Pre-recorded video footage is not the first thing people think about when planning virtual events. They envision panelists, performers and plenary speakers in their raw, real-time broadcast.
But pre-recorded content can be a game-changer for your virtual event strategy. It can be used to promote the event and mobilize registrants. It can be spliced into a livestream interview or presentation.
If you’re reading this, you’re obviously smart enough to save your business or organization lots of money by taking events virtual. Invest part of that surplus in pre-recorded video, and you can do things like:
Create a seamless brand or cause narrative before, throughout, and after your event.
Get more bang on your production budget dollar.
Problem-solve the conflicting schedules of speakers, celebrities, and others of prominence.
Engage your registrants/attendees with tips & teasers in a cause-conscious voice.
Bridge the gap between time zones and geography to create shared experiences.
The list could go on, and it will.
If done strategically, pre-recorded video production creates lasting, shareable marketing assets at scale, alongside your virtual events and brand story.
Benefits of Pre-Recorded Video
Picture this: You’ve done your research on the benefits of virtual events. You’ve surveyed peers in your professional network. You’ve assessed vendors, event platforms, producers and strategists.
Most importantly: You have the green light from your decision makers to invest in virtual events. But how should you invest? Pre-recorded video production will be a key consideration. To help you understand why, we’ll cover some benefits.
Minimize your Margin of Error
Pre-recorded content requires more planning and pre-production but eases the stress levels on the day(s) of the event. After all, one reason you’re investing in pre-recorded content is to ensure that fewer things will go wrong. The more that you can “set it and forget it,” the more time you have for other concerns, like backstage prep for livespeakers.
Resolve Conflicting Schedules
Pre-recorded video helps organizations realize numerous creative and promotional opportunities. But oftentimes the primary reason for choosing this production medium is to resolve conflicting schedules. This is especially helpful in cases where presenters are in radically different time zones. It also helps when your event includes celebrities or other people of prominence, whose schedules and travel considerations can be challenging.
Creative Opportunities Abound
True, pre-recorded content makes many aspects of virtual event management easier. But it is more than a means to an end; it’s an opportunity to showcase your creativity. To leave your audience with a “wow” factor.
The livestream elements of your event may be impressive, but they’re subject to the rough edges of any livestream production — the unexplainable feed glitch, the speaker who left himself on mute, etc. A pre-recorded segment allows you to polish the imperfections, and add elements like synchronized, split-screen displays (e.g., speaker on the left; presentation notes on the right), documentary footage, and B-roll.
Micro Content Creation
The investment that you put into creativity only increases the value of the video asset that you create. Anticipate the role this content can play after the event, not just during. With this lens, you can create content that tells a timeless story. This is also your chance to curate the “perfect scenario” of brand voice, messaging, and call to action.
That said, be sure to future-proof your production plan on pre-recorded video. Avoid messaging that might date or limit the impact of your content. Identify snippets that can be packaged into “shorts.” Utilize these independent segments in future social media posts, advertisements, and website/blog content.
Improve the Accessibility of Your Virtual Event
Any savvy marketer knows the importance of accessibility — accurate closed captioning, thorough information describing & identifying the video, a picture-in-picture interpreter. A pre-recorded video production is an opportunity to check all the boxes in accessibility. It’s also an opportunity to set the tone for your other post-event video productions (i.e., recordings of the livestream footage). If you’re working with a production agency, this is a good time to negotiate accessibility standards on all the footage they produce for you.
Data-Informed Sneak Preview
Pre-recorded video that is aired before or during an event can provide a “sneak preview” of how your audience will react to your content. Metrics like drop off rates, shares and time-of-day activity can help inform the way you engage with your audience during the crucial weeks after the event.
Build Confidence & Authority
Businesses and organizations that have invested in pre-recorded video production usually enter into their livestream production with greater confidence. Why? Because they’ve been through a process that forced them to revise and refine their messaging points. They already know how their brand and call to action are supposed to look and function in the spotlight.
Livestream vs. Pre-recorded Video
The benefits of pre-recorded video make it clear when and why this format is preferred over livestream. A general rule of thumb is to leverage livestreaming to enhance the participatory, community-engaging and conversational elements of your event.
Take the example from above about the conflicting schedules of celebrities and persons of prominence. What about those whose schedules are a perfect fit? These people suddenly become key assets to your livestream experience. Attendees can access and engage with them in real time. This raw exclusivity provides value to day-of attendees and even to post-event recordings and highlight videos.
However your pre-recorded vs. livestream production efforts shake out, it is important to be transparent with your audience. Communicate what they are about to see and why. When prompted, people usually accept the media format for what it is.
And pre-recorded content doesn’t preclude interaction! These same celebrities can interact with both in-person and virtual-only audiences (in the cases of hybrid events) through moderated chat and other interactivity.
Use Cases for Pre-Recorded Videos at Virtual Events
Pre-recorded video can play a key role before, during and after your virtual or hybrid event. The common thread running through each case is that the message, timing and delivery are under your control. This is why it is important to take inventory of all the scenarios in which pre-recorded video can be put to use.
Besides, video production is an investment. You want to multiply those assets into as many usable formats as the budget allows.
Promote Your Event with Pre-recorded Video
Event promotion is one of the most common use cases of pre-recorded video. Pre-recorded video offers the perfect formula for everything a promo needs to be: A concise, catchy, controlled message that includes event details and calls to action.
Popular components of promotional video content include teasers of what to expect (e.g., celebrity performance), quick-take interviews with speakers, testimonials and video and photographic footage of past events. The message itself can range from registration reminders to the announcement of a contest or some other unique feature of the event.
An important guideline in producing promotional content is consistency of message and experience. The look, feel and orientation of your video content should “be at home” with the landing page, email campaigns and social posts that promote it.
Pre-recorded Video During Your Event
The role that pre-recorded media plays during your event is similar to the one it plays in promotion: Generate and maintain excitement about the event. Common uses of pre-recorded video during events are:
Animated and/or illustrated explainer videos between sessions
Mini-documentaries and thought leadership features during or between sessions
Slide shows as filler content between event sessions or as transitions
Promotional messages from sponsors and partners
Teasers for upcoming sessions
Entertainment and performing arts
Virtual and hybrid conferences that take place over the course of several days stand at a special advantage with in-event video. Some will solicit testimonials, reactions or even performances from current attendees, and air them in a produced video on the following day.
In one example, the 12.5-million-member American Federation for Labor – Congress of Industrial Unions (AFL-CIO) produced an attendee-performed cover of Katy Perry’s “Roar,” as a full-length, labor-lyricized track. The song was lip synced by multiple labor unionists from as many locations, and recorded two hours before it aired.
Post-Event: Where Livestream Becomes Recorded
The best part about the post-event phase is that your in-event, livestream videos turn into recorded video! The potential for highlight videos and event recaps is endless. Create a version for each of your audience segments. Spotlight memorable moments and quotes. Announce the winners of contests and the achievements of the event itself.
A great way to maximize your event’s reach is with a short highlights video. They help extend audience engagement after the event. Our highlight videos start with your favorite recorded clips, mixed into a short video designed for social media and email sharing. The finished product comes in three sizes corresponding with social platforms (square, horizontal, and vertical), with headlines and captions, plus a picture-quote. This includes custom thumbnails that your speakers and attendees will love to share.
Not only are you armed with more content in the post-event phase, you have the control. Post-event video content can help solidify the experience and sense of community that your event created. This is your opportunity to hone in on key messages and moments that make your brand or cause shine.