Instead of walking the trade show floor, the vast universe of the Internet is now the new home of event managers. This certainly has an impact on their day-to-day work. While many have years of experience in organizing traditional events and are prepared for any eventuality, live streaming of events is new territory for many event managers. We shed some light on the subject and explain what is important.
Live streaming is relevant for 3 types of events, with differences in usage and handling.
Webinars are usually small and personal online events for conveying specific content - similar to a workshop. This becomes clear when looking at the name webinar - a combination of "web" and "seminar". Participants register in advance and the topics usually consist of learning content, small workshops or the presentation and introduction of new topics. The number of participants is often limited, but there are many feedback options such as chats, surveys or question rounds to involve the participants.
A webcast is actually like television - only live on the Internet. This has the advantage that as many people as possible can watch and there are small opportunities for interaction, such as polls or a comment function. It's usually a classic stage situation, information usually only goes in one direction,
Platforms such as YouTube, Facebook and Instagram now offer the possibility of live streaming to a public audience.
Hybrid events are still uncharted territory for many. At the core of the concept is a classic face-to-face event, which is, however, either completely or partially streamed live. This ensures greater reach and more attention for a topic - even worldwide, if desired. An important feature is interactivity - a hybrid event without interactivity is just a webcast. Live streams are the only way to implement this, as they are the "bridge to the outside".
eBook Hybrid Events
Which tools are best suited for hybrid events and what do I have to pay special attention to?
If the technology is not right, your well-planned event can quickly become messy. Your visitors will choose to spend their time elsewhere if the sound, recording quality or lighting are not right. In the worst case, you will lose your audience and leave an unprofessional impression. To avoid this, you should know what's important:
First, the minimum requirements: You need a good camera, a co-worker who knows how to use it and should stream at least in HD, i.e. 1280×720 pixels. Optimal and the most common form today is streaming in Full HD with 1920x1080. This format is very pleasing to the eye and perfect for live streaming.
As you may have already experienced, the attention span in home office is shorter for events streamed online than for face-to-face events. In order to keep your viewers hooked to the live stream, you need good, interesting content. But you also have a few creative options: You can film with several cameras and offer a change of scene and perspective. This will bring your viewers out of their tunnel vision. In addition, the so-called streaming overlay is recommended: This way, you can integrate presentations directly into the picture instead of just letting them run in the background. This makes it much easier to read along.
The audio quality of your live stream is incredibly important. You've probably had a phone call with poor reception, right? If you want to prevent your listeners from "hanging up" right away, you should keep an eye on the audio quality. Good microphones are the foundation. If you have multiple speakers, make sure that the audience doesn't hear too many different volumes. A sound engineer can help here and increase the listening pleasure for the audience.
Professional live streaming can benefit greatly from the right exposure. For example, it is important to avoid harsh shadows on the speakers' faces. Softboxes and soft light from the front can be very helpful here.
Live streams are new territory even for many experienced event managers. We asked Gregor Landwehr, CMO and co-founder of the live streaming platform Contentflow, what mistakes live stream newcomers often make with hybrid events: "Most make the mistake of paying too little attention to the topic. Many are used to thinking in the familiar categories when it comes to events. Now a new topic comes along, which is just as important for the success of the event as other areas. Therefore, the topic of streaming should also be given this importance and not let it run alongside. After all, if you're planning an event with live streaming, you also have to consider this when it comes to topics like the location or the program."
Another mistake: A live stream is not the same as television. Create opportunities with live streaming to turn your viewers* into participants: Chats, live voting or a Q&A or dialogues. Don't leave out moderation and schedule staff for it.
Live streaming is not an add-on to an event, it should be built into the event from the beginning. Keep this in mind when planning the content, the location and the costs.
If you are planning a professional event, a live streaming service provider is recommended. Think about it: if you have already invested a lot of resources in the planning and implementation of your event, you should not let it fail at a key point like live streaming.
Visuals and sound are extremely important for the quality of your live stream, as mentioned earlier. A service provider is a great option if you don't have your own visual or audio engineers available. Troubleshooters, i.e. technical support for speakers, are also often part of the offer and ensure that you can remain calm and keep the overview in stressful moments. Hosting can also be taken over by a professional service provider for live streaming and you don't have to worry about it so much.
At MATE, we work on live streaming with our partner Contentflow, who can provide this kind of support for your event as well. With a professional service provider, you get much closer to the goal of a smooth live stream that makes the event successful. Gregor Landwehr says: "We help event organizers avoid unnecessary stress on their big day and act as a contact for all streaming needs. This way, event organizers can take care of their guests and content."
The costs of live streaming clearly depend on the scope of your event - so it's hard to give a blanket answer to this question. Nevertheless, we asked Gregor Landwehr: A concert evening with thousands of spectators and elaborate camera and lighting technology is of course more complex and expensive to live stream than the streaming of a single lecture with one speaker. Therefore, an average value is not very meaningful. As a rough guide, you can say that the costs for a professional live stream start at a few hundred euros, are in the mid four-digit range for a somewhat more elaborate setting, and can be significantly higher for more complex productions. These are only rough values, as the actual prices depend very much on the specific requirements.
Live streaming is a key issue for the success of hybrid and virtual events. The quality of the implementation directly influences the impression that online participants have of your event. If the image and sound are poor, you won't be able to keep your audience on topic. Good service providers offer assistance with the implementation of your live stream.
By Anne Brünnert
Content management freelancer with a preference for digital topics, agile projects and with stage experience.
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