Brief: The Gloucester History Festival approached us to produce 12 pre-recorded videos – a combination of virtual interviews and presentations. Aiming to stay as true to their original programme as possible, these virtual events were to be published on the Gloucester History Festival website at the designated event time and available to stream worldwide.
Who: The festival is a two-week celebration of not only the history of Gloucester, but also of times gone by nationally and internationally. Celebrating their 10th anniversary in 2020, the team were keen to make sure they could still bring an exciting and diverse programme to their audiences, despite the challenges faced by the Coronavirus pandemic.
Where: Working from a production studio in Cheltenham, the Tarren Production team were able to remotely dial-in and coordinate the interviews between guests and chair. With speakers dialling in from all over the world – from Oslo to the Isle of Skye – and audiences from as far away as New Zealand, the festival reached a much greater, more extended and diverse audience than could traditionally fit into the historical 230-capacity Blackfriars Priory hall of Gloucester. Both free and available online internationally, this virtual festival has promoted a great expansion of the festival’s democratic access to knowledge and educational materials.
When: The recordings took place from Saturday 12th September to Saturday 19th September, with up to three talks per day. The Tarren team then edited and processed the interviews to go live the following evening.
What we did: Working with both Zoom and Skype video conferencing platforms, through the back-end of the software we were able to take separate feeds of each participant, including a screenshare feed for presentations. We cut the talks live, switching between a dual screen view and individual speaker view, as required. We also recorded each feed individually from source, as well as a screen record of the core machine for ultimate redundancy coverage. As well as this we were also able to cut in watermarks, bottom third title rolls, presentation slides, opening sequences and sponsor materials as appropriate. Once exported, we uploaded the films straight onto the Gloucester History Festival’s video platform, ready to go live right away.
Challenges: As many of us are finding in this new “Zoom age”, internet and WiFi speed is the ever-present challenge of virtual conferencing. Luckily, we managed to escape relatively incident free and were only interrupted by the occasional call to the house -phone or a cat on the lap! As all the talks were pre-recorded, we could pause sessions, pick up where we left off and edit out any interruptions in post-production. Working with such consummate professionals of the broadcasting and literary world made this an easy obstacle to overcome.