How to Create Your Virtual Event Like a Pro
“How to Create Your Virtual Event Like a Pro” gave some amazing pointers on elevating your virtual events and webinars to the next level, with marketing expert Kristelle Siarza and KNME’s Executive Producer of Public Affairs Programming Kevin McDonald offering some amazing pointers on everything from lighting to technical difficulties . In case you didn’t get the chance to participate, we decided to transcribe the webinar and increase its accessibility. View the transcript below, and watch the video here:
… For everybody for tuning in, we greatly, greatly appreciate you joining us on how to create your event like a pro. We know that right now, it’s a very, very interesting, crazy time and we at Siarza have noticed that many of you are asking some really great, fantastic questions on how to treat marketing and COVID-19 or marketing through COVID-19.
And so we’re very fortunate that … To be putting various different free webinars for you. And so at the end of this seminar, we’re going to ask you, what’s the next seminar or webinar that you’d like to see for us to produce?
And normally, we’d like to pair ourselves with experts like Kevin MacDonald, like AED and public relations crisis communications experts, so don’t worry, it’s not just going to be all about digital media, it’s definitely going to be a well-rounded list.
I want to give a quick opportunity to introduce my guest today, Kevin. Please take the floor, introduce yourselves and as always, in true Siarza format, we like to ask a quick icebreaker to make everybody feel a little bit more comfortable and to get to know you.
So Kevin, tell us, during the pandemic, what is one thing that you’ve done that you have either never gotten the opportunity to do before the pandemic, or something that you’ve always had on your list to do but finally got to achieve it?
I think it’s the latter. I think the big time most of my free time now is spent in my backyard. We moved into the house about 14 years ago and it was an unfinished backyard and just have never, I’ve tinkered around in there, but I’ve never really had the chance to sort of get a handle on that.
So planted a little bit of grass, planted some plants, doing some landscaping. It’s been rewarding, frustrating, all that together, but that’s been a lot of fun.
I will say I still don’t have a huge amount of free time in this COVID-19 world that we’re living in New Mexico and focus the show that I’m in charge of.
It hasn’t missed a beat, we haven’t missed a week on air and it’s a bigger hurdle now to get the show on the air virtually so I’m still here at the office most days working as much as I ever did, but that’s how I’ve been trying to fill my free time other than the Tiger King binge watches and that sort of stuff.
I can’t wrap my head around that show, it’s … But I will say my pandemic show is the amount of cool Asian-American like second and third generation movies like P.S. I Love You and Crazy Rich Asians, I’m definitely stocked up on those because I usually fall asleep during movies. I’m kidding.
Talk about a little bit about what you do at New Mexico PBS and your experience in TV industry before we get started?
Sure. So I’ve been at New Mexico PBS for about 14 years. I came here from Oklahoma to produce New Mexico in Focus which at the time, for those of you who’ve been around for a while was actually not as it is now.
It was three different shows, it was in Focus and that was newsmaker interviews and panel discussions and it was the line which is the round table opinion show which Kristelle knows a little bit about, been on several times. We love having her.
And then it was once a month we did a live call in show called Stateline if any of you remember that. And early on, I was tasked with what would this look like if we made one cohesive hour long show and so that was the way that New Mexico in Focus came about, and it’s in season 13, about to head into season 14.
From there, I’ve moved up I guess if you would call it that. For a while, I was the production manager dealing with all the technical needs for the station and the local productions that we do.
Then for a brief stint, I was both executive producer and production manager and that became a little too much to handle. So now fortunately, I get to focus solely on executive producing and really the journalism that we do here at New Mexico PBS.
Before coming here, I was 12 years in commercial news working for NBC affiliates, ABC affiliates, and CBS affiliates.
I started out here in New Mexico up in the four corners in Farmington, and then spent time in southwest Missouri, and five years in Oklahoma City before jumping back to PBS where I’m so thrilled to be and wouldn’t have it any other way.
I appreciate the experiences that I got in commercial news, but don’t miss those days much at all.
Yeah, I was going to say I … So to quickly just run through who I am for those of you that might not know who I am, my name is Kristelle Siarza and Kevin, our pathways are a little bit different because I started as a journalism major and I love the news, I loved radio, I loved TV and when I went to school at Eastern New Mexico University, I actually was in school for broadcast and I realized, “I think I actually want to go to the dark side.”
And so I went into the public relations and advertising and marketing route and I fell in love, worked in newspapers myself, I’m on the advertising side, intern at the resting piece, Albuquerque Tribune, many, many moons ago.
And digital, a little thing called Twitter and Facebook started back in 2008, and 2009 and the rest is history for me. And so I’m very fortunate to spread the knowledge that I have with digital marketing, but over the last several months and years since I became a professional, just really active in the community, one of the things that I’ve noticed is that and I wanted to make sure everybody can see our screens here is that a big part of the community or a big part of Siarza is the community.
And so we volunteer a lot of our time, sometimes even pro bono services to certain nonprofits. I started to serve on several boards, and I realized the functions of nonprofits, and how important it is to have a development director and how important it is to fundraise, how important it is to advocate for your organization and the mission of the organization.
And so that’s how this presentation actually came about and I’ll just jump right into it. We got a lot of requests at Siarza about how do you recreate your event for Facebook Live, for YouTube, for Zoom, how do you record it, how do you make it look professional, et cetera.
And we just wanted to make sure that we gave the parts … We gave the community what we do, but there was definitely a big part of it that we didn’t know which is the actual video production of it which is Kevin, where you come in.
And so we wanted to really kick things off in June based-off of the two of us just really talking and having a conversation and how today is really going to work is we’re going to do a 10-minute presentation about building the event checklist, really spending time on the video, the production, post editing, the wonders of Zoom which New Mexico and Focus has done a beautiful job hosting the panel on Zoom.
