A hybrid event is one that incorporates in-person and virtual participation simultaneously. It takes place at a physical venue but has a live and interactive audience online. It can be any meeting that offers a way to participate online such as a meeting with active discussions on Twitter to a meeting that features the live-streaming of content and dedicated chat rooms online.
Hybrid events can reach participants anywhere in the world and potentially reach many more people than simply those who choose to participate in person. There are also benefits in being perceived as an innovative forward-thinking event. Creating a hybrid experience usually means that content can be easily repurposed as it is developed to work for remote online audiences in mind.
Putting on a Hybrid Event
It’s not as simple as putting a camera in a room and live-streaming the sessions. The content must be appropriate for online participation, so it often needs to be adapted.
Care must also be taken to create a wholesome event experience for online participants, which may involve having one or more video or chat hosts, and generally taking care of the online audience. Saying this the in-person audience must not be neglected, they are the VIPs who travelled to participate in the event, so giving them a second-rate experience is to be avoided at all costs.
You can’t guarantee the same level of engagement at a hybrid event that you would get at a face-to-face one, but it can be incredibly rewarding and valuable.
Expectations must be set at the start and followed through. Content can be delivered to a high standard, but the setting of participation is beyond your control so it’s important to understand that it is a different experience from an analogue event.
What Technology Do We Provide For Hybrid Events?
Cameras & Tripods
When looking into the right cameras, you need to consider a few things:
- Will this be a panel discussion or an event that requires close-ups? Do you need more than two angles? In this case, you need multiple cameras. You’ll also need a switcher and someone to select the camera angles to show.
- You’ll need a camera that supports all screen sizes.
- Does the planner want HD and will the stream support it?
High quality microphones are essential for a professional hybrid event:
- Wireless lavalier microphones are a great option as they appear better on camera and reduce ambient noise.
- When mics are accidentally left on, this can create a poor audio experience for a hybrid audience. Consider having an audio operator who shuts mics on and off.
- Wireless handheld mics are also essential for Q&A, so questions can be heard on the stream
In order to stream your event live to an online audience, you also need to consider:
- Webcasting gear
- A video switcher
- A streaming platform/service to which virtual attendees can connect
- Servers for storing and hosting streaming video (if the streaming service doesn’t provide this)
- Other standard AV equipment