Virtual Event Production Saves the Day
FabCom, an integrated marketing and advertising agency located in Scottsdale, AZ, partnered with a university to produce six virtual graduations. The goal was to emulate the traditional commencement experience as closely as possible in a virtual setting.
To accomplish their goals, FabCom introduced portions of their new product, Hybrid Reality (HReality), which is a virtual integration of physical and digital worlds. In HReality, digital elements overlay actual video footage to create a seamless user experience that allows for amazing brand engagements.
Numerous elements were taken into consideration: show flow, movement, sound, visuals, subjects, and the setting. All were produced as accurately as possible to recreate the full graduation experience. Producing the event this way allows the HReality assets to be repurposed efficiently for quarterly graduations.
In pre-production, FabCom captured still and video images, curated assets, created a how-to guide, developed the show flows, and created a dynamic communications funnel.
The AI-supported dynamic marketing funnel utilized PURLs that encouraged students to validate and update their information and photos, and to invite guests. Automated triggers generated email notifications that kept participants engaged before the event. The inclusion of these guest emails created an alumni and relational database for future development efforts.
AI was used to create thousands of introductory student videos, which otherwise would have required many additional manual labor hours. AI enabled the synchronizing of student data information across disparate databases to ensure accurate student information was presented.
FabCom developed a show flow that considered every aspect of the hour-long broadcast. The event’s sound was designed to be as realistic as possible, and emotions were heightened with musical elements. In individual group viewing rooms, users had the ability to securely share video and audio, which further enhanced the experience.
As part of their integrated event production, FabCom performed virtual event facilitation, event communication, event promotions, video editing/production, motion graphics/animation, data collection/digital distribution, event analytics, and event management.
Visual FX were used to enhance imagery, like retouching buildings or fixing a dean’s mussed regalia. The event was also customized with content from multiple colleges to generate a university-wide allegiance, rather than only for a particular college.
The agency created a custom dashboard for event ROI analysis that covered audience details and KPI metrics. The dashboard revealed 8,000 unique viewers worldwide that ultimately reached 32,000+ as users shared links and account access with others. This birthed the Virtual Reach Score (VRS), which accounts for reach amplification in an open ecosystem (world wide web, Google). The event generated rave reviews.
Graduations should be a time for celebration. However, with a new focus on public health and social distancing discouraging gatherings, how can you highlight and honor the students’ accomplishments with those who matter most?
Hosting a large-scale, traditional graduation ceremony was out of the question for many universities’ graduating Class of 2020. Rather than let university graduates miss out on a heartfelt finish to their formal education, FabCom, an integrated advertising agency in Scottsdale, AZ, partnered with a long-term client to virtually produce six emotionally resonating college/school graduations to recognize student and faculty achievements.
No small undertaking, this feat required the efforts of a cross-disciplined team working together in unison with client contacts throughout the university, partially while working from home and capturing footage from deans across the country. The agency deployed all disciplines—video production, promotions, corporate communications, digital marketing, cinematography, event production and planning, VFX editing, AI and machine learning, automated design, animation, enterprise-wide cross-domain analytics, front- and back-end programming, copy writing, and client services to help make this project come to fruition.
Create a commencement ceremony to virtually emulate, as closely as possible, the university’s traditional commencement experience.
Overcome the environmental circumstances of a global pandemic, shortage of and accessibility to staff, and high risk/quarantine conditions.
HReality:™ Combines Virtual Reality, Augmented Reality, Dynamic Point Clouds, and Live Video
To accomplish the goals and objectives, the agency deployed innovative and rightsized elements of our newly developed product offering: Hybrid Reality (HReality). In short, HReality is the integration of the physical and digital worlds, including capturing the authentic emotions of the human experience, to coexist in augmented reality. Users can interact online within immersive virtual brand experiences in real time from any browser—no VR goggles needed!
