objectives will be effectively attained, and guests will have a great experience thanks to clear communication.

stage of an event with people  and broadcasting

Best Practices for Hybrid Events

Use top-notch audio and video to make the virtual experience more enjoyable.
Include interactive components like surveys, Q&A sessions, and online networking opportunities.
Deliver captivating virtual content, such as breakout sessions, keynote speeches, and panel discussions.
Use intuitive, user-friendly virtual event platforms to make navigation simple. Making Sure Virtual and In-Person Components Are Seamlessly Integrated. Have open lines of communication between the online and offline teams to ensure that guests have a seamless experience.

Offer virtual guests the same possibilities for involvement as in-person attendees by coordinating the scheduling and content of the virtual and physical events. To guarantee that virtual guests can effectively engage in the event, give them clear instructions and support. Increasing Participation and Engagement from the Audience. Offer incentives like awards or recognition to participants in online and offline events to entice them to join. Through online debates and networking possibilities, promote a sense of community. Request feedback and recommendations from virtual attendees to improve the hybrid event. To provide a truly inclusive experience, encourage virtual guests to engage with physical attendees.


Track the attendance and engagement of virtual guests using data and analytics. Gather feedback from participants to better understand their experiences with the hybrid event. Examine how the hybrid event will affect the event’s aims and objectives. Compare the hybrid event’s cost-effectiveness to that of conventional in-person events. Organizers may build a seamless and interesting hybrid event that maximizes audience engagement and accomplishes the desired goals by implementing these best practices.

Conclusion

Summarizing the Article In this post, we’ve looked into the idea of hybrid events and talked about the many kinds of hybrid events, the planning procedure, and the difficulties involved in holding a hybrid event. The best practices for designing an interesting and profitable hybrid event have also been explored, including developing a pleasurable virtual experience, guaranteeing smooth integration of virtual and in-person components, maximizing audience participation, and assessing the event’s effectiveness.

Concluding Remarks on Hybrid Events Organizers of hybrid events have a special chance to reach a larger audience, including people who cannot physically attend an event, while still allowing for in-person engagement and networking opportunities. Hybrid situations will probably become a more common choice for both event organizers and attendees as technology develops and the events sector adjusts to the new normal.

Prospects for Future Hybrid Events Events are likely to become more hybrid, with a mix of online and offline components becoming the standard. The potential for hybrid events will surely expand as technology develops, giving planners and attendees a exceptional and engaging experience. Hybrid events will probably play a big part in the future of events and how we connect and engage with one another as the events industry continues to recover from the pandemic’s effects.

I. Introduction:

A. What is a hybrid event? A hybrid event is a type of event that incorporates aspects of both live and virtual events. Depending on their preferences and location, participants can choose to join the event virtually or in person.

B. The Importance of Hybrid Events in Today’s World: As a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the demand for hybrid and virtual events has significantly increased. Hybrid events offer groups a way to go on conducting events while abiding by social distance rules and regulations. Hybrid events also enable a larger audience reach because attendees can join virtually from anywhere in the world.

C. Aim of the Article: To provide a thorough review of hybrid events, including their description, benefits, drawbacks, and best practices. Event organizers, marketers, and others interested in learning about the most recent advancements in the events business may find the article to be a great resource. Readers of the paper will have a better understanding of hybrid events, their advantages, and how to organize and carry them out successfully.

person on stage with live audience and broadcasted virtually

II. Define A Hybrid Event

A. Definition and explanation: A hybrid event includes real-world and online components, enabling participants to take part in-person or online. Whether participants are physically present at the event or taking part remotely, it is intended to offer them a distinctive and interesting experience.

B. Hybrid Event Types:

Live and Virtual: A live and virtual hybrid event combines a live event with a live streaming or broadcast component. Virtual participation and real-time viewing are still options for those who are unable to attend the event in person.

C. Qualities of a Successful Hybrid Event: Qualities of a Successful Hybrid Event include:  a thorough awareness of the target audience and their preferred mode of participation
a seamless use of technology to allow for online involvement
information that is interesting to both in-person and online attendees
Possibilities for involvement and conversation between participants who are there in person and those who are not able to reach a larger audience, use effective marketing and promotion.
a carefully thought-out and carried-out event flow that takes into account the requirements of both live attendees and remote attendees.

person on stage with live audience and broadcasted virtually

III. Benefits of Hybrid Events

A. Hybrid events increase accessibility and audience reach because attendees can travel from all over the world to attend. It broadens accessibility and reach, enables organizations to draw a more diverse audience, and enhances the overall impact of their work.

