Give Conference Recording a Test Drive

Published by Sean Lawler | Topics: Conferences

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It’s not uncommon for Omnipress to get a call from a customer who is interested in recording their event content but has never tried it before.  For example, our customer might request a quote from a vendor to record their entire event, maybe consisting of 15 concurrent sessions and 250 presentations over a four day period.  If this is the first time they have explored the possibility of recording their content and aren’t even sure of an available budget, it’s understandable that they can suffer from some sticker shock.   They know there is value in providing the event experience to a wider audience, whether it’s non-attendees or attendees who were unable to attend a particular session, but they don’t know where to begin with conference recording.

How about starting small?

There’s no reason to feel that it’s an all or nothing proposition, especially if you’re not sure how much value will be derived from your recordings – whether it’s member/attendee value, additional revenue associated with the sale of the content, sponsorship opportunities, or all of the above.  That’s why starting with a pilot/proof of concept approach might be the right fit for you.

Here are some things that you can do today to start recording your event:

  • Limit what you record. Understand that a significant cost of recording your event using a vendor derives from getting their staff to the event and the associated labor costs.  Think about only recording one room for one day, and pack it with your keynote and other popular educational breakout sessions.  This will limit the number of staff needed, while maximizing their time on the ground at your event.
  • Does it need to be live? While streaming your sessions to a live audience is great, there’s also cost associated with doing this reliably.  Dropping a dedicated internet connection into the room, having staff in the room to monitor the feed, and providing a stable distribution network for the stream can all add up.
  • Do you need video? Sometimes just getting a capture of the presenter’s voice and screen is good enough.  Providing video can tack on associated equipment and labor costs.
  • Avoid recording workshop-style sessions. Any session that has a lot of audience participation, especially with multiple small group activities, does not translate well for recordings.  What often happens is much of the Q&A is just “A,” and a 10 minute group activity means 10 minutes of silence or background noise for the viewer.
  • Do it yourself. Record with a high-end consumer webcam (about $70-$100), a laptop, some cheap or free software, and someone to run it, you can record sessions on your own.  Sure, there’s more room for error here and the recording quality might reflect your method but this can give you a chance to experiment without investing much more than your time.  Take a look at services like Ustream and Livestream, or even YouTube depending on the length and content of the recordings.

Taking gradual steps to recording your event content will allow you to gauge interest in your content and get a better understanding of your potential ROI if you do finally decide to expand your offering and record your entire event.

Have you had any experiences (good or bad) starting slow with recording your content, or did you get over your head?  Let us know in the comments below.


About Sean Lawler

Sean is the Product Director of Digital Services here at Omnipress... handling their online abstract management/speaker file collection, digital publishing platforms, mobile event apps, and other digital media delivery. He understands technology very well, but can relate it to non-technical people better than most. more

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