We do a lot of events online already (many of our member events are hybrid in-person and online) so while we still have a LOT to adjust to, hopefully some of our experience can help!
1. Technology: Do we just use an iPhone and Zoom/Google Meet? Or do we need a higher end camera?
In my experience, Google Meet’s quality is inconsistent at best and downright bad at worst.
I strongly recommend Zoom as the most reliable option for group discussion video, and Crowdcast as my #1 choice for “webinar” style presentations.
The reason for the difference is that while Zoom is better for groups it does require everyone to download a piece of software. On the flip side, if it’s an event that people are registering for (or paying to attend), Zoom’s webinar registration tools are REALLY confusing.
Meanwhile, Crowdcast does not require a download for attendees, and tends to be among the easiest to set up out of the box and get people signing up. It also has a built in integration with Stripe so you can charge people to attend a workshop, as well as a Zapier integration to register people if they’re paying with another tool.
For Audio and Video:
You can go wild with cameras, and a new-ish iPhone’s camera is going to be better than any webcam. HOWEVER…audio is really the key that most people overlook, and where I would invest. In many cases, the video can be mediocre but if the audio isn’t good…the experience is terrible.
IMO the best semi-pro combo is:
- A computer connected via ethernet to the internet (wifi is NOT reliable enough for streaming)
- An external camera (an HD webcam will do the trick for around $100, or you can spend several hundred dollars on a high end camera. BUT…I would spend that money on audio instead)
- A professional microphone. If you only have one presenter at a time, this is a decent wireless lavalier option for the price. If you consistently have 2 people, this is a great entry-level USB wireless handheld.
You can spend more for better quality, but any of these are going to be worlds better than someone recording from home with their computer’s built in webcam and microphone.
2. Should we bring someone in to edit it, post production?
Some people may want this, but it can be expensive so I would look for a way to make it an “upgraded” package.
Do you have any video editors in your community, or does anyone in your community know a video editor who might be struggling because of cancelled events?
I would look for a way to make this a mutually beneficial upgrade option.
- Should we find a videographer who can really do something more special with it and charge the presenter accordingly?
Same as #2.
WITH ALL OF THAT SAID:
Expectations are changing rapidly right now while EVERYBODY is adjusting, so while these upgrades may be interesting/useful, I would not bank on them being the most important thing on peoples’ minds.
The REAL problems that people are likely to experience are:
- It’s noisy/distracting to record/present at home. This is doubly so if you have kids/animals/other people living in the house with you. If you are based in an area where people often have spare bedrooms this may be less of an issue, but even where I live in Philadelphia, in a fairly big house, it’s hard to find guaranteed quiet spot.
- People just don’t know how to do remote! Again, having the gear can help but the BIG value is going to be teaching people how to do things remote. You may have members in your community, or your wider business community outside of your space, who are more expert than you with this. ASK FOR HELP. There may be someone nearby who can consult with people on moving their events online, and you can come up with a revenue share for anyone you bring to them.
#1 advice is to use this as an opportunity to stop looking for ways to make your SPACE valuable and figure out how you can be valuable beyond the square footage. That’s going to be critical however long this situation continues, and best of all, will continue to be extremely valuable once things get back to “normal.”
Good luck. I hope this helps.