B. Cost-effectiveness: Hybrid events are less expensive than conventional in-person events because they forego several expenses related to physical events, such as travel, lodging, and venue rental. Hybrid events also give businesses the chance to reach a wider audience, which may lead to more money being made.

C. Greater Potential for Engagement and Interaction: Because virtual guests can take part in real time using virtual platforms and interfaces, hybrid events offer opportunities for greater engagement and interaction between attendees. A better overall experience for guests can result from this greater contact and deeper connections.

D. Better Measurement and Analytics: Because attendance can be tracked and assessed via virtual platforms and analytics tools, hybrid events give significant data and insights into the event’s success. Making informed decisions regarding the event’s content, structure, and overarching strategy will help future events run better.

IV. Hybrid Event Challenges and Limitations

A. Technical Difficulties and Solutions: Technical issues can be a big problem for hybrid events because managing the integration of technology and virtual platforms can be complicated. Event organizers must have a firm grasp of technology and backup strategies for handling any problems in order to overcome these obstacles.

B. Lack of Personal Interaction: Although hybrid events expand accessibility and reach, they can also lead to a lack of intimate interaction and ties between attendees. Event organizers should include opportunities for virtual attendees to communicate with participants in person and offer virtual platforms and interfaces that enable real-time engagement to overcome this problem.

C. Insufficient Engagement and Participation: Virtual attendees at hybrid events may not feel connected to the event and find it challenging to engage with the content, which can result in low engagement and participation. To overcome this difficulty, event organizers should concentrate on developing interesting and interactive content that is appealing to both live and virtual guests.

D. Lack of Control Over the Virtual Environment: Because hybrid events rely on technology and virtual platforms, they require greater virtual environment control from event planners. Due to technological faults, poor audio and video quality, and other problems, virtual attendees may not have the best experience possible. To solve this difficulty, event organizers should collaborate with knowledgeable technology providers and have backup plans in place for handling any unexpected technological difficulties.

person on stage with live audience and broadcasted virtually

V. Tips for Organizing a Successful Hybrid Event

A. Planning and preparation are crucial for a successful hybrid event. Event organizers should have a solid understanding of their target audience, the technology needed to conduct the event, and a well-thought-out event flow that takes into account the requirements of both in-person and virtual attendees.

B. Choosing the Right Technology: A hybrid event’s success depends on its choice of technology. Event organizers should use technology and virtual platforms that are easy to use, dependable, and offer the essential features and capabilities to deliver the event successfully.

C. Producing Engaging Material: The success of a hybrid event depends on the production of interesting and interactive content. The main goal for event organizers should be to provide participants, both in-person and virtually, with content that is relevant, engaging, and easily accessible. This can include interactive sessions, networking opportunities, and other chances for participation and connection.

D. Effective Marketing and Promotion: The success of a hybrid event depends on effective marketing and promotion.
Event organizers should create a thorough marketing and promotion plan that targets both in-person and online attendees while utilizing a variety of channels to reach a larger audience. This will ensure that the event has a large turnout and has the desired effects and outcomes.

VI. Conclusion

A. Key Points Synthesis: Hybrid events are a form of event that combines features of typical in-person events with virtual components, increasing accessibility and reach, being more cost-effective, increasing engagement and interactivity, and being more measured and analyzed. Hybrid events do, however, face some obstacles and restrictions, including technical issues, a lack of face-to-face communication, too little participation and,  an inability to manage the virtual environment.

B. The Future of Hybrid Events: The future is promising for hybrid events, as the tendency toward virtual events is expected to continue growing as a result of the ongoing worldwide pandemic and shifting consumer trends. Organizations are anticipated to use hybrid events more frequently in order to deliver more interesting and interactive events, reach a larger audience, and save money.

C. Concluding Remarks: Hybrid events offer organizations both potential and challenges, so event planners must approach them cautiously. Organizations may deliver hybrid events that have an impact and are memorable for attendees by adhering to best practices for a successful hybrid event, such as planning and preparation, selecting the appropriate technology, developing compelling content, and effective marketing and promotion.

So this month I had the privilege, and I will say the privilege of talking to Leonard Wilkinson. Lenny has had an incredible career starting off, in the army, moving to videography, and cinematography, and now he helps coach people on using video to present online. We had a great talk about the technical limitations that people have and how you can use those limitations to create really impactful videos, as well as the technology behind them and how you can use it. So please enjoy this month’s podcast.

So Lenny, welcome to the Better Podcast.

Leonard Wilkinson:
Thank you for having me. Ben. Great to be here.