And then obviously, just really talking about marketing, putting the checklist together, having a solid conversation about what nonprofits should be looking at, production tips and tricks, so Kevin, I’m going to definitely throw it over to you.
And then obviously, the questions and answers. So and like for those of you that just joined, just to remind everybody, we’re definitely accepting questions on our social media channels at SiarzaSD on both Facebook and Twitter.
And we’re also looking at the chat through Zoom so don’t hesitate to chime in and we have our team monitoring any one of our questions, and we’ll definitely get them asked at some point in time.
So one of the things that we’ve constantly received whenever we receive phone calls from nonprofits, our current clients, nonprofits is a very big vertical at Siarza, and also from people that are volunteer business people that are volunteering for nonprofits.
What does fundraising down look like? And it’s all over the place now. It’s very unpredictable. I know New Mexico PBS is technically a nonprofit and so I know that they’re going through some of these challenges too, that COVID-19 eliminates the experiential part of some of the work that nonprofits do, but I can’t stress enough that the mission of the organization is not going away.
And that’s why I say that the number one thing to think about as some of you are development directors, some of you are doing fundraising pro bono is that your relationships matter most even now, and I applaud a lot of nonprofits that have gone above and beyond to reconnect with us as individual donors, corporations, small businesses, and even medium-sized businesses that are still trying to do their part to be committed to the community.
But some nonprofits are just simply asking the question like, “Is everything okay? Are you guys doing great?” I appreciated how some organizations even started nonprofits like a small business directory to go and support that.
Things like this matter the most, and then the dollar will come in later. And that’s why the second point that I like to make on tip number one in terms of looking at your sponsorships and budget is ask now, an earmark for later.
We’ve had a lot of people ask us like, “Is it the right thing to do to ask for money?” And I’m currently the president of the board for the Domestic Violence Resource Center.
I sit on The New Mexico Foundation of Open Government, don’t stop asking. It’s not the time to stop asking. However, one of the benefits of asking now is that even though you might not be receiving the funding for 2020, it’s definitely something to consider where you could possibly get the funding in 2021 because most companies and corporations lay out their budget, great if they had to shift their budget in 2020, if they weren’t anticipating any type of emergencies or walls.
However, in 2021, it never hurts to ask now so that way, you can be earmarked for the budget for the future, or even possibly double or even ask like, “If now is not the year, that’s okay. Would you be willing to consider us for 2021?”
And so a lot of companies would appreciate that type of flexibility because they still want to help, they just can’t now and they might not be able to in the future.
So I think that’s a big part of the budget and I know that it’s difficult for any nonprofit to shift their budget too, but don’t hesitate to ask.
We’ve seen some of our nonprofits that actually said that we actually didn’t do the event, but we still asked for the sponsorship and the funding still came through and to kind of tie into the third point of the budget, some of the nonprofit’s even said, “We had less overhead.” Right?
“We didn’t actually have to do a rubber chicken lunch. We just simply put it on Zoom and literally we paid for Zoom and that was it.” And so definitely think about crafting the right budget considering that the fundraiser might not happen, but I mean, it’s less work, less mental capacity because sometimes, I’ve seen so many event planners like burning themselves out on how much work this can possibly take, but earmark the sponsorship even if you want to be conservative with the number, but definitely don’t hesitate to ask and just keep asking and reconnect with your donors as much as possible.
Another point that I wanted to do that I think Kevin is going to like this. I don’t know if you saw this earlier. I had to throw it back to broadcast there for a quick second.
Yeah, and so I always recommend that if you’re planning to do an event virtually or create an event like a pro, don’t forget to build your production rundown and I sometimes teach this to some of the students in public relations.
So they kind of know what a production rundown is, but long story short, the first five minutes is an A block, or the first 10 minutes is the A block, the second 10 minutes is the B block, the C block, and you’re pacing your show to your ratings.
And you say, “Okay, this segment is going to cost one minute, this segment is going to be two minutes, this segment is only going to be 30 seconds. We’re only going to have a preview here.”
Well, what does that mean for an event planner? The production rundown on television is almost identical to the event planner’s script and program.
So think about that. Lay it all out. What you don’t want to have is an event that runs too long. You don’t want to have an event that doesn’t account for the technical hiccups that you might run into.
Sometimes you might want to be a little bit more sophisticated where you add background music or you play a video and don’t forget to do that with your production rundown or your event rundown.
So having that type of detail in your event planning would be critical and another thing that is very helpful is making sure that if you have the opportunity to rehearse, rehearse as needed.
You can even hit record in that rehearsal and if you’re doing a lot of post editing that I know Kevin is going to talk about, if you need to do a lot of post editing, you can still use the rehearsal video because sometimes, that version is better than the second time around.
And so rehearses needed whenever you’re planning to put a virtual event together and map it out. I have an example of how professionally on TV you’ll have a really great rundown on this example, a College Station just used Google Sheets to put the rundown together and I’m sure that you can do the same thing as well.
The last thing which is definitely the wheelhouse of Siarza Social Digital is marketing and promotion. And so we put five different things that will be most important to making your event very, very successful and I’m happy to answer questions afterwards.
So in this particular instance, ticketing, email, social media, digital advertising and outreach is key. Somebody say, “Well, I have a ticket, or normally, we were going to do an event and we would use a ticketing platform, could should we still use that?”
And I say, “Absolutely if the cost allows.” Eventbrite has some really great tools for free ticket, Cvent and WordPress ticket plugins if you have development, a developer working on a WordPress website, that would be really critical for you to consider.
And as you saw in the customer experience for those that were registering for a webinar, we were able to actually put the email signature or the email back and your confirmation ticket with the Zoom information.
That helps, it keeps it safe, secure, all in one place, easy to find in the future. I can’t stress enough emails, emails, emails, email marketing is so huge especially with the digital piece that we have.