In relation to VR and AR video production, the digital world overlays the real world, or video footage that was physically shot, to enhance the user’s experience. When combining real environments, augmented reality, and virtual reality, the technologies can overlay and support each other for seamless, brand-centric parallel reality and livestream transmissions to create amazing brand engagements.
Recreating Reality with Virtual Technology
Show flow, movement, sound/music, imagery/visuals, subjects, and the environment/setting all were taken into consideration to accomplish the mission. To most accurately recreate the full graduation experience, the virtual environment was built as a proof-of-concept element based on the measurements and scale of the actual venue where the university traditionally hosts their commencement ceremony. This was accomplished with virtual technology to best recreate the shared emotions that mark the significance and tradition of a commencement ceremony.
Unexpected forced business conditions and budgets previously allocated for the year provided an opportunity to work with university leaders to create a rightsized deployment of the intended virtual environment. As a solution, the brand was able to leverage many existing resources and assets. In addition to new image capture of the deans and president, branded backgrounds and transitions were used as a visual cue solution for multiple portions of the ceremony.
Integrated Brand and Positioning Strategy Executed Within Tactical Project Work
At FabCom, all production is based on the dynamic fusion of strategy, creative, and new tech. The strategic focus for this event was creating a memorable brand resonating experience for students and university constituents, while extending the digital brand into the latest visual formats, workflows, and virtual elements created for proliferating the brand in the newly emerging digital space. A great example of this kind of brand extension was the newly animated presidential seal.
Presidential seal animation
A New Virtual Solution for Online Quarterly Graduations
Additionally, the new HReality virtual style of graduation production can be repurposed to recognize the burgeoning online student population who start and graduate programs and degrees quarterly, rather than yearly. Historically, online students haven’t had their own ceremony; rather, the yearly invite to the residential graduation is extended at many universities. With HReality, a virtual graduation can be produced efficiently enough to match the quarterly graduations of online professional students. The total cost per constituent is also an incredible value for institutional brand building, constituent affiliation, and alumni loyalty creation and reinforcement.
Planning for Virtual Event Success
For a flawless virtual video event, pre-production is as crucial as good image capture, editing, and animation. Pre-production included:
- Coordinating a CDC-compliant video shoot to capture the president and deans local to the greater Phoenix area.
- Development of six show flows, unique to each school’s historical ceremony.
- Curation of archival assets to leverage for opening, processional, and recessional.
- Creation of a dynamic communications funnel for personalized RSVPs and event reminders.
Driving Attendance with Automated RSVP Communications Funnel
Due to the volume of graduates, the nuances within the type of degree, the number of combined degrees granted, the number of different schools and campuses, and the short production timeline, FabCom turned to new machine learning and AI technology to accomplish the impossible. The integrated production teams deployed automated inbound marketing funnel methods to augment the client’s existing investment in their recruitment funnel and technology framework to instantly mobilize a world-class RSVP communications funnel. The invitation process instantly provided the functionality that normally takes months to build and test all accomplished within a week.
The agency was able to harness AI capabilities with dynamically-driven structured data to normalize and prioritize prepopulated student information based on client-provided database queries to spreadsheets and shared folders. With this initial data, the agency created PURLs (personalized URLs created from student names and the form domain, e.g., janesmith.domainname.com). Students were then invited to update their information, including their displayed name, phonetic spelling, updated headshot, and confirmation of degree earned.
Inbound Marketing Funnel Methodology
New Opportunities through Data-Driven Design
Ensuring the accuracy of student information from the first touch point was a priority. Due to the client-provided data being syndicated across school/college databases and recorded in different formats, AI identified the deltas in the data and corrected these in real time. Then, a machine learning-based formula was authored to create efficiency out of the types of changes in personal information from the original database queries, ensuring each amendment from student PURLs and university departments took precedent. This ensured students were listed under the right degrees or showcasing the correct changed name before the data moved into video animation production. In addition to countless rounds of proofing and revisions, this saved many students from being listed under the wrong degree or showcasing a changed name during the ceremony.
