Pre-Recorded Virtual Events

Fundamental Choices: Live vs. Pre-Recorded or Pre-Produced

One thing we constantly work with clients on understanding is the use of pre-recorded, or pre-produced sessions vs. live, on-the-air content.

Generally speaking, the decision from a quality and control standpoint is extremely clear.  You want to pre-record your sessions.  Why is this?  It comes down to quality of content and control of your event.

If you pre-produce your sessions, you have the opportunity to mix different media types (perhaps a recording from your phone,  a recording from a camera, bits of PowerPoint, etc.), and then put these together to create a great session for your attendees.  Of course you can switch between sources live, you can do your talk with your slides, present your materials, all live.  But you are faced with issues that just don’t have to be there.  This is especially true if it’s not just you presenting, but perhaps a whole group of speakers.

The logistics of managing schedules, getting speakers connected at exactly the right time, addressing bandwidth issues at their location, etc. – all of these come into play.  Here are some examples that, frankly, didn’t need to happen.

  • A speaker showed up more than 15 minutes late.  He jumped on the line, then started talking about why he was late, complaining about traffic and how he was having a bad day.  Then he realized he had jumped on the live conference line and was talking about his woes to the world.  Live.  We had had to start without him and in joining late, gave the world a very unprofessional, very personal look at his troubles.
  • We had a speaker do their presentation over the top of dogs constantly barking.  The speaker would do part of the presentation, then have to stop to try to quiet the dogs as they announced the arrival of the package delivery service.  Then the mail carrier.  Then a door-to-door salesperson.  It went on and on in an amazing display of home activity that didn’t need to be part of the session.
  • Another presenter spent about 25% of their time scolding children who would not only be too noisy, but would come up and interrupt.  Would knock on the door when closed for noise control.  Would ask permission to use the restroom.  All nicely broadcast out to the audience.
  • We’ve had presenters who attempted to do their sessions from hotels with such poor quality internet that they were unable to show their demonstration correctly.  They would lose their connection, have poor quality images, etc. – all because they were presenting from a location they did not control.  In one case, the presenter actually announced to the world that they apologized, but they were sitting in the hallway for the presentation and hoped it would sound OK.

These are all life and reality for many presenters that do their work from the road.  But the fact is, you don’t need to be at the mercy of presenters.  Using great tools, you can record segments, create a great session and play it out on a timed, pseudo-live basis.  The presenter is then able to participate in chat from anywhere in the world in a clean, quality-controlled environment.

If you think about television, most shows (especially other than news programs and sporting-type events) are pre-produced.  It’s about control.  It’s about great quality and it’s about having excellent content for your attendees.  Your attendees may not even realize it’s not live.  It’s the best of all worlds.