The Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table (ANZACATT), whose membership encompasses each House of Parliament in Australia and New Zealand, holds an annual two-day professional development seminar at the end of January open to members of the Association and other parliamentary officers. This year it was hosted remotely by the Parliament of South Australia from an onsite location.
“In 2020, the seminar couldn’t be held in Canberra due to the bushfires. In 2021, the event was scheduled to be hosted by South Australia and we decided to make it a live streamed online forum,” says Leader of Hansard Andrew Cole, of the Parliamentary Reporting Division of the SA Parliament. With no experience in live streaming seminars, the group brought Redback in to help deliver the event over three days in conjunction with video contractor support from Livestream Australia, who filmed speakers from a room inside the Parliament building.
Scheduled in the middle of the day so that participants from Wellington to Perth could view it during office hours, the event featured presenters located all around Australia and NZ, as well as overseas in Wales, London and New Hampshire in the United States. Some sessions were live and others were pre-recorded — partly to give the next presenter time to get set up while the pre-recorded sessions were playing.
“We had a meeting room at SA Parliament House set up with the broadcast camera and lectern and two people physically recording the speakers from an anteroom next door where they could talk (without being heard in the broadcast),” Andrew says. “We also had two staff from Redback’s Sydney studios, who were following up with the presenters online, doing connection tests and making sure they were ready to go.”
Day 1 content included a pre-recorded session for people in Adelaide featuring the SA Minister for Health and the Presiding Members of both Houses of Parliament, as well as a panel featuring speakers from Victoria, NSW, Canberra, NZ and SA who all attended remotely. “We used Zoom — which made updates to its platform in November to make it more secure — to stream the event via Redback’s platform,” says Andrew.
“We also had a broadcast quality camera, so our technicians were able to merge camera input with audio into the feed going up to the Redback site and Redback merged that with the video conference to manage the primary stream that went out on the live stream web page.
“The team at Redback had a runsheet and they dialled our speakers in and helped them adjust cameras and audio. Then it really became an exercise in getting the participants organised to be connected at the right time and having the moderators ready to manage the remote presenters and discussion in an orderly fashion.”
The seminar was a closed livestream event with 65-80 registered participants logged in at any one time. Andrew Cole, who moderated the event from an onsite meeting room, could see questions coming in from the audience via Redback’s admin screen and passed them on to the speakers. “We played around with the location,” he says. “We had a large-screen TV as a background and we set up a photo of Parliament House with the logo of the association over the top as the background for the Adelaide components.
“All the feedback was really positive — the attendees thought it was really professionally done. “The logistics were something that we certainly couldn’t do ourselves. We needed a local team because we had in-person presenters and we needed a high-quality video feed, so working with Livestream Australia and Redback to merge everything into the primary feed was very important. “If we had done it like a Zoom call it probably would have been less professional so I think that worked well,” Andrew says.