2018 was a busy year here at V2, and we want to share a big highlight, which was our production of the Wedventure Magazine Live Stream in beautiful Bend, Oregon! This wedding show was broadcasted live via webcast at Spoken Moto, an old restored mechanic’s shop in the Old Mill/Box Factory of Bend that houses vintage motorcycles, a hand roasted coffee bar, as well as craft beer!
Wedventure Magazine is publication that is tailored to saying “I Do” in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest US. Their stories feature couples who are adventurous and love the outdoors, and want that reflected in a very special wedding. Their “thoughtfully curated magazine inspires them to go beyond the burlap and craft a wedding celebration that is uniquely them – unconventional and unforgettable, a bit wild, even,” according to the Wedventure website. Their beautiful and unique magazine features stories from couples and vendors in the central Oregon community and they offer workshops on Photography, Planning and Styling, Floral Artistry, Cake, and Videography, just to name a few.
The webcast featured some expert vendors, such as Bliss Northwest Bridal, whose focus was to bring a modern wedding experience to Bend. At Bliss, they focus on the individual bride, and feel every bride should find a dress that makes them excited, no matter what their body type. Bliss Northwest Bridal provided amazing wedding dresses for a fashion show during the webcast featuring beautiful dresses by designers Martina Liana, Grace Mariee (who is a designer from Portland, and is exclusive to Bliss Bridal), Wilderly by Allure Bridal, Allure Men’s suits, and Mikaella Bridal. Every dress in Bliss is unique and hand selected by their owner, Jen. At the end of the fashion show, the audience got to vote for their favorite wedding dress via a poll in the webcast. The winning dress was showcased in a mock wedding ceremony at the end! We highly suggest you check out the webcast archive here to see the fashion shows in action and find out which dresses were voted the favorites! In addition to the fashion shows, you’ll also get to meet two of the top wedding coordinators in the region whose experience can allow you to relax knowing everything has been handled to perfection on your special day. Sprinkled into this exciting event are some excellent regional vendors who can give you great ideas on what to incorporate in your wedding, from event spaces and catering to a truly gifted photographer, and so much more!
Some of our favorite featured vendors for this webcast was Worthy Brewing Company, who offered a great giveaway of a free keg with a booking of their venue space! If you haven’t tried their beers, it is a must! They are crafting some award winning beers here in the Northwest and offer an amazing campus for weddings and other events. Another featured vendor at the event was the Bend Beerstream – a converted airstream trailer that is now an incredible mobile bar! They customize their beer, wine and craft cocktails to go with each couples’ preferred libations. Their mobile bar can go almost anywhere, and is a great idea if you are planning your wedding in a more remote outdoor location.
From a technical standpoint, V2 worked closely with Wedventure Magazine and Bend based Production Company StoryLab Media to produce the webcast. V2 designed and hosted a custom registration page complete with payment gateway, which provided access to a custom designed webcast microsite. Viewers of the webcast were able to watch the live stream while simultaneously viewing pictures and examples from featured vendors. Interested viewers could even click on a dynamically updating resource list to visit the websites of featured vendors. Social media and group chat played a large part in the event, with an integrated twitter feed and an open chat forum within the webcast environment. We were absolutely thrilled to be part of this event, and to bring it live to people who were unable to attend in person. The webcast archive is an amazing resource for any newlyweds looking for a unique way to get hitched in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. Watch the Webventure Live Event Now and discover amazing tips and vendors that can transform your upcoming nuptials.
Need a webcast production crew for your next event or even your wedding? Contact V2 at: V2crew@virtualvenues.com.
In warm appreciation of our partnership during the past year, we extend our very best wishes for a happy holiday season, and a wonderful New Year in 2019.
May this season bring you the gifts of peace, hope and joy. To kick off your season with some laughs, V2 created this short video for your viewing pleasure!
Happy New Year!
The V2 Crew
The V2 Crew got some dog and cat love at our recent volunteer shift at the Oregon Humane Society.
A few weeks ago, the V2 crew was excited to once again volunteer at the Oregon Humane Society! The Oregon Humane society is our favorite animal shelter because they do amazing work around the state and the nation in getting animals adopted, and offering training and behavioral classes, which help ensure each person adopting an animal from OHS has all the resources they will need to give their dog or cat or other small animal the best home possible! They also offer a program called Spay and Save, which provides low and no-cost spay/neuter surgeries for cats owned by low-income residents in the greater Portland metro area.
