The Technology You Need to Pull Off a Hybrid Event 

Hybrid events are more complex than both live and virtual events, simply because they combine aspects of both kinds of event. Naturally, your hybrid meeting technology needs are a little more complex than your tech needs for a simple live event. Whether it’s for a big hybrid event with multiple sessions and hours of recorded content or a smaller hybrid meeting or event, there are a few tech items you just can’t do without.

Why You Should Plan a Hybrid Event

Essential Technology for Hybrid Meetings and Events

High-Speed Internet

This is one thing you absolutely cannot do without. While you might be able to get by with a mid-range camera for a hybrid meeting or conference, you can’t get away with a poor internet connection. For video conferencing, hybrid meetings, and any other event with an online component, high-speed internet is a must-have.

Even if it’s a small event with only a dozen or so attendees, you can’t skimp on the internet connection. It’s what everyone is relying on to be able to communicate, so without good internet, your event won’t even make it out of the starting gate.

Video Equipment

HD camera: You don’t need to go all-out and spend thousands on a 4K camera, especially for a small or one-off event. Since most of your viewers will be watching on a computer screen, the differences between 1080p and 4K won’t be glaringly obvious.

For hybrid meetings and other small events, you’re fine with a single HD camera with a minimum of 1080p resolution. Depending on the size of your event and the type of content you’re producing, you may want to add another camera. For instance, if you’re producing a panel discussion or debate, having an extra camera is handy. With multiple cameras, you can go from long shots to close-ups and switch quickly between different panel members.

Accessories: Depending on the event and your desired production values, you may also need some accessory items. The most commonly used accessories are tripods and shoulder rigs. Both are used to stabilize the camera setup so the recording doesn’t look shaky.

Lighting: Good lighting is an effective way to boost your hybrid production values without blowing your budget. A simple-but-effective lighting setup consists of a few LED panels that can be rearranged to provide light where it’s needed.

Livestream encoder: If you’re livestreaming video content, you need a video encoder. These are used to convert your video file into different formats, so the content is playable on multiple types of devices.

Encoders come in two types: software and hardware. Software encoders are sufficient for most hybrid events, while hardware encoders are typically only used by professional broadcasters. Many livestreaming providers have integrated encoders. If you choose to livestream via this method, you won’t have to worry about obtaining encoding software.

Audio Equipment

Good-quality visuals are important, but good-quality audio is even more vital. Low-quality audio is more off-putting to viewers than poor visuals, and nothing turns people off faster than stuttering sound or high levels of background noise. High-quality audio is one of the best ways to signify high production values, and make your event look professional.

Host/moderator: Your hybrid event host or moderator should always have their own mic. The best style depends on whether they’ll be static throughout the session or moving around. If they plan to stay in one spot, a lectern mic is fine. If they’ll be moving around, a lapel mic is the better choice.

Other participants: The number and style of additional microphones you need depends on the size of your event and the types of content you’re producing. For instance, for a panel discussion, the ideal situation is that every participant has their own lapel microphone. But if this isn’t possible, then seated panelists can share a table or wireless microphone.

Audience: For events with audience participation, the host or moderator should have a second microphone they can pass off to audience members. This could be a wireless handheld microphone or even a throwable mic like a Catchbox that can be passed among the audience as needed.

The Hybrid Meeting Technology Your Speakers Need

Speakers and panelists will need a few special items if they’re planning on remote participation:

  • A webcam
  • A headset
  • A microphone
  • Some form of lighting
  • A background

Audio/Video Equipment

This includes a webcam, headphones, and microphone.

Webcam: Any speaker connecting via a laptop will have a built-in webcam, but few standalone monitors have webcams, so other users may have to purchase one.

Headphones: A headset with a built-in microphone can fit the bill, but in many cases the microphone covers the wearer’s mouth, which isn’t ideal. The best option is generally an earpiece that allows the user to hear what they need to and is small and unobtrusive.

Microphone: A standing microphone or lapel mic are both good options. A noise-canceling microphone is the best choice, as these minimize background noise to improve overall sound quality.

Lighting

Each speaker also needs to have some form of lighting. Natural light is the best option, but it’s not always available. Artificial light is generally fine and doesn’t need to be anything fancy. An ordinary table lamp will do. The real difficulty is getting the positioning right. Artificial light should be medium strength, and diffuse. The light source should be placed above and in front of the speaker. This ensures their face is well lit and prevents backlighting.

Backgrounds

Ideally, every speaker and presenter who is part of your hybrid event should be recorded in front of the same background. It helps create a more cohesive event identity and helps everyone look more professional. This is easy enough for those present in your own studio or event venue. For speakers and panelists beaming in from home or elsewhere, a little more work is needed. There are a couple simple ways to accomplish this:

Digital backgrounds: Use an online tool such as Canva to create a background graphic with your event logo. You can then distribute it to everyone who’s speaking at the event. All they need to do is integrate the image into Zoom or whatever other meeting platform the event is using.

