Less Is More – Why a Presenter Remote Should Be Simple

Reel Impact - Friday, May 10, 2013

Take a look at the remotes you use to control your home entertainment system.  If you haven’t replaced them with a keyboard and mouse by now, you’re probably looking at three or four little boxes, one for the television, one for the DVD or Blu-ray player (or one for each), maybe another for your sound system, a couple of extra ones lying around that you aren’t even sure control anything that you currently own.  How many buttons are on each?  Now multiply that by the number of remotes you have.  Rather staggering, all the choices you have at any given time just to watch television. It’s out-of-control remote controls!

            Now imagine that someone has asked you to give a presentation.  You’re already nervous – palms sweaty, thinking of your message, a lump caught in your throat – and the audiovisual tech hands you a remote.

            “It’s so you can advance your PowerPoint slides,” she explains.

            You look down at the remote warily.   Up and down arrows.  A couple of strange symbols in boxes.  A button that says “Fn”, whatever that means.  There’s even a handy LCD screen telling you that you’ve already wasted the first ten seconds of your presentation time staring at the remote.

            The truth is that you’re just looking for the buttons to advance to your next slide or go back to the previous one.  And maybe a laser pointer for emphasis.  Unlike your television remote where you can waste hours playing with all of the features before finally learning that the only buttons you will use are “Play”, “Eject”, “On/off”, “Volume”, and those forward and back arrows, the little remote in your hand is standing between you and the perfect presentation.      

            A presenter remote doesn’t need to be complicated.  It doesn’t need a built-in memory or a timer or the ability to levitate objects across the room.

            For all of the conferences, award shows, and meetings we run here at Reel Impact Event Services, we use wireless presenter remotes with three buttons – forward, back, and laser pointer.  Simple, even elegant.  

Be There (and Be Square): How live video can turn your event into a must-see

Reel Impact - Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We’ve all seen live video – sporting events, awards shows, 24-hour news.  When you see that little “live” tag in the corner of the screen, you know that what you’re watching is immediate, unpredictable, and sometimes even unscripted.  For awards shows and sporting events, it makes you feel like you’re there.

Conference video should feel the same way.  Video taping and distributing video of a conference two weeks or a month later is a great way to preserve past conferences or give attendees a refresher course in what they learned, but for those who never attended the conference, a DVD received sometimes months down the road can get buried under paperwork and never watched.  A conference is, like an award show or football game, an event best experienced live.  That’s why companies are willing to pay for their employees to travel to conferences.

The audience for a conference doesn’t have to be limited to those who can attend in person.  A conference with a thousand attendees, unlike a sporting event with millions of viewers across the nation, is small enough to allow interaction with the audience.  A speaker might open the floor for questions, or the audience might divide into small groups for brainstorming.  With current technology and an experienced A/V crew, a conference can be multicast to any attendee with web access.  Multicasting a conference is a process that starts long before the event itself.  An A/V company prepares a platform for web streaming and gathers content such as PowerPoint slides and videos the speaker may show.  This content is programmed so that slides can be advanced remotely, and the whole show is uploaded to a password-protected server.  When a user logs on during the conference, he will see a live feed of the conference, Flash-based PowerPoint slides that advance with the current speaker, and perhaps a reply box for feedback.  Replies can serve as a digital “raised hand”, allowing remote attendees to ask questions or provide answers.

But what if it’s one of your speakers who can’t attend?  Say he can’t leave the office for more than a day but still wants to contribute.  A video crew can meet your speaker anywhere and send a live feed to the conference.  With an audience feed coming the other way, your speaker can see raised hands and interact as if he were present at the conference.  His PowerPoint slides can even be projected on one screen while his face is on the other.  With multiple video feeds, an entire panel could attend remotely.

Video feeds and Flash-based content can turn your conferences into live, interactive events.  With a web-based platform attendees can take post-conference assessments, re-watch breakout sessions they missed, or even participate in discussion groups long after leaving the conference room.

When Does Your Event Require Video?

Reel Impact - Friday, October 05, 2012

The simple answer is that all events, from small business meetings to large educational conferences, can be enhanced by video.  A more apt question might be, “What sort of video does my conference need?”

            Events taking place outdoors or in large hotel ballrooms with audiences over 200 people typically require I-mag, or “image magnification”.  The audiovisual support team projects a live video feed of your speaker or musicians on screens.   This video feed can then be recorded for post-event release.  Commonly, I-mag is combined with PowerPoint, sometimes one on each screen, so that the audience can see the speaker while he or she is giving a PowerPoint presentation.

PowerPoint isn’t the only thing the A/V team can put on those screens.  Video is the perfect way to demonstrate a new concept or product to the audience.  Where I-mag captures the facial expressions and hand gestures that are a fundamental part of communication, a pre-made demonstration video can show a process in detail… with no chance that the demonstrator will mess up in front of thousands of people.  It’s also a great way to walk new users through a website or program.  Rather than waiting for the program to load and relying on a computer to work in front of an audience, you can create a video before the show that includes a voice over.

Video can even bring your speakers to the conference without the cost of travel.  Online video streaming allows speakers to appear live via the internet.  Important speeches from public figures can also be downlinked via a satellite feed to the event location.

For conferences longer than a day, an opening video each morning presents the day’s topic in a memorable way, promoting greater retention of the day’s material.  A video at the end of each day might summarize the day’s topics, using humor or visual appeal to enhance learning.

Conferences often bring people together who work in the same field but rarely meet.  One way to build a sense of camaraderie among attendees is to make a highlights reel.  A photographer and/or cameraman shoots pictures and footage for an onsite editor to assemble into a closing video for the conference.

Once the conference is over, recorded video from the event can be edited into quick newscasts to promote your next conference .  Video of your speakers can become online learning modules for those who were not able to attend.  This year’s closing video with new music can open next year’s conference.

When you’re planning your next conference, think about the ways video can help you reach your audience and extend the impact of your event.

Providing Quality Video Services at Competitive Pricing to the Veterans Administration

Reel Impact - Thursday, August 23, 2012

For more than 13 years, Reel Impact has provided the Veterans Administration with quality video production services. Reel Impact has received numerous accolades from VA staff and Veterans for the effectiveness of the programs we’ve produced in helping to train staff and create awareness about key issues with the overall goal of improving service to America’s heroes.

In 2011, Reel Impact was sub-contracted to produce conference opening session videos for a Veterans Administration HR conference in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of the videos was to help conference attendees connect their work with the overall VA mission and America’s Veterans. These videos are now part of a Congressional investigation into the VA’s spending on conferences.

Reel Impact is keenly aware of our responsibility to taxpayers. We take this responsibility very seriously and are proud of our solid track record of being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. We are working closely with the prime contractor and the VA during this investigation. We believe that the video production services provided and the compensation Reel Impact received are reasonable and appropriate for the videos that were requested, and we believe the current investigation will bear this out.