How do you capture an audience from the comfort of their own homes for a 2 day conference during COVID? The team at AFCA, reached out to us at The Jasper Picture Company to host a brand new member forum in the virtual domain.
Now, this may seem simple. Zoom calls have been an undeniable marker of this year and one could easily be used to transpose this forum online.
However, we had exciting and innovative ideas for how AFCA could not only host the forum, but change its format and approach the much-desired engagement in an innovative new way.
The event integrated Vimeo, a video hosting platform, and Slido, a program for audience interaction, to provide a seamless experience. Slido provides the opportunity for audience members to ask questions and respond to polls and quizzes.
Using these platforms allowed us to bring video production and television production techniques into the business forum space.
The conferences were to have an actual host and for that we made good use of our soundproof studio in South Yarra, it also allowed us to have one other guest (due to the social distancing rules at the time), along with two camera operators. Director Matt Jasper and his team were placed in another room to make sure that we were COVID safe.
Being soundproof in inner city Melbourne also meant that we weren’t bothered by trams or cars and our close proximity to South Yarra station meant that any guests who were live in studio could get to the studio easily.
All other guests dialled in from around Australia straight into Vimeo Livestream allowing them to interact with all of the other guests through their webcam and microphones. Using Livestream allowed us to create a TV show feel with split screens and music stings.
Occasionally AFCA required a segment to be prerecorded. We would often record these on the rehearsal days and our whizz bang cam op/editor Emel Berdilek would cut them up and get them approved before playing them live into the program.
Rehearsal times were key, to make sure hosts/guests and the platforms all played together nicely and also helped to put the client’s mind at ease. “Having Matt and the team on the job gave us great peace of mind” Shiv noted in a follow up questionnaire for this blog.
In 2020, AFCA has hosted two online forums, one in May and one in November. The feedback? Overwhelmingly, absolutely positive. A feedback survey circulated following the first event found the majority of participants preferred the new, virtual makeup rather than the traditional in-person event.
According to Shiv Nair, The Jasper Picture Company’s work revolutionised the event. “It was basically a mini production”.