Physical backgrounds: If you choose not to use a digital background, the other option is to use a physical object to create something suitable. For instance, a large sheet of cardstock or a bedsheet can work as a background, if fixed securely in place. Products have been created for this purpose, such as the WebAround, a fabric disc that can be fixed to the back of a chair. It provides a simple, professional-looking background and comes in different colors, including chroma-key green.

Is a Hybrid Event Right for You?

Don’t Forget the Rehearsal, and You’re Good to Go

Having the right tech both onsite and at home is an essential part of hosting a hybrid event. Knowing how to use it is important too. But no matter how experienced you are, always make sure to hold a content rehearsal prior to the event itself. Your speakers will be glad of the chance to get familiar with the hybrid meeting technology they’re using. And a rehearsal is your chance to make sure all the details are perfect, in advance of the event itself.

Ivan Fujihara

Chief Financial Officer

Ivan brings 25+ years in senior level management experience from a variety of technology industries.  His background includes accounting management, analytics and audit management for technology companies.  He has worked with companies such as THX, Ltd, Recruitology , Double Click, Creative Labs and more.  Ivan has also served on the board of Lincoln Families, a non-profit that supports East Bay children with the objective of disrupting the cycle of trauma and poverty.

Matt Rulis

Vice President of Sales

Matt is a marketing professional and has been managing marketing strategies, campaigns and environments for a diverse client base for over 15 years. From a service perspective, Matt and his team of Account Executives focus on fostering relationships to uphold a greater than 99% customer satisfaction rating year-over-year. Additionally, with extensive experience on the client-side of the industry, he understands that alignment between expectation and budget is paramount to a successful project. As a result, ProGlobalEvents' clients can expect a competitive advantage paired with top quality products and services. Matt is an avid fly-fisherman, enjoys most outdoor activities and is a true college football fanatic.

Tom Foley

VP of Operations

Heading the fabrication side of ProGlobalEvents is exhibit and event industry veteran, Tom Foley. For over 35 years he has been responsible for building amazing exhibits and environments for clients. Tom started out in the production area and has broad experience in project and operations management. He currently oversees production, warehouse, graphics and project management departments. Tom studied machine tool technology and welding before entering the industry. As a true "builder" he also enjoys restoring and modifying classic American cars.

Dick Wheeler

President

Dick serves as President of ProGlobalEvents and President of ProExhibits and is a board member of CEMA (Corporate Event Marketing Association). At ProExhibits he has been nationally recognized as an innovator and driving force in the fast-growing trade show exhibit and event industry. Under his leadership in 1997, the firm received INC magazine’s INC 500 award as one of America’s fastest-growing companies. His informative articles on developments and innovations in the trade show exhibit and event industry have appeared in national trade publications. Dick has a B.S. degree from Wittemore School of Business & Economics at the University of New Hampshire and has completed the Entrepreneurial Executive Leadership Program sponsored by MIT, YEO and INC. He is actively involved in Vistage, an interactive group of over 20,000 CEO’s and presidents worldwide and is a member of CEMA and EDPA.

Jack Connolly

Creative Director

As an experiential creative director, Jack prefers to draw outside the lines. He tells stories with original content and impactful design to ignite meaningful conversation.

 

Jack brings 20 years of event industry knowledge to ProGlobalEvents. He specializes in building live & virtual platforms for audiences to connect, engage and immerse themselves in the power of a shared experience. His skills range from ideation and concept development to defining an attendee journey through storytelling and design.

Jack understands the creative process is not linear, but a collaborative process between agency and client. He manages teams of designers and technology developers to pioneer impactful brand experiences. His diverse skillset and leadership ensure for award-winning results and memorable impressions.

 

In 2019, BizBash named Jack one of the top event designers in North America. SXSW awarded his work the “People’s Choice in Innovation” in 2021.

Jody Tatro

Chief Executive Officer

In addition to being CEO of ProGlobalEvents, Jody is also the CEO of ProExhibits. With Jody at the helm, the company has been recognized repeatedly as one of the Top 50 Women Owned Businesses in Silicon Valley. She has set the outstanding client service standards for which the firm’s account management team is noted. Jody is a recipient of the YWCA’s Tribute to Women Award, the Junior League Community Volunteer Award and is listed in Who’s Who of Women in Business. Following her graduation from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, Jody held various sales positions in several technology companies.

Paul Miller

Chief Marketing Officer

Having served in a number of executive roles for companies in Silicon Valley for over 25 years, Paul has a client-side perspective of the corporate events industry. He has a broad set of experiences working for startups as well as global firms such as Applied Materials. At ProGlobalEvents, Paul helps the company to reach clients through traditional and digital marketing programs. With an extensive background in the High Tech sector, he’s also involved with technology strategy both internally and for clients. Paul is a graduate of the Harvard Business School, the Stanford Engineering Design School and Claremont McKenna College. In his spare time he is a also a principal member of the non-profit Gratitude Network which mentors award winning social entrepreneurs.