Video footage is becoming a powerful tool of communication, with many more companies – and delegates – expecting to be wowed on the big screen. We ask some experts why?
At a time when anybody with a social media strategy is being told to incorporate video into the medium to increase their appeal, video at events also appears to be growing at a significant rate.
At the recent 50th anniversary of the Ermenegildo Zegna Wool Awards in Sydney, event producers Pronto Productions created a room that delegates wandered through after arrival with multimedia projections highlighting the wool growing areas of Australia and the weaving districts of Italy – an immersive experience that added life and vitality to the complete event.
Some production companies like Staging Connections and G1 Productions have been providing video for years, while another, AV1, has only recently announced it is now offering video services to clients.
So what’s the reason for the growth and why should planners embrace more video in their events? What does it cost? And why is it important?
G1 Productions managing director, Ian Andrew Walsh, says globalisation and rapid advances in communication technologies are the driving factors behind a surge in the use of video at conferencing and business events.
“As we play more and more on a global platform there is an increased need to communicate instantaneously and the increased desire for readily accessible content is rapidly moving from a want to be that of a need and necessity,” he says.
We are seeing a massive increase in the amount of video data on the web, and this is only going to increase as Australia’s broadband services improve and data speeds increase.
“Video is no longer perceived as a mere recording of someone talking to camera. Instead, video can be a fusion of recorded and animation content. We are seeing a growing emergence of animated video over recorded content and the quality of animation being created nowadays is improving in much the same way as the quality of cameras and outputs. We no longer only talk in standard definition and high definition, but 4K and ultra-HD are now becoming industry standards.”
According to Mr Walsh, video should be optimised across multiple platforms and, as a powerful storytelling tool, should be harnessed in the lead-up, duration and aftermath of an event.
“Video is not a substitute for a live presenter, but should be a supporting tool, a platform to condense key information or, in the case of video conferencing or other face-to-face video platforms, bring people from all over the country or globe together to join in the conversation.”
Likewise, Staging Connections general manager, Fiona Pascoe, says the use of video offers a deeper level of interaction and engagement.
“A staggering 52 per cent of attendees say that watching a video before an event makes them more likely to attend. A targeted campaign with your video can ensure that the right people are in attendance at your event,” she says.
“Think about an event in terms of content that is going to be created, replicated, broadcast, photographed, and reverberated online in many ways – both predictable and unpredictable. Here the return on investment can be felt long after the physical event if you take advantage of sharing the event footage on websites, corporate YouTube channels and often at future presentations.
“Another method of generating revenue from the use of video is pay-per-view mechanisms. By creating a video portal where the visitor pays to view content relevant to their needs, you can create unlimited opportunities for potential ROI.”
According to AV1 managing director, Keith Wootton, the use video is becoming ever more prevalent due to the increasing popularity of mobile devices.
“iPhones and iPads are getting better and cheaper and are great for quick low resolution grabs and vox pops. Social media is spawning a generation of people who are used to having a recording device in front of their face, which is why sites like Vimily are having great success,” he says.
“So if you record live video content at an event or trade show, you can be fairly certain that the people featured will share the content with their friends and family – it’s an instant means of getting your event out there to a wider audience.”
On the professional side, Mr Wootton says event planners should embrace video in order to transform an event into an experience.
“The use of video is really about getting away from ‘death by PowerPoint’ and creating a dynamic conference or event setting. By using something as simple as moving imagery and configuring data in a colourful way you can inspire and motivate delegates.
“We’ll do anything to get away from black drapes and screens and you can use video in a creative way to build a great atmosphere and an interactive set. These days audiences expect to be wowed.”
Scene Change co-founder, Ian Whitworth, agrees and says delegates’ high expectations of video are influenced by their television-watching habits at home.
“Everything we see at home is high definition, so HD just becomes what everyone expects as a normal viewing experience,” he says.
Video is now forming a part of most long-term communication strategies and Mr Whitworth says events like the recent David Jones fashion launch demonstrate how video can work on different levels and reach different audiences.
“The David Jones event was an exclusive, invite-only event but live streaming allowed a lot of people to feel involved while watching at home. This means the event investment goes a lot further and lasts longer.”
Mr Whitworth says online success demands dynamic content.
“Lectern presenters aren’t very exciting even if you’re at the venue. To compete with a screen full of distracting pop-ups, video streaming needs to be something short, sharp and stimulating. Otherwise your online audience just goes back to watching cat videos.”