Hybrid Town Halls: Why You Need a Professional Livestream Production Team
Hybrid town halls have become the norm among corporations with employees in widespread locations. The question for many companies is whether to host the hybrid event using their IT team or hire outside service providers to handle the livestream.
Modern software has made things that were once challenging to do online relatively fast and easy to do these days. For example, many “out-of-the-box” video conferencing solutions work well with real-time virtual meetings. However, they won’t fulfill all your needs when you add a live audience into the mix for an optimal hybrid experience.
The fundamental goal of hosting a successful hybrid event is to allow people from across Ontario, Canada, or the world to tune in and interact in real-time with the hosts as quickly as the live audience can. If your IT department doesn’t have the proper infrastructure, training, or experience to support a live hybrid broadcast, you won’t be giving your online audience the optimal town hall experience they deserve.
That’s why hiring a professional livestream production team is a prudent move for a successful hybrid town hall. The right team will take care of every technical aspect of your event including:
Consistent audio quality
When you have a message that needs to be heard, you want crisp, clear audio that ensures your points get across to everyone. The challenge is addressing the needs of the people in the room with you and those joining remotely.
For example, modern broadcast platforms can provide excellent audio to remote participants. However, attendees who are physically present might have difficulty hearing what’s being said, especially if they’re standing at the back of the room and the presenter has a quiet voice.
Conversely, you could set up good quality amplifiers so the people in the room can hear the speaker clearly, but without full-room microphone pickup, the remote audience will struggle to hear all the action.
It’s much easier to hire a production company to analyze the room and develop the best audio strategy to ensure crystal-clear audio for both in-person and remote attendees. They’ll also provide the equipment so you’re not scrounging for good quality microphones, cables, and other equipment.
Seamless video management and switching
Presenting before an in-person audience traditionally requires a podium, microphone, and a pre-written speech. Speaking to a remote audience adds a new list of considerations, including high-quality video cameras, teleprompters, and background sets.
Hybrid town halls combine all the aspects of both, which means balancing the needs of both audiences so everyone has an optimal viewing experience simultaneously. This can be a challenge for IT departments with little to no experience with hybrid livestreaming.
For example, video switching is a significant part of a compelling hybrid town hall. Switching involves controlling what your remote audience sees on their screens, such as slides or different live or remote speakers. Seamless video switching is a specialized skill that requires software operated by an experienced livestream production team.
The team will also ensure you look your best on camera with high-definition video and production equipment, along with the support you need to deliver your message confidently.
Managing Q&A from both audiences
Town halls should never be a one-way conversation if you want your audience engaged and interested. Hosting a Q&A session near or at the end of your event is a great way to get attendees involved in the livestream.
It’s relatively easy to do this with a live audience. People simply raise their hands, and the speaker calls on them to ask their questions. However, remote audience questions need to be addressed too. The trick is how they submit questions and how they’re managed once received.
Typically, remote participants will enter their questions in the viewing portal. If they’re watching on a mobile device, they may also ask their question via text. In both cases, the question is received instantly by the Q&A moderator.
The moderator is key to keeping your Q&A session running smoothly. They’ll screen all the questions for quality and relevance, handle all the switching, and fully manage the session time. With the moderator in place, you can just focus on answering the questions.
If people aren’t quick to volunteer questions, it’s a good idea to prepare slides with seed questions beforehand. Seeds are pre-prepared questions you can answer to get the ball rolling, breaking the ice to get others to participate. They can discuss “low-hanging fruit” topics or something more in-depth. One significant aspect of seed questions is that you know they’re coming and can prepare your answers before the event.
An experienced livestream production team can manage the technical aspects of the Q&A session and even provide a skilled moderator who can keep everything running smoothly.
Enhance attendee inclusivity with polls
Conducting a poll to gather attendees’ opinions on specific issues is a great way to keep everyone engaged and feeling valued. Virtual-only meetings allow participants to answer poll questions right in the viewing portal for fast, easy data collection and results tallying. You can use a show of hands to collect answers from your live audience, but counting them up and adding the results to the virtual totals is cumbersome and interrupts the flow of your event.
A livestream production team will already have the technology in place for seamless hybrid polling. A common solution is to allow all in-person and virtual attendees to answer questions from the privacy of their phones. All answers go to a central repository to be tallied in real-time, with an option to display the final results on everyone’s screen. This approach gets you the data you need quickly and efficiently while keeping your town hall moving forward.
Having a backup video conference platform in place
Technical issues can ruin a hybrid event for everyone involved. While you try to figure out what’s happening, your live audience will get restless, and your online attendees may slowly begin to disappear.
It’s wise to have a backup video conference platform in place in the event of equipment failure or network breakdown. Your production team will be able to facilitate the switch with minimal interruption to the online viewing experience.
Partner with the right livestream production team
Hybrid town halls require more preparation than online-only events. Having the right technical professionals working with you behind the scenes is critical to making the overall production a lot easier for your team.
Your dedicated VVC Live production crew has all the technology you need for every type of hybrid event. Whether you’re planning a town hall, conference, AGM, or any other livestream, we’ll take care of the production needs so you can simply focus on delivering your message.
Experience our streaming solution to discover how our cutting-edge technology will elevate your next livestream. Contact us today for a free demonstration!