How can you handle the question and answer part of a virtual event?

September 11, 2020 Synergetic Video

Q&A with your virtual event

One of the considerations we discuss with our customers about virtual events is if there is going to be a question and answer segment. In most cases, the answer is yes. Inevitably, that causes our customers to have to think about the path they want to go down: Do they want the broadcast to be recorded or live? And if its recorded, how can we incorporate a live Q&A segment?

Good question.

Most customers’ first thought is to do the program entirely pre-recorded, then incorporate the person that was pre-recorded into the end of the program (wearing the same clothes, in  the same location, etc.) to answer the questions live. Seems easy, right?

Well, let’s discuss a couple things you need to know first:

  • Continuity is key when trying to accomplish this. And you need to get the continuity right. Continuity is what allows viewers to believe that what they are seeing is really happening right now. You see continuity slip ups a lot in movies – in one camera angle the actress has a necklace on, and in the next they do not. Professional broadcasters pay people a lot of money to manage continuity, so there is no way you are going to be able to make it look seamless without some diligent consideration.
  • No matter how long the live portion of the broadcast is (if any part of it is live), the whole program is considered live. Which then requires a different set of check boxes we have to work through. Even if you pre-record 95% of the program and only a few minutes are live, we have to respect the list of protocols to make sure the live part looks great and flows seamlessly with the pre-recorded content.
  • You do not want to have a spectacular pre-recorded segment, only to let it flounder because the live part doesn’t sound right…or its blurry…or too bright. Staying on-brand is important to us, and it should be to you as well.
  • When any part of the broadcast is live, the cost goes up. The cost includes:
    • A rehearsal day
    • Additional equipment to mix the video live
    • Graphics computers
    • Technicians in a control room the day of the event (and the rehearsal) to execute the live switching and broadcasting
  • When the program is entirely pre-recorded, that can all be handled in post-production and only 1 or 2 technicians are required on show day. So needless to say, an entirely pre-recorded program is cheaper and has a significantly smaller margin for error.

Customers’ second thought is usually ‘Well then, lets just not do a Q&A’. And that doesn’t always have to be the case. Let’s really think about the Q&A, here are a few questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you really think you are going to be able to get to a reasonable amount of questions during the program? And if so, how many do you think is reasonable?
    • In reality, you may not be able to get to any questions, because the program is that good!
  • What kind of questions do you imagine would be asked?
  • Who is going to manage the questions?
    • Questions are typed into a very small box. And they don’t last for long before you can’t see them anymore as new comments are sent in.
    • The presenter will not be able to see and sort through them while giving their presentation simultaneously. That just doesn’t go smoothly. Imagine requiring the presenter to look away at a small chat box, scroll through all of the comments to select questions worth answering, and meanwhile nothing is being said to the viewers and they’re left waiting. Then finally they say “Oh, here’s a good one”… I don’t think that is how your brand wants to be viewed.
    • Instead, you need to have a dedicated person monitoring the questions and selecting only the best ones to be answered.
    • Then, using our system, you can get them to the presenter so that he/she can simply transition right into the Q&A segment without missing a beat…”Ok, so for our first question”.

You don’t want the Q&A segment to put a damper on a great program. So you need to consider these things. We assume you don’t want to increase your costs to simply just… answer viewer questions. So, what are some ways around this?

Well, we have some great ideas – but you will need to call us and find out, dial (215) 633-1200 and let’s see how we can get that Q&A segment to work for you!

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