Thanks. So, we’ve had a little bit of experience, getting to know each other, and talking over the last few weeks, so I know who you are. But for the people who are watching and listening, can you tell us a little bit about Yourself?

Leonard Wilkinson:

Yeah, I work for Art Center Melbourne, in the internal broadcast and digital team, and I’m the broadcast supervisor, so that’s a pretty broad job title, but what that generally entails is I sort of look after the tech maintenance to design, and also I’m sort of the organizational, lead on live streaming.

I spent a little bit of time looking through your LinkedIn and you have had a pretty solid career and production management technician and now of course at the art center. Can you tell us a little bit about that sort of career progression, which led you to this role?

Leonard Wilkinson:
My education was everything but um, this industry. I started, I started doing, uh, aerospace engineering at the start of school. Okay. So I was on the path to become an aircraft mechanic essentially, or engineer. Things went different ways. I ended up working in the fashion business industry. So, um, and that’s a large scale retail for a bit. Uh, and then I moved to London and I ended up meeting a D O P and sort of voiced my expression of interest that I would love to work in the film space. Yep. And he took me under his wing very kindly, and sort of the journey started, and here I am today. So yeah, I, I, I was working in film and advertising when, when I was abroad, when I came back, the landscape in Melbourne was a bit different. I just, I found a niche in sort of more corporate aside of the business.


In your time in London, were you, were you working tech? Were you working behind a camera? Like what was your role?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Camera department. Okay. Yeah. I was a focus puller for a big chunk of it.


Any interesting brands you could tell us about? Anything fun?

Leonard Wilkinson:

Worked with the big ones, like the Red Bulls and New Google, and Netflix. Okay. But I, I even worked on a Netflix commercial Yeah. Before it was a live-streaming platform. It was when it was, they mailed you out a DVD in the mail. So yeah, I worked in a Netflix commercial.

For Netflix, Was that a US production shooting in London, or were they shooting for?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Okay. It was a puppet beaver. It was a whole Beaver family. All Yeah. All puppets. It was really Cool. I mean, that’s, that’s pretty indicative of the times that have changed away from a D V D through the live
Streaming.

Leonard Wilkinson:

I think it’s very poignant. You brought that up, It really illustrates from a historical perspective how quickly things move. And I guess the last, last two, three years have really shown us how things, how quickly things can move.

Absolutely. And it feels like we seem to be going back to the old Foxtel-type cable TV experience where you would have to buy a package to get, I want these shows and these shows, so I have to buy a whole package. Now it feels like we’re just being pushed back into that, which is like, that’s what the streaming, the revolution gave us the ability to unlock from this stuff.

Leonard Wilkinson:

I think that the consumer will push back on that. And I think on demand by TV series, or I think that will be the, I think that we’ve obviously got subscription, uh, fatigue, and I think that’s what I like about BetterCast is that you can, it is not subscription-based. It’s charged per event. It works better for us from a business model perspective because it’s a, it’s an non-cost rather than a, a subscription you need to maintain Yeah. In the event that you might have an applicable event if that makes sense.

Yeah, Absolutely. Does. I actually wonder, like, going back to that, that Netflix thing, and especially with the art center, we’ve dealt with a few of the performing arts centers throughout Australia, some of which have done an OTR-type subscription-based content production. Personally, I think it’s, it’s fantastic that they’re really pushing that, pushing the arts further. But I think you’re absolutely right. The subscription fatigue, especially if it’s a low amount of content, is very hard to justify. So I wonder if the next evolution of streaming is? like what you were just saying about the art center and, and about BetterCast where it’s like, I will on demand purchase a series, I’ll see, you know, watch one and then pay half, you know, 50 cents or whatever, rather than a subscription who knows, who knows Netflix, you can have that one free.