Normally, events would do probably direct mail or personal invitations and letters. You definitely don’t need to do that nowadays unless you feel like it’s necessary, but MailChimp or Eventbrite actually has some really great email marketing tools in order for you to kind of work on that.
Social media boosted posts is always a great time and a great tool, creating events on Facebook, using it on social media, creating the event, or at least mentioning the graphics on Instagram or mentioning the events are great.
Facebook groups is a really great social media piece for outreach because you can find targeted audiences organically. So let’s say for example, if I wanted to do a webinar that was dedicated to moms, I would go to the Albuquerque Moms Blog and Rio Rancho Moms Facebook group and easily send out a note and Facebook groups have taken a life on its own especially after the or during the pandemic.
Posting the events, putting a website post event, definitely put your webinar on your website, or at least the recording of it.
We at Siarza are putting our transcripts of all of our webinars so that way, like a podcast, you can easily find it for search engine optimization purposes, and possibly use it as a business development tool for your organization.
But most importantly, outreach. One of the things that we’re lucky to have is that we partnered with a group like New Mexico PBS.
We partnered with other organizations in the past. Doubling up on the marketing efforts always spreads the words very quickly.
So if you have a guest speaker or if you have a community group that’s presenting in your webinar or in your virtual event, make sure that they’re doing the legwork to help you market the event as well.
Ask them, pre-write a post or pre-write a message for them to just easily copy and paste to advocate for your organization.
So that kind of puts into perspective some of the marketing aspects, happy to answer any questions to … I really wanted to give Kevin the floor on something like this because this is something that’s just definitely in demand especially because of COVID, right Kevin?
I’m sure that you’ve gotten a lot of questions and worked with a lot of people. So tell us a little bit about … I got to see a preview of the PowerPoint slide.
So, life hacks, I love these life hacks. I’ll let you take the lead from here, but let’s talk about what are some of the tips that you have to producing a virtual event?
Sure. And I recognize the fact that everybody’s going to be coming at this from different experience, levels, technology comfort levels, resources levels.
So I’m sort of starting from base on up and hopefully there’s at least a little something for everybody in here and a lot of it’s going to focus on Zoom because that’s primarily what we have honed in on.
I know there are other tools, Webex being one of them. Just not as familiar with it. We have done one interview with Senator Tom Udall that was Skype and a lot of that carries over, but you’ll see a lot of this is on, focused on Zoom.
So a lot of slides here, I’m going to go through it pretty fast, but again, make sure you get your questions and I’ll try to get more specific to your individual needs in the Q&A.
It all starts if you’re setting up an event, you’ve got to make sure that everybody who’s going to be a participant has good internet which we know in New Mexico can be a tough one.
It’s one of the strengths of Zoom actually. Zoom first came on my radar through Project ECHO at UNM if you’re familiar with that.
It’s a telehealth program. It’s now in almost every state in 30 countries where they connect experts, health experts with general practitioners and communities all over the place.
And one of the reasons they went to Zoom is that it will work not only with laptops, but cellphones, tablets, and it doesn’t require as much broadband connection, but for your event, you want it to be as solid as possible.
So here on this first slide, I give this address out to everybody who’s going to be a participant in something we do, speedtest.net.
It takes about a minute, you just hit go, and it’ll run and it’ll give you results and you can see, this is one I did yesterday, the arrow, upload speed is really what you want to pay attention to and you want it to be five megabits per second or higher to feel good about it.
We’ve done ones with less, they can have dropouts, freezes, all the things you’re trying to avoid. So you really got if somebody can’t get a better connection, it’s got to be a really good reason why you need to use them as opposed to look for other ways.
We’ve also asked people, “Do you have a loved one or a friend or a business or something that you can tap into?” Because ideally, if you can get an ethernet connection, that’s the best thing you want.
And I would say whatever your host computer is going to be, the ultimate host of the Zoom meeting, if at all possible, have that be an ethernet connection because if that connection gets wonky at all, it actually affects everybody’s connection.
So internet connection is a really huge part of this. So that’s something you want to verify with people as part, it can be part of that rehearsal process, right?
If you set up a rehearsal, you’ve asked everybody to check that going into it. Now we’re going to talk about it, this is simple stuff, but will make your … Just up the production value on your Zoom meeting.
You’ve probably seen a lot of this, but we’ll run through it and it’s about setting up your Zoom shot so that it looks as professional as possible.
It starts here with the having the camera at eye level, we’ve all seen way too many of those where if you’re on a laptop, it’s usually sitting on your desk and then the camera is tilted up and now you’re seeing the ceiling behind them and lights and all kinds of things that are not flattering and can actually cause problems.
So you want to follow the rule of thirds which is what this grid is showing you here, probably a familiar image to Office fans out there, but you want to have eye level of the person about a third of the way down.
Now, this one is doing a more of a film technique where they’re off center and most Zoom meetings are going to center the person.
So they’ll be over a little bit to the left, but again, keep the eye level a third of the way down on the screen. That way, you don’t have too much headroom and they don’t look tiny, and all those kind of things.
Lighting is the other thing and it doesn’t mean you have to go invest in a lot of expensive lighting, you can usually do a good job with most situations you’re in.
First thing to think about is natural lighting. If you’ve got natural lighting through a window, through a door, your best bet is to set up opposite so you’re facing that lighting source.
There is no better lighting in the world than the sun. It does the most natural and even lighting. So that’s what you want to take advantage of.
The worst thing you can do is the opposite you see in this image here, where you’ve got a big sliding glass door and you plop yourself down right in front of it because then, that light gets overexposed, and you end up in shadow, if that’s a dramatic effects are going for, go for it.
But generally speaking, that’s not something you want to do. If you’re in a room without the natural lighting, that’s when you want to look towards manmade lighting sources and again, it doesn’t mean you have to go shopping necessarily.
