In May 2021, the COVID pandemic prevented a Fortune 500 company from hosting their annual shareholder’s meeting in person. Instead, they contracted BMG’s live production and creative services teams to develop an engaging, interactive, and creative virtual event. The meeting was required to be hosted within Microsoft Teams, but the client was looking for the stakeholders and executive management to feel connected and excited. BMG was tasked with engineering a custom workflow within the Teams ecosystem and designing a custom virtual set that integrated in-studio presenters and remote participants to meet these objectives.
Utilizing Brainstorm and Unreal Engine virtual set technology, our creative team designed an immersive virtual environment that incorporated all the client’s needs while adhering to their brand standards and paying tribute to overarching company messaging and initiatives. The goal for the event was to create an environment that made all participants feel that they were working together in the same room.
To bring the participants together, 40 remotes were transmitted to our REMI broadcast hub in Las Vegas from Microsoft Teams via NDI. This allowed us to bring in individual video feeds of all 40 managers and stakeholders. An additional 20 feeds, consisting of remote experts, were brought in via Skype. These 20 feeds were integrated into the live program using Newtek Talkshow appliances.
On-location at the client’s office, BMG engineered and constructed two greenscreen sets – a primary set with three cameras and a secondary set with one camera. The camera complement included 4 Panasonic AW-HE40SKP PTZ cameras with tally, full prompter, and program return. Hosts and presenters received wireless mics and IFBs, which were embedded in the video feeds from our four cameras and sent back to Las Vegas. In addition, from BMG’s REMI hub, we transmitted teleprompter, program, Multiview, and IFB feeds back to the client’s offices.
Our REMI kit on-location at the client’s office included a custom transmission and audio rack with 2 TVU VS-3500 units capable of sending six encoded audio and video channels and receiving four decoded audio and video channels. The REMI kit also included an encrypted VPN tunnel for camera control, allowing all robotic cameras to be remotely controlled from our REMI hub in Las Vegas.
Using Brainstorm and Unreal Engine to bridge the gap between the on-site presenters and remote guests required the director, BMG CEO Todd Mason, to work with two technical directors. One TD switched and controlled camera movements within the virtual environment, while the other TD switched between the physical cameras, rolled playback assets, and called on-air graphics.
Utilizing BMG’s REMI hub allowed us to execute the virtual shareholder meeting using a centralized technology and decentralized staffing approach. Managing the show from our REMI hub was BMG’s staff director, EIC, A1, playback operator, and prompter operator. On-site at the client’s offices was a technical manager, A2, LD, and production manager. All other technical personnel had remote access to the Las Vegas facility and could fulfill their roles remotely. This included the transmission engineers, graphics operator, virtual set operator, and line producer.