Innovation Meets Creativity
Additionally, the university provided each student’s ID card photo from their enrollment year (many online students had no photo on file that was appropriate for this new, unexpected use). The agency created another automated process to overcome the restraining forces of minimal student imagery. A simplified, one-click solution incorporated into the personalized landing page provided students the opportunity to update their photo with something more current that they preferred to have shown during graduation.
Overall, the data-driven design approach helped optimize the university’s opportunities to streamline their data collection processes, influence best practices in data nomenclatures and hygiene, offer world-class, personalized communications, and add functionality to standard operating procedures across schools/colleges.
Simplifying Processes with AI Assistance
Time is money and opportunity—ease of use creates utilization, engagement, and brand satisfaction. Rather than the student needing to repeatedly contact their family and friends with their ceremony date/time/link/etc., the automated PURL enabled students to simply input each guest’s name and email address. This triggered an email invitation, as well as a series of brand- centric reminder emails leading up to the day of the event.
Guest invites were collected per student as a JSON string and stored in the database. The agency created an automated, PII-secured, code-based parser that loops through the guest invites for each school and sent out variable/personalized emails to each guest for the initial invite, three days out, and finally, 30 minutes before the commencement event.
Creating a Dynamic Alumni Relations Database
Additionally, the inclusion of guest emails created a relational alumni database for future development efforts including updated personal emails, imagery, and professional and familial connections and influencers. This will likely become the most valuable asset created for the university during this production, as students, their families, and community influencers invested an engaging and memorable hour with the brand and its mission.
Murphy’s Law Meets its Nemesis—Smarter Tech
The agency produced an additional invitation (per the client’s request) for some of the schools that were still missing student photos, sending to both their school and personal emails this time. Any new data provided was compared against previous data originally on file with the university. Previous data submitted on the first notification either merged (if the student added more guests) or replaced (if the student provided a new photo or preferred name) the original data.
Based on time and budget, if this process was completed in the traditional manner, this project wouldn’t have been amended in time with perfect accuracy for the graduation event dates. Traditionally creating over 2,000 custom five- second student animations with data sourced from six disparate databases, with multiple last minute revisions, would have taken approximately 1,000 labor hours.
Once the RSVP campaign closed, the team dynamically updated the existing student PURLs (replaced with a “see you at commencement” message and link to further info). After merging student PURL responses with the original student info database, it was exported as a CSV for the production team to leverage AI- driven data design to build automated video animations for the announcement of candidates during the ceremony.
AI Makes Automating Student Animations Manageable
As previously mentioned, to accomplish the production in the time allotted, the integrated agency automated the creation of the animated student videos with AI and machine learning technology. First, new columns were added to the student data spreadsheet where custom formulas parsed and/or analyzed data from other columns, with the solution being the copy, filenames, and file locations of all the student images and audio files. After creating the animation template with placeholder images and copy, automated import routines were deployed for all students’ information from the database and artwork, dynamically creating a separate animation for each student. Each animation was then organized and offset in a livestream video timeline to create the proper graduation cohorts.
Importance of AI and Dynamically Building Video
Many things change over the years of a graduate’s education: given names, type of degree(s), areas of concentration, geographic references, preferred pronouns, etc. The databases provided by the client were extracted from multiple systems: admissions, student services, the dean’s office, and HR, just to name a few. The format of the data was also different, depending on the type of student and program information, as well as the unique attributes of the different college/school databases from which the data originated.
Considering the timelines allowed, it would have been prohibitive to normalize, proof, and verify the data coming from so many departments within an institution. In addition, perfection is required when live-producing six commencements for six different schools on multiple campuses. In this case, FabCom was particularly sensitive to the educational and cultural nuances involved—with stakeholders gathered to honor students for these achievements, the marketing agency wanted to ensure that the experience was flawless.
