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Hybrid Event Success Part 2: Technology

November 29, 2022

Hybrid Event Technology

In part two of Hybrid Event Success, we will look at the technology you need to add elevated production value to your Hybrid Event. Giving your people the right tools to produce a professional hybrid event broadcast allows you to control the quality and look of the event for a remote attendee. The right technology also allows you and your team to be flexible and agile when things need to change.

Read Part 1 – Hybrid Event Success: How to Create Production Value PT1 – People

Platform

Your digital platform is your digital venue. More than 375 different platforms are available in the market, so you have plenty of choices. A platform can be anything from an embedded video player on a website to a fully interactive 3D virtual environment. Your attendee experience must be your top priority when looking at your potential platform. What do you want them to experience when they sign on?

Remember that you will need some basic functionalities, no matter the platform. Some key questions are: What type of video resolution does the platform cap out at? If the platform only handles resolutions of 720p or lower, this will dictate how you film your event. There is no use using full HD 1080 or 4K footage if your platform can’t host it.

Producer

Having a separate broadcast producer will allow you to have a dedicated team member to concentrate on leading the creative direction and production of the live stream component of your hybrid event.

Their main role is to manage the process staff and operators focussed on the video production elements of your event while keeping a keen eye on the details of the content to be streamed out.

Cameras

There is a saying in the broadcast world called “Glass to Glass”. This refers to the camera’s lens as the “glass” of the TV. Choosing the right camera and how many you will need will be the first choice you will need to make when planning your hybrid elements. A single camera will not be enough to create visual interest for the remote audience. You will want to have at least two high-quality cameras at your event to make sure you can frame the view of your attendees.

Professional camera systems, or camera chains, are designed to use robust video capture technology, exchangeable lenses and high-quality tripods to record high-level footage. Although a little is more expensive, investing in a high-quality camera chain will give you the best result.

Shading

Shading is the practice of white-balancing and colour-balancing the footage your cameras are capturing. A Professional shading rack or console connects to your cameras to use lumiscopes and processing to match your cameras’ colour and exposure in real time. Although this can technically be done on the camera itself, adding a dedicated shading rack to your camera chain can ensure the highest quality image for your hybrid broadcast.

production equipment
Hybrid Event Technology

Broadcast switcher and Routing

A broadcast switcher is the main control of the look and feel of your video production. In the hands of a professional operator and under the direction of your camera director, it will allow you to dynamically switch between camera shots and mix graphics and additional sources into a seamless professional-looking production.

When selecting the switcher, you need for your event, you factor in how many M/E or Media Effects you will need. A media effect is a canvas that allows you to mix camera sources into a “look.” If you think of the last sports broadcast or news broadcast you watched, you will notice there are 3-4 looks that they cycle through during the broadcast. A two-up, a single camera shot or a panel discussion are all built on separate M/Es. For most event-based broadcasts, a 2 M/E switcher will handle most of your needs.

You may already have a camera operator as part of your team dedicated to IMAG (Image Magnification) but consider that a static shot of your speaker on the screen will be less engaging to an online attendee watching remotely. Adding at least two more camera operators and cameras to your production will give you plentiful options for an engaging and dynamic view of your event on screen.

Dedicated Audio Console

A dedicated broadcast audio console will allow you to remix all of the audio sources for your broadcast. Although you will have a professional console and engineer in the room, balancing the audio for your in-person attendees, the audio balance for your broadcast will be very different.

Professional audio uses a dedicated network protocol called DANTE. This lets you share audio sources via a local network to multiple consoles and devices on the network. Using a Dante-enabled digital console will allow your broadcast audio operator to grab the inputs (Mic’s etc.) and remix them for broadcast without interrupting or complicating the audio mix for the room itself.

Recording

To record your footage for future use, like on-demand sessions and future broadcasts, using external recording devices along your video systems is the best way to make recordings. External recorders like the AJA Ki-Pro or BlackMagic Hyper Deck allow you to centrally capture all of your footage on hard drives in a digital format.

These decks also allow you to add a timecode embedded in your footage. This critical element is required for your post-production team of editors and motion graphics professionals to assemble your footage into a seamless video. Without a timecode on your footage, it would not be easy to line up your separate camera footage.

Encoding

The last element on the video chain, before your video production is broadcast to the world, is encoding. To have your video feed effectively hit the internet and be hosted live on your platform, it needs to be digitized to specific standards to ensure you maintain the highest video quality.

Most platforms require specific codecs and video standards to be able to receive your video signal. You can use a digital encoder embedded in switching platforms like vMix. However, there is much more reliability and additional options in hardware encoders; These are small video processing devices dedicated to processing the video signal to the codec in real-time.

We create Exceptional Production Experiences by gathering the right people and resources, paired with meaningful design and elevated production value. Because when experienced planners get pulled into the day-to-day of their event production, taking care of their stakeholders and audiences becomes impossible. At Byrne Production Services, we direct the technical production of each event using our Production Framework™ so you can be free to focus on the event experience.

Getting started on an Exceptional Production Experience is easy.

Book an exploration meeting with us, let us create a customized plan, then let’s work on creating something exceptional together.

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