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Thoughts - December 21, 2021

4 Ways to Create Engaging Budget-Friendly Hybrid Experiences



Thoughts Thoughts

When the pandemic began almost two years ago, in-person events were quickly put on hold, and going virtual seemed to be the only option. But as vaccines became widely accessible and mandates lifted, hybrid has become a popular option for event planners. By combining the accessibility of virtual with the engaging content of in-person, the hybrid model has cemented itself as a promising route for event planning heading into the near future.  However, providing both virtual and in-person production elements can be costly, especially for a studio. Here are a few ways to save on hybrid events without sacrificing production quality.

Keep at-home viewers top of mind

Many hybrid events focus on creating an unforgettable in-person experience but fall short on putting the same effort towards the virtual portion. To combat this problem, we recommend considering the balance of your in-person and virtual attendees. If it works for your event goals, limiting in-person capacity to speakers and a small number of guests and allowing as many virtual attendees as possible will leave more room in your budget for entertainment, speakers, and other key production elements that can offer virtual and in-person attendees an equally engaging experience. Opening up the virtual attendance will broaden the reach of your program as well, potentially increasing your ROI down the line. 

Ask speakers about presenting virtually

Virtual speaker presentations can help cut some of the typical on-site costs associated with speaker management. Using a virtual control room (VCR) is a great way to manage speakers and allows the production staff to relay any pertinent information to the speaker regarding framing, lighting, and sound quality before going live. Because not every speaker will have access to high-quality audio and video equipment, it’s worth considering virtual speaker kits that can be shipped to panelists and speakers to ensure they have studio-quality audio and visuals for their virtual presentation. 

During the pandemic, we created our own speaker kits for presenters who needed an AV boost. These kits included essentials such as an enhanced camera and microphone to guarantee crisp and clear quality. All components were strategically placed in a durable case for easy assembly. It’s important that the kit design is user-friendly and includes step-by-step instructions for all speakers.

Choose streaming platforms carefully

By identifying the most crucial features of your program, you can avoid paying for services that may not be used and ultimately find the streaming platform that provides the best value for your program goals. Pay close attention to the pricing model of the service you choose –  in some cases, it may be more cost-effective to pay an annual fee upfront instead of a monthly rate. Here are a few questions to ask yourself that may help narrow down your choice and put you in a better position to confidently decide which platform best suits your needs: 

  • Are you looking for a platform that offers unlimited viewers, or one where you can adjust the capacity?
  • Does your event need to be broadcast nationally? What about globally?
  • Do you want your content to be stored for on-demand viewing? If so, for how long?
  • Do you want attendees to engage with the content and communicate with each other through features such as live chat or a Q+A function?
  • Do you need a platform that captures and tracks key metrics that could be useful for your post-event analysis?

Streamline the creative process

Take advantage of collaborating with a creative partner. Working consistently with the same partners or teams can lead to improved workflows and smarter, more efficient ways of using your budget, ultimately allowing for more space for creativity,  plus-up elements, and showstoppers. 

Studio Sage ( is a full-service, state-of-the-art broadcast and green screen studio with the wisdom, tools and experience to help plan, produce and present customer messages directly to their audience — wherever they are. Run by creative and production experts, the space offers services ranging from video and voice recording to live streaming and platform management. Located in the heart of Chicago, Studio Sage is a division of EA Collective, a group of connection experts who create brand identities (Storyhorse), content (Studio Sage) and experiences (Agency EA).