It would have been physically impossible to produce the project with conventional means because 30% to 40% of the data was out of sync due to disparate systems and processes unique to each school/college. Preparing, proofing, verifying, and reproofing thousands of timed student video animations would have been cost and time prohibitive. So, FabCom’s innovation kicked into gear again, and we deployed AI and machine learning programming to create and automate the first virtual graduation proof. There were zero errors, and no confused names, schools, programs, or imagery on the first 60-minute rendering of the final virtual event (there was a single typo on a manually added title, which was corrected on first proof).
Design Automation Creates Flexibility
Once proofed with the client, they had two schools rerun the RSVP communications to offer students second and third opportunities to update their graduation information. If this revision work was compiled manually, it would have required four full-time employees three days to make revisions to hundreds of sound-synced student video animations. Instead, the agency’s custom approach empowered the client to rerun, correct, and ensure excellence in eight hours. With a perfect marriage of strategy, creative, and new technology, hundreds of changes were accomplished overnight for pennies on the dollar.
Virtual Ceremony Show Flow and Planning
The team planned an extensive show flow (down to the second) that considered every aspect needed to fulfill an hour-long broadcast and successful commencement.
A general show flow timeline was created and flowed across schools.
- Static welcome page
- Inspirational opening video
- Commencement Blessing
- “God Bless America” performance
- Dean’s welcome
- Commencement address
- Presentation of candidates
- Announcement of candidates
- Conferring of degree
- Military graduate recognition
- Oath to Profession
- President’s closing remarks
- Slide transitions
Virtual ceremony show flow sample (1 of 6 tabs)
152 transitions, customized to each college/school, with voiceovers and sound beds were added in between each portion of the virtual event to give the ceremony an authentic flow.
The purpose of the show flow was to preplan the order of events and account for any instances that would need additional art, direction, and sound design. The advanced show flow work also enabled the team to detail the seconds each event within the final timeline would consume, the talent needed, additional audio and visual requirements, and the team member in charge of creating, editing, and proofing each sequence, as well as the final event. Based on the timelines, each section was simultaneously created, but individually assigned to a different work team to dynamically assemble, and then aggregate the final rendering for the event broadcast and viewing.
Sound Design for Virtual Events
The quality of a virtual video production is only as good as the lowest quality element. Superior quality sound is just as important as quality video capture. An effective soundscape subconsciously draws the viewer out of their room and into the emotion of the story they are viewing. When it comes to sound design, sound designers need meaningful and authentic audio to create the atmosphere of an event. High-quality, soulful sound is necessary to truly capture the feeling of the real thing virtually. When we sync sound and sight to a production, we have doubled the opportunity to create a viscerally resonating brand connection.
“Authenticity and Realism in Documentary Sound” states, “Sound has the ability to convey metaphorical as well as literal meaning, assuming that the sound is both synchronous and broadly within the realm of what would be expected — Michel Chion’s idea of synchresis (1994). Once these two criteria are met the sound chosen to accompany a particular audiovisual event can be used on the basis of its value to add meaning through the associations the audience may have with particular sounds, or groups of sounds” (Murry, 2010).
*Murray, Leo. (2010). Authenticity and realism in documentary sound. The Soundtrack. 3. 131-137. 10.1386/st.3.2.131_1.
Building Realistic Virtual Soundscapes
There were 23 categories of sound infused into this project to build a complete, realistic virtual soundscape. The first is dialogue capture, which includes the words spoken by the actors or speakers, how it is captured and edited for clarity, and matching the scene and tone resonance to the feeling of real conversation.
Military appreciation slide
The second is sound effects. Most of the sounds heard in a production are not captured on set. Instead, a Foley artist recreates these sounds for insertion later. For instance, they might scrunch a piece of cabbage to recreate the texture of that sound. Creating clear emphasis on these sounds helps make the entire piece feel more realistic. In the instance above, the flyover sound effects were added to lend a more real-world experience to the military appreciation sequence. This bridges the gap of authenticity between the digital and real experience.
