You’ve built up the hype. Now you have to live up to it.

You’re holding a major event for your key audiences. It’ll be full of thought leadership, engaging speakers, networking, excitement, and more, more, more. You’ve marketed the event well, and put a lot of bottoms in a lot of seats. But now, how do you start off the event? How do you make your audience glad they came, and happy they shelled out the ticket price?

With video, of course. But what should a kick-off event video be like? What should you avoid? How is it different from creating exciting pre-event videos? Well, here are a few things to consider.

What is the message you want to portray?

Video is all about telling a story that your audience can see, hear, and almost touch—it’s so real, it’s like they’re inside the video. It’s an incredibly powerful medium for sharing a message. So, it goes without saying, but I’ll say it anyway: you must think carefully about the message you want to share with your audience. Who are they? What do they care about? Why did they come to this event? What will make them get off their phones or stop talking to their neighbours long enough to watch a kick-off video? And what impression would you like to leave them with once the video is over?

That video montage of past years’ attendees dancing at event parties and smiling for “candid” shots? Nope.

Don’t get me wrong: a video montage of past footage set to upbeat music has its time and place. It’s great for pre-event hype. It shows all the fun people can have at your event. But here’s the thing: your attendees are already at your event. Now is the time to slow down the party train, and begin to create that powerful message, that lasting story of your event. Your attendees are ready to listen, learn, and be amazed about all the things they can take action on when the event is over and they’re back to work. So aim to inspire them and kick their minds into high gear.

Did you know 100% of event attendees attend events?

Okay, so you don’t want to go overboard with the fluffy high-energy video clips that lack real “meat”. But try to stay away from the other end of the spectrum, as well. Would you be inspired to get cracking on learning everything you could at an event if it was kicked off with a bunch of facts or statistics? A kick-off event video doesn’t need to be straight-laced, plying audiences with a bunch of figures, or start off with a serious talking head getting straight down to business. The sessions will be plenty informative enough, so let your event kick-off video have a thrilling and encouraging tone.

Show, don’t sell.

Finally, remember the goal of your event. Is it thought leadership? Is it announcing the newest corporate direction or product line? Whatever it is, attendees probably don’t want to feel like they paid just to be sold to. They want to learn and discover what will make their own lives easier and better. Show them what you have to offer them, and give them every opportunity to make the most of the event without feeling like they’re being chased down and pressured to buy whatever your company is selling.

Now, what is the experience of that message?

A message and a script is only part of making a video, obviously. What about the rest of it? The branding, the music, the colors…while some techniques may be similar as when you’re making any other video, it’s useful to keep these things in mind:

Is the video representative of the event or company brand?

Part of the power of a video is the branding behind it. Your brand offers a unified experience; your kick-off event video should have similar colors, tone, and style to the rest of your event and your pre-event marketing materials. Consider this pre-event video and kick-off video, both created for Space Camp, the video marketing summit in 2015.

Pre-event video:

Event Kick-off video:

They offer a similar storyline or theme (you want each video to offer something unique, but still feel relevant to what you will be offering at the event). They have a similar tone and style—one continues the inspirational feeling of the other, and their “look and feel” is consistent. They feel like they belong to the same event experience, which only helps to strengthen that experience.

Attendees don’t just experience a video. They affect the experience.

The experience that a viewer would have watching your video alone at their desk with headphones would be very different from watching your video at the event. When will the video play during the event? Will it be the “introduction” to the event, before even the host or speaker appears on stage?

At Space Camp, the kick-off video welcomed attendees into the event. There were no speakers on stage to announce the video. It was important that the experience of it was powerful enough to attract the whole audience’s attention. So what did we do? Pre-roll footage and music was used to attract attention; when attendees walked into the space and took their seats, they were greeted with visually appealing space images which attracted their attention to the giant screen. Then, a voiceover started, saying “Incoming message!”, followed by the video. Unlike the pre-event video, which used only music and text on screen, it was key to use a voiceover for the event kick-off video to attract and hold viewers’ attention in a loud and bustling place. The powerful message and the way it was displayed to the crowd was the perfect opener to the event and a great way to introduce Michael Litt, Vidyard’s CEO to the stage.

The opening of the video isn’t the only thing you need to think about when you’re on location. Keep in mind how a large audience will experience the video together. For example, if your script is humorous, you need to build in time to allow the audience to laugh, which will be louder and last longer than one viewer watching alone. When you cut scenes or change shots, consider the experience you want your whole audience to have.

Location is everything.

You may also notice the size of the Space Camp event kick-off video compared to the pre-event video. Not only the number of people, but the physical attributes of your event location must be considered when you’re creating your kick-off masterpiece.

For example, We knew the screen at the Space Camp location was quite long, so the video had to be created accordingly, with everything happening in certain sections of the screen so that no matter where attendees were sitting, everyone could enjoy the video equally. Even sound can be experienced differently when you’re in the event space; it needs to be adjusted properly so it is at a consistent level throughout playback—then you won’t cause speakers to boom or rattle, and attendees won’t wish they could take out their headphones!

Want to learn more about how to use video to make your events awesome? We’re talking selling out all the tickets, tracking the impact of the event, and even finding new business? Well, here’s a webinar for you!

Blog CTA Video in Events

Emily Ross