Virtual Events

The comprehensive hybrid event equipment checklist

Sanchi
• February 28, 2021
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H

ybrid events are a step forward from the way events have been conducted thus far. They are being hailed as the future of events combining the best of both worlds. It is a live in-person event that also has a virtual audience, and the event can either be live or recorded. 

The settings and equipment requirements for a hybrid event need careful evaluation. To deliver a comprehensive event experience and to reach attendees wherever they are, you would require the right technology and tools of the trade.

Listing down the must-haves:

WiFi

The first necessity of hybrid events is stable WiFi for the live telecast to a remote audience and so that both categories of participants may interact with each other and the event organisers.

Camera

The high-quality video streaming required for live and recorded sessions needs the right digital video camera. A slight compromise in video quality will disappoint the audience and turn them off.

A hybrid event may either be fully live-streamed or a mix of live and recorded video. The digital video equipment should capture the focus of the event, the stage, and the attendees. Set your camera high enough to avoid people on the floor walking into the shot.

With a panel discussion, you would require more movement of the camera, some closeup shots, and some medium shots (up to the waistline or knees). If the panel is bigger and you need to cover it from two or more angles, multiple cameras will be needed.

Sometimes the display size of the live stream participants may be 4:3 or 16:9 depending on the devices and display screens. You can select either or a combination of the two ratios. Select a camera that supports all screen sizes.

For premium HD quality video, make sure that each streaming equipment supports HD. Use a tripod to support and stabilise the camera, and allow its repositioning to frame the image you wish to capture.

Lighting

Lighting becomes a major factor with hybrid events, just like in for physical events. In a virtual set-up, you only need to light up your surroundings. But with hybrid events, lighting is required on the stage, as well as on the participants. 

Like in a physical event, place the light source in front of the speaker, and not behind. Good lighting can brighten up the whole ambience. In a hybrid event, you would require a different set of stage lights, spotlights, colour effects, etc.

Webcam

Most of the computers and laptops are equipped with built-in webcams that can be used for all virtual events. But having a standalone webcam can improve the video quality considerably for the remote participants. Such webcams are connected to the computer through USB or Firewire. 

READ: Guide on choosing the best webinar software platform in 2021

Microphone

In a hybrid event, a presenter has more distractions, compared to only virtual events. So, when the speaker turns left or right, the sound quality may be impacted. A low-quality sound or distorted audio can discourage the audience. 

To capture the best sound, you will require a high-quality microphone, such that the sound of the speaker is loud and clear to both, in-person and online attendees. 

Using an audio mixer with microphones is a great idea as different presenters have different levels of voice.

If the microphone is wired, cover the wiring neatly. The maximum extension with a USB is usually around 10 feet, therefore a “repeater” cable may be required to increase the length. A phone plug type microphone can be extended up to 50 feet. 

If you are planning a Q&A session, you will require mic runners with wireless hand mics to capture the questions of in-person attendees and a host to field online attendee questions. This ensures smooth execution of the session.

READ: Power up your webinars with Airmeet

Support system

Organising a hybrid event can be tricky if you don’t have an efficient support team on standby. You may have the best equipment and the best speakers but only the right support will ensure a smooth event. 

Audio support

Plan an audio support system where all equipment and sound broadcasting is checked for both types of attendees. Keep a backup for the microphone, and an option for the support team to mute and unmute participants to avoid out of turn conversations.

Video support

The support team ensures that switching from video to slide to the presenter or vice versa is done smoothly and flawlessly for the remote attendees. While presenting your slides to a virtual audience, keep the presenter unmuted, share your screen, and run the slides in Slide Show mode with a full screen. 

The virtual audience should be able to see the slide in full screen with the presenter in a thumbnail if required. When finished, screen sharing must be stopped, and it should be switched back to the presenter on camera.

To present some pre-recorded videos, share your screen, mute the presenter and run the video for the virtual audience while projecting for the live audience. When the video is over, stop sharing the screen and unmute the presenter to move ahead.

Platform support

Select an event platform that supports hybrid events with user-friendly and engaging features. Attendees should be able to navigate it conveniently, plus it should have interactive options like polls, raise hand, emojis, Q&A.

A hybrid event is not simply an in-person event being live-streamed. It is essential to give remote attendees an experience that feels as close as possible to attending an in-person event.

Ensure that your platform has the capacity to support a large number of attendees.

Hybrid events are being hailed as the future of events as they combine the best of both worlds.

Hybrid events are being hailed as the future of events as they combine the best of both worlds.

READ: The definitive guide to choosing the right webinar tools & equipments

Hybrid events are gaining popularity as they facilitate a higher number of attendees at a fraction of the cost. So, when are you planning your hybrid event?

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