The Devil is in the Details
Due to the integrated composition of FabCom, the sound design team leveraged sound samplings of multiple graduations, per school, from previous years. Each school has its own personality—post-professional online health profession students have a different kind of celebration presence and cultural norms than clinical dentistry students, and each graduation crowd delivers that uniquely. When building the sound design for the virtual event, the team took the care to understand the different segmentations and find unique sound samples to match. With five clapping/cheering sound samples in hand from each program, the team automated syncing the samples to the student slides with AI.
Ambient Feel of Reality in Virtual Video Production
Another important element of sound design is room tone. This is usually captured on set and is recorded without any movement or dialogue. This room tone serves as a blank slate to layer dialogue over to provide an ambient feel of reality to the post-production virtual sound work.
The final category is the soundtrack, or the music heard in the piece. Music and transitions greatly affect the mood of a virtual production and can alter or enhance what the audience feels about the visual elements. Music plays a huge part in emotional resonance, and has the ability to create emotional connection between the brand and the audience by matching the tone of music with brand voice. Music also creates the conduit and pace for the story being told.
Sweetening the Sound to Touch the Heart
Beyond these categories, the sound mix brings it all together and closes the authenticity gap between virtual and traditional events. The mix. is the orchestra of all these elements, where sound designers adjust the levels, adding swells, crescendos, and nuance to each element, and effects such as compression. This final layer of sound sweetening adds a sense of fullness, carries the momentum, and captures viewers’ interest for the entire event. Each of these categories build on one another. Without any one of them, the sound would feel incomplete, but when completed by an integrated agency with each type of specialist, they combine to develop virtual events with sound design that wows.
Personalized and Private Viewing Options
The option of individual viewing “rooms” were developed as part of the virtual event. Prior to the ceremony, graduating students could receive a personalized PII and HIPPA compliant link via their online invitation to their private family “chat room.” This link could then be shared with family and friends to enjoy the virtual ceremony together with video and audio capabilities private to their group—enhancing the viewers’ experience and eliminating any contingent liabilities.
Virtual Graduations with Government-Grade Security
The HReality livestream platform presented to the university accommodates up to 10,000 private, secure “chat rooms” with up to 200 people per private room. Security authentication was embedded in the invitation, so guests could only join with the private link provided, eliminating all possibility of security risks once B2B video conference platforms were leveraged for virtual events.
Integrated Virtual Event Production Management
VIRTUAL EVENT FACILITATION
- Scheduling and facilitation of pre-recorded speaker videos—equipment delivery, on-site technical support, file transfers.
- Facilitation of ongoing updates/changes to the student data provided at the start of each ceremony’s production cycle.
- 24/7 email and chat support during the operational timeline to event completion.
- Facilitation of all proofing cycles with stakeholders of each event—student RSVP campaign proofs, webpage proofs, ceremony video proofs, etc.
- Student info campaign
- Series of three invitation emails with embedded technology that allows the graduate to populate and send guest invitations.
- Unique PURL pages for graduates to RSVP, which then aggregate submitted information into a single database.
- PURL RSVP thank you webpage.
- Alumni relational database.
- Series of two email reminders(3 days and 30 minutes) leading up to the event.
- Virtual room invitation, maximum of 10,000 student rooms with 200 viewers per student room. Virtual commencement info page.
- Video archive webpage on the .edu to store archived graduation videos for students to view at a later time.
- Countdown ticker on the .edu to let stakeholders know the days, minutes, and seconds until the event start.
- Social media for commencement social content and filter.
- Front page graphics .edu landing pages, per school
VIDEO EDITING & PRODUCTION
- Inspirational opening video.
- Processional and recessional videos.
- President and dean speeches.
- Guest speaker commencement address and commencement blessing inlay.
- Virtual production and hosting.
