December 16, 2022

Virtual Event Production Guide

A director and streamer manage virtual event production from a control room

When planning an event or conference, an important consideration is whether or not you will live stream your event. In recent research, 71% of event marketers plan to continue their investment in virtual events. (Zippia) Should you? This Virtual Event Production Guide outlines four different virtual event production options. Keep reading to learn how each approach can benefit your organization.

Option 1: Entirely Virtual Event Production

An entirely virtual event means that your speakers and audience are participating remotely from their own homes and offices. Using video conferencing and live stream technology, your production team will broadcast your event over the internet. Your audience can watch the custom live stream on an online channel such as YouTube. The stream can also be embedded in a website or online platform. If your organization has sponsorship from local media outlets, the virtual event can also be simulcast on television.

Share and post the recording of the event so your audience can watch what they missed and rewatch favorite parts.

Equipment Requirements: Entirely Virtual Event Production

Your host and guest speakers will each need a camera, microphone, computer, and internet connection. Viewers need internet access or mobile cell service to view the event and participate in live chat and online polls. Address accessibility needs by including ASL interpreters and single or multiple-language live captioning.

Value and benefit: Entirely virtual events provide the opportunity for everyone to participate. There are no travel costs or accessibility concerns when everyone is able to attend remotely. Working with a professional live streaming company allows you to focus on the content of the program. Your production partners will manage the technical aspects of virtual event production.

When to choose this option: Entirely virtual events are ideal for organizations with a broad geographic base. Bring speakers and viewers from multiple locations together without the cost of travel. Webinars, a speaker series, and conferences can all be very successful as virtual events.

Pro-tip: Prepare your presenters for success by sharing How to Film Yourself for Streaming and Tech Tips for Virtual Conference Panelists. Watch examples of entirely virtual events to understand how your audience will experience your event.

Virtual Conferences

Planning a conference? There are many options to accommodate any combination of keynote speakers, panelists, and attendees who are participating in-person or remotely. Visit our guide for Live Streaming Your Virtual Conference with The AV Department to explore the details.

During a virtual conference with multiple speakers in conversation, their camera feeds can be placed into multi-camera shots. As individual panelists answer questions, they can be taken to full screen in a TV-style production. Virtual conferences produced with The AV Department feature customized branding and graphic overlays.

Option 2: In-Studio Virtual Event Production

Your virtual event can resemble a live television show when you live stream from a professional production studio. Lights, cameras, and audio are managed by production professionals who know exactly what is needed for a high quality broadcast.

Equipment Requirements: In-Studio Virtual Event Production

Your hosts and guest speakers will be in the studio together. All cameras and lighting equipment will be provided. Teleprompters or other large monitors will display your script and other information, allowing your hosts to look into the camera. At their homes and offices, your viewers will need internet access or mobile cell service to attend the event and participate in online chat and polling.

If you have one speaker who cannot be in the studio, no problem. Your production team can manage remote guests and feed the audio and video into the studio, allowing everyone to see and hear each other in real-time. The remote guest will appear in the stream in the same way they do during an entirely virtual event.

Value and benefits: The reputation of your organization is elevated when you partner with professionals to produce an in-studio virtual event. A high-quality live stream and event recording gives greater value to your event sponsorships. In a survey of event organizers, 65% indicated they accept sponsorships for their events. (MarTec Blog, May 2022)

When to choose this option: Live streaming from a studio is a great option if your speakers are regionally-based and your viewers are located across the state, the country, or world-wide. The studio setting is ideal to live stream annual meetings, interviews, and panel discussions.

Pro-tip: Watch examples of in-studio virtual events to inspire ideas for your own virtual event set design. The options are endless including decor, furniture, podiums, backdrops, LED video walls, and green screen backgrounds.

Option 3: On-Location Virtual Event Production

Live stream from your site or from an event venue with an on-location virtual event. One approach is offering a window-into-the-room. The live stream engineer and a camera operator bring essential equipment to your location to stream and record the event. A second approach is a full production live stream that brings the studio to you. Full stage lighting, multiple cameras, decor uplights, and teleprompters all recreate the in-studio experience while out of the studio.

Equipment Requirements: On-Location Virtual Event Production

Specific technical needs must be met for on-location live streaming including access to power, a fast and reliable dedicated internet line, and direct communication with the on-site IT manager. The internet line must be free of upload restrictions and firewalls.

Value and benefits: On-location virtual events allow you to showcase a physical location related to your organization or related to the event. Streaming on-location gives you the option to offer both in-person and remote viewing options.

When to choose this option: Medical and educational conferences are well suited for the window-into-the-room on-location live stream option. Viewers are able to take advantage of training and professional development opportunities even if they are not able to attend in person. Grand openings, ground breakings, and press conferences are events that can benefit from an on-location full production live stream.

Pro-tip: Internet access really is the most important consideration for on-location live streams. Mobile internet units can bring internet access to a chosen location. However, those arrangements require additional time and fees. As soon as you know you will be hosting an event, contact your AV production company. Their expertise is extremely valuable when evaluating event venue options.

Option 4: Hybrid Event Production

Take the on-location live stream and combine it with a full-production live event with professional AV support. The result is an occasion your in-person and online guests will enjoy and remember.

A hybrid event can take many forms including a virtual event hosted in front of a studio audience, live streaming a conference from a hotel or convention center, or scripting two simultaneous events.

Equipment Requirements: Hybrid Event Production

Since a hybrid event is also an on-location live stream, the same technical needs must be met: access to power, a fast and reliable dedicated internet line, and direct communication with the on-site IT manager. In addition to live stream equipment, a hybrid event includes full audiovisual support including audio sound systems, video projection, lighting design and multiple screens and monitors to enhance the in-room experience. For your online audience, the virtual event production team will design a look for the live stream that echoes the branding of your event.

Value and benefits: A hybrid event can reach a wide audience and have double the impact of a single event. You have the opportunity to be as creative as you want with additional planning. Looking for an example? This hybrid event streamed pre-event interviews from the red carpet.

When to choose this option: A full-production hybrid event is an option if you know a segment of your audience wants or needs to participate from home and you want them to fully experience the event. A hybrid event enhances the in-room experience beyond an on-location live stream by adding full audiovisual production.

Pro-tip: The best hybrid events include content programmed for two distinct audiences. Review our tips for improving hybrid events to ensure you create the best experience for those in the room and those viewing online. Host a Hybrid Event features additional advice from 23 experts.

Final Thoughts

It can be overwhelming to decide which virtual event production option is best for your organization and your event. Our live stream production team is available to answer questions, and review the options and benefits with you. We are glad to share our experience gained from producing 700+ virtual and hybrid events since March 2020. Let us help you produce a successful and engaging virtual event.

Further Reading