So you've planned the perfect event: Designed a top-shelf lighting and effects scheme, invested heavily in your wireless technology, built a top-of-the-line sound system and brought in the best, most compelling speakers, presenters and exhibits. What's the next step for a cutting-edge event?
Today, an increasing number of events now employ 360 video - and even virtual reality - to bring their venues to the web in a fully immersive fashion. It's an exciting technology, but it requires care and smart investment to get the most out of it. It's important to think about every aspect of the process, including:
- What technology you're employing to actually record and broadcast the video.
- How high-end and how many cameras you want to invest in.
- Where you are physically placing your equipment.
- Where you're uploading footage and how you're promoting it.
Current best practices in 360° video events
First, figure out what your actual goals and intentions are for the 360 video. Are you trying to showcase your main exhibit hall? Give people a way to interact with event-goers? Maybe you're trying to promote a concert or a sporting event. Will the cameras remain in a static location throughout the event, or will you be moving them to different locations? Each of these decisions means you need to consider certain technical and logistical limitations.
It's important to keep in mind whether you're planning to use battery- or mains-powered cameras. Both are viable, depending on the application, but your preference here will determine what kind of equipment you invest in and potentially limit placement options.
Regardless, you always want to set up your cameras in a vantage point that captures the most scope possible, offers unobstructed views and won't be blocked off by foot traffic. You'll also want to ensure your equipment is safe and protected from both accidents and possible theft, as well as employing the best possible wireless infrastructure in order to keep latency and lag to a minimum.
Real-time or recorded?
Many event planners choose to stream their 360 video in real time through Facebook or other platforms. This is a fantastic way to promote your event, but make sure you follow best practices here as well. Experience has taught many media companies that live, real-time video is great but has some liabilities, so make sure you have someone monitoring the feed. As we've mentioned before, this is an extremely bandwidth-heavy deployment, so make sure both your WiFi and hard-line backbones are up to the task.
On the other hand, you might instead or additionally want to record the video as part of a larger production. Generally speaking, you're going to want to invest in some higher-quality cameras for this purpose, as people hold recorded video to a higher standard than live streams - though either way, you never want to cheap out. You also need to make sure you have sufficient storage capacity for your footage, and you'll want to make backups as well in case of data loss.