Find a lamp, bring it into the room and again, this is part of the rehearsal, play with it, how close do I need it to be so that I don’t look overexposed, that I look as natural and even as possible.
Good to have a helper there so you can sort of talk that through that. And again, you’re trying to just make it so that good lighting is the lighting that you don’t even realize is happening.
So what you’re trying to do is not put some real powerful spotlight on yourself, but just something that is even and make sure that you’re not in darkness.
So just those few steps with lighting make a big difference, next up is audio. One of the thing about the lighting and why the not having natural light is good to not have behind you is because if you’re using a webcam either external or built into your laptop or your tablet or your phone, those things are automatically adjusting to the light in the room.
So you’ll get that thing where it goes a little more yellow for a second and then comes back and so you want to minimize what it’s going to try to mess with and keep something consistent.
Audio. A lot of times, especially having an external webcam that you’re plugging into something, you’re going to be okay, but if you’re in a big empty room that’s pretty echoey, it’s not great.
So you can buy a lot of cheap USB plug in mics, there’s an example there on the screen that just plugs into your computer or your laptop that will make a big difference and a lot of those you can still even keep hidden from your shot.
You can also find USB microphones now that are the Lavalier kind that you clip onto your shirt and a real minimal, but that again, the main point of all these things is you don’t want to distract people from what your event and your meeting is about.
So the better you make all that stuff if they don’t have a problem hearing you at all, the better your event is going to go.
People are very forgiving so I personally don’t mind if people are wearing earbuds especially if it means it’s got that additional microphone built in because it’s probably going to be a little bit better or I’ve even seen and it’s some of the best audio I’ve actually heard is somebody with a video game headset, so maybe you can borrow from your kid for a while.
And that will really help and again, it’s not a lot of money. I’ve seen these USB microphones even at Walmart for as little as $25 up to 200.
When you’re searching for that, again, look for USB microphone, that’s the big thing. And again, if you’re in a room that doesn’t have a lot going on, well, first of all, try to pick a room that is not that.
So a room that’s got furniture, got things hanging on the wall, it has bookshelves that’s going to keep the echo down, that’s the biggest thing that’s going to affect your audio and your microphone.
Also, where you space yourself to your, whatever your camera is, you want to have a good foot to two feet. So you don’t have that extreme close up look like in my example here, we’re looking up your nose or any of those things.
So find that sweet spot by finding a good space away from the camera. In terms of the camera doing all of its auto configurations, it will also do that with focusing.
So if you’re leaning in and leaning out a bunch, it’s going to continually be focusing which can also be just distracting.
Okay, some advanced tips now that we’ve gone through the basics. Again, do not be afraid to use your tablet or cellphone.
I’ve done a lot of research on this for what we’ve done with New Mexico and Focus and I know a lot of laptops especially have webcams built into them, but they were never designed for the world that we’re in right now.
They were designed for yes, for web conferencing, but not the type that you are trying to have to that professional level. So a lot of them just don’t have very good webcams and we all know that we are all videographers and photographers with our cell phones and our tablets these days, and the cameras just keep getting better and better.
So don’t hesitate to use those in many cases, that can be a better webcam than you have in your laptop. The key there is figuring out a stand or some way to position that, again at eye level preferably so that it’s not, you’re not hand holding it and doing all of that that’s super distracting.
If you do want to look into laptops, there’s a bunch of research out there, you can search yourself, but pretty much what I found, I’m on a Microsoft Surface Pro which is pretty good and the Google Pixelbook Go.
It says Pro on there, it should be Go is also does really well under different lighting situations, especially dark, more dark lighting situations.
Both of those are under $1,000. So if that’s the way you want to go, I would look at that and don’t just go and look at the specs when you’re looking at laptops and see, “Well, this has a 1080P which is a high definition camera.”
So it should be just fine because that’s not going to tell you everything about the sensor or the lens on that camera.
So again, there have been lots of reviews, especially since COVID started and everybody’s moved to Zoom world on the laptops and really, the Surface Pro and the Google Pixelbook Go are the way to go if you want to do a laptop.
If you are using your phone or tablet, my family gets sick of me always talking about this, but you’ve got to make sure you’re in horizontal mode.
Make sure that screen lock isn’t on so you’re using up as much of the landscape as you can in a zoom meeting or other virtual meeting.
Okay, other equipment upgrades if that’s something you’re looking into. There are external webcams that would work with any laptop or computer that have really come a long way.
The best ones I’ve found and have seen reviews and heard from people I know and trust are the Logitech. They’re on screen there, the C920 or the C930e.
The problem with that is most places you’re going to look for those, you’re going to find them on backorder. So if that’s something you want to do, search around, you can sometimes find overseas merchants that can get it to you a little faster, just be careful with that, make sure that you’ve done your research on that they’re reputable, but if that’s something you want to do, I would get on it sooner rather than later.
Lighting is up next for these kind of things in the vlogging world which is a lot of what we’re borrowing from in this mode.
There are selfie style rim lights, these are the circular lights that some of them will even clip onto your laptop or your cell phone or your tablet.
Other ones have stands. There’s a lot of good ones on there. I gave you some brands that are established and pretty reliable and get good reviews, Neewer, Movo, IK Multimedia.
Again, you can buy kits for that. You really just need one main light for that with the stand and you can find those for less than $100.
The other thing I would recommend especially for Zoom that were really up the quality of your broadcast is to be able to use the virtual background. That’s what I’m on right now and if you’re interested, go to newmexicopbs.org and you can find, we have a bunch of virtual backgrounds.
So if you want to look like you’re in front of our studio, or inside our studio, you can do that and you can make your own.
So especially for branding your business, you can create something and create a virtual background. I’m sure you’ve seen bad ones of these where people have a halo around them, it’s not quite working that’s because they aren’t using a true green screen.
