Tech spec: 7 ways to recreate the magic of live events for a digital delivery

Mark Rivkin, managing director of design and technology-led events agency Crucial FX, reveals seven ways to recreate the magic and power of live events for a digital-first delivery.

Reimagining live events for virtual delivery is the new must-have skill in a planner’s repertoire. One of the biggest challenges online is earning – and keeping – an audience’s attention.

Mark Rivkin

For live events, our sector has become masters of engagement. We are adept at using cutting-edge technology and creativity to help brands create a talking point, a differentiator, or a wow-moment to deliver a key message in a fun and engaging way. And virtual events are no exception. They must – and can – share this DNA.

3D environment

Virtual events must offer far more than a regular video conference. Shake things up and exceed expectations with an immersive 3D environment or stage for your presenters to instantly excite and capture your spectators. Virtual studios can be created bespoke from scratch and templated ones can be tailored to suit any brand and any type of event. This allows planners the chance to build the perfect event setting that surpasses the restrictions of construction and venue capacities, as well as the huge costs.

Special effects

Hollywood-style effects are crucial for creating an element of surprise or novelty to keep a crowd hooked. Use a mix of virtual projection mapping and 3D holograms, graphics and augmented content, such as magical swirling particles around a presenter or a 3D product model animating in mid-air. AR is an entertaining way to bring a PowerPoint presentation to life and show real-time information, such as live graphs or polls as holographic layers.

Design is paramount

Good design is imperative in a virtual world, but it isn’t only about having a visually enriching set. Planners need to shift their mindset to think like TV producers working on a news broadcast. Consider camera angles and close-ups to enhance engagement and pay attention to lighting and sound design, too. Music enhances a theatrical production, but can also signal new content, build anticipation and help to grab back a delegate’s distracted mind.

Broadcast standards

For a virtual event to deliver HD magic, the platform must be supported by high-quality streams, professional hardware and broadcasts standards. The whole broadcast is edited and cut in real-time by a director who has access to unlimited camera angles and effects and can bring in any number of speakers or participants to bring the event to life. Presenters are equipped with an earpiece and radio system to allow two-way communication with the production team for seamless delivery.


Do not abandon interactivity – one-way broadcasts will not engage attendees for very long. Live chat, quizzes, polls and interactive Q&A sessions will maintain their focus and allow them to connect and network with their peers. Don’t forget to appoint a moderator to filter comments and questions for speakers.

Data tracking

I know, this doesn’t sound very magical, but monitoring participant view time and engagement levels throughout your experience is vital, particularly if this is a new medium in your events programme. Deep analysis of this data will help you to understand the needs, preferences and behaviours of your audience and aid the post-event debrief to enhance your ROI for future events.

Choose the right platform or provider

Running a slick, engaging and high-quality virtual gathering demands a very specific skill set and many planners will require external expertise, especially if time and staff are limited. Opt for a provider that really understands your objectives and offers the most tailored experience to ensure your virtual events are just as engaging as your live ones.