Behind the lens
Virtual annual meetings get a boost through professional video productions
We’re live in five, four, three, two, one…
With cameras rolling, co-op annual meetings are taking place live on Facebook as co-ops work to meet safety protocols.
To assist with these events, Hoosier Energy’s Communications and Technology Support Service departments have teamed up to provide audio and video support for members.
Virtual meetings consist of two distinct video methods. Segments can be pre-recorded or they can take place live. Often a blend of both are used. No matter the process implemented, there are a lot of moving pieces that take place behind the scenes. That is why planning is such an important part of executing a great event. With clear direction and coordination among everyone involved, virtual events are proving to be effective.
Co-ops helping co-ops
At Whitewater Valley REMC, Sandy Cason and Jennifer Scott led the coordination for this year’s virtual meeting. They wanted to make improvements and they reached out to Hoosier Energy for help.
Video Producers Chris Johnson and Ben Turner showed Cason the methods available and she decided to use both.
The co-op meeting had live segments with Secretary/Treasurer Jodie Creek updating members on meeting bylaws and stating a quorum had been met, and the cooperative’s attorney, Amber Orozco, updated members on director election results.
For some co-ops, segments of their annual meeting conducted live meet legal requirements for the election process. Some co-ops have amended bylaw to accommodate the ways meetings take place in a virtual setting.
“Our board updated our bylaws a few years ago allowing our election process to take place by mail-in vote. Last year, as the in-person meeting was canceled due to COVID, another bylaw update was made expanding the timeframe we had to hold the meeting,” said Cason.
The co-op’s 17-minute meeting also included pre-recorded messages from CEO Mary Jo Thomas and Board Chairman Rod West.
“We were able to integrate the pre-recorded segments in such a way that the meeting played as if it were a continuous live broadcast,” said Johnson.
“I was amazed how everything was put together – it was seamless,” said Cason.
Member-consumers were commenting during the Facebook Live event saying they were enjoying it. Cason was on her computer, responding to member comments as they were posted.
Equipment used leads to high quality virtual events
The equipment used to pull off TV-quality live events include more than a phone and an internet connection. High-definition video cameras, lighting, a teleprompter and microphones all help improve the experience.
With a combined 40 years of experience, Johnson and Turner know what it takes to produce content that looks and sounds great. When setting up for a shoot, they focus on proper lighting and camera exposures. They have a variety of microphones in their arsenal to capture clear, noise-free audio and they always frame shots to make their subjects look great. Turner boiled things down to one element that can make or break a video.
“If you have bad sound, it’s a dead giveaway that the video is not professionally produced, and when the sound is so bad, it can detract from the content of the video itself. That’s where we can help,” said Turner.
At Whitewater Valley REMC, their experience with this virtual setup has them looking toward the future and how virtual events can be part of ongoing member engagement.
“We have members that don’t want to take three or four hours out of a weeknight to attend an in-person meeting to vote for a director and maybe win a prize. We are weighing our options to come up with a happy medium to keep our members engaged and informed,” said Cason.