Livestream Production, Virtual Events
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The Venture 15 Awards and Venture Asheville Honors is an annual ceremony that ranks the 15 fastest growing startups in Asheville, North Carolina, hosted by local startup incubator Venture Asheville. The event honors the people and organizations that make Asheville a place for startups to thrive.
In years past, Venture 15 has been an in-person event featuring a live band, bar, and, of course, a couple of hundred people from the Asheville startup community. In December of 2020, COVID19 made gathering in-person for such an event impossible.
That didn’t deter Jeff Kaplan and his team at Venture Asheville; they were determined to carry on the tradition of Venture 15 despite the challenges 2020 presented. But they knew they couldn’t simply send out another Zoom meeting invite to their email list; the challenges the startup community overcame in 2020 warranted a true celebration: “We have to blow up the model for virtual events,” Kaplan insisted.
Our task was to help Venture Asheville throw a live, virtual celebration; maintain viewership throughout the course of the event; capture a live recording of the event to use for future promotional purposes; and ensure that each sponsor of the event felt their contribution was money well spent.
Our production team traveled to Asheville to Livestream the show. Our team included two executive producers; a director of photography; an audio engineer; a dedicated Zoom operator; and a board switcher.
Upon arrival, we had a short window of time to transform the small classroom into a fully operational broadcasting studio. We lit the makeshift classroom-turned-studio using an Aperture 300d Key Light, a 2’x1′ light mat for Brenda, Torch LEDs for hair lights –– and miscellaneous rigging to hang everything from the ceiling to maintain a safe work area.
The Livestream utilized 2 Blackmagic Pocket 6K cameras, 1 Blackmagic Pocket 4k camera, multiple confidence monitors, and a Blackmagic ATEM switchboard. Our audio equipment included a boom mic, 2 wireless Lavs for Kaplan and his co-host, Brenda.
We tested the production elements (including the cameras, monitors, switchers, and the Zoom platform itself) in a boardroom several times to ensure we had the proper set up between cloud tech and tech products.
The live event began on schedule at 8:00 pm EST, running for just over two hours. Our team played numerous pre-recorded pieces, including announcements and parody commercials, timed to the live hosting segments and awards announcements to create a seamless viewing experience.
According to Kaplan, his team, and the participants, the Venture 15 Awards Livestream was a success, drawing over 100 participants –– nearly all of whom watched until the end.
For Venture Asheville, the 2020 virtual event resulted in a higher profit margin due to the lower overhead costs. They plan to incorporate a virtual component to the Venture 15 Awards every year going forward, as the Livestream increased access and inclusivity, enabling members of the startup community, friends, and family to join the event from anywhere.
We delivered a full recording of the 120-minute event, as well as a promotional video to generate interest and investment in the event going forward. The promotional video was shared with Venture Asheville board members during a quarterly presentation, and across social channels. You can check out a sampling of the positive response Venture Asheville received on social media below.
Venture Asheville | Venture 15 Promo
Venture Asheville | Venture 15 Livestream (Full Broadcast)