It’s a familiar sight: microphones pushed in front of a public official; reporters gathered close; photojournalists jostling for a great shot. That was before. What about now? How do government agencies hold press conferences during a pandemic when everyone is working remotely and physical distancing is a necessity? They go virtual.
The Office of Governor Kate Brown partnered with The AV Department to livestream recent virtual press conferences and the State of the State address. Go behind the scenes with us to find out how virtual press conferences are produced.
One Team, Two Locations
Both the livestream director and the technical producer work from our studio in Northeast Portland while our videographer travels an hour south to the Oregon State Capitol in Salem to film Governor Brown. The camera feed is picked up for the livestream via a video call.
At a separate location, the American Sign Language interpreter joins the video call to listen and view the live camera feed. The video of the interpreter is fed into the livestream and shown on screen simultaneously with the live video of Governor Brown.
Each press briefing features experts from the Oregon Health Authority and special guests. A late-January press conference featured seven guest speakers. These guests join the video call with Governor Brown and the ASL interpreter. Each speaker is managed as a separate caller by the livestreaming production team to avoid the too-familiar grid layout of video conferencing.
Members of the media who RSVP to the Governor’s Press Office receive call-in information to participate remotely via a separate video call. After watching and listening to the prepared remarks, reporters use “raise your hand” functionality to participate in the question and answer period. The Governor’s deputy communications director manages the queue of questions and introduces each reporter individually to speak with the Governor. The voice of the reporter is fed into the livestream.
Live on YouTube
Each press conference is livestreamed directly to the official YouTube channel of the Office of the Governor and the YouTube channel of the Oregon Health Authority. A number media outlets also stream the feed to their channels. After each event, the recording is archived and available for later viewing on the Governor’s YouTube channel, State of Oregon websites, and offered as an HD download to the media.
State of the State Address
For the State of the State Address, two members of our media production team were on-site at the capitol filming the Governor. Both camera feeds and remote ASL interpretation were fed into the livestream via a video call. The stream was recorded and broadcast with a Spanish simulcast.
Virtual press conferences have been a valuable resource for government agencies to provide timely COVID-19 updates directly to the public, and are even awarded Emmys. We are honored to be invited to partner with the Governor’s staff to livestream these events.