If there’s one thing the COVID-19 pandemic has proven, it’s the innovation and resilience of the production industry.
During the early days of the pandemic, many organizations were scrambling to figure out how to keep their programming on-air, while adapting to a ‘work from home’ environment.
As a result, programming during the early stages of the pandemic was fairly basic. The emphasis was on establishing a reliable technical solution, which limited much of the creative aspects of live programming.
Now, 2-months into the pandemic (ugh), companies are starting to push the envelope. They’re looking for innovative ways to increase the production value of live programming in our current – temporary – environment.
While not everyone has a President-Obama-Commencement-Speech budget, there are still ways to increase the production value of your at-home productions.
It’s time to look beyond Zoom. Here are some tips and tricks for increasing the production value of your live remote.
Add production value with a graphics package.
Never underestimate the value of a polished graphics package.
One of the easiest ways to dress up a live production is by creating a clean, sharp graphics package. Something as standard as a lower third or animated transitions can add value to your content.
Many interview segments that utilize an at-home production workflow are simply split screens of a host and guest. But why not overlay that on top of a cleanly designed mortise?
Adding graphics integration requires some back-end infrastructure, plus an experienced graphic designer, but this can be a relatively low-cost option for adding production value to your live remote.
Turn to social media.
Engagement is key to a successful production.
With an influx of people being restricted to their homes, content viewership has soared. So, too, has internet traffic.
A quick, low-cost solution for injecting some life into your program is to utilize social media.
This can be done by deploying something as basic as a Twitter or Facebook poll. Or by pulling in content from Instagram or Tik-Tok using a pre-determined hashtag.
Your viewers are at-home and online. Why not integrate their thoughts and opinions into your program?
Add value with an upgraded at-home production kit.
One of the most common issues with at-home production stems from the end-user. Bad lighting and improper framing can significantly impact the quality of your output.
The good news is that these issues can be fixed with a little coaching.
Another way to bump up production value is to upgrade your talent’s hardware. Adding a proper lighting package, backdrop, and adding a higher quality camera can pay dividends.
At Broadcast Management Group, we offer two at-home solutions for clients: a basic package and a pro package. Both kits come with lighting, cameras, audio, and comms, which help enhance the talent’s feed.
As more and more companies step up their production game, consumers will grow weary of low-quality webcam feeds.
Studios and virtual sets.
Utilizing a physical studio is still an option, depending on the comfort level of your talent.
This was something that we saw utilized during the Graduate Together program. Host Lebron James moderated the event from a heavily sanitized studio space. Extra precautions were taken to limit exposure and keep crew members apart from each other. Aside from having to work through some unique challenges, the program’s technical team proved it can be done.
Rather than opting for a hard set, which would have required additional bodies, the program producers utilized virtual set technology. This was deployed during the host segments as well as during some surprise musical performances.
Virtual sets are a great way to add production value to your program.
Utilizing a virtual set requires specific hardware and a designer who knows how to design sets. But if done right, virtual sets can tie into your overall graphics treatment to give a cohesive look to your program.
If you don’t have access to studio space or have the budget, virtual sets can still be implemented using a green screen backdrop.
Bring in live viewers.
Recorded with a pair of cell phones in his home office, using a network logo that his daughters drew, Krasinski’s low-tech program is still able to attract millions of viewers.
Despite a simple technical approach, Krasinski is still able to keep his program entertaining and engaging.
One of the ways he’s able to do so is by regularly bringing in at-home viewers into his program. It’s a simple, zero-cost approach that keeps people engaged and adds to the authenticity of his program.
Increasing the production value of your at-home production takes some thought, and potentially a little bit of money. But the longer that content producers utilize at-home production setups, the higher the expectation will be for polished and creative content. Now that viewers have an appetite for what’s possible, the bar has been raised. Don’t fall behind!