Planning and managing the logistics for a company-wide event requires exceptional organizational skills. With the additional challenge of being virtual, logistics typically in transporting people to and from the venue have pivoted to mailing of equipment to homes.
Lead time for in-person transportation to and from events have evaporated and in its place, the high paced world of back-to-back video meetings, slideshares, calendar invites and instant messaging has taken over.
Time is relevant only in terms of ensuring that everyone is logged on at the same moment. Distance matters only to shipping and arrival estimates. Like centrifugal force, our world has shrunk and now spins faster than ever. Keeping things on time, on schedule, clear and concise is the current in which virtual events run on.
With creativity, integrity and tenacious grip on the support your team needs to do what they do best; we are dedicated to each event regardless of the level of production or number of attendees. At the core, this is what our event planners do to drive your event to its launch date.
It is with this mentality that we tackled the 2021 Behr International Sales Conference. Like many other events, this normally in-person global event has turned virtual. With dozens of presentations to film and edit and broadcast as-live over the course of the four day event, our event planners had a monumental task ahead of them. We employed all our ticks of the trade to uphold the task of building a virtual summit worthy of Home Depot and Behr brands.
What helps Event Solutions succeed over other event planning companies? We fully embody the client’s values. We become a partner to our clients and take their mottos to heart. For years we heard Home Depot tell us “you can do it” so when they awarded us the contract, we got right to work. This is our story of “how doers get more things done”.
Endless screen hours, spreadsheets, full calendars, clouds heavy with shared documents – every megabit of data transferred took 1,500 people closer to the meeting of the year.
First and foremost – several calls had to be set to discuss the agenda, run-of-show, milestones and details for dozens of presentations. There were several breakout sessions as well as the main run and additional side content for attendees to enjoy.
Nikki was meticulous in keeping track of the details with documentation shared in real-time to keep everyone on the same page – literally. Once it was determined who would film at-home vs in-studio and what portions would be live, the real work began. Rather than use just any webcam on hand, packages were sent out with a fully prepared laptop (including software and latest updates), DSLR camera, clip on mic and lighting for the in-house presenters to use. The kits were fully prepared for use, they even came with their own power strip, 1-to1 labeling, and specially designed packaging for shipping/storage. By the time they arrived, each presenter had already rehearsed their individual speech. Now they just needed to film it.
A meeting was set up for each in-home presenter with a tech who was tethered to the laptop. They walked them through the setup, adjusting camera angles and lighting, setting focus and ensuring the recording was perfect in every way.
Redundancy is the name of the game in technology. While the recording was immediately uploaded to the cloud, two hard copies (one on the camera memory card and one on the laptop) were also taken to ensure every recording made it to editing.
Each of these filmings took place, sometimes back-to-back, over the course of a couple weeks. Experts provided support every step of the way; even offering tips for backgrounds and throw-a-ways so the final product would run smoothly and seamlessly – without the disconnect that can sometimes happen in virtual events.
Studios offer a higher level of production and professionalism than in-home filming, even with the high quality of the DSLR cameras. There is a certain level of dynamic that standing on stage offers that cannot be re-created in-home. When you want to paint a superior product, you need the tools only a pro can offer.
That is what in-studio filming provides. State-of-the-art equipment, highly experienced professionals, and an on-site film producer position the presenter for success – the very motto that this virtual conference was created on. From the well-lit stage against a LED background, the presenters’ every move was captured – giving the attendees the non-verbal communication that in-home presentations simply are limited at doing.
Music cued the speaker as they entered the stage. Lighting danced across the platform with a spot light falling on the presenter as they entered the view. The ever familiar mask was removed and a welcome remark was made. It had the same air as the recent presidential debates and addresses we’re all so familiar with.
Every gesture, every rock on the heel drew the attendees in and demanded attention. As their segment grew to a close, the presenter introduced the next portion with ease, as if filming was second nature to them.
Thanks to the LED wall background, slides were able to be displayed behind the staged presenter, allowing them the unique opportunity to interact with the content in a way that is not possible with side-by-side viewing of platforms like Zoom. Gestures came naturally, their bodies turning to welcome attendees to join them in reviewing the slide content. The executive level of production in these studio filmed sessions is as good as it gets. Post recording editing added a final level of dynamic with seamless transitions from speaker to voice over slides, transition graphics, music and announcements. The final product was the gold standard in virtually every way – no pun intended (or maybe a little pun intended).
Behr and it’s partners are on a winning streak. Blowing competitors out of the water (or rather, paint) in their industry and creating a three day presentation worthy of an Oscar nomination or a Netflix contract. The re-watch factor on this virtual conference was through the roof. An entire platform was created to house the colorful giant.
The platform was designed down to the most minor element. After all, a room isn’t properly painted without the trimmings. Even the login screen was color coordinated with branded logos. This was no static run-of-the-mill screen. This company made a splashing first impression with animated elements like a branded blimp flying over the convention center and mini people walking around outside.
Once you login and click to enter, the inside of the virtual venue was given the same consideration. Branded signage, similar to what you would see at an in-person convention, lined the two story building. Animated people meandered about the help desk, networking lounge, expo hall entrance, and auditorium doors. Popup announcements took place of the verbal ones played over a loudspeaker, keeping attendees on schedule.
Attendees could enjoy a couple videos right from the main hall or explore the networking lounge or expo hall. If help was needed, a fully staffed helped desk with live techs was available. For the DIYer, it also included a FAQ and other self-help resources.
Follow the animated people to the little orange carpet to the expo hall. The virtual booths broke content into four main parts which allowed attendees to jump right in and get their brush wet with content.
Conventions and conferences are all about networking, even virtual ones. The lounge was designed to make this easy for attendees. Content was a breeze to share. As easy as their one-coat cover Marquee paint, attendees could select multiple files to add to their virtual bag and download together in one click. The seamless switch from video content to documents made content even more digestible.
Attendees never missed a beat with frequent popup announcements for the main event. The auditorium was nothing you’d expect from a virtual event, but everything you’d expect from an in-person event! Virtual attendees moved to their seats and settled in waiting for the show to start. Unlike an in-person event, attendees clicked the screen to access the session- adding a level of interactivity to the event.
If attendees were early, a countdown displayed. The level of production of the video itself was top notch, with crystal clear picture and sound. No lag or hiccups in the videos meant the event ran flawlessly. And between sessions attendees could join the discussion in the chat features of the networking lounge or browse through the bios of the presenters. For the busy body, the agenda was available from the main menu to go through and mark important reminders in their calendars. Finally, a survey was provided for attendees to help provide outstanding feedback.
Four days of presentations were like the tip of an iceberg. Under those four days were months of planning, filming, editing, polishing and communication that made the virtual convention possible. Like the prep work of patching, sanding and priming before that final coat of paint transforms lives, this event was a great deal of preparation before go-live. And like paint, it changed not only the way we look at virtual events, but also was enormously satisfying to see the final product come to life. Together, this is how we get more done!