So I encourage you to search for these, just do green screen kit on Amazon or a lot of different vendors. They basically look like stand signs you would see at events except instead of the Gator Board or foam board that you would have things printed on.
It’s a green fabric or a green … It can even be on Gator Board that attaches to this kit, it goes right behind you and in Zoom, you can tell them you have a green screen and it will make all the difference in that virtual background.
So that’s one of those key things and again, those are less than $100 as well. Now, if you really want to get serious about the quality of the camera, you can do that.
There are a lot of cameras that can be your laptop or computer can treat as a webcam. It’s not quite as simple as that although the technology is moving pretty fast and as you can see on here, Sony just came out with a camera, it’s called the ZV-1.
It’s about $700 and you can plug that, they claim directly into a computer and it will recognize it as a webcam. It does the encoding from video to h.264 which is web video, and so then you would have the best quality, high definition, I think that’s actually 4K capable.
And so that will up the quality of your image there big time. A lot of the other ones you might even play with this with digital cameras that your shops already have.
There’s a free software, just search for OBS, and you open that up and you search and it can find your camera and if it finds it, it’s not going to do it with all cameras, but if it finds it, then in Zoom, it becomes a source, the OBS becomes a source and you can bring that in.
So that’s another way to get a professional camera in and replace your web camera. Now post production, I don’t know how many of you are into this, but what we do here in New Mexico and Focus if you have the capabilities is we take the host computer that is running the host, the Zoom meeting and we run that through an encoder box.
It’s about $500 and it takes an HDMI from the laptop, it encodes it to h.264 which then we connect to here, it’s a deck, we don’t use tape anymore, but it’s like a tape deck that we record all of our shows on and that’s the highest resolution recording you can get out of Zoom.
So you’re starting with higher quality therefore, if you want to take it into an editor to do post production. So again, that would be about $500.
If you want to do this, my email is going to be here at the end, I would reach out to me because not all h.264 encoders are the same and you need to know that you have the right connections to get to the computer if you want to record on or if you want to record to an external device, that kind of thing, it’s not as simple as that, but if you’re pretty tech savvy, you can figure a lot of this stuff out too.
You can do recordings in Zoom, we’ll talk about that later, but none of them are going to be as high quality as this. So for what we do here at the station is when we’re doing the line, Kristelle is on a line segment for instance, we’re recording the Zoom meeting in speaker mode where it’s just the person talking.
We’re recording all of that through that encoder so we get the highest quality on the close up shots as possible and we use the Zoom recording for the gallery views, The Brady Bunch view, as I like to call it, and then we cut between those.
So that transitions us into maximizing Zoom. If you haven’t done a deep dive into the settings on Zoom, I encourage you to do that.
There’s a lot of interesting things you can do in there that can specifically help with your productions and especially if you’re doing the post production work.
So just real quickly, I’ll go through some of these in your recordings, depending on the Zoom account you have, if you paid for one where you can record in the cloud, it’s a little simpler and easier to do it there.
So I encourage you to do that, but you can set the settings in either cloud or local recording and under there, there’s a place where you can ask it to make sure it records, the speaker view, the gallery view and if you’re doing shared screen, it will record those all as separate files which makes it really nice to go in and edit.
The warning about quality there is what I just touched on. None of those are as high quality as you’ll get if you use that encoder box and record directly from your computer.
If your final product is to go to YouTube, or Facebook, or something where people are watching in a small window, probably not that big a deal, but we worry about these things as a broadcast outlet where we’re also going out on the air.
So under Advanced Cloud Recordings, there’s a couple other things you want to select. The main one is the optimized recording for third party video editor.
That will increase the quality a little bit and also depending on your editing system, it’s going to make a file that all editing systems should, it’s an MPEG-4, they all should handle. So that’s important.
The timestamp recording may be something that is automatically turned on, you want to make sure that’s off or you’re going to have timecode on, it’s embedded in all your videos that you probably don’t want.
So those are the main things there. Okay, then the rest of this stuff, you have to actually be in a Zoom meeting to take care of.
Once you set them, they should stay but you’re going to have to be in a Zoom meeting. Do these. If you’re on a laptop or PC, the bottom left of your screen there should be a camera icon that says stop video and there’s a little upward carrot next to that, you want to click on that and it will bring up a bunch of settings.
You want to make sure a 16:9 widescreen is selected and also make sure you select Enable HD. For some reason, it gives you an option to go lower quality there even though your camera is capable of HD so you want to make sure you have that on there.
There’s also a thing there about mirroring the background and so this is, especially if you were using your cellphone and somebody else was operating and so they were on the back camera on the phone and you’ve seen that, sometimes even on the front camera where it does the riding backwards.
So if you’re trying to brand, you can click that and it will flip it so that people aren’t trying to read your branding backwards. There’s a keep touch up my appearance, function, it sounds like it would be helpful, it’s not, don’t mess with it, keep it disabled.
Talked a little bit about virtual backgrounds that’s in here. Again, the first thing you want to do if you have that green screen is select, I have a green screen, and it will reconfigure how it does that kind of stuff and make it much cleaner.
You definitely want it. If you’re doing the virtual backgrounds, the other thing you definitely want to have that ring light or an external light source because that green screen needs to get light as well to do it well.
And then within that, you can upload all the images that you want to and have a lot of fun with those. I think those are one of the cooler things about Zoom myself.
And Kevin, I’ve got about a minute to two more minutes so and then we’ve got actually a good amount of questions.
Okay. Good. So whoever is hosting that Zoom meeting, some things that they can keep track of, and this is under the same video settings on the left hand side, you’ll see a menu and go to keyboard shortcuts and enable the switch to speaker view, switch to gallery view.
This is especially if you’re doing a live production aren’t going to be able to do that in post. By then doing that, you can just hit alt F1 and alt F2 to switch between those two make it look like you’ve got a multi camera production.
