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Virtual Event Production: Lights, Camera, Action Behind-the-Scenes

Introduction

While attendees mostly notice the flawless execution, producing seamless virtual events requires extensive behind-the-scenes coordination across technology, content, and logistics by event teams.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll explore virtual event production strategies including:

Selecting formats and platforms

Evaluating tools and formats to meet event goals is crucial. We’ll compare webcasts, virtual venues, conference apps and more.

Building detailed run of show documents

Granular run of show scripts ensure smooth programs. We’ll look at critical production details to outline.

Assembling equipment and kits

Having correct equipment empowers success. We’ll examine recommended gear and redundancy best practices.

Establishing contingency plans

Backup plans prevent disruptions. We’ll detail how to anticipate and solve likely issues.

Assigning team roles and responsibilities

Delegating duties provides clarity. We’ll explore effective staffing and communication approaches.

Preparing speakers and facilitating rehearsals

Diligent preparation results in polished presentations. We’ll review speaker coordination tactics and rehearsals.

Let’s explore virtual event production tips and strategies for seamless experiences attendees rave about.

Select Formats and Platforms

Choosing formats and technology aligned to your virtual event goals is crucial. Consider these options:

Webcast Platforms

Tools like ON24 and Vimeo Events stream presentations through highly scalable, broadcast-style experiences with engagement features like polls and Q&A integrated. Simple and consistent.

Virtual Conference Platforms Robust platforms like Hopin and vFairs mimic physical conferences with lobby areas, multiple simultaneous session rooms, expo halls, and networking capabilities. More customization.

Webinar Software Webinar tools like GoToWebinar, Zoom Events, and Demio offer reliable video presentation features but less room for customization. Very affordable.

VR Venues Emerging immersive platforms like Virbela and Gather emulate live venues, trade shows, and campuses inside visually interactive virtual reality environments. Next-level engagement.

Hybrid Event Apps All-in-one apps like MeetingPlay seamlessly combine in-person and virtual event features like live streaming, gamification, networking, surveys, and lead retrieval. Streamlined option.

Evaluate your budget, customization needs, expected scale, and experience goals to choose solutions that best facilitate your programming and engagement vision.

Build Detailed Run of Show Documents

Creating granular run of show documents outlining every session and production detail helps teams flawlessly execute events and speakers deliver exceptional presentations. Be sure to include:

Session Timings and Transitions

Provide detailed minute-by-minute schedules for each session including speakers, topic transitions, and coordination cues between segments. Keeps teams synced.

Staff and Volunteer Assignments

Define specific session roles like host, producer, director, stage manager, presenters, and supporting volunteer duties so each individual knows their part.

On-Site Equipment Needs

Note any unique local equipment, room set-up, or supply requirements per session so teams prepare accordingly.

Speaker Preparation Checklists

Provide speakers the information and assets they need to prep like presentation guidance, talking points, deadlines for slides, and logistics. Set clear expectations.

Run-of-Show Scripting

Outline transition choreography between speakers like slide cues, AV directions, and stage directions required for smooth flow.

Backup Plans

Script contingencies and adjustments for potential variables like speaker no-shows, video fails, audio issues, Q&A overages etc. Adapt smoothly.

Detailed run of show documents transform disjointed sessions into coordinated productions.

Assemble Equipment and Kits

Having correct equipment and supplies empowers on-site teams to manage issues and adapt smoothly. Use master checklists to compile:

Presenter Tech Kits

Gather workstation essentials like laptops/tablets, reliable microphones, webcams, chargers, adapters, and cables so each presenter has equipment redundancy.

Backup Equipment

Stage identical reserve computer workstations, webcams, mics, cables, and spare parts onsite for rapid swaps if primary presenter gear fails.

Redundant Internet Lines

Have both wired ethernet and secured WiFi available in all production locations to enable quick connectivity switches if needed.

Tech Tools and Safety Equipment

Prepare kits with screwdrivers, ties, tape, batteries, surge protectors, and other items techs may need in the moment for quick fixes.

Printed Run of Show Binders

Provide producers printed copies of all run of shows, schedules, scripts, contact lists, and floor plans for easy on-site reference.

Speaker Preparation Folders

Prepare presenter folders including agendas, run of shows, guidance, links, logins, and contact lists they can reference. Reduces day-of scrambling.

Snacks and Refreshments

Well-fed, hydrated, and caffeinated teams stay energized and upbeat. Stock coolers with drinks, snacks, and meals for quick recharging.