In 2018 alone, the Oregon Humane Society has had 10, 542 animals adopted, with a goal of 11,000 by the end of the year! Because of their amazing donors, volunteers, adoption policies, veterinary care, and their Second Chance Program, OHS is a no kill shelter with an adoption rate of 98%! Their adoption rate is higher than any other shelter in the state, by far.
The OHS relies on a network of over 2,000 volunteers to care for the animals on everything from cleaning kennels/cages to dog walking, maintenance, socialization, adoption services, veterinary care, and training. As part of our group volunteer work, we were tasked with socialization (petting and exercising) with the dogs in the outside yards and the cats in the colony rooms. The socialization with the volunteers helps the pets get adopted faster and provides much needed attention.
We met some adorable new furry friends including Buster, pictured below, a sweet collie mix who loved to be pet and to eat some delicious homemade treats provided by OHS. Buster has been at the shelter for a few months due to a torn ACL. He is such a sweet boy, and we know he is getting amazing care and love from the staff at OHS. V2 Owner Tania Mayer also adopted a new furry friend of her own! She and her family had been thinking about adopting a kitten, and during our visit, Tania fell in love with an adorable orange tabby, that her and her family have named Waffles! Waffles and their dog Abby (who they adopted from OHS as well) are best friends! We are so happy Waffles found a home with Tania.
Keep up the amazing work Oregon Humane Society! We can’t wait to come back soon for some more furry cuddles.
Jessica Bradford | V2 Event Manager
Happy Halloween to you ghosts and goblins out there from the V2 Crew! On this day of dark whimsy, the team dressed up and joined together for a Halloween potluck! We stuffed our faces with delicious wicked weenies (courtesy of our manager, Greg Greer), who was a hair metal rocker from Stryper! We also snacked on fried chicken, cupcakes, apple cider and a delicious homemade potato soup that Christina Harrison spent hours preparing in her slow cooker. Thanks Christina!
Our fearless leader, Tania Mayer dressed up as a distance runner champion (check out all her metals!). Our Virtual Event Managers also got into the spirit – Christina Harrison was cozied up in an adorable zebra onesie, and Alicia Maestas was a wicked witch who had stolen our office dog (Peyton, not Toto). You can see in the photo she is holding Peyton, the taco dog. Peyton is a huge fan of Mexican food and insisted on the Taco costume again this year….oh Peyton! Marvin Augustyn must have woken up with a splitting headache, because that is a large knife he had going through his head!
We hope you all have a fun and safe Halloween!
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Videos are a great asset to a webcast – especially if they are interesting and pertinent to your content. It breaks up the presentation, and allows your speakers a little break as well. However, if you are going to incorporate videos into your webcast, there are a few key technical items you should consider first.
You want to make sure that the videos are in the best file format recommended by the webcasting platform that you are using. We typically recommend an .mp4, it’s a pretty universal format on most platforms from WebEx to ON24. You also want to make sure that the files size and bitrate of the video are small enough to play and be consumed by your attendees without causing issues. The best way to do this is to look at the bitrate of your file and compress it down to as small as possible without impacting the quality of the video. What exactly is the bitrate you ask? You’ve probably heard the term but let’s break it down to the different “pieces.”
In all video files, you have the video data, audio data, and “Overhead Container” which has the data about the video and the codec type – these are basically the instructions that a computer would use to play the file. The Bitrate is the number of “bits per second” (bps) at which data in a video is being delivered. The size of the file and the quality of the image and sound are both controlled by the bit rate used. The higher the bit rate, the better the potential quality and the larger the file size. Lower bit rates should be used for international audience or events with a large number of people accessing the webcast from the same network. Higher overall bit rates may be utilized, but when exceeding 800 Kbps, many attendees may experience latency, buffering or playback issues.
If you are looking at the details of a file, you will also notice a Frame Per second rate or (fps). For low movement videos, such as instructional videos and live webcams, a 15fps frame rate will provide a clear and quality stream to the audience. Higher frame rates are permissible but do consider that 24+ fps is utilized for HD video and broadcast television; 15 fps will greatly reduce the file size without noticeably affecting quality. If a cursor is the only constant motion, 1 fps may be sufficient.
