How do webinars really work? How beneficial are they? Am I managing my speakers correctly?
If you’ve ever wondered about how to present from or run an event from a webinar studio you’re not alone. On a recent episode of webinars and wine, we asked our audience to submit all your burning questions about studio events.
Redback’s Head of Delivery Michael Harris joined our veteran presenters Sara Drury and Michael Bunker to cover off questions ranging from webinar technology essentials to studio event risk redundancies.
Here’s more of what our online events community was curious about and how our trio of experts was able to offer insight.
What’s the main difference between a studio and a remote webinar?
The main difference is quite simple – in a remote webinar, you are using your technology. Presenting from home or a remote location forces you to take on a more DIY approach to running an event. On the other hand, presenting from the studio is simply focusing on your content and presentation while professional operators and technicians host the webinar for you.
So what technology is used to present from a webinar studio?
This can be broken down into four main key areas.
There are either remote-controlled or manual high-definition operated cameras that are of a much higher quality
Whether the light panels are mounted on the roof or fixed on stands, the studio will use a form of enhanced artificial lighting for events.
Lapel, handhelds, boom mics, and the mixers associated with the type of microphones are all offered depending on the style and format of the webinar.
Whether it is hardware or software encoding – it needs to be transmitted online and the encoders receive that feed within the studios. It is then pushed through to the online platform of your choosing.
With standard headsets, budget microphones, and laptop built-in webcams – the more common video conference style of events are hosted from home offices or remote spaces with access to the internet. What you experience in a studio will ultimately result in higher production value for top-tier applications such as product launches or virtual AGMs.
How do presenters present from a studio and what are the certain skills needed compared to remote presenting?
It’s not the norm for a lot of professional speakers to go from presenting in corporate events with large crowds to suddenly presenting in front of a camera in a studio room.
So, for presenters that find themselves making the shift, you must remember to refrain from looking at the camera as just a piece of equipment – but treat it like the actual audience. Try to adapt the duality of engaging with the other presenters or moderator (if you have one) while still connecting with the virtual audience through lively body language and pivoting eye contact.
Teleprompters, internal slides, auto-cues, and the general practice of speaking through a camera lens can aid presenters in the studio and provide extra support.
How can the professional studio team ensure presenters are prepared and well versed before presenting?
The consensus among presenters is that it’s not the content, rather the technology and the unfamiliarity of being in a studio environment that intimidates them the most.
To overcome this problem, it is a widespread practice to welcome presenters an hour or so earlier to their event, to familiarise them with the setting. Everything from becoming accustomed to the light shining into their eyes, ensuring hair or fabric isn’t hindering the audio through their mics or doing a run-through of their presentation using a clicker.
Additionally, presenters can use this extra time to warm up to their event producers and friendly tech crews. The crew will not only inform them about the technology in use but answer any questions to minimize the risks during the event.
Because your presenters are not in front of a computer in a studio environment, how do they facilitate a Q&A?
Q&A sessions from a studio end up creating a separate portal for moderators to pre-approve all questions. This function allows you to filter through the questions coming in during a live Q&A to choose the questions most suitable for your presentation.
In a remote event, however, there is the hurdle of not getting distracted as you present when multiple questions start popping up and you find yourself sifting through multiple disordered questions, and choosing which ones to answer – not the most seamless approach. In a studio webinar, you can control the conversation to go in the direction you want it to, not throwing in random questions which could potentially derail the theme and content of the Q&A.
What kind of engagement tools work best for encouraging audience participation in studio events and are they much different from a remote webinar?
The difference is not so significant, the various engagement tools are at times versatile and applicable in both settings. You can certainly utilise features better in a studio to help shape the conversation.
Polling can be used during in-studio events such as panel discussions as it entails asking thought-provoking questions to the audience. The responses collated from polls then shape the direction the conversation will take. So beyond simply engaging the viewers, the audiences can harness the power tool of shaping the content through this feature.
Ask a question is another primary tool and feature we recommend for webinars in any setting. The opportunity to get involved in the webinar gives audiences a greater incentive to consume the content or even challenge it.
Instead of questions being just text-based, pre-submitting video questions are great for studio events, as technicians can queue them and this makes for a richer viewing experience.
A range of these features combined with correct use can make events memorable. The functionality of engagement tools doesn’t change from platform to platform, it’s just ‘how’ you use them in your event.
What if something does go wrong presenting from a studio?
Presenting remotely is just you and your technology, but when you are in a studio, having a team present makes an impact on how efficiently and effectively you can alleviate unforeseen incidents that occur.
Whether you are presenting from home or the studio your event relies heavily on technology, in a studio you have the safety net of backups being always in place with internet, lights, mics, or cameras, giving you extra peace of mind.