Anyone who's participated in a high-stakes video call knows that a virtual production environment can be daunting. The habits and heuristics that we've established from a lifetime of in-person interviews, sales meetings, even college exams, don't always apply. This can leave us disoriented and scrambling in the moments before we hop online to present as an expert.
If you're used to in-person presentations, you're probably used to having most of the background logistics lined up. You know that the conference organizer has promoted your session, that the venue has been completely prepared. AV has placed projectors and wired your microphone, the stage is accented with branding and up-lighting. All you have to worry about is your presentation.
But there are lots of things to think about when presenting online during a digital event. Below are a few tips that will leave you more prepared for your next virtual presentation.
1. Work With a Team
As the presenter, you want your focus to be on your presentation. You don't want to worry about managing audience members who are having trouble joining or participating, constantly asking a hundred person audience whether or not they can hear you, or coordinating Q&A. That's why it's important to have a support team that is handling all this for you. Whether you're on a Slack channel or an in-platform chat room from your service provider, we recommend having at least one separate team member in the background working for you to organize Q&A, double check AV stability, and making sure you can focus on presenting and not the details.
2. Explore Your Platform
If you weren't aware before COVID-19, you certainly are now: there are a number of virtual event platforms and even more digital presentation providers. Each has its own set of strengths, weaknesses, quirks and known issues. We recommend experimenting with each platform to understand which option best aligns with the goals for your session and then doing at least one dry-run through with members of your team before you present.
3. Invest in High-Quality Gear
This remains a topic of debate among virtual presenters. While hosts of larger events will recommend investing in a microphone, a number of regular webinar leaders feel that their laptop microphones work fine. At Remix, we like to err on the side of quality and our technology partners do too. If you want to invest in a good microphone, we recommend looking at the following:
Further, make sure the quality of your video cam is good. We've also seen presenters use headphones, etc. to make sure everything is running smoothly.
We've all experienced video calls when the presenter's face is essentially a moving shadow...It's amazing how much of a difference lighting can make! Human's look best in soft, directional light. While bootstrapped lighting kits can be developed for under a hundred dollars, you can spend thousands on creating a studio like environment for your virtual production studio. One easy solution is investing in a soft box to even out illumination from a normal lamp or light. You can even DIY a soft box with some paper, cardboard and tape. Those looking to really up their game can invest in creating a 3-point lighting system.
Some lighting solutions we recommend are:
5. Produce From One Location
If possible (and safe), try to assemble your team from one location. It is easier to produce and maintain quality from a single control center. At the very least, it helps to have the most knowledgable AV lead on-hand to help you nail the nuances of AV production. From lighting, to backgrounds, to external background noise, a professional can help identify production issues that you may not have identified in the first place.
There are some unique considerations that come with presenting online, so keeping them in mind and preparing in advance will help ensure that your virtual presentation goes off without a hitch. There's a ton of great content being produced daily, so don't be afraid to watch a few webinars and find a few takeaways for yourself! We can't wait to hear what you learn.
If you're curious to learn more about virtual presenting, please don't hesitate to to reach out to our expert team at firstname.lastname@example.org.