Given the current circumstances, our industry is increasingly holding their production events virtually. With a little extra effort, you can increase the quality and success of your own virtual events. Here are Santa Monica Studio's top 10 tips for success:

Make it look good and sound professional. 
We are all worn out by zoom quality video. With just a small investment, you can ensure that every guest on your panel or event looks and sounds great. To ensure a top-notch standard, have each guest invest in a 4k webcam.

To use an external mic or camera, you have to allow access to the device on your Internet browser. If you need additional instructions, please go to this link.

But the most important thing you can do to keep your production's quality is to make sure every guest has earbuds or a headset. Also, ensure each guest has quit their other running applications on their computer and put their phone away.  

Keep it clean and beautiful.
Keep it simple and clean by ensuring each participant is wearing clothes with no patterns or logos. A logo can present a legal problem down the line. Also, make sure that they have a plain background, preferably white. Lighting can make a huge difference. You can order a ring light or a soft box lighting kit from Amazon that would make anybody's shot look professional for less than $100. Have fun and be creative; for example, have each panel agree to wear the same colors of clothing, a prop, or even a hat. It will make for a fun visual scene and make it feel like a team.

Testing is everything
Make sure you have a test with each participant in advance. This way, you can ensure that they have the correct set up for success. You can help them with technical issues and make sure the background lighting looks good.

Prepare for a redo
Even if the live stream does not go perfectly, you might still have a great product to promote your business, nonprofit, educational program, or something that could be repackaged and sold. If you're using a professional streaming service, make sure that each guest is recorded on a separate channel that allows you to edit the material after the stream takes place, which in tandem will allow you to create a better version of the final cut. If you do not need to record your own, try to have each participant record themselves separately, or at least record the host separately. 

Protect yourself
If you're planning to use the Livestream as professional programming, make sure you have a signed release from each participant.

Be creative
Mixing pre-recorded material with an actual Livestream will add to the overall production quality and keep your viewers engaged. Encourage the participant to have visual aids and graphics - this has proven to help with the viewer's engagement.

Practice makes perfect
If you are using a professional streaming studio, make sure that they have all the materials and graphics well in advance. Make sure your budget includes at least one tech rehearsal. If you are doing it on your own, make sure you have a successful practice run. If you can't rehearse the segment with the actual participants, practice with a friend or colleague. 

Anticipate problems
As always in show business, one must have a plan for when things do not work out. For example, this would include a graphic that says, "Will be right back" or a pre-recorded segment you can cut to if necessary. It would also include having everybody's cell phone number on file for easy reach or having a backup coordinator in another room that can call participants to solve problems.

If you use a professional service, make sure they have a virtual green room with a coordinator to help solve these sometimes-unpredictable problems. The sound is the one thing that most likely to cause problems unless you have a professional sound engineer. If you are planning to use the footage after the stream, make each participant record their sound on their iPhone for backup.

Enhance your live experience
The fact that your virtual event is live can be very exciting. Have your audience well engage your participants with interesting questions. If you're throwing a fundraiser, you can have a live update with a graphic on how much money you raised or a graphic that shows the name and donation amount as it happens. Giving out gifts and prizes while you are live can also increase your engagement radically.

About Santa Monica Studios: 
Santa Monica Studios is a full-service production company. Our video services include end-to-end solutions: from pre-production to post-production and distribution services. We have a wide variety of directors, DP's, writers, and crew available to handle a project of any size on location or in the studio.

We have state of the art equipment to handle live streaming and live events.