It’s not just a zoom call.

It’s not just a zoom call.

Corporate events and business meetings can vary widely, depending on the reason we are getting everyone together. Some events are designed to speak directly to customers. These events are carefully curated to engage the audience, tell a story about the product or service being offered, and drive the customers towards brand loyalty and purchasing. These events can be very theatrical, employing the best available technologies and artistic visions to dazzle and inform.

Other events are designed to educate and communicate within a business organization. It is always important to keep staff informed and engaged with the shared challenges and goals, especially during a global pandemic that has disrupted our work flows and capabilities in such a profound way.

When we could no longer meet in person, companies turned to a wide variety of video conferencing sites for their internal business meetings, but really struggled in their communication efforts.

The tools available are amazing, but they are not an equivalent to a produced presentation.

Camera switching between graphics and presenters is not a thing. Presenters lost the ability to rehearse and collaborate with producers and show callers, and the technicians who would support them on traditional in person events. Lighting experts and audio engineers and teleprompters and all the other support staff were not involved when the shift to virtual conferencing occurred, and it showed in the quality and effectiveness of most events in the days after live shows were canceled.

The internal business meeting has been a large portion of ReLink business focus. Through our infrastructure and processes, we have developed a system allowing our clients to collaborate with their team members to create more efficient and engaging presentations within the environments they are accustomed to using.

Our remote controlled all in one camera kits allow us to stream and locally record pristine 1080p video. The on-board monitors allow the presenter to see the graphics, teleprompter, and communicate with the production team. The included lighting is powerful and diffuse, balancing light on the face with the background, and is appropriate for green screen applications right out of the box. The pan/tilt/zoom camera is operated and shaded from a remote technician. An audio engineer tunes the microphone for the room and the presenter’s voice. In ear feedback and HDMI input completes the capabilities available through the ReLink Suite. Also, every stream is backed up by up to twenty hours of local recording at the device. If the internet speed available produces a poor-quality stream, the record can be uploaded and edited, guaranteeing perfect content.

But the kits are only a small part of the infrastructure we have built.

ReLink often is asked to connect to camera equipment and computers that are owned by the organization. That is no problem for us, and assuming the devices and equipment are of reasonable quality we can produce high quality streams for any output. We can connect devices spread across the country much like we would connect multiple cameras in a ballroom. There is a draw back. Often we are relying solely on recording the stream, which is dependent on the health of the internet environment. Without our kits, the local backup record is sacrificed.

In either scenario, ReLink brings the whole team together from the safety of our homes and offices to produce engaging and pristine presentations. It starts with collaboration. Producers, show callers, and the client work together to create scripts, video assets, graphics, notes, Q&A, all to ensure that the message is clear and correct. ReLink brings in remote cameras and microphones through our VPN and allows all involved to see the video Multiview. We use internet-based coms which allows the entire team to talk in real time, just like we were all at a table together.

Once rehearsed and polished, ReLink will push the live or recorded presentation anywhere it is needed. This often includes video conferencing services like Zoom, Teams, or GoToMeeting. This integration has many benefits, but also some drawbacks.

On the positive side, most of us have spent significant time on these types of calls. We understand how to navigate the interface and the audience size is almost unlimited. The audience is presented with a fully produced experience, with camera switches between individual speakers, graphics, and excellent audio.

On the negative side, there is no control over the video resolution on these services. If the provider is having a bad day, there is nothing we can do to help. There have also been some disturbing and even funny “zoom bombs” that can not be avoided. There is lots of debate about which service is more secure that I will leave to more informed people but protecting internal business discussions is clearly a significant concern.

The team at ReLink is looking forward to returning to live in-person events. We love the collaboration and comradery. We love pushing the limits of technology and artistic expression. We love the challenge and the risk and participating in big efforts to do big things. We apply all this experience and drive to helping our clients make the most of these very difficult times. To us, it’s not just a zoom call.