Thorough equipment loadouts and supply kits prepared in advance allow teams to troubleshoot confidently.

Establish Contingency Plans

Despite meticulous planning, prepare backup protocols for likely issues that may arise during virtual events. Strategies include:

Script Declaration Messages

Draft clear explanations hosts can provide audiences for common scenarios like presentation delays, video loss, audio problems etc. Calms concerns.

Prepare Engaging Holding Content

Have overlay graphics, polls, trivia, videos and other pre-built content ready to engage attendees during unexpected delays if needed.

Test Redundant Systems

Validate backup internet lines, equipment, and presentation tools function properly by doing dry runs using only contingencies. Confirms robustness.

Assign Concierge Staff

Dedicate team members as virtual concierges responding to attendee issues in chat, offering tech support, and answering questions to provide white-glove service.

Establish Rapid Response Communication

Equip central “command centers” with ability to send emergency notices to all producer devices if plans change so new instructions quickly reach all locations.

Document Escalation Workflows

Provide producers and speakers clear step-by-step guidance on quickly accessing backup support for immediate issue resolution based on problem type.

With backup protocols established in advance, teams can quickly adapt to tackle issues smoothly as they arise.

Assign Team Roles and Responsibilities

A detailed organizational chart outlining interconnected team roles and responsibilities provides clarity so groups seamlessly coordinate and collaborate. Be sure to:

Create Hierarchical Production Team Charts

Map the structure of executive producers, producers, directors, coordinators, tech leads and supporting volunteers. Define unique scopes.

Schedule Cross-Department Pre-Event Meetings

A week before the event, gather teams to verbally review roles, contingencies, sessions, and coordinator across functions. Verifies synchronization.

Appoint Redundant Leadership

Assign backup leads that can assume responsibilities if primary contacts become unavailable. Cross-train staff on alternate duties as well.

Build Run of Show Binders

Provide printed or digital binders for each staff and volunteer containing personalized checklists detailing their individual assignments and duties across each session. Easy reference.

Facilitate Virtual Dress Rehearsals

Conduct full-scale dry runs with presenters, volunteers and staff practicing sessions and contingencies together virtually to finalize coordination.

With detailed organizational charts, documentation, training, and purposeful practice – teams seamlessly collaborate for smooth programs despite distance.

Prepare Speakers and Facilitate Rehearsals

Meticulously preparing presenters and content results in high-impact presentations and flawless delivery. Useful tactics include:

Send Prep Materials in Advance

Provide speakers slide templates, guidance, talking points, deadlines, and logistics weeks in advance so they can craft polished presentations.

Require Dress Rehearsals

Make virtual dry run rehearsals mandatory for all presenters to validate presentations, equipment, and timing in the platform well before going live.

Review Slide Decks Thoroughly

Scrutinize speaker slides and double check titles, branding, consistency, fonts, colors, legibility, formatting, shapes, and images across decks. Flag issues quickly.

Confirm Equipment and Links

Verify each presenter’s webcam, mic, and internet connection quality during rehearsals. Troubleshoot issues early. Provide optimal setup recommendations.

Share Detailed Run of Shows

Provide presenters, hosts, and facilitators the granular run of show schedules so everyone understands the program’s timing and flow.

Guide Slide Length and Timing

Give presenters clear guidance on ideal slides counts and time limits for their segments. Encourage condensing content to fit.

Offer Virtual Presentation Tips

Share video tips like optimal camera framing, stand-up desks, ideal home office backdrops, engaging vocal delivery, wardrobe guidance and more.

With extensive preparation and dress rehearsals, you empower speakers to deliver flawless, professional presentations.

Conclusion

Producing next-level virtual events requires extensive planning across technology, operations, and human capital.

By choosing formats aligned to your goals, meticulously scripting run of shows, equipping staff, establishing contingencies, assigning roles, and diligently preparing speakers – your team has the resources and knowledge needed to deliver incredible live experiences.

Smooth programs feel effortless to attendees, but masterful behind-the-scenes production is integral for impactful virtual events that meet business goals while dazzling audiences.

So start storyboarding, detailing, delegating, and rehearsing now to ensure your next online event is executed flawlessly from start to finish. Showtime awaits!

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By Dani Davis

Dani Davis is the pen name of the writer of this blog with more 15 years of constant experience in Content marketing and informatics product, e-commerce niche.

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