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fireworks and confetti virtual events

Did you watch the Golden Globes Sunday night? The hosts were coming to viewers from two venues on opposite sides of the US. The in-person attendees were small in number, masked, and tested. The award recipients appeared via video feed. It was definitely a different feel from years past. But drive-by birthdays, physically distanced baby showers, and online weddings have all been commonplace virtual events over the last year.

Although the pandemic has halted many aspects of normal life, the fact is that life goes on! And we’ve figured out how to adapt while we wait for COVID-19 to abate. That means people still want to celebrate milestones and hold events honouring special occasions. Video has played huge part in making these gatherings more personal. On today’s blog, we’ll take a look at how we’re all using video to celebrate virtually.

Hosting a Virtual Event

It’s exciting to log on for a gathering that isn’t work-related! Not to mention the fact that having something on the social calendar is a welcome change. By now, you’ve probably attended at least one virtual event—but have you hosted? If you’ve been asked to schedule a birthday party or Easter dinner but have never been at the helm during a virtual event, don’t worry. There are all sorts of guides and templates out there to help you get organized.

One type of virtual event Key West Video has seen plenty of this year is the awards ceremony. We’ve created virtual awards videos for TD Wealth, the City of Pickering, and The Canadian Association of Business Students just to name a few. The fact is, many people have made extraordinary efforts to keep the workplace going and some employers are finding that they want to recognize that work. If you’re hosting a virtual awards ceremony, here’s a loose structure that can help you make everyone who logs on feel extra special.

  • Choose your award categories. Best Office Manager may now be Best Zoom host. And we’re sure there will be new categories for furry co-workers and Best Surprise Appearance During a Meeting.
  •  Pick the Award. Will it be a personalized thank you video? A digital gift card? Or maybe a dinner delivery? Think about what people want or need right now.
  • Select a platform. You may already be using a specific conferencing tool or streaming service. More on platforms below.
  • Do a run-through. Decide how you will present each award, how you will involve your audience, and the overall structure of the virtual event. Also be sure to look into any technical support you may need so you’re not fumbling around during the event.
  • Suggest a dress code. If you want attendees to really feel involved, give them a reason to put some thought and effort into your virtual event! Ask them to dress up or come in a related costume.
  • Show up early and be ready to go. Don’t forget to have fun!

Virtual Event Types

Truly, just about any ceremony can be done virtually. Here are a few examples of how different groups and sectors have adapted to embrace virtual events.

Graduation Day

In Ontario, many schools are now planning for a second year of virtual graduations. A virtual graduation is actually a great way to include all sorts of people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to make an in-person celebration. Last June, more than 10,000 people logged on to watch Peel’s graduating students! Whether you’re planning a ceremony as part of a committee or leading the charge, you can find existing examples. There are also enterprising businesses that have come up with programs. Here are a few of the ways virtual graduations succeed:

  • pre-record speeches
  • create a slideshow of graduates
  • include entertainment
  • do a test run
  • record the event and share


Virtual fundraisers have replaced walkathons, dance parties, and other in-person events. Just look at the PTBO PAWlympics, presented on by the Peterborough Human Society. The annual fundraiser had to be adapted to accommodate the pandemic. South Bay Marketing helped create a virtual event that challenged participants to stay active with their pets throughout the month of September. Pet owners took their furry companions on walks and were supported by donations when they reached a distance goal. In the end, they surpassed their $25,000 goal and helped a lot of animals in need.

City & Community Events

Much of the government reaction to the pandemic has been left to individual provinces, cities, and municipalities. There are so many ways different areas have kept in touch with citizens through virtual events. The city of Markham went virtual in 2020, offering a number of online events that people could enjoy from home. Since last spring, the city has hosted everything from Pride celebrations to children’s festival activities. Some options are simple videos, while others are multi-level immersive experiences with sponsors. It’s a good example of how a city is trying to maintain a connection to annual events and give citizens a chance to honour the things that are important to them. You can even sign up for alerts so  you don’t miss any of Markham’s virtual signature events.

Choosing a Platform

The one thing you can’t have a virtual event without is a platform. While many of us were already using some kind of video conferencing before the pandemic (Skype, FaceTime), we’ve learned about a lot more options (Zoom, Microsoft Teams) since we all started spending more time at home. Here’s a list of some of the platforms you can use to share your event virtually.

  • Google Hangouts
  • Twitch
  • BigMarker
  • YouTube Live
  • Facebook Live
  • YouNow
  • GoToWebinar
  • Bambuser
  • HeySummit
  • UStream
  • Dacast
  • Livestream
  • Brightcove

Video for Virtual Events

This blog covers some of the ways we’re enjoying virtual events, and the one thing they all have in common is video. Video is a great way to connect while keeping physically distant. Being able to see and hear someone is more personal than a text or email and it helps minimize the distance between us. During the pandemic, Key West Video has provided services for a number of businesses and organizations that want to stay in touch with their audiences. We’ve helped clients with things like seminars, training, and conferences. Whether that means our cameras are capturing a live event or producing videos used as part of an event, we’re here to help keep the lines of communication open. If you’d like to harness the power of video for your next virtual event, give us a call.

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