On-site, Pod & Online: Blending Three Different Experiences at One Event

Fresh from the trenches of Event Camp Twin Cities 2011, Brandt Krueger, Technical Director and On-Site Producer for the event, will be at Event Camp Europe Sept. 9 to share what he learned.

Brandt has more than 15 years experience providing technology support for corporate meetings, conferences and events. He used that know-how to help pull together a complicated hybrid event production for ECTC last week that included live streaming, six remote pods, 2 different tracks and a mock studio for 2 virtual emcees.

But Brandt insists that you don’t have to be an audio visual geek to understand the basics of producing a great hybrid event. All an event producer really has to ask is, “What is the audience experience?”

Brandt recently agreed to answer a few questions about hybrid event production and his experience at ECTC.
JENISE: What was your official title or the role that you filled for ECTC?

BRANDT: Originally I was a volunteer, but later metroConnections came on as an official sponsor.  Though we did not do full meeting production services, we landed on providing “production support,” among other services, which consisted of myself and one other tech from metro.  In that new more official role I’d say I acted as a Technical Director, and on-site Producer.  In the final weeks leading up to ECTC I had Sam and Ray lay out what they wanted to do, and I sourced the AV gear accordingly, which is how Heroic Productions was brought on board.  On-site, I acted more as a Producer, with the headset on and trying to keep the show as on time as possible, call the AV cues, and act as much as I could as the single point of contact for the AV side of the world.
JENISE: What new things have you learned about hybrid events after your experience at ECTC?

BRANDT: There’s a lot swimming around in my head post ECTC that hasn’t quite materialized.  I’m starting to think of the Pods in a new way.  I think in the past we might have looked at them as an offshoot of the virtual audience, with limited glimpses into their world.  Last year I think each Pod was only talked to twice.  There was a desire to do more with the Pods this year, but obviously technical difficulties got in the way.  I’m truly frustrated by that, because I think we’re very close to figuring this out in a meaningful way.

Meanwhile, I’m trying now to start at the other end of the spectrum and figure out how we can try and make their experience more like the “In Person” experience.  I’m trying to put the tech out of my mind and start at the end instead of the beginning.  From there, we can back into the tech.  In the end, I think we’re talking about three completely separate experiences.  The In Room Experience, the Pod Experience, and the Virtual Experience.  That’s going to be a lot for the meeting planner to keep in mind!
JENISE: Why is experimentation so important when it comes to hybrid events?

BRANDT: It’s how we learn, put simply.  It’s going to be one of the central themes in what I’m talking about at ECEU.  If you do it the way it’s always been done, the experience is never going to improve.  We have to try every communication tool available to see which one works.  Almost all of this can be done away from the meeting hall, in your office, with as many laptops as you can get your hands on.  Unfortunately, though, some things need to be tried full scale.

ECEU is doing something brilliant in my opinion.  They’re having a pod on-site.  Ostensibly, it’s so that the attendees can experience what it’s like to be in a pod, but there’s a wonderful side value.  Good experiments require good observation, and having a pod on property means if we want to know how something looks or how something sounds, we can actually just go downstairs and find out.  I’m practically giddy about that prospect, and even though I’m only speaking and doing a little consulting for ECEU, my wife is going to have to pull me away from not hanging around as they set everything up!
JENISE: What takeaways do you hope to give participants in your session at ECEU?
BRANDT: Hybrid Production: We’ve virtually got this figured out…

1. Establish that hybrid and virtual production need not be a scary thing.

2. Start with the audience experience and the tech will follow

3. Experiment, test, try. Experiment, test, try. Experim


Posted on August 31, 2011, in European event planners, event camp europe, event innovation, hybrid events and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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