It’s not the platform, its your boring content that loses viewer engagement
That is a pretty harsh statement I launched with, and I do stand behind it. Do you think a TV network, when looking at the ratings of its shows, assumes the TV manufacturers need to do more to engage their guests or do they take a long hard look at the content that they are producing and they think, how can we do better?
Television shows are not immune to the effects of ratings. This is why, in order to maintain higher ratings, network executives have a tendency to create television shows that appeal to only a small range of people.
So you should be taking your ques from how TV produce their content because in the Hybrid Conference world that we all live in now, you are more than an event production manager, you’re a TV producer as well.
You could event take a book from the high end events that you see coming from business like Facebook, Adobe and Google. How they produce a long, technical presentation to multiple thousands of people and try to replicate it.
You don’t need a massive team of people to do it, you just need to be thinking of the production like you would if you were producing a TV show.
1. Use multiple cameras that can track
One of the easiest ways you can make a livestream of a conference more interesting is to use multiple cameras. Multiple cameras can add a sense of movement to a video, and they can make it easier for you to zoom in on different parts of the room.
It is important that your cameras have an easy way to track those presenters while they are talking so while they are moving around on stage the shot is always on them.
Also, the second camera angle shows another perspective on the speaker and their presentation. It can give you a close-up of the presenter, or it could be zoomed out to show more people in the audience.
This will help your livestreams feel more interactive as well – even when there are only two cameras!
The best thing about using multiple camera angles is that they make an audience feel that the quality of the event is much higher, because if you have a show, that looks like it was shot by professionals, then the actual event must be more professional as well.
2. Lower thirds and additional information
Lower thirds are a critical component of any Livestream. They provide an additional way for the audience to keep up with what is happening on stage and let them know who they are watching or listening to in real-time.
They are the animation that will show a name or the title of the person on screen and not only does it bring the quality up on the video it also helps the watcher immensely as they are more involved in the action.
Additionally having a small amount of reading while watching the video has been shown to increase the level of engagement a person has with the content.
It stresses the brain to a higher level of processing that brings them further into the video. even just a small amount engages them a little more.
Creating the lower thirds however, can be a little laborious as you:
- Need to provide the AV team with the names and job descriptions of who is in the event.
- They then need to create a design for the animations that align left to right and right to left.
- The team need to then insert all the animations in the right order into their vision mixing software or service.
- The team then need a running sheet with images of who is speaking to reference so they know when to trigger the animation, or the show producer needs to be on the production team and also know who is who.
As you can see this is a pretty complex problem to solve, however if you can then the quality of your event will go up exponentially
3. Shoot in high definition to make it look as professional as possible
High definition video is everywhere these days, so it is important to shoot in HD for your event production.
This will make the video look as professional as possible and help you not only stand out but also be able to cater to clients who ask for this type of footage.
While most cameras can record in high definition, live streaming can be a challenge. You will have to use your computer or laptop for this, and an HDMI cable if you are using a camera that doesn’t capture the footage directly onto the device’s memory card.
This is because HD video has more data than other types of video files; it can take longer for computers to edit high definition videos like these and you also have to consider the encoding costs, not just in financial terms but resources as well.
SDI is a video cable that transmits high definition video and audio to a computer or other device. It is the most common type of cable used for live streaming because it uses less bandwidth than HDMI cables, making it more affordable to use over long distances.
SDI can be configured in different ways depending on how many cameras you are using, however, you need to be aware that not all vision mixing or computer capture cards will input SID so you may need the team to invest in an ADI to HDMI converter.
4. Include captioning for hard of hearing and interpreters for people with a second language
Live audio captioning is a type of closed-captioning for video and online broadcasts, which means it displays the words spoken in an event or presentation as they happen in real-time.
This type of closed-captioning has been used by broadcasters since 1996 when CART (computer-assisted real-time) was invented.
There are two ways you can include captioning on a live stream, the first is to do manual captioning, where a person is hearing the words spoken on stage and then types into software those words.
That is then used an overlay on the video or inserted into the data stream so a user can turn on and off the captions.
Another way is to use AI-generated voice to text services, that will use a computer to listen to the audio and then provide the text for you to insert into the stream or overlay.
Automated voice to text services can be purchased at a low cost and will produce captions for you in minutes. Most of these services offer to share the work with other users as well so that they can provide captioning or translation on demand.
Live captioning however can be a little more tricky as the quality and clarity of the audio is important, as well as the speaker’s pronunciation. If the speaker has a thick accent then any AI system will have trouble in converting their speech correctly and you may get some very “interesting’ translations.
These days companies like Google and Amazon have been delivering a high-quality speech to text services and are developing new tools to help with live translations.
Microsoft has also been investing heavily in this area and is rumoured to be working on a translation device for their Xbox that would enable gamers who speak different languages from one another or those whose first language isn’t English, to communicate more easily.
Given the number of people who need captions to consume information, making sure you have a high-quality service is important and will again, increase the quality of your event.
5. Have intermissions and cutaways with music or video
In the old days of cinema, every movie had an intermission, it was a standard to have a break in the middle of a film.
The same thing is true for media content, it needs those moments where you take your viewer on an emotional journey and then come back with new information or just provide something different.
Giving some time to rest between speakers will allow a viewers brain to process the information they have just received, before moving onto a new topic.
It’s important to provide these moments where your viewer can relax and reflect on what you’ve given them in order for that next piece of content to be as impactful as possible.
Even by showing a sponsor ad or something, that breaks up the session, that ads a different scene to an otherwise static show.
That break makes the video feel more like a tv show. zoom fatigue is the term for when a viewer feels like they’re being bombarded with too much information on the screen at one time.
Some of these things can be difficult to do, but it’s important to think about what your audience is going through in order to keep them engaged.
If you cannot provide that variety and engagement, then there is going to be a far higher attrition rate to your video than you would want.
6.Take the video off the stage and into the crowd
If you have a physical event and you have exhibitors, you really need to do some floor work, get a camera and a microphone and go into your crowd and talk to some of the exhibitors, It’s not that hard to do and you’re going to bring that feeling of being at an event into the offices of all your virtual guests.
A roaming camera will not only help capture the atmosphere of your event but is a great way to increase engagement and boost brand awareness.
You also have another way you can increase your sponsor investment if they know that during the day you will come and talk to the booth staff and get them to talk about their products and services.
Taking the time to think about your event beyond just a conference, that is getting a lot of people, into a small space and then letting them go nuts is the old way of thinking.
You, as the event producer have to start thinking about the entertainment value of your event stream, not just trying to replicate being in the auditorium, sitting in a crowded room listening to someone talk about something.
You need to consider either getting an event producer into your workflow or start to think about how you can spice up your events.