Leonard Wilkinson:
Yeah. I think as a venue, I think, I guess what we’re sort of still waiting to establish is probably a digital strategy that the organization, how they really wanna approach that. But it’s coming, I believe. Okay. When that happens, I guess the organization, will choose an approach. But I think the approach that we have suggested, has been that on-demand per festival or per show model, as I said, where, where we are a venue we’re not mm-hmm. Yeah. And, but we do, co-produce content of course as well. But that platform decision is more the resident companies and the shows that come in, they can choose how they wanna do that. I mean, look, there’s no right or wrong answer there. The subscription model works for some, but I think if you are a small player, it might not necessarily be the easiest beast for you to sustain. Exactly. And once you create a subscription model, there is the pressure to keep the content coming. If you are not in the position like most Australian, arts, orgs aren’t in the position to afford to be able to create big sues of entertainment very regularly. I guess that as a, as you would call it, maybe that digital pass or digital ticket as an option or on top of a physical ticket is the better way. And numbers have shown that having that digital offering doesn’t necessarily cannibalize your physical ticket sales. We all know how great it is to come to a live show. You can see behind me here, there’s a really amazing, live show being, set up and rehearsed at the moment. Nice. And it doesn’t compare to that, but sometimes it’s not an option. And I think one of the key things about the pandemic was really about accessibility. And whether that’s through disability or distance or socioeconomic factors, it’s really important that we can deliver or people can access content no matter what their circumstances are. So there’s, there was a really great saying from a, um, that was, was coined during the pandemic was don’t ditch the digital from, um, accessibility groups. Yeah. And it’s, um, it’s, it’s, I think it’s very important you break down that fifth wall of, of the venue.

Yeah. I, I completely agree. And look, I’m not coming at this, of course, I’m, I’m gonna be slightly biased, but I, I really believe in that don’t ditch the digital concept purely accessibility. There are tons of events that I personally wanna attend, but I’m not going to spend the money to travel and the hotel and food just to attend a single event when I can attend it virtually or online in a broadcast sense. And I think it was something that wasn’t, people didn’t necessarily or event managers or productions didn’t think about it too much previously, then covid, everyone had to do it. And then it’s becoming, or now it seems to be coming a, a decision between, well, what’s the ROI on this purely on a dollar basis, rather than what’s the extended brand value I get from producing and broadcasting this online Of course, in your situation and anyone else in the arts industry, you have to deal with copyright. And that is pure insanity because, am I right in saying that, uh, the way that copyright, like theater copyright is being dealt with for online broadcast is the same as TV rights, TV production? Is it the same? Is that what you’re doing?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Very, yeah. It’s, it’s a very gray, and it’s, it’s a difficult territory in terms of the music used in terms of contracts with actors. Yeah. Legally, there’s that, that is actually the biggest hurdle with bringing what happens on the stage outside the actual, how we get it to the world, the technical production. I can do that with my eyes closed. That’s fine. But great people I work with work really hard to try and get all that other, those other elements to happen, and Yeah. You, you’re spot on. That is, that’s the biggest hurdle for this. So, that’s why it’s, there’s probably more, it’s flourishing more in the corporate space because you don’t have it, it’s less of an issue from an onstage perspective. That’s the biggest issue.

You may have fairly limited, uh, exposure to it, but are you seeing any difference or, or kind of evolution in the copyright space that was allowing arts to go a little bit more online? Are you seeing any change?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Yeah, definitely. Yeah. It’s definitely changing, but it’s, yeah, sort slowly, slowly from that perspective, there’s always that chicken or egg issue with the revenue I think that you, they, they need to realize that they just really need to give it a go to see what the return on investment will be. Yeah. There’s, there’s quite a few resident companies to the art center. They are creating a lot of digital content at the moment. Yeah. And I’m not, I’m unaware of how successful it is, but they’re still making it so it can’t be a complete disaster. Right. So, absolutely. Um, no. So yeah. And they’ve, they’ve got, they’ve got their own platforms. We’re, we’re helping them make that content.


That is an absolutely lovely background. You have, and it is all real. Can you tell us a little bit about where you are and what’s going on behind you?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Yep. So I’m, uh, in Hamer Hall. So when I say I work for Arts Center, Melbourne Arts Center, Melbourne is really, it’s an arts organization that is a collection of venues. Mm-hmm. , um, and probably the venues that most people would know the most are Sydney, my Music Bowl. Mm-hmm. , Heyer Hall State Theater, the Fairfax Theater, and the Playhouse. And they’re all venues that are within this umbrella within three different sites. And so, yeah, I’m currently in Hamer Hall. This is our broadcast suite here. Uh, we have four robotic cameras that you can control via joysticks there. It’s pretty fun.

When you say robotic cameras, are they PTs Z cameras, or are full on cameras?

Leonard Wilkinson:
yeah, they’re PTs. Okay. But, but they’re a bit more than your Normal sort of.
Yeah. Bubbly PT said so Yeah. Dome kind of camera. They’re, they’re a bit more substantial than those. We can film something very unobtrusively, like the audience would never know that we’re shooting.

That’s Nice. Go to the days where there’s one big camera right in the center of a room?

Leonard Wilkinson:
I know that’s still the best approach. It’s still, we still, we still do that. Yeah it’s cool, but it’s like, it’s still better to get a, a real camera in there. It’s, it’s much nicer to physically operate a camera than there’s a level of removal. It’s, it, it’s, there’s no right or wrong.

