As an expert in digital and hybrid events, Flow Communications jumped at the opportunity to run the European Union Seminar on Standards for Agri-food Products held in Johannesburg in May 2022.
The two-day event featured a mix of live on-site presenters and those presenting on virtual platforms, in plenary and breakout sessions.
The organiser, Brussels-based event- and communications-management company Cecoforma, commissioned Flow to provide support at the venue in running the online aspect of the hybrid event, and streaming the seminar via an event platform.
Flow needed to set up Zoom links for various sessions taking place concurrently, as well as cameras to stream the physical event to a digital platform managed by the client, ensuring high-quality visuals and sound for the online audience.
This meant Flow had to use multiple Zoom accounts to feature several events streaming at the same time, and needed to supply a number of “digital stage managers” to control each Zoom stream and assist with technical support such as screen-sharing.
Flow liaised with Cecoforma throughout to ensure consistency across all the breakout rooms taking place in the various sessions.
“This was such an exciting event to be involved in! Working with a Brussels-based events company was great and an awesome learning experience, too,” says Flow head of project management Gail Tanner.
“We worked closely with Floriane Ramirez De Bruyne, Cecoforma’s digital stage manager, who was coordinating the online platform. She was well organised and such a pleasure to work with.
“It was great to be part of such a high-level, well-organised event, and to showcase our capabilities to Cecoforma and the European Union,” adds Gail.
Interpreting the brief
While running the event, Flow had to consider that online audiences needed to see what was happening at the venue, as well as the presentations or videos shown to the physical audience. We therefore set up cameras (in some cases, two per breakout room) to ensure clear views of the stage, speaker podiums and panel-discussion sessions.
We also needed to have presentations and video files ready for sharing with the online audience at the same time that they were shown to the physical audience. Some speakers connected virtually, and Flow also needed to present and project the Zoom interface onto the screens at the venue, ensuring that the speakers were clearly heard.
Flow streamed each session to YouTube, which was then fed into the event website using stream-encoding keys. This required setting up and testing beforehand. The event also needed to be recorded in high resolution, so that the downloadable files would be editable and of high quality.
Mindful of the ever-present possibility of load-shedding, Flow ensured that it had access to sufficient 5G hotspots to maintain an internet connection should the power go off.
Cecoforma project manager Amaury Caeymaex said Flow’s understanding and interpretation of the brief ensured that the event support was managed well and the Flow team was “flexible and adaptable” to various conditions, including power cuts, breakout rooms and live streaming.
“The quality of the work was good and we had a productive working relationship. We have found Flow to be helpful and responsive to our specific requirements.”
Flow was pleased that it delivered another good result: a successful event and a happy client.