- Securing music rights and audio editing.
- Custom sound design.
- Professional voice talent.
MOTION GRAPHICS & ANIMATION
- Six college/school-specific video donuts for intro and outro videos.
- 152 unique transitions.
- Automated template designs for student slides.
- Presidential seal 3D animation.
- Lower third super graphics.
- VFX and node-based editing.
DATA COLLECTION & DIGITAL DISTRIBUTION
- Collect and curate data from email invitations.
- Export database for video editing and production team.
- Segment and send six types of custom invitations.
- PII compliant facilitation of student names.
- Custom digital collection of enunciation guides for phonetic spelling of graduate names.
- Data hygiene and accuracy updates.
- Comprehensive dashboard for viewership analytics.
- Audience demographic and behavioral data across websites.
- Clean data feeds integrated in real-time dashboard charts, maps, and tables.
- Democratize the data for each stakeholder with segment toggles and drill down options in the dashboard.
- Calculate and display each campaign’s Virtual Reach Score (VRS)
- Coordination of incoming data and assets leading up to each of the virtual events.
- Show flow development based on commencement program guides and prior in-person ceremonies.
- Deadline management.
Virtual Event Implementation
After all necessary footage was captured and compiled, in addition to all graduating student information collected, the team jumped into editing and composing all assets.
The tone for the commencement ceremony’s opening sequence needed to convey the students’ elation of attaining their degree after years of hard work and dedication. To achieve this visually, archive footage of the university’s graduations from recent years was paced with inspirational music to tell the story of celebrating the events of the day and the moment of the graduate finally holding their diploma.
Motion graphics created for the commencement video carried this theme with easing motion and layered pallets of blue texturing representational of the university’s brand. Additionally, transitions and lower thirds were also themed and allowed for the nuances to be covered from school to school, while maintaining brand consistency across the university.
Improving on Reality with Superior Video Editing
VFX were deployed to overcome the restraining forces of available imagery, either by adding new elements or by enhancing areas that were visually distracting and took away from the overall feel of the virtual video production. Some examples of the VFX work include the retouching of buildings, mending torn flags, changing the mood of the landscapes and skies, and fixing one of the dean’s regalia that had slipped off his shoulder. The combination of cross-disciplined talents, working together under one roof, enabled the team to overcome what only a complete reshoot could have accomplished, although based on the timeline and geography, reshooting was impossible.
Nuke’s node-based editing interface: The read node that contains Dr. McLeod’s video, which is being tracked to analyze how his shoulder and the regalia move. We then used a still picture of when his regalia was on correctly to overlay onto the original and match the movement with the tracking information.
Special Effects Make the Day Special
New breed agencies who have developed end-to-end, integrated event and campaign production capability now span from the strategy, creative talents, and technology platforms to include staff with specialized skills that are challenging for small to mid-sized in-house departments to efficiently support and maintain capacity across all 28 integrated marketing and advertising disciplines.
Niche talents include a bevy of producers, creators, and very focused technologists for the specific tasks of matching and distributing brand-centric communications within the plethora of channels brands must leverage to produce a multichannel virtual event.
Enhancing the Available Footage to Create a Superior Quality Look and Feel
The key institutional imagery required utilizing several different techniques to match the quality of this brand’s education and place in the competitive space. In the example below, the first priority was replacing the sky with one that matched the emotion of the event verses a cold gray day. Since this was originally filmed by a moving drone, the first step was tracking different areas of the shot to understand how the buildings moved in relation to the camera. Then, the visual effects artist divided the shot into sections and cut out the sky using rotoscoping, also known as roto, and allowed the tracking data to drive the movement of the roto.
After matching a suitable density shot for the sky, it was aligned and scaled proportionally to fit the perspective of the shot. Lastly, the flag in the shot was too small and there was not enough wind blowing to make it wave beautifully. After securing a shot of a flag billowing in the wind, the original flag was removed with roto, then the new shot was overlaid onto the flagpole. To make the flag fit into the video frames of the shot, the team matched the focus with its surroundings. The shot was then color graded to give it a professional, national brand look and feel.
