In this article, we’re going to explain how to approach live streaming of your event. This is a relatively new service that really hit its straps during the pandemic when, for pretty obvious reasons, the world realised that they couldn’t – and shouldn’t – all sit in one room at the same time. Live events moved online, new streaming platforms appeared and virtual events started to be shown on social media as everyone got into the act. Event organisers also came to quickly realise that having live video online was a much cheaper option than flying everyone in from all parts of the globe.
As we slowly start to ignore that the pandemic is still happening, live online event streaming seems to be here to stay, but with a variety of styles: some fully virtual, some hybrid, some as live in-person events with a live stream for those who can’t get to the venue. This can all be a bit daunting and confusing, so we will try to explain how to get started.
Let’s start with a disclaimer. This article isn’t going to try and teach you the technicalities of running a live stream. You will be better off having experts do that for you, even if only to save you the stress and worry about how to achieve a great visual event. Your principal concern should be your event; leave the live-streaming part to experts.
First up, we’ll explain the three main types of live-streamed events:
This is where no one is actually in the same room. The hosts and guests join online; the audience also watches online. This type of live stream is particularly useful if all your guests, your experts and your audience are scattered around the globe.
You can still charge your audience to attend while removing any costs of having to hire a venue.
These types of events don’t have to look like a Zoom call. With the right production crew and video producer, you can have it looking more like a television show. Graphics and music can be added, videos can be dropped in and the audience can participate through questions and polls.
In this case, some hosts and guests will be in the same room and – perhaps – even some of the audience members. There could be a few guests joining the live stream from wherever they are in the world, and some of the audience could join from home as well. As COVID still hits different parts of the world, probably to different degrees, these events are a great way to ensure you have all of your bases covered, and probably maximise participation. It can also save costs, leaving your main VIP guest in LA while your audience in Melbourne enjoys what they have to say.
Fully in-person events
This is self-explanatory – an event run with real live guests and a live audience in one room – the only addition being the cameras, and crew, beaming it around the world, opening up your event to a much much wider audience.
Now, what things do you, as the event organiser, need to consider?
By now you will have firmed up on what you want your live stream event to achieve as well as who it will be aimed at – your intended audience – so it’s time to run through, in some more detail, what else you need to take into consideration. Plenty of things to think about here!
- It would really be useful to have a good idea where the various parts of your audience are located: Are they local, for instance? Interstate, perhaps, or maybe even international?
- Ask yourself whether you intend live streaming to ensure all your hosts and guests can take part in the event, or is it more for the convenience of your audience?
- At this point, you should be engaging a video production company to do your live streaming. Getting a team onboard as early as possible will ensure a successful live stream. Choose a live stream team with a well-established, good track record and ask to see previous live streams they have completed. Make sure that you have a producer allocated to you so that you have one single point of contact.
- Share your rough event program as early as possible with the team, preferably in a Google doc-type document. This will allow the production team to keep an eye on how the event is shaping up. Try to have regular review and update meetings with the live-stream team. They will have questions, as will you, and the more preparation the better.
- One of the questions you will need to answer, along with your production team, is which platform will be used to host your live stream. There are many options available, from Vimeo and YouTube to Facebook or Linkedin. Also, will access be restricted behind a paywall, will it be ‘passworded’, or will it be free for the world to see?
- As you move through the planning process, try and watch some live streams and see what other people are doing. Consider carefully whether you want audience interaction? Perhaps particular graphics would add value to the event? Keep your team in the loop and see what your options are. Through this whole process, Dream Big! And to state the obvious, the earlier you do the dreaming, the bigger – and wider – you’ll be able to dream, and the less stress should be involved.
- Make sure you keep updating your event schedule to include any new guests or items that find their way onto the timetable. You will need to know whether any of your guests will be using PowerPoint or will be wanting to show a video. Will there be a panel of guests, and will they take audience questions? The more information you supply the better.
- Make sure your production team inspects the venue, including any internet they plan to use. There’s nothing worse than them turning up when everything’s about to happen and finding they can’t get an internet signal from the only access point in the venue, or that the signal is weak, intermittent, or both. Any competent production team will bring internet backups like 4G/5G, but it’s still good to have a hard-wired internet connection if at all possible. Will your chosen team do this?
- During the venue inspection, the team will be on the lookout for optimal camera positions and also what lighting they might need to bring. They will also need to find out where they can park ( hopefully as close to the venue as possible, as they will have a lot of gear ) and even where the nearest coffee cart is. They will need to stay well caffeinated!
- Ideally, get your live stream team in the day before the event to get set up and to decrease the chances of last-minute glitches. This will relieve stress for everyone and allow for everything to be tested. Most important! Get the host in during this time so that you can have a production meeting with all the main players and ensure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet.
- Finally, sit back and enjoy your event.
As I indicated above, I’m not expecting you to learn – just by reading this blog – how to live stream your own event. We really want you to just Dream Big. We want your event to be the biggest and best that is possible. Remember, there are no dumb ideas for a live stream; just ask your video production team if they can do it. After all, what’s the worst that could happen?
We have designed a live stream checklist that can help you plan your live stream event. It expands on some of the items we have talked about above, so grab our download and start planning.
The Jasper Picture Company has been creating live streams for a variety of clients over a number of years. Both international and national clients have trusted us to get their messages out in a reliable and attractive way. We can do that for you, too. We want to take all the stress of a live stream out of your hands. You do your bit; we will do ours.
See you on the internet!