Creating Engaging Content Through Creative Problem Solving

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by Colleen Ando, Creative Director at Evia

 

Hi! I'm Colleen Ando, and I'm the new Creative Director at Evia. You may be wondering why a live streaming company hired a CD with an interest in fashion. In order to explain, let me tell you about my first experience at a conference where Evia was live streaming.

Back in March, I attended MPI Cascadia. Among the many interesting topics, one in particular was quite relevant to the times we are living in and very important: Active Shooter Preparedness.

MPI Cascadia was held in March of 2018, just five months and 200 short miles from the mass shooting in Las Vegas. In this session, two sheriffs spent an hour talking about how to prepare for an active shooter during an event, something that has unfortunately become something event planners need to consider. Everyone in the room was fixated on the men as they walked all over the room, speaking and engaging with attendees.

For the digital audience, however, it might have been hard to track.  Our one camera operator was not expecting two speakers to be roaming off stage to areas of the room where lighting was poor.

  Screenshot from the Active Shooter Preparedness live stream with one of the sheriffs speaking off stage away from the stage lighting.

Screenshot from the Active Shooter Preparedness live stream with one of the sheriffs speaking off stage away from the stage lighting.

It highlighted to me one easy way I can bring value to our clients at Evia. At most events, we set up our equipment the day before, test, and then we stream and record. End of story. But what has become apparent over time is that if I were able to spend a little time working with planners and production companies prior to that time, we can provide the digital audience with as dynamic an experience as the live audience is getting.

In the instance of the Active Shooter session, we would have learned beforehand that there would be two speakers who's preferred style was to move off stage.  This would have allowed us to make minor adjustments to improve the live streaming experience: adding a second camera, adding additional lighting, or even just chatting with the speakers before their session to guide them with some stage direction and learn about their presentation styles.

Because the digital component is often added later in the event planning process after stage design, speaker review and lighting has already been planned for the onsite experience. At best, our technical staff has 5 minutes prior to a session to remind them that they are being recorded. While we can supply cameras and encoders and some of the best technical people in the business, there is more we would like to work with our clients on to make the digital viewing experience great.

  Apple does visuals in video that translate really well, as you can see in this example.

Apple does visuals in video that translate really well, as you can see in this example.

At Evia, we'd love to help elevate the digital experience for our clients, and that is why I was hired. Where the onsite viewing environment is designed and controlled, with the virtual audience, we don't know where they are viewing content or on what kind of device. So my job is to make sure those factors are considered and to ensure that what is being presented to the live audience translates to the at home audience.

Some of the things I consider in this process include: switching and camera angles, tracking the speaker(s), proper lighting for video, aspect ratio of the speaker to the content, and visually translating as much of the onsite experience as possible. There is a lot of interesting content being generated at events, and quite a bit of money being spent to stream and capture it. We want people to watch, re-watch, bookmark and share this great content, and we want our clients to get a significant ROI on that content. This happens when the online experience is authentic, visually appealing and true to the brand. 

  Example of pre-live stream content and countdown clock that can be developed to engage your audience prior to the start of a live session. Text represents interesting questions and facts, but pre-session content can also include video or even sponsor-generated content. 

Example of pre-live stream content and countdown clock that can be developed to engage your audience prior to the start of a live session. Text represents interesting questions and facts, but pre-session content can also include video or even sponsor-generated content. 

To make this happen, my process starts by becoming familiar with the client's brand and style. My team and I then approach them with questions - a deep dive into the "how and why." We take into consideration the viewer, venue, hosting city, event partners, room size, lighting, sound, etc. Then we draft a creative brief as a guide to measure success.

At Evia, I am very fortunate to have at my disposal the talents of our UX, development, technical and project management teams to provide these solutions. We can design a completely customized experience, or suggest small changes in conjunction with the onsite AV and production teams that add very little, if any, cost. 

As a creative person, my philosophy is "good energy breeds creativity." I'm relatively new at Evia, but I have learned that I am surrounded by a smart, fun, hardworking group of people who make things happen. I am excited to see how I can have a positive impact in this digital space as this part of the events industry is growing daily.

If you're interested in hearing some ideas that can elevate your digital content and delivery, I have more to share and would love to chat. Comment below or email me any time!