What type of video should I use for my virtual sessions?

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Bringing your event into the virtual space can seem complicated at first as you start to become familiar with just how many options there are for hosting your sessions. While there are certainly many different formats that you can choose to host your sessions in, each video option can deliver a very different experience. We wanted to help you take the confusion out of selecting which video format will be the best fit for your event, so that you can work towards delivering the best experience possible to your attendees. 

Live Stream
Live Stream videos offer a live recording of a video that is taking place in real time. This video option helps attendees to feel like they are connecting directly with the Speakers and hosts of the sessions that are happening, and can certainly help them to engage with the content that is being shared. 

Live stream videos work incredibly well for sessions where you are looking to make your attendees active participants by having them participate in polling or Q&A sessions - in this way, they can really help to shape what will be covered in the session and what they will get out of it. 

While live streams can offer a really great experience, they do come with a greater risk. Since live stream video happens in real time, there is little room for error during your session. A lot more time will need to be spent in preparing your speakers for how to be prepared and what they can expect during the session. Adjusting things like audio, lighting, and any mistakes in the presentation simply aren’t possible when the video is happening in the moment - for this reason it is best to practice a dry run prior to the live presentation so that you can iron out these details and address them before you broadcast live to your audience. 

Although this video option can come with much more risk than some of the other video formats we will be covering as well, don’t let it deter you from incorporating them into your event when they are suitable. This type of video can really help to offer a personal experience to the session you are hosting by allowing people to connect with your speaker human to human - even if it doesn’t happen to be in person. 

A few popular examples of tools that can be used to broadcast your livestream video are YouTube Live and Zoom Webinars.

Video on Demand
Video on Demand offers a lot more control when it comes to producing your sessions - since this video type is pre-recorded, you have the opportunity to edit and refine the video to suit the overall experience that you are looking to deliver. While live streams may help in offering a more personal type of session, this video option can help to offer a more professional looking session as you can add, adjust and remove as needed. 

Video on Demand can work incredibly well for any sessions that are not restricted by time, or that include content that attendees may need to access periodically. Offering your pre-recorded videos can deliver flexibility in terms so when your attendees will be viewing them, and how often they are able to do so. Given that these sessions are not happening with a live audience, you can set the tone and flow of the session as you wish. 

One thing to consider with this video option, is that it is not always the ideal solution when it comes to engaging attendees. While video on demand can offer a really polished result for presenting your session, it does limit the amount of interaction that your attendees can have with the content. 

Even with limited engagement options, Video on Demand can be a great option for sharing information with your attendees - whether it be an educational session or a product demo that your sponsors or exhibitors are sharing. While we don’t recommend relying on this video type entirely, it can play a helpful role in your event by offering content that attendees can access in between your sessions or meetings, and at their own pace. Our recommendation is to also use the Video on Demand format for any recorded live stream or simulive sessions that you have hosted so that they can be made available to your attendees after the event has ended. 

A few examples of Video on Demand tools are Wistia and YouTube

Simulive
Simulive video offers the best of both worlds between livestream and Video on Demand options, which is why it is our suggested form of video to use when possible. This video type is meant to simulate the experience of a livestream video, but is pre-recorded in advance to allow for additional production to take place.

Simulive is ideal for sessions where you are hosting panel discussions and/or where you need to coordinate with multiple speakers. By replicating the feel of a livestream video, you can offer the personal experience to your session that will help attendees to connect with the content. Pre-recording this video, additionally, helps to ensure that the shape and flow of the session is just as you intend it to be. 

While simulive sessions are not recorded in real time, they should be offered a dedicated time slot in your agenda to create the feeling of a live session. Simulive video can also be incorporated into your existing live stream sessions to offer a smooth transition between topics and content (note that a production tool or team will be required to help you in managing the various video formats you are working with). 

Video Conference or Virtual Meeting
This video type offers real time interaction between the host, speaker(s) and attendees. Video conferences or meetings can help to  create an ideal setting for collaboration, communication and connection. While video conferences or meetings are not always ideal for hosting sessions, they are a great way to offer spaces where attendees can break into smaller groups to participate in discussions or activities together.

A few commonly used tools for video conferences and virtual meetings are Google Hangouts and Zoom meetings.  

Creating Your Virtual Event 
While each video type can offer different benefits to your sessions, it is important to note that your event can incorporate a mix and match of these video formats depending on your overall objectives or goals.

Before choosing which video option you would like to use, try to consider the session type and the overall experience that you are looking to deliver to your attendees so that you can best determine which ones will be the right fit! 

 

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