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How To Run a Successful Virtual Awards Ceremony

Like many other aspects of daily life, awards ceremonies have not been immune to the effects of COVID-19.
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With the need to maintain social distancing, all awards have gone virtual

With the need to maintain proper social distancing, the idea of congregating in an auditorium shoulder-to-shoulder with people is a non-starter. As a result, awards ceremonies have taken a page from business, education and many other walks of life. They’ve gone virtual. 

While seen as a smart move due to the pandemic, there are many other reasons why virtual awards ceremonies make sense and are likely to continue long after the contagion is a faded memory. Virtual ceremonies cost far less to put on than the in-person variety. They’re also far more convenient. Where some award recipients and presenters may have been unable to attend in person due to scheduling conflicts, they may be more than happy to carve out a few hours to participate via their smartphones or laptops from home.

 

What Makes A Virtual Awards Ceremony A Success

The banter of the host, the reactions of nominees, the interplay of presenters and recipients and even backstage interactions must be virtualized in a way that maintains the spirit of the awards ceremony despite participants being hundreds or even thousands of miles apart. 

TVU Networks’ TVU Partyline has a growing list of successes making virtual awards ceremonies happen. Here’s why:

Real-time interaction: If an awards ceremony goes virtual, the repartee between presenters, remarks of recipients and quips of hosts must be as crisp and entertaining as they would be at a real-world ceremony. TVU Partyline makes that possible. Undetectable video and audio delay keeps these interactions on track; perfectly synced video signals maintain a conversational tone; mix-minus audio eliminates distracting echoes and real-time return video feedback (VFB) to each remotely located participant keeps everyone in the moment. 

High-quality video: Going virtual is no excuse for poor quality video. Fortunately, with the remarkable video cameras that are a part of today’s smartphones and TVU Partyline’s support for live HD video streaming via the public internet, there’s never a compromise in the quality of video upon which the entire virtual proceeding depends.

Private channel direction: Besides enabling the real-time video interactions among those participating in a virtual awards ceremony, TVU Partyline provides full interruptible foldback (IFB) for private communications between the producer and the host or presenters, intercom communications to direct production staff and the ability for a producer to speak privately one-on-one with an individual or with a group of participants to offer direction.

Convenient grouping: Just because people –whether they’re celebrities or other ceremony participants—aren’t together physically backstage, in a green room or at the after-party doesn’t mean they can’t be virtually connected. With TVU Partyline, it’s simple to group ceremony participants into different parties so they can socialize with friends, meet new people and enjoy themselves just as if they were together at the affair. When needed, nominees for a specific award–despite whatever “table” they happen to be at—can quickly and easily be taken to air with TVU Partyline. 

Roll in pre-recorded video: TVU Partyline is part of a cloud-based virtual video production ecosystem. Together with the TVU Anywhere broadcast app running on the smartphones of those participating in the awards ceremony and the TVU Producer virtual video production system, TVU Partyline rounds out the system offering a powerful alternative to in-person ceremonies. As a result, other useful functions –like the ability to roll pre-recorded video segments into the awards ceremony—are available and easy to use.

 

How To Live Stream A Virtual Awards Ceremony

With the TVU Anywhere app running on the smartphones or iPads of participants, real-time, two-way video streaming via the public internet brings everyone together virtually in the cloud and makes it possible for them to interact with one another.

Participants join a TVU Partyline conference from their phones running TVU Anywhere. As discussed, TVU Partyline is where participants assemble in the cloud, interact with one another, take direction and source their real-time video feedback to stay in the moment.  

TVU Producer is the cloud-based video production system used to switch between video sources, roll-in pre-recorded video, add graphics and ultimately live stream the virtual awards ceremony to social media sites, on the internet or to a TVU Transceiver so the IP stream can be converted and integrated into an SDI broadcast distribution workflow. 

 

Virtual Award Ceremonies

Grammy Awards: TVU Partyline was used March 14 to orchestrate the 63rd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony, which was live streamed on GRAMMY.com and YouTube. Host Trevor Noah and four presenters were shot at CenterStaging Studios in Burbank, Calif., and nominees from around the world participated via their smartphones and laptops. TVU Partyline and TVU Transceivers were used to connect them to the live webcast. 

TVU Partyline was used to live stream 63rd GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony

Greg Fera, executive producer at GVF Productions, which produced the streaming show, dubbed the experience “amazing.” “We supported hundreds of live participants, including nominees, hosts and crew members using TVU,” he said. (Learn more about the using TVU Partyline at the GRAMMYS here.)

Critics’ Choice Awards: One week before, TVU Partyline made it possible for 170 nominees up for honors at the 26th Annual Critics’ Choice Awards to participate virtually in the ceremony, which aired lived on The CW Television Network.

Using their laptops or smartphones, nominees logged into a TVU Partyline conference and were grouped together at virtual “tables.” There, nominees could interact with one another and watch the live program via TVU Partyline’s real-time VFB. When categories were announced, groups of six to 10 nominees were switched from their remote location to the live show.

The setup proved to be especially useful in a live broadcast environment. By relying on TVU’s cloud-based conferencing solution, it was possible to bring people together without the expense of installing dedicated hardware for each nominee—as would have been required if standard video conferencing solutions were used. Further, with only a few TVU Transceivers, it was possible to convert IP streams to baseband video affordably for the live TV broadcast. (Learn more about the using TVU Partyline at the Critics’ Choice Awards here.)

Make-Up Artists & Hair Stylists Guild Awards: The 8th Annual MUAH Guild Awards (MUAHS IATSE Local 706) April 3 took its awards ceremony virtual with TVU Partyline. More than 300 nominees attended virtually.

TVU Partyline was used to live stream the 8th Annual MUAH Guild Awards

Honeysweet Productions connected virtual nominees and award winners to the live streams with TVU Partyline and TVU Transceivers. Winners in 21 separate award categories were honored. When a category was announced, all nominees appeared on screen beside the presenter from their remote locations via TVU Partyline. The category winner was then taken full screen to present an acceptance speech. (Learn more about the using TVU Partyline at the MUAH Guild Awards here.)

With three high-profile awards ceremonies going virtual in less than a month it appears a trend may be emerging. By relying on TVU Partyline, the producers of these events could count on delivering a show that’s entertaining, meaningful and intimate despite the distance separating participants.

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