Even before the Covid-19 pandemic, we have seen how livestreaming events and sessions can be hugely beneficial for organizations. They help reach larger audiences, create new revenue opportunities and drive more engagement. But as with anything live, things can go wrong. The audio might sound horrible, the feed might cut out or the speaker may panic. And all of this is happening live and being broadcast across the globe.
So – needless to say, it helps being prepared.
We spoke with Ryan Majchrowski, head of leading AV company, MMG Events, about some of the most common streaming mistakes they have seen in the past year. He also shares advice on how organizers can avoid these pitfalls and take the steps needed to make their virtual events a success.
Let’s take a look.
1) Not Prioritizing the Audience Experience
It’s super important to make sure the audience is managed and their journey into the event ‘feels’ exciting. The emotional connection is very important. From the initial email invite to the day of the event, it can be all too easy to leave people feeling left out in the ‘cold’ especially if there doesn’t appear to have been any human contact at all.
Getting the virtual attendee journey right is critical. A lot of thinking goes into attendee journeys for in-person events and the same attention to detail needs to happen in the virtual space. Livestreaming events can be a great experience for attendees, or it can be horrible one. The more you manage their expectations the better your feedback will be.
Related read: Covid-19 – How to manage your attendee expectations
2) Low Quality Audio
When livestreaming events, we discover many people overlooking the importance of audio. It’s one thing to have great video but you also need the audio that works well. Just like with in-person events, if your audio is bad – everyone suffers. The attendees suffer because bad audio is hard to listen to and they’ll likely tune out and turn off. The presenter also suffers because it becomes hard for them to get their point across. And of course, the value of any recorded content is lost as you wouldn’t be able to use the recordings.
Bad audio is also a big problem for any content that is being translated or transcribed into other languages.
3) Not Pre-Recording When Appropriate
This next tip from Ryan we think is a super important one as some planners do worry about whether to pre-record or not. His view is clear.
Don’t be afraid to pre-record sessions. This allows for presenters to deliver their sessions at times that suit them and their schedule. This can quite often mean that a specific person you would really like to hear from live, can only be part of your event if they do a pre-recording on a different day. If the speaker has top notch content, no one will mind pre-recorded content.
Also, pre-recorded content is useful if something happens to the presenters’ live connection. The content can be played whilst the speaker is brought back online. Or if the presenter is lost then attendees are still engaged on some level as you provided the pre-recorded content for them.
4) Underestimating the Tech You Need
There are various ways in which you can livestream. For example, you can stream using a web cam and something as simple as YouTube, but the results will reflect that. There are a lot of ‘moving parts’ involved that need to be considered to make your livestream a great one. This includes consideration of audio, lighting, video, set/stages, virtual sets and more.
Using a production company will enable you to produce something that is of broadcast quality, engaging and on brand. And as importantly the production values will be those that you can be proud of and the content can be displayed with confidence.
5) No Back Up Plans
Event planners understand the value of back up plans. All events come with a degree of risk and the more that can be managed the less of a crisis you will have if something doesn’t work out. At MMG it is in their DNA not to leave things to chance. Ryan explains their approach.
“With so many variables, we run redundant back-ups for things like vison mixing (the process that stitches all of the live, remote and recorded parts together) and internet connectivity. Connectivity is the big one! We provide a main line plus wi-fi satellite back up and for a third layer a 5g router.
That is a lot of protection which gives reassurance to planners that they are in good hands and that the show will go on.”
Related read: 9 essential tips to reduce hybrid event risk
6) Losing Control of Your Tech
It’s important that you are in control of the tech and that it is not in control of you!
Ryan’s advice is that it’s best to fully understand the settings on any software you are using. Whether you are using Zoom or TEAMS or complex studios, it is important that you, or the service provider you are using, has a full and comprehensive knowledge of the capabilities of each component. And that you have up to date information as technology is regularly updated and things change.
It is all too easy to give someone joining more permissions that is intended or indeed, not providing the presenter with enough, which could result in planned activities of interaction being shut down. Sometimes you may need to contract a specific specialist that has lots of experience with the app or software and knows how to maximise it. It’s best not to hope or assume that someone in your team can make it work.
On-Demand Webinar – How to Choose a Virtual Event Platform
7) Forgetting About Music Clearances
The final tip in avoiding mistakes in livestreaming is to do with the issue of music clearances. Music clearances are important to get right. There is some royalty free music that can be used with no issues at all. However, unless you have music clearances you will have problems when it comes to streaming it. In some scenarios the web-stream will be stopped.
Whilst planners may wish to put famous music to a compilation of the event highlights it’s going to give them a headache, unless the clearances have been granted. Your production company will be able to help you with this and also most will be able to signpost you to other specialists if needed.
Conclusion – Don’t Struggle With Your Livestreaming
Livestreaming virtual events sounds simple enough. And it can be, especially if you are not too concerned about the overall production quality. You can stitch together apps, cameras and audio kit and stream.
However, when your brand is important to you, it is likely that you will want to take your livestreaming seriously. Rather than try to do the livestreaming and risk struggling with it, it would help to use a production company that lives and breathes streaming events. The tips we’ve covered in this article can help you figure out the kind of conversations you need to have with them to make your events a success.
We would also recommend for you to check out their credentials of satisfied customers, how easy they were to work with and whether they are good at solving problems.
Live streaming sessions and events? MMG Events works closely with Eventsforce to deliver unique and engaging events on the VCD virtual event platform. If you would like any help and advice for your events production – please get in touch here.