That Actually brings up an interesting question that I’d personally like to know about the art center and how you’re managing teams and skills. So what sort of level of production team do you have in-house throughout those, those venues? And then at what point are you deciding to sort of outsource, outsource or contract in the additional staff? And where are you seeing the gaps in like skills and knowledge as I think an event manager or a production manager, excuse me. Like, how are you judging?

Leonard Wilkinson:

Well, here’s all of the skills that are needed. This is what we’ve got, this is what we have to get in. And then defining, well, where are the gaps and how do I fill them correctly without blowing budgets or without putting, you know, some of these are are pretty big events. You don’t wanna just put a nty on a camera, you know.

So what’s your process there in terms of what are to offer?

Leonard Wilkinson:

So we’re the digital broadcast team. We sort of more look after live recordings or live streaming of onstage events mm-hmm. or, um, corporate or documentary-style content. And we do a lot of post-production. So we’ve got a great team of people that do post-production, and we can produce a video shoot of all manners. Um, but then we also have a corporate events team that looks after more of that conference style. There are conference-style events. And during the pandemic, I actually specified, I designed them a system and specified a system so they could have an in-house PT Z system with live streaming capability so that they could do hybrid events within their venue. So, okay. And, they have a range of skills from audio engineers to PT z camera operators now. Okay. To live essentially and live stream operators. So their skillset has really expanded during and post-pandemic. Yeah. And in terms of the gaps in finding team members at the moment, probably camera operators at the hardest to find mm-hmm. Because there’s just a lot of work out there. So it’s a really, it’s a really good time to be in the industry.

I hear a lot of people are very, very busy and everyone is desperate for workers. I think the overwhelming issue I’m hearing is that we can find people, but all of the good people have left the industry. So a huge amount of the innate knowledge has sort of left. How are you finding the process of retraining people? Or is that even something that people can be doing, like retraining? Or is it all just on the job and hope for the best?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Really, what you can’t train is enthusiasm. And can I say give, basically, that’s, that’s the probably the best attribute you could have in any way and then the rest, if, people have got that passion and really that drive to be good at whatever they do, then the rest is relatively easy? There is a misconception that you like. As you would know, the longer you do something, the more you realize you don’t know. And yeah, everything’s evolving. So it’s really about what I was doing 10 years ago in this industry is very different from what I’m doing now. So I’m just constantly learning what, how can I do this better or what’s the new thing? So it, really that’s a big element of what makes someone I think desirable or successful in probably this space is really funny. What you like and what you’re good at and what you really also determining. What the need is.

It’s funny you said, uh, the more you learn, the more you don’t understand. You don’t know anything. It’s like, that’s my excuse for waking up every morning going, I have no idea what I’m doing. no idea at all. It’s cuz I’m, I’m very experienced.

Leonard Wilkinson:
every day has a new, a new challenge.

Speaking of challenges, you work a lot with event budgets, and budgeting, and I know sort of in my ex in my past, I’ve had a had, productions that were like, we wanna do the most amazing production possible, but I have a $5 budget. You know, the outcome you’re trying to get from the production. How are you sort of defining or, or making the decisions as to where to allocate the budget to get as close to that perceived output as you can possibly Get?

Leonard Wilkinson:

Yeah, it’s always that thing, dreams are free, but, the reality is slightly different, right? Yeah. So, we’re lucky that we are probably able to, we’ve got about three tiers of just say in terms of cameras mm- that we could offer. Um, so for example, our flagship fleet is a set of, Sony Venices. So obviously budget willing because we know that we can get the best looking product, we’ll try and make that work, but if not, then we can try and bring it down. And we’ve got FX nines and FS sevens and like that, so we can still great cameras, but we can sort of bring down the production level and see if that works for the budget and then obviously depends on how many cameras. One of the key things that makes a live production product work really well is rehearsalsAnd the amount of times you might get to rehearse or see the show before, and that’s what really eats up a lot of the budget. So you can make a decision if you to, if you’re gonna go into the situation a bit more blind Yeah. Uh, and not do as many rehearsals or, and have, have a little bit less contingency. There. There’s, there’s a few different ways of, of managing the budget from that perspective. But I’d say that what we’re, where we’re lucky, where we’ve, we’re, we’re able to offer a few tiers of production value in terms of the, the hardware. There’s no silver bullet in that, sadly.