For most webinar platforms, video clips are displayed in the slide viewing area, so to keep things consistent, we recommend matching the video frame size to the same aspect ratio as your slides. So if you are using slides that are 16:9 (widescreen), you would ideally want your video to be 16:9. If your slides are 4:3, then your video frame should also be 4:3 so it fits in the space without being stretched or resized. Dimensions for videos – for 16:9 ratio you would want 640 x 360, 480 x 270 and 320 x 180. For 4:3, you would want 640 x 480, 440 x 330, 400 x 300 and 320 x240 pixels.
Audio Format and Specs
AAC Audio format is preferred if using H.264, with MP3 the mobile stream might encounter issues. 32 Kbps audio is sufficient and will allow the video to be encoded at a higher bit rate. Anything over 96 Kbps for the mono audio stream is superfluous unless the audio was recorded in a studio.
So next time you are creating a video for your webinar or webcast, keep the specifications and tips above in mind to ensure your video will shine without the risk of streaming issues for your attendees. V2 is happy to assist with any file compression or clean up needed to ensure your videos play flawlessly.
In her TED talk, Rebecca Kleinberger discusses her studies on how we use and understand our voice and the voices of others. In her studies she states that changes in the voice can mean many things, from depression, to hormonal changes, to even detecting pregnancy. She describes our three voices – our Outward, Inward, and Inner voices. Our outward voice is the voice we use when we are speaking with others, it’s the sound that others hear. Our Inward voice is the voice we hear as we are speaking, and the two can sound quite different, as our inward voice is being processed through our bone and inner ear. Our inner voice is what we hear when we read something silently, what we hear when we are thinking or dreaming. Though we can’t always control it, we can always engage with our inner voice.
Why is it that we do not like the sound of our outward voice on recordings? Well, as described above, we are used to hearing our inward voice when we speak. So thus, the thought many of us have which is: “Is that really what I sound like?” is because our outward voice is indeed different from our inward voice. Our inward voice travels through our bones (bone conduction), so it will sound deeper and more harmonious, then it travels through our inner ear, and the cochlea which then processes the sound. We find that seasoned speakers are very comfortable with their inward and outward voices. The trick we have found to getting comfortable with your recorded voice is to practice your presentations, and listen to your recording. Your voice is an amazing thing and can be changed in volume and tone with deeper breaths, posture, and breathing exercises. Play with your inward and outward voices until you find a voice that sounds that best for your presentation and audience.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
For those new to the virtual world of webinar presentations, virtual stage fright can be a real fear. Although for those who suffer from stage fright, it can ease your fears a bit if you aren’t on camera and are just speaking to slides and demos. However, in my experience the silence and lack of eye contact from live attendees on a webinar can be difficult for even seasoned public speaking professionals. For many, that lack of in person audience acknowledgement can be tough to gauge interaction and interest.
What causes stage fright? The reasons for having stage fright vary from person to person, but commonly those with stage fright lack self-confidence. Some may have anxiety from being unprepared, forgetting their lines, and being negatively judged by their audience. Stage Fright is at its core a physiological response, commonly referred to as “Fight or Flight.” When presented with a stimulus, our reaction is either excitement or fear. This triggers the release of adrenaline, which gives us a huge boost of energy to stay and fight the stimulus or flight – to run away from the stimulus. The classic symptoms of stage fright – stomach pain, shaking, trembling, vomiting and shortness of breath, are the side effects of this burst of adrenaline coursing through our bodies.
Whether you are giving a live presentation or a virtual one, you are probably wondering, how do I overcome my stage fright? We thought we would share a few easy techniques that if practiced can help you quell your anxiety.
- Get your Sweat on! – This may seem counter intuitive, but redirecting the energy causing your stage fright symptoms to exercise can help focus your energy away from your nerves. Try doing your normal exercise routine that morning to help alleviate some stress, and even right before your presentation, try rubbing your hands together really fast to pass on all your nervous energy.
- Just Breathe. Focus on your breath. Breath deeply, and exhale and inhale at least 15 to 25 times. This will help your mind and body relax.