And it’s cleaner than when you actually hit the mouse and do it, I’m sure you’ve seen it. Sometimes if you’re on speaker view, and you go back to gallery view, it takes a little bit for those, all those windows to populate.
If you do it with the keyboard shortcuts, they automatically populate right back in, it looks much more fluid. The thing about that is when you’re in speaker view, there is the window to the right hand side that does The Brady Bunch view in a different way.
If you don’t already know, you can move that around. You can also play with the buttons at the top to make it smaller, drag it out of the way, if you don’t want people to see that if you don’t want that to go to your recording.
So those are things to play around with and that’s why those rehearsals are so effective. Really, we’ll end here on if your event, you’re going to do it live, you can go to Facebook or YouTube straight from Zoom which is great.
Just know that the first time you do that, you have to verify the account, the Facebook or the YouTube account through Zoom, you can actually send it on Facebook, you can send it to a page and a group at the same time which is really cool, but it’s going to take you a little bit that first time so maybe you want to do that as a practice and you can set it to not go out public, but just to yours so you can take care of those things and then the next few times you do that, you won’t have to do that.
Once you’re doing a live event, some really key security things to do. At the bottom of the screen is a little shield icon that says security.
You want to … Once everybody’s in that you know you want in, lock that, that way, no one else can come into your meeting, you won’t get Zoom bombed, I’m sure you’ve seen those sorts of situations, you don’t want that.
Other security things on the front end is if you have a Zoom account, you have a meeting ID, you can just share that meeting ID with people and it’s sort of like an open channel so they can hop on there anytime as long as the host is on.
But for a live event, you don’t want to do it that way. You actually want to create an event so that you can add a password and that helps with the security as well.
So make sure you’re doing that if your event is live and also, make sure you do not in the settings, there’s a settings about where you can allow people into the meeting before the host, don’t do that.
Make sure that host has to be on before you start your meeting. Okay, real quick last thing. If you want to do sharing of screen especially for videos, a couple ways you can do that, pretty simply without extra gear equipment.
If you can have that file preloaded in a Windows Media Player or QuickTime movie player, then have that set up before you enter the Zoom meeting and then you share your screen, you bring that up, you hit play, and now you’re playing that out for everybody.
Another option would be to have a YouTube or a YouTube video queued up and ready to go. Just know that there, you’re taking from your broadband for your meeting to access the internet to play that video. So if you have the physical video, it’s better to do it that way. Okay, so with that, hopefully, I’m pretty close to time. There’s another [crosstalk 00:40:44]
Yeah, absolutely. I want to make sure that I leave your email up there really quickly and Kevin, I know that it was … I asked, let’s go to the 100 level, let’s go to the 200 level, and we’ve got a lot of people from various different backgrounds. So Kevin, before we go into the questions, thank you so, so, so much.
That definitely was the rundown and I think one of the things and this is not quite the first question, I want everybody to have an opportunity to capture email address before I go into the Q&A.
One of the things I think that you made me realize during this conversation was I guess people didn’t realize how complicated it actually is to produce something that makes … Even if you don’t have a broadcast background, there’s a lot of moving pieces to producing an event like this, correct?
There are. There are. And again, I think that’s why your note about doing practice runs even if it’s not for a specific event, but nothing replaces trying to go through the motions of these things in an actual event.
So if you’ve got good friends, you can say, “I need to try something out to see if it works and I need your input on how it looks on your end and how you’re experiencing it.”
Even recruits and people to come on without a camera, without their mic, just to sit in the background, to see what that viewer experience is like for them, those rehearsals, you’re going to learn a ton from that.
Well, absolutely. And I think one of the things that I want to emphasize for those that are in the nonprofit world that are currently tuning in right now, it’s nonprofit world or if it’s private world, or if it’s just as an actual experience.
We forget that sometimes virtually, you can create pretty much any experience virtually, it’s the execution part.
You might have a really great idea in mind, like granted we can’t have a luncheon, but we can at least still enjoy the speaker have an opportunity to have a Q&A like what we’re doing in the chat right now.
Have an opportunity to meet individuals, it just all has to be planned out and choreographed. I think that’s the key piece, right?
And I think that obstacles versus opportunities, right? There’s a lot of opportunities in this that are just opened up. I know for us when we’re doing the show, normally under pre COVID-19 circumstances, scheduling is a ginormous hurdle because we’ve got to figure out how people from different parts of the state for instance, when they’re going to be in town and when they can come into the studio, and how does that work.
And now, the availability of people is so much more wide open and so for nonprofits too, I can think about this opens up your world now.
Yes, I’m a great local resource for you Kristelle, but there are experts on a national level and international level all over the place and you have the ability to bring them into your event where you would never have that opportunity before.
Yes, absolutely. We were even looking at some of these opportunities for people talking about transparency in government, and it’s a … You might even get a good deal on a speaker fee or something like that because you don’t have to pay for travel right now.
And I know it doesn’t quite give us the opportunity to actually give the handshake, but that doesn’t mean though that there’s not value in the type of content that they can provide.
So I’m wholeheartedly with you, I think logistically, it just makes more much more sense. I’m going to get into the first question from JNR and this actually looks like it’s a question more to the marketing. So I’ll take this one first and happy to chime in … Have you chime in Kevin.
“From what you’ve been seeing, do you think a lot of events will be moving virtual? And should virtual plans still be made even as a backup for events in the Fall?” And I say absolutely.
We’ve seen the trend that yes. So here’s a perfect example. As much as we want to plan out what the Fall will look like, our local government and municipalities are creating intentional barriers to group gatherings on the permitting process part.
And hotels and hoteliers are taking extra precautions to make sure that their guests are safe, food is safe, et cetera. And not to mention, the food supply chain like limited menus in certain restaurants, et cetera. That’s that’s creating challenges for the events.
So yes, everybody’s planning to have a plan A and a plan B. You also have to think about the comfort level of those that are immunocompromised and not immunocompromised.
