Each year the event takes place in multiple locations, including Austin, Berlin, San Francisco, New York and London.
The event was due to take place in New York in April 2020 but with the outbreak of Coronavirus and a global travel ban in place, it was decided to swicth it to an online event with participants able to join, free of charge, from their homes.
We were tasked with using our live event experience to bring an online event to life and create an engaging experience to a large audience across the world. The event was supported by around 40 speakers from around the world who joined in presentations, panel sessions and Q&A discussions with the vast audience.
The greatest challenge with moving an event online is the lack of control over the audience, the environment they are in and the technology they are using. Our greatest challenge was how to remotely inspire an audience!
With all the speakers locked down to their home locations, another challenge was managing their individual live feeds without onsite professional support and control over their hardware. The quality of each feed was determined by their internet connection, video camera/web cam, lighting, microphone and general acoustics. Without careful planning, each of these parameters could lead to a poor quality of output that would mean views would switch off.
Another very unique challenge we faced while in lockdown due to Covid-19 was that we couldn’t bring our team together to produce and manage the event from a single location. Instead we needed to set up communication channels and remote preview streams so our team could all operate together as one, but from their own locations. Thankfully we have technology available at our finger tips so could construct systems to deal with this challenge.
Content is king! We wanted to produce a live event that people wanted to watch. All of the contributors were prepped and rehearsed in advance of the event to ensure they were set up exactly as required, and we had full talk back facilities to prep them in advance of them going live.
We tested everything with all contributors. This included setting up and configuring software on their computer, making sure their camera was positioned to get the best shot, testing their microphone, checking the lighting and moving them off a WIFI connection to ethernet where we found connections problems.
We pre-recorded some segments. This gave us time between sessions to get presenters dialled in and tested for panel sessions. These pre-recorded talks were again all done with the presenters at their homes, using their laptops, webcams and audio headsets and then edited in our remote studio.
We created pre-set looks to the stream that we could switch to with ease. These included: • 3 Remote Hosts • 1 Remote Host + Google Slides • 1 Remote Speaker + Google Slides • 4 Remote Panellists
We built redundancy was built into every system where possible and we were ready for a multitude of different technical challenges throughout the event and had content we could switch away to if we lost any feeds.
The event went live with just 2 operators required. Dan took the role as Director and was based in an office with super fast internet. Adam was our Producer and was based from home. We used some clever tech that allowed Adam to remote control hardware in the office over the internet.
We recently worked with ON to intensively pull together a virtual pivot on an international conference. As always, Adam went above and beyond to help us find the best solution platform. He supported our speakers hugely, taking extra time and care to make sure they got the best and most comfortable experience before and during the event. It was a scary prospect for us with it being our first digital event, as a trusted partner we knew exactly what we would get from ON and Adam really helped us relax knowing the production was in safe hands. It was a fantastic success.”
Megan Kingdom-Davies, Head of Operations, White October Events
A huge thank you Adam. We couldn’t have done it without you, you’re amazing. Such a voice of calm for the speakers and panellists. And such a technical wizard.”
Ruth Yarnit, Chief Executive, White October Events