All of these capabilities were made possible through node-based digital editing. FabCom uses the same software used to create Avatar and Star Wars. To this day, very few companies outside of LA have this Hollywood-level technology and talent in-house.
Nuke’s node-based editing interface: For this shot, the video was tracked so we could remove the sky and replace it with a more visually appealing backdrop. A second tracker was used to track the flagpole on its own so we could replace the American flag with a larger one that billowed in the nonexistent wind.
Unifying Stakeholders Across Disparate Geographies
Additionally, the client provided a faculty performance of “God Bless America.” While the performance was excellent, it was geographically centered on one campus and performed by one school’s faculty. To extend the video into a university-wide, brand-centric element that closely aligns with the spirit and diverse culture of the university, the editing team added additional assets to highlight and represent both campuses and the geographic reach of the university.
This strategy was incorporated to influence and communicate a larger university allegiance versus a focus on the cohorts of only one of the six schools. The objective was to project the family of university graduates that support each other with the same principles and ideals, regardless of school or campus within the university they graduated.
Feel the Brand’s Love
The creative teams leveraged the heartfelt performance to create an emotional thread of unity across campuses, schools, and communities for each graduation. This allowed the available resources to further leverage the position of the brand as serving a national footprint. The university encompasses multiple medical, dental, and health professions schools/ colleges that operate within clinics across the country where students and faculty deliver patient services, training, and education.
The positioning strategy allows the true magnitude and nationwide reach of the university’s efforts to be attributed, felt, and recognized by the constituents. The creative strategy marshalled an immediate common thread of emotional context and affinity within all of the university’s graduates, regardless of which school or program they graduated from.
Cinematic Aesthetic in Virtual Events
End credit sequences were also added to each ceremony in film crawl style to add a cinematic and digital broadcast aesthetic while acknowledging all of the faculty and staff devoted to helping each student reach their goals.
virtual graduation event end credits
Processional and Recessional Elements
The processional and recessional segments were created in a progressive and complementary style to the opening sequence with high-quality footage from previous graduations. The processional and recessional were edited in an effort to replicate the graduates’ entrance to the event, the feeling of honor when walking across the stage and receiving their degrees and hoods, the rush of excitement and joy of getting to share the moment with family and friends, as well as celebrating achievements as they exit the venue.
The creative approach within the individual final elements tied the entire production to the real experience and gave the visceral feeling of physically being present at the event and celebrating together.
Processional and Recessional
Validating Virtual Event ROI with Custom Reporting Dashboard
The agency created a custom Google Data Studio interactive dashboard that empowers authorized stakeholders to view and analyze event viewership data for each school’s ceremony. As shown below, the overview covers audience location and reach, device, and browser. Users can select data from one or more colleges or schools and drill down into the minute details of demographics and user experience outcomes, including KPI metrics such as amplification rate, total views per event, watch time, average percentage viewed, likes, shares, comments, reach, and engagement.
The graduation broadcast streams received viewership in all 50 states and U.S. territories, and at press time, running beyond 8,000 unique viewers with an average of 2.3 people watching per screen, plus the virtual reach and propagation rate for an approximate reach that touched 32,000+ (and is still going day after day—long after a traditional event would have been dismissed for the evening).
Measuring ROI for Virtual Events
Viewership occurred in 1,657 cities across the U.S. and an additional 213 cities in 67 other countries across the world, streamed in 41 different languages/dialects.
Increasing Reach with Virtual Events
The marketing teams were able to transform traditional event production and achieve multiple factors of amplification of the brand reach with the application of the agency’s Hybrid Reality virtual graduation work. Measuring virtual reach is similar to accounting for the amount of users benefiting from one Netflix account. While one person may have a subscription with four user profiles, those user profiles are actually accessed and shared with friends, roommates, significant others, etc., making viewership greater than the four users reported. Similarly, a virtual event link is sent to four individuals, and those individuals share the link with others, making total viewership double or triple the number of reported sent links.