It’s a really interesting point you made though, uh, about rehearsals. And I know, you know, again, in the corporate world, getting a client to put together a rehearsal is basically impossible. But I wonder if, if you can do a rehearsal, therefore you’re going to be mitigating a lot of the risk that the AV team is going to be preparing for multiple encoders, bonded internet, all of these sort of additional layers of protection because I have no idea what I’m going into, therefore I’m gonna make sure I’m billing all of the gear. As an event manager, if you wanna bring that budget down, I wonder if just that act of we’re gonna do a rehearsal and then hopefully we can, you know, strip back some of that gear cost because we are now confident purely by preparing, doing a rehearsal. I wonder if that’s actually a valid process.?


Leonard Wilkinson:

You’ll work out what you need and you don’t need as well. Yeah. Sometimes you, you might realize, I don’t need that, I don’t need that person. Actually the, probably the most expensive thing is, is labor. So, it’s really, if you are able to plan very well, probably the best best way to save money in the budget is to plan very well. So you can be very efficient with your labor.

I think for, for event managers, it may be that there is a technical, there’s a gap, I think in the technical understanding of what is required to produce a show. Especially if you want an exciting show that isn’t just a zoom, but it’s, you know, multi-camera, you know, I wanna do something interesting. And, and there’s that sort of gap of understanding of what’s actually required? You’ve worked with a lot, you know, over 10 years you’ve been there. You’ve worked with, a lot of customers, a lot of stakeholders, a lot of producers. Um, and I’m sure you’ve had some pretty tense situations. Have you got any tips on, on how you can bridge the communication gap that particular, you know, technical and non-technical understanding? Have you got any tips on how to do that effectively and still get what they want?

Leonard Wilkinson:
There’s a projection of stress, particularly if things aren’t going well. Yeah. Um, um, whether that be the client or e even the team as when you’re leading a team, you need to be able to internalize yourself. You might not be looking very good in your head at that point in time. You might not have a solution. There is, and there’ll be a solution. Thing is like: what are the musts for you and what can you shed to make it work in terms of technical problem-solving? I think technically delivering something that’s the key thing that I sometimes think people get fixed that they’re so fixated on that it must be delivered in its entirety. As per the original specification. But sometimes when things don’t go to plan, that’s not gonna be an option. You need to be willing to have a saying that. One camera’s better than none.

Yep. So that’s true. Yeah. Like very true.

Leonard Wilkinson:

there’s sometimes situations where you need to make a compromise, and you go, well, I can get this to work. The deadline is looming, let’s go for that. there’s also that of just being methodical.
Just work, don’t, and be scientific. Try, and it’s very difficult sometimes, but only try and change one thing in the chain at a time. Okay. Work your way through the chain. Is the signal hitting here? Yes. It’s hitting there. Okay. Is it hitting there? No. Okay. Somewhere between there and there and just work your way through that methodically. Easier said than done. Sometimes under pressure and under time constraints. But that’s really the that’s the crux of kind of has kept me semis sane and in the industry. All this time.


I guess you could use that same logic of the signal process, like signal tracking and finding out where the error is, In the same process when dealing with an event person who doesn’t understand how the tech works? let’s step through this one by one and find out at what point the signal has
Fallen apart.

Leonard Wilkinson:

I went off track with you question, but I think in that regard, it’s transparency be really clear. Okay. Like, you’re not a magician. You’re like, we’ve got a problem and we’re working on it. and just communicate. Well, it’s all like, everything is communication. it’s literally human signal flow. Right.


Yeah, that’s a great analogy.

Leonard Wilkinson:
So yeah, just be, it’s like we are having an issue unless, you can fix it in five minutes and don’t stress ’em. That’s it, but when it’s when you, you know, when it’s like this is a thing we need to talk about and be honest. Be transparent. I mean Yeah. Don’t throw yourself completely under the bus,
Or anyone else and that’s a very, very clear thing is also that whole, you need the teamwork to make the dream work, and you win together, you lose Yeah. You win together, you lose together kind of thing.
You gotta have that leadership, and there’s also a big difference between that manage management and, and leadership. Yeah. You can manage a situation just logically manage it. But that whole, um, teamwork aspect is, it really helps the leadership, and then if you’ve got that morale, you can work through adverse situations, in an event a lot easier than when. You got that negative pressure in the air. it’s not conducive to really good creative thought.


I think a lot of leaders, forget they’re in the team, they try and think they’re more owners of the team. It’s my team that’s doing this rather than teamwork makes the dream work. It’s nice. Teamwork makes dream work. It’s really nice. I really wanna know, again, because you’re probably dealing with large budgets, and there’s a lot of government bureaucracy that you are dealing with. How are you defining wins and fails? Like after an event, do you do a post-event breakdown and how are you defining the wins and the losses post-event?

