Lately I’m getting more and more requests for hybrid events. These are live, in person shows, that also have a virtual component. I think we’re going to have more and more of these. Last week I did four school assemblies that were hybrid, with some of the kids in the room with me and some at home. I just hosted a charity auction that was a hybrid event:
Here’s what I’m noticing about these, you can’t easily stage it for both audiences. Most event planners think you can just plunk up a camera, and that’s not the case.
For example the event in the picture above, they had me set up for the camera, but didn’t think about the in person audience. First of all I’m sitting at a table on the opposite side of the room, so I’m losing connection with a huge chunk of the in person audience. The didn’t have a monitor, so I couldn’t see the gallery view of the virtual audience, so I didn’t have any connection with them.
The gig went well, it was a hosting gig, so it wasn’t a show and we ended up raising more money than the charity’s goal for the evening, so it was a success…but it could have been soo much better for both audiences!!!
This week I’m doing a series of hybrid in person / virtual shows for a small school that has about 20 kids in each show. Yesterday’s group upper elementary school age and the rest of the week will be middle school aged kids. Doing the show, I was very chatting with the kids and the kids were very chatty with me, however I held them and no one logged off the zoom as this was an optional event. The principal was impressed that I held them all and kept the kids engaged the whole time.
Now…going forward for the next school that contacts me for a hybrid show, I think if I know it’s going to be a hybrid event, I may try have my daughter run the Zoom part of it. The experience the kids at home got wasn’t the best. They had an iPad in the back of the room, so it was just a blurry wide show of me 30 feet from it. Having a camera that could move (pivot) and zoom in and out would be a huge advantage. They also had a large projector screen with the Zoom screen on it, I think I would ideally have that behind me, so then I could use that screen to my advantage and do some close up stuff.
All of that would be the ideal way to do it. Unfortunately, that’s probably not how it would actually play out. How it would probably actually play out is this:
I’d ask them to log me into their Zoom room and they’d say they couldn’t due to privacy reasons.
I’d ask to have the screen behind me and they’d say no because of how the room has to be laid out for social distancing
I’d ask to plug my camera into the computer they are using for Zoom and it would crash it because their computer doesn’t have enough power to run an external camera.
Knowing my ideal hybrid situation now will hopefully get me at least one of the three. Now that I know what to ask for, it’ll be easier to get something!