UCL Grand Challenges and the Global Engagement Office teamed up to host a two-week virtual conference exploring the role of universities in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The conference was split into twelve sessions and utilised the event’s online nature to have numerous high profile international guest speakers dialling in remotely, including Helen Clark, Former Prime Minister of New Zealand.


The hosts required an online platform that would allow for a large audience and enable engaging sessions. They wanted to make it as interactive as possible, using live polls and Q&As to allow attendees to engage with the speakers. Seeing as each session would be planned by a different team, the specific technical requirements would vary each day.

We assisted the UCL team with setting up their Slido account, as well as creating promotional content for the conference. We ensured a good connection to the event for the many speakers attending remotely by conducting A/V checks and rehearsals. We delivered  broadcast quality streams from our studio using our Epiphan Pearl 2.

Step by step guide

When we were first contacted by the Beyond Boundaries team, we thoroughly discussed their vision for the conference and established their requirements. Given the scale of the project we created an in-depth timeline for realising the event. We agreed to use Slido to host the sessions as it fit the brief perfectly.

We assisted with creating a Slido account and set up the twelve session pages required using the graphics that were provided to us. It was important that we enabled access to the Slido account for the Beyond Boundaries team as they would be publishing the polls/Q&As remotely during the events. 


We liaised with the UCL graphics team regarding specifications for the layouts that would be used on the live stream. They provided us with four different graphic layouts, a 1-up for focusing on a speaker or video, a 2-up/3-up for displaying multiple speakers simultaneously, and a Slides view with a window to the left for presentations, and a smaller window on the right for a presenter. 

As part of the build up to the conference, we were tasked with creating a short promotional video for the two-week conference to share on their social media accounts, and to be played at the start of each session. They provided a storyboard and some graphic elements. After a handful of iterations, the video was complete and ready for promotional usage. 


Given that there were going to be at least fifty speakers over the course of the conference we knew that testing their individual internet connection and camera/microphone quality would be a challenge. We opted to attempt rehearsals with the guests for each individual session to streamline this process. This proved difficult to arrange on account of the number of timezones involved and the busy schedules of the speakers so we only managed to do this for a handful of sessions. We conducted individual A/V checks with the speakers who could not attend rehearsals.  


The Beyond Boundaries team required us to provide live captions for the sessions. We liaised with a captioning company who would provide live captioning by attending the production Zoom call during the sessions and send us back a caption feed to mix in with the broadcast in our studio. In addition to live content, some of the session organisers opted to have pre-recorded segments in their programs. We helped coordinate this by conducting some of the recordings ourselves via Zoom during our A/V checks with guest speakers. We edited these videos and had them captioned. 


When the conference arrived we delivered high-quality live streams via Slido, direct from our broadcast studio. For each session we ran a green room Zoom call for the guest speakers to arrive into before transferring on air production Zoom call. We mixed the Zoom feed with the graphic layouts and streamed the output from our Epiphan Pearl 2. The schedule was intense with some days having multiple sessions.

The conference was enjoyed by a large audience, with 500+ participants on the first day alone. We ensured that the recordings of the live streams were made available quickly after each session so that anyone who missed out could access them without delay. We provided the Beyond Boundaries team with post-event statistics regarding attendee engagement after each session. 


With the help of Hire Frequencies, the Beyond Boundaries team delivered an informative and engaging conference enjoyed by thousands of people internationally. Through the use of technology they were able to converse with people around the globe and gain their perspectives on topics of extreme importance. If you are looking to host any kind of virtual event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team of experts for a free consultation.