Leonard Wilkinson:
That can differ depending on the event. So for example, sometimes if you might do a live stream for a very well-known large band, and that’s, that comes down to really raw numbers, how many eyes, how many expressions, all the really, um, standard social media data analysis metrics you’re gonna get. Yeah, yeah. Just the standard metrics, right? And then you might do, uh, a disability, but, um, festival, and that’s really about, the numbers might not be amazing, but that’s not what’s important. What’s important is that you, you are able to deliver a really accessible festival that for that cross-section of the community, they were able to see and access that art from wherever they were. So I guess that’s what I like about this organization in terms of that the metrics aren’t purely eyes, it’s also about some Yeah. Also some, uh, about social influence in a positive way.

So it’s kind of, you’re taking the metrics based on, I guess the goals of that event. The initial goals are event and then how do we, we line up at the end, look, COVID hit everything pretty hard, everything. But I would say that the arts industry and the events industry specifically took the biggest part of it. How has the the arts center coped over the last few years? You know, I, I guess not doing any productions, but also has it changed the outlook on broadcasting going forward?

Leonard Wilkinson:

Yeah, I, I’d say that the broadcast really wasn’t part of the, it wasn’t really accepted. One of the standard, uh, production pillars like you, you can’t put a show on without sound and lighting and staging. And obviously we are not, we’re not as integral for a normal show. But we, we are getting, we, we, during, during pandemic lockdowns, it became a bit more clear from an executive perspective that broadcast video, um, that, or let’s, let’s call it digital content element, was going to be a really strong pillar for the organization. And they realized that they were gonna have to kind of get with the times and what happens inside the venue scene outside tomorrow lies.


Covid kind of hit arts, the performance industry really hard. Specifically art center, you’ve, you’ve sort of integrated this live streaming into part of your ongoing strategy. But for a smaller venue, a smaller art center, or even performance centers, where are they going to start? Uh, cuz you know, they do not have the budgets and 10,000, you know, a couple of $10,000 cameras and lenses. It’s 20 grand. I mean, it can really start to, to add up. Where would you say the smaller venues can start if they wanna include broadcast, livestream, broadcast into their sort of mix, performance mix going forward?

Leonard Wilkinson:
Yeah, I think I would probably find a, third-party partner that you could form yeah. A price list with or a really good package with. And then you can offer that to the shows as they come into the venue mm-hmm. , um, rather than having the venue having to make the, the actual Yeah. Large outlay in equipment and then, then with that equipment you require, you need to hire the appropriate staff to maintain and operate that equipment. So I think if you’re from a very small venue perspective, you’re better off to find a partner that can provide the service and bring in the package as per required that matches the budget for that production. I think that’s probably the more sensible way to go about it, rather than, I think particularly if you don’t know how often it’s gonna be used buying it could be a bit short and technology moves along very quickly at the moment. So if unless you know you’re gonna be using it a lot, it’s probably better to, in that instance, to hire than buy. But it, as I said, depends on, it depends on volume.

That also might be for any of our AV guys out there, uh, it might be worth putting together a, a little live live arts package and just shopping it to, especially for regional centers, shopping it to all of the regional performance going, Hey, if you ever wanna do a broadcast, here’s a package we have specifically for You.

Leonard Wilkinson:

Packages are great. It’s how I saw some growth when I used to look after the corporate, corporate filming side of things.is, that’s how I saw growth, was creating tiered packages. And a lot of the time when the video guy or the video team and it’s a corporate event, there is usually an event team that, uh, that they’re the initial contact and liaison with, with, with the client. Uh, and yeah, they’re organizing anything from canape to cameras. So, or they’re selling canape to cameras. So give them the tool they need. So I would go, here’s here, here we go, package A and this is what you get and make it very, very clear what you got for the money there. And then we go, here’s uh, we think package A or you just give them the price sheet and they go, yeah, package B looks good for us. That works in our budget. Off you go. Um, also very efficient from your end as well because you’re not backing and forthing catering a package because a lot of you, a lot of the time you’re not reinventing the wheel. It’s, um, so I found, I found that in that corporate environment packages were really helpful.

Personally, I would love to see more arts online. I would really love to see more live independent theater as well online. Um, and I think specifically independent theater may have less copyright issues cuz it’s not the big broadcast, the big state shows. Yeah. It would be nice. So if anyone’s out there, please do more just so I can see more. I’m so starved of culture

Leonard Wilkinson:
We are the technical partner on, uh, one of the large, uh, data companies in Melbourne. So. Nice, nice. We do help them and, and make their content for them. It’s, it’s out there. It’s out there, but yeah, it should be, there should be more. Yeah. Agreed.

