GOING LIVE!  Using technology to replace live events

4 October 2020

The effect of the Coronavirus epidemic on the live events industry has become leading news on the business pages.

As for many production companies, live events have always been an important focus for our business. Conferences and exhibitions have a symbiotic relationship with video production and losing the opportunity for businesses to bring large or even small groups of people together has been a major blow to the industry.

But messages to employees, customers, media and suppliers still need to be delivered. Businesses have to find new ways to maintain their profiles, communicate with their teams and project their brands in a world that has changed almost beyond recognition in such a short time.


So, when our client Graham & Brown Wallpaper approached us in June about transforming their annual “Wallpaper and Colour of the Year” launch from a live event into a live TV show, we were happy to be able to provide the solution.

Sophisticated broadcast technology has become more accessible in recent times and video hosting enables events to be scheduled just like a TV programme using tools like YouTube Premiere. The programme can either be streamed live using a dedicated satellite link, if that is what’s needed, or alternatively filmed “as live” for editing and distribution.

Graham and Brown’s audience of customers and international home interest media journalists were invited to log in to watch the 30-minute programme, filmed with a 5-person crew at the company’s Blackburn HQ, and receive all the information and trend insights they needed from the Graham & Brown team themselves. Simultaneous Instagram and Facebook interactions meant that as the Show was happening and afterwards, comments could be made and questions instantly answered. It worked beautifully and pointed the way to a new genre of business communication enabled by technology, with huge potential for PR.


Company MD Andrew Graham MBE was scheduled to top and tail the programme and supply links, but an update to the regulations meant that on the launch filming day he was quarantining at home after a holiday. So, instead Andrew made his contributions via MS Teams, with the feed being refined and enhanced in post-production. All the editing was done remotely, again with MS Teams enabling our director Andy to be socially distanced, around 100 miles from the edit suite whilst sharing the screen and working closely with editor Jon on the project. We have now used both MS teams and Zoom to enable us to include contributions to films from people who otherwise simply could not be filmed.

Audiences are familiar with the quality of a wi-fi video conferencing link as so much broadcast TV content is now being delivered the same way. By sharing the link between editor, director and contributor simultaneously the “session” can be directed in a similar way to a remote voice over, with the contributor guided on how best to present the story in terms of both delivery and the shooting environment they are in.

The experience shows what can be achieved, with the potential for businesses of all sizes increasingly to become their own broadcast channels, delivering content their customers can appreciate and enjoy in their own homes or on mobile devices. You really don’t always have to be in the room to get the message.


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