As we sat in the gorgeous new conference facility at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, having just finished a day of rehearsals and a day of taping 16 talks, we started to finalize the panel discussion logistics.
I said “Let’s try to do it in the lobby.”
Long, pregnant pauses filled the cavernous room. (I guess I wasn’t expecting anyone to jump with excitement).
This event, their annual research retreat, had already seen a thousand changes. They had planned it for their new on-site venue, but COVID-19 forced the event to be virtual/semi-live. They had to learn how to think about pre-recording talks and still have live Q&A segments, while being safe.
The lobby was stunning. The stage for the panel didn’t yet have all of its props delivered. I knew the client wanted to showcase both the research and the space, and this could achieve both.
So a half dozen of us worked the scenario and logistics– livestream, power points, microphones, podium, distancing requirements, not to mention a full schedule leading up to the event.
In the end, there wasn’t enough time to sort through how to stream the individual panel talks with PowerPoint, so we returned to the room and looked 45 degrees south. The wall of painted trees would be a perfect alternative as a panel background. We began to move dozens of tables, chairs, props and imagined the camera throws, lights, sound and confidence monitor placements.
(Side note: It won’t be a surprise that one of the 16 speakers was in quarantine, due to her husband contracting COVID. The first emails said “it will be too bad to not showcase her.” Our knee-jerk response was to ask her what equipment she had and to send her what she needed to record at home. Her video came back a few days later nearly flawless, and we were speechless when we heard she had contracted it, too, all while being pregnant. She set a high bar for both flexibility AND perseverance.)
Winner was also “Semi Live…”
This week, we marked our first time we felt like we were in pre-COVID times. In addition to the NCH event, we are finishing coaching 30 speakers for the flip to virtual of RStudios international conference; ghostwriting a Big ten school commencement address (no, not OSU); managing pre-production for WexMed Live’s second virtual event in December; coaching two quarterly board presentations; and producing the first virtual Annual Meeting for Capital Crossroads and Discovery Special Improvement Districts (downtown landowner associations). Thanks to each of these clients for embracing the realities of semi-live events and trusting us to guide you through them.
And lastly… we won with this partnership
I might say that without the incredible partnership of WOSU-TV, both for pre-recording on site and in-studio, managing livestream feeds and editing innumerable talks – we wouldn’t feel as confident in our ability to pull any of this off. Thanks to John, Paul, and team for being amazing collaborators. You make everyone look good. Virtual high fives!
As Thanksgiving approaches, we wish you all a healthy and safe holiday. We are ever thankful for your trust in us.