There’s a ton of people that are out there right now that will really not feel comfortable until there’s a vaccine that’s out there and of course, we’re not going to go into the political aspects of COVID-19.
That’s not our job, but they’re not comfortable to leave. And we have to be respectful to those individuals because when it comes to health and wellness, I mean that’s everybody’s livelihood.
It’s just like that hierarchy of need to be okay, a sense of security. And so I think giving the option, even if events do become virtual, the nice thing is if you’ve planned the virtual event, and it does actually give you an opportunity to be in person, you can just switch on the cameras and begin the broadcast that way and actually broadcast live at the same time.
So you have a lot of flexibility to do both. Kevin, I’d love to hear your thoughts on this topic because it’s the number one question we’re getting to.
Yeah, I think that it goes back to what you started with a rundown too, right? If you think about this from the get-go, you can create a rundown for your event that works whether it’s live or virtual.
And so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel if you have to go to plan B, but if you’re thinking about that from the get go, it can save yourself a lot of time and heartache on the back end.
The only other thing I would say, and we think about this a lot, and it’s one of the real blessings of the work that we do. Virtual is great, and so much of it is going virtually, but the reality is we are New Mexico, and we are one of the least connected states in the nation.
And so you do yourself a disservice if you don’t at least think about how can you make this available to people who can’t log on to a virtual event who don’t have reliable internet.
So yes, I think you should definitely think about it, but have a strategy for that. Are you going to burn DVDs of this that you can supply to people?
What are ways that you can still connect to people? I agree we need to be respectful of people’s own fears about being out in public now, but we also need to recognize there’s large groups of people that you want to reach that you can’t necessarily virtually and so get creative and think of ways that you can make sure you get that content to them if they still can’t connect.
Absolutely, wholeheartedly, 100%. This one is definitely a question I think I’m definitely going to talk to you first. “Many meeting hosts are offering to a Zoom access code, but when you go to join, it doesn’t quite require that you actually enter that actual access code or that password. Do you have any advice on making live events versus pre-recorded?”
Yeah, so this is one of the confusing things and I don’t claim even having messed with Zoom for quite a while now to fully understand the inner workings.
And Zoom was this thing that people maybe had heard about, maybe had a meeting on and then all of a sudden, it becomes this massive thing. And so they’re changing almost daily.
And so you really have to check the website regularly and see how they’re updating things and keep yourself educated on things.
Again, I think to the first part of that question, what happens is if you become a host on Zoom, you can buy different licenses that allow you to have a different number of hosts, potentially have cloud recording space, some of these other things.
And the good thing about hosts is if we’re under one account, but I’m a host and Kristelle, your host, then we can both be doing meetings at the same time.
If you only have the free Zoom account, that can’t happen. And so what happens is either if you’ve locked your meeting, people can’t get in or you may be in one meeting, and another meeting starts and people just start randomly popping into your Zoom meeting which you don’t want either.
So again, what Zoom gives you is it gives you that meeting ID which is basically your channel and each host has their own channel.
And so when you log in to Zoom, if you’ve seen it, there’s a … It will say join meeting and there’s even a drop down menu that has different meeting IDs and if it’s been named something, it will say like Kevin zoom or if it’s a specific meeting, it will give you the title of that meeting.
And you can just click on that and then you don’t have to enter a password necessarily, but as I said before, if you’re doing something live, you definitely want to take the extra setup to go into Zoom meetings, click on Meetings, click on Create Meeting, give it a title, in there, you’ll be able to see password, it’ll generate a password for you automatically or you can customize that.
And then once you’ve done that, you hit Save and then what happens is a screen comes up with all the information including phone numbers for people to dial in if they want to do audio that way, and then you can copy and paste that and send that to your folks that want to participate.
One of the things again is it’s evolving, the thing that’s lacking for me still is I would love … We do a lot of Facebook Lives for this show and we do a lot of those with our group, Focus on New Mexico where we do a little more engagement and talking about topics that really help us, ferret out topics and think about how we want to talk about topics, recommend topics we hadn’t even thought about.
I would love to have that engagement in Zoom world, but how do you open your meeting up so that anybody can pop in? There’s no way to … In the radio days, you don’t have a phone screener, right? That can call and say, “What do you want to talk about, and try to ferret out the jokesters from the real folks before they go live.
I think Zoom is working on that. I think there’s going to be those things, there’s the waiting room, you may have seen that that’s in that, but it still doesn’t allow the host to sort of connect with them offline, but even there, I think if you get creative and test these things, there are the rooms that you can create where you can actually assign people to room so maybe there’s a way something I’ve wanted to play with, can you send everybody to a room first of all, and then have somebody check in with them and then bring them into the full meeting?
But there’s a lot of things in Zoom you should play with because maybe in your meeting that that’s really valuable not just trying to get regular people in the community to just weigh in, but now you want to do breakout sessions and divide up and do different topics.
Room is a great way to do that and then you come back into the full meeting at the end and do some plenary type of stuff. So there’s a lot of tools in Zoom.
I don’t claim to be an expert in all of those and again, my experience with Zoom is there’s no way to fully feel confident in those than to give them a try.
And I will say people become so much more forgiving. I mean, us for the idea in the beginning of doing New Mexico and Focus all virtually made us all cringe to lose that control … To lose the quality things that we pride ourselves on, but everybody gets it and so people are super forgiving.
If you want to try something and just tell people, “Look we’re going to give this a go. It may not work perfectly, bear with us.”
I’ve found so much forgiveness and people just with buy-in to try things. So even if you can’t rehearse, don’t be afraid to give that stuff a try.
Absolutely. You took the words right out of my mouth. We had a technical hiccup in the last webinar and everybody understood and it’s just because all cards are out on the table right now.