We had the opportunity to share the university’s mission and the product (the students) for almost an hour with so many who otherwise wouldn’t have been able to experience the brand or know of its virtues and differences. These kinds of efforts do a wonderful job of demonstrating the quantitative reach of the brand digitally into and through the university’s constituencies and communities.
Virtual Events and Environmental Stewardship
From an environmentalist and public health perspective, 734 people from across the pond did not travel on large jets, public health risks were not endured, and those resources were saved. With the local crowd, the other thousands of viewers were not exposed to health risks, nor traveled within the states. Although, all who attended felt honored by the university’s efforts in such a challenging environment.
Virtual Graduation Results
After all virtual production sequences were completed and the client was shown the first proof of the virtual commencement, there were only two client corrections within six hours of running graduation footage. Working in tandem with the client’s in-house staff, the agency was ultimately able to accomplish the original goal of creating a virtual commencement ceremony that emulated, as closely as possible, the university’s traditional commencement experience. All efforts were successful in beautifully recreating with dynamic and hybrid virtual technology the shared emotion that marks the significance and tradition of a commencement ceremony.
The agency and client’s communications team received rave reviews on the quality of production.
Again, thank you for all you are doing for the wonderful commencements. I have now cried during all 3, so you know they are good- they touch the heart and soul!
- Vice President of Admissions
I congratulate you and all involved for a very well done graduation ceremony. I have participated in many over the years, and this was as nice as any other, and in some ways, more so. I can appreciate that hundreds of hours went into the production. It was worth it, and I hope that the graduates were able to find ways to connect and celebrate as they deserve.
- Research Institute Director and Associate Professor
Hi… Just wanted to tell you what a really great commencement you put together virtually! We enjoyed watched our daughter graduate. Even though it was different than normal, it was still very meaningful. We enjoyed the production, music, and speakers. Well done and thank you!.
- Mother and Professional Education Services Director
Our ceremony was very professional and so well done. I know it took a lot of time and resources, and I just wanted you to know how much I appreciate it.
- College/School Dean
Touching Hearts with Virtual Commencement Production
As one of the nation’s top mid-sized integrated agencies, FabCom was honored to work on a project that touched so many hearts in a positive and empowering way. Graduation is such an important milestone in life, and despite current circumstances, the client and agency teams successfully provided a ceremony that the graduates were proud to be a part of.
To all 2020 graduates, congratulations. This may be the closing of one extraordinary chapter of life, but the opening of another that is full of wonderment. We stand by your side and recognize your accomplishments and contributions to do good in the world.
All Virtual Events Are Not Created Equal
Not all virtual events are created equal. The HReality video format creates an experience that enthralls the senses. HReality provides the dignity, sanctity, and nuance of these once-in-a- lifetime events—conventional webinar-level virtual streaming leaves a huge gap between the needs of a graduation ceremony and the production methods developed for live B2B meetings or webinars.
Visceral Production that Wows Beyond Expectation
When you combine end-to-end video production, promotion, and integrated marketing capabilities with the power and implementation of new communications technology, the result is a visceral production that wows beyond expectation. Today, it’s all about combining, rightsizing, and strategically leveraging a profusion of new tools, tactics, technology, and methods that drive unprecedented marketing and advertising results.
FabCom, an integrated, strategic marketing and advertising agency, provides a comprehensive mix of end-to-end capabilities and talents all under one roof— from brand and positioning development to show flow and video production to website development. When you hire FabCom, you’re hiring a top team of dedicated professionals who know the ins and outs of each marketing/advertising service sector, and who know how to rightsize and wield those capabilities to best serve the needs of our clients.