Just to finish out, I’d love to know if you have any sort of, any other tips for anyone looking to do broadcast livestream? Like where should I start? Like what, what, what would be like the top five considerations for you when starting to think, oh we should broadcast this?

Leonard Wilkinson:
I always ask how many eyes are gonna be on it and also yeah, how many eyes are gonna be on it? What’s the budget? Because that will then inform me how robust it needs to be and then how robust it can be based on the budget. Uh, and then yeah, we can, and then we can then we try and make it as great as it can be within the budget as we can. Yeah. That, that’s the main consideration is really safety because it’s live. Then how do we make it look good that which involves what camera, how many, uh, and then there’s also the sort of semi political wrangling of where can I put them? So yeah, that you gotta get your charm on sometimes and you go and really lean on your relationships and go, hey, if I was to put it there, I know it’s not ideal , but if I could put it there, that’d be really great. And so yeah, there’s a lot of, I think as much as all these things are department departmental, one of the key things about working in a big organization like this is really good relationships with other departments and trying to have a really good rapport with ’em. So when you go, oh, can I put the camera there? You generally get a yes and you can get that nicer shot. It’s, um, relationships is really important as well. Um, we’re trying to deliver something great on stage. You, there is that issue where, uh, for a live performance it’s all about the people who have got, you know, standing in there or bummed on seats, whatever, because where you want your camera is generally not good for , for the audience . So it’s really negotiating all that’s really negotiating that, that’s a real consideration during Covid that wasn’t such of an issue, but, um, funny but luckily and happily there are audiences back happily a problem again.


I wanna finish on that. The audiences are back. If we can finish on that, I know for the corporate events industry is a lot of people that are very, very busy. Is it pre Covid? Is it back to 2019? Are we seeing the same numbers?

Leonard Wilkinson:
I don’t know the numbers really. Uh, like I think, I think we’re not 100% back about it. Mm-hmm. , it feels busy. Like, like there’s, there’s a lot of shows going on. Phantom of the Opera just announced. Okay. They’re doing, they’re doing more shows cuz they’re all, everything’s sold out. So they’ve extended the season. So that’s a great sign. On a side note with the corporate side of things. So we put the Ptz camera and live streaming facility into one of the, the corporate venues that’s seeing about, I’d say, uh, about two-thirds of the events a hybrid.

Okay.Interesting.

Leonard Wilkinson:
So which is, which is great. Yeah. So it seems like it’s becoming more of a, and with TRA travel hasn’t really recovered. You can travel, but it’s not as cheap as it used to be. Yeah. So, oh yeah. I think that’s here to stay. Businesses are loving, not flying people around for the hell of it.

I don’t think hybrid will ever go away. Of course again, I’m, I’m particularly biased, but I don’t think hybrid will go away purely because it’s just too cost-effective to not go

Leonard Wilkinson:
Well it’s like, uh, what do they say? Like, uh, the internet killed Concord and Covid kind of killed Yeah. It’s sort of covid sort of done the same True. Um, to, to conference travel a little bit . Well, especially educational conference and I think there is a, a definite delineation that needs to be made between exhibitions where I’m going there to look at physical objects and conferences where I’m going there to listen to people speak about a specific topic. And I think that the conference sector is what will probably build more intelligence into how they deliver online. But you’re never gonna replace an
Expo. I wanna still wanna go to N A B .

Exactly. Exactly.

Leonard Wilkinson:
That’s not gonna be the same virtually, you know,


Yeah, exactly.

Leonard Wilkinson:
Yeah,you are right. I think it’s when you deliver content, when it’s that one way more, more of that one way. But I guess that’s again, sort of on the side note, that’s sort of what attracted me to BetterCast because you can incorporate that one way communication and then, and then sort of seamlessly move that into a, into a more, um, personal breakout session environment. And, and I guess that facilitates networking as well, which is important. So I think that’s where, um, the physical event is obviously King, is that networking perspective, which is harder to compete in the digital. But yeah, we’re, we’re networking right now.
We’re absolutely, we are. And everyone watching this, we’re networking by proxy. Hello? Hello

Leonard Wilkinson:
Everyone.


Awesome. Lenny, thank you so very much for giving your time on today’s podcast. I really appreciate it.


Leonard Wilkinson:

No problem. Thank you for having me. It’s been great.


Of course.

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