When a client came to us recently wanting to hold their annual awards ceremony as a virtual event, they were looking for something more than just your average Zoom or Teams call.
The brief was quite specific though, the event did need to be run over Zoom (as that’s what they use on a weekly basis for their well-being meetings) but they wanted the audience to be a part of the event rather than them just watching another zoom webinar. Everyone had to be in the same zoom meeting and none of the winners would know who they were until announced, and as they were announced we needed to show the video feed of the winner to everyone in the meeting, and give the presenters the opportunity to speak to them in real-time. We had two presenters live in the studio on a green screen background so we could place them onto a big virtual awards set. The set not only showed the presenters, but also showed two large virtual screens – one either side of the presenters. This meant that we could change what the audience saw without cutting away from the presenters. In the production office we had our spotters looking through the zoom call for our winners so we could bring them up on one of the virtual screens for the presenter to congratulate them. Obviously, the screens everyone would see beside the presenters were virtual but we needed to make it look convincing to the audience, so we placed physical screens off-stage to the left and right of the presenters where we also displayed the winners’ video feeds. This way it meant that the presenters naturally looked towards the direction of the virtual screen and to the audience it looked like they were talking to the winner on the big virtual screen. The results were amazing as we were able to capture the natural reactions from the winners as they were announced.
Planning the event was critical to its success. We needed to make sure that none of the audience knew who the winners were until they were announced, and we needed to make sure that the winners weren’t “on mute” when they needed to speak, but we also needed to make sure that other members of the audience weren’t able to talk over the presenters (or winners). To make this happen, we handled all the muting and un-muting from the production office.
Using a virtual set allowed us to present an inclusive awards ceremony where everyone felt part of the event. Knowing they could be live on screen at any point kept people on their toes for the whole event and we even ran a couple of games during the event to make sure everyone got a chance to be involved. We also brought the winners of the games up on screen so the presenters could have a conversation with them.
From the audience’s point of view it was like being at a live event. They could see other people in the audience, they could see everything going on on-stage and they had the knowledge that they could be picked on at any time to receive an award.
We had a great time putting this unique event together and the client was extremely happy with the result. People are still talking about it weeks after the event. It just shows that not all virtual events have to be the same. Our creative team are always looking for ways to make virtual events more enjoyable for everyone.