We all didn’t anticipate becoming video conferencing experts during the pandemic. So I’m wholeheartedly with you. I have one last question and I’ll start off with this question and Kevin, if you wanted to go ahead and add in.
The question is from Genevieve Brown, thank you Genevieve for being here. She asked, “I’d love to hear your thoughts on creating an engaging slide deck, easy to use softwares and design tips.”
I personally am a very visual person, obviously running a digital marketing agency. We have some really great talented individuals on our team that are specific to graphic design.
And I think granted and I’ll say this by practicing that Kevin’s presentation is purposely supposed to be a manual. Some of you asked, “Are we going to send out the presentation slides?”
Absolutely. We’re also going to pre-record. This is recording so we’ll post it on our social media channels, but there was so much information that we needed to share that we decided to make this more detail-driven, instructional driven, et cetera.
So on our end, to answer the question of being creative personally, less is more. It’s like billboards. Think of it as like a public speaking presentation and that’s where it’s important to make sure that you can focus on the subject or focus on the actual speaker.
And so don’t take … I would not recommend to take that focus away by creating so many slides that it’s overwhelming to look at, but kind of like what we’ve done in the past where it’s sometimes it’s just one image, and that one image tells the story or it’s four or five different graphics and using infographics.
Infographics is a really great way to explain [inaudible 00:53:58] the easiest way possible because visual communication is as important as textual communication, interpersonal communication, et cetera.
And so some really great design opportunities. Obviously, if you have graphic designers on hand, or graphic design teams, definitely utilize your marketing departments within your organization, that’s huge.
We at Siarza have great graphic designers and creative lead. So we always lean to them to really help us make our presentations pop.
Sometimes nonprofits, or sometimes you might not have … Some organizations might not have a marketing department. So using Canva.
Canva is a really, really great tool, really inexpensive. They have made pre-made layouts and different versions of those layouts.
You can download stock PowerPoint presentations from your trusted stock photo or stock illustration provider, that’s really inexpensive for you to use.
Even PowerPoint has some really great themes that you can easily jump on. And so design tips, keeping it simple. If there’s numbers, always visualizing them through graphics if possible.
And using icons to kind of represent in pictures. Pictures and videos, really make their presentation pop. And that’s what I always recommend on the slide deck.
Kevin, you all in New Mexico and Focus don’t use PowerPoint presentations and personally, I like it. I mean, it’s not what we do in TV.
It’s not something that that’s standard. So can you talk about why that’s actually a benefit not to use that PowerPoint presentation type of format?
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a couple things going on and my biggest takeaway and point from that, I’ve hinted at it a little bit.
But if you’re, if you’re introducing any of those sorts of elements, I would recommend this across the board, but especially if you’re going to do that.
Every time you interject something else like that, it’s a fault point, a potential point for problems and things and so the way to minimize that is as Kristelle setup here, she’s got someone who is the host computer that is the one taking care of muting mics, bringing up slides and doing all of the technical stuff so that Kristelle doesn’t have to worry about that.
And so that they’re just fully dedicated to that part of it. So I would encourage you to do that for one thing.
I think and again, PBS is a different animal in general, right? We don’t tend to as a broadcast entity look, and feel like commercial news with all the bells and whistles and sound effects and visuals in general.
Some of that is an act of stubbornness around diehard journalism in terms of I want you listening and taking in what people are saying and not getting distracted by all these other things going on, but we are a visual medium.
So I think sometimes we can do that a little bit to a fault and a lot of times again, it’s a matter of it feels daunting creating all of this stuff, “Oh, I’ve got to build a PowerPoint.” Or, “I’ve got to go into Canva and create all these things.”
Don’t think about it that way, think about it as what do you have already in house? We’re all good at taking pictures and things now. So what can you go and find that visually enforces what it … Reinforces what it is, the points that you want to make and then it doesn’t feel like such a big lift.
You’re not having to go try to pay for stock footage and do all these things. Get creative, find those things in house, grab a phone, go take pictures, go make a short video that you can do and the other thing about all those things is in my presentation was not a good example of this because again, I was just trying to get a lot of information out there.
But pacing, so this goes back to your outline, your budget in the beginning, right? So if you’re going to make somebody listen to somebody for a good solid 10 minutes, then break that up with a video or something that’s totally different tone and things so that you keep people reengaged and they don’t have a chance to tune out or fall asleep or accidentally hit their turn off their camera, right? And go to the restroom or whatever.
Yeah, most definitely. Well, the time is up. It’s 12 o’clock. I wanted to thank everybody for joining us.
Kevin, you are a godsend. Thank you so much for sharing this information. We are really thankful for everybody for joining us that came from all walks of life from very different places.
And so don’t hesitate to reach out to us through our social media channels. You can reach Kevin in the email that we provided on NMPBS, on Twitter, us at Siarza, siarza.com, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, but we’ll be posting, we’ll be sending the recap of everything and thank you all so much.
I’m going to hang back for a little bit and answer any additional questions. Kevin, we’re very thankful for you. So everybody, have a great afternoon. Stay safe, be kind to one another and don’t forget to vote. Thank you.
Thank you all. Good luck.
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In our ever changing world, we are still finding ways to stay connected and carry on events virtually. Launching your events online and connecting with your audience doesn’t have to be another challenge, that’s why we’re here to help.
Our team along with our guest Kevin McDonald, Executive Producer of Public Affairs Programming with New Mexico PBS/KNME-TV, will go over tech, video and production tips and tricks on how to create a virtual event, in lieu of a live event, fundraiser or production this summer or fall. Join the discussion and take notes for a check list of digital items you’ll need to have ready to help promote the fundraiser, experience or informative event.
How To Create Your Virtual Event Like A Pro
When: June 2nd, 11:00a.m. to noon
Where: Please RSVP and you will receive your link to join.
Follow along for live tweets and conversations on our Twitter and Facebook.