- Practice your Presentation. Practicing and knowing your speech inside and out will help you feel prepared and less anxious about forgetting your lines. Repeat it until you know it by heart without having to look at your notes.
- Eat Healthy. This may seem like another strange one, but the foods you eat can affect your anxiety level. Avoid drinking caffeine prior to your performance as these will only make you more jittery, also avoid that soda so you don’t accidentally burp halfway through your presentation!
- Drink Water. Drink some water before your presentation to avoid your mouth from going dry – however be careful not to drink too much to avoid feeling like you need to go the bathroom while you are speaking.
In his charming TED talk, graphic designer and folk singer-songwriter Joe Kowan talks about how he beat stage fright. He actually wrote a song about stage fright describing exactly how he was feeling while it was happening, and by exploiting his anxiety and allowing the audience to feel it along with him, he was able to overtime, over come it.
We hope you’ve found this article helpful the next time you are confronted with the old “fight” or “flight” stimulus response. You would think that by now, our bodies would recognize the difference between a virtual presentation and a Grizzly Bear. We are here for you and V2 will do whatever we can to easy your anxiety along the way.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
Everyone’s lives are busy and packed with a million things to do – whether it be in your personal or professional life. We’ve all heard the term “multi-task” and we all do it, perhaps even on a daily basis. However, we must ask ourselves, how efficient is multi-tasking? Yes, maybe we are accomplishing multiple tasks at once, but how efficient are we completing those tasks? In his TED talk, “Forget Multi-tasking, Try Mono Tasking” Paolo Cardini talks about the busy world in which we live and how technology and endless apps allow us to “multi-task.” You might be cooking dinner, talking to a friend, and trying to send an email all at once, and then you smell something burning right as you are about to hit send. This is the fallacy that can happen when we try to multi-task – something can get forgotten or not done to the best of our abilities. He playfully shows images of our iphones paired down to a single calling function, and a simple “compass” app to bring us back to a simpler time when we focused on one thing at a time.
Planning events, whether in person or in the virtual landscape can be a daunting task, with many facets – from marketing to scheduling to finding speaker talent and narrowing down a topic. Those things take enough of your time without having to focus on all the behind the scenes technology – such as webcast schedule and setup, branding, video compatibility, emails, and reports. That’s where we come in. Let V2 help take care of all the logistics so you don’t have to multi-task when it comes to your event, and you can “mono-task” on one thing at a time. Our mission is to make your life a little less stressful, so you can focus on the message, not the mess-ups.
V2 | Virtual Event Manager
- Simplicity is key. Don’t over do it with tons and tons of text. Your slides should be an addition to your presentation. You shouldn’t be reading off your slides verbatim.
- Limit bullet points & text – images and charts are more powerful when telling your story
- Here’s a biggie – limit your animations, transitions, and builds. Too many of these can be overwhelming and cause you to get off track. Also, some transitions and animations may not translate well to your webcast platform, depending on what you are using. Always check with your producer on best practices.
- Use high-quality images
- It’s great to have a theme and company template to incorporate. Avoid using the PowerPoint Templates.
- Incorporate charts where appropriate, and make sure numbers and text are legible.
- When using colors, stick to your theme or your company colors. This makes your presentation more professional and cohesive
- Choose basic, clean fonts and keep it consistent. Sans serif fonts are cleaner and easier to read.
During this Holiday Season, our thoughts turn gratefully to our clients who’s partnership has made 2017 a great year. It is in this spirit that we say… Thank you and best wishes for the holidays and a very happy New Year. V2 had a wonderful company holiday dinner this year at Woodsman Tavern, in the hip Southeast district of Portland. We shared in some delicious southern themed food, including fried chicken, collard greens, homemade smoked ham, and oysters! It was a wonderful way to bring the year to a close and celebrate our achievements as a team. Thanks to our owners, Tania and Aaron for the fun holiday dinner!
May this season bring you the gifts of peace, hope and joy. To kick off your season with some laughs, V2 made this short holiday video for your viewing pleasure.
(Don’t worry, no V2 employees were harmed in the making of this jib jab video).
Happiest of Holidays and New Year!
The V2 Crew