What We Can Learn From TV’s Transition to Remote Broadcast

When the pandemic hit, companies had to adapt quickly to the new normal. Conferences, meetings, and seminars all went virtual. But the business world wasn’t the only industry where video created at home suddenly found itself at center stage. Companies can learn a lot from another industry that had to make that challenging transition: live TV. Programs like Saturday Night Live and the Late Show, which had been defined for decades by live studio broadcasts, have not only survived but thrived in their transition to remote broadcasts.

Here are five takeaways from television’s move home:  

1. A Little Equipment Goes A Long Way  

When SNL became SNL From Home, every cast member received equipment such as ring lights and camera equipment. This ensures that even though each cast member is recording from their own home, the picture is still as professional as possible. You might not have access to every piece of gear the SNL cast got, but a gadget like a ring light is inexpensive and effective at making sure you look your best.   

2. Transitions Level-Up Your Presentation  

Smooth, dynamic transitions help make SNL and similar programs feel like the TV shows we’ve always known. Good introductions and transitions can elevate a webcast from amateur to a professional remote broadcast.

3. Embrace Lower Thirds 

A talking head with no other information on the screen can get boring– and confusing, especially if people may be coming and going from your event in progress. Graphics in the lower third of your screen keep the information about who’s speaking and why fresh in the viewer’s mind in a visually appealing way. 

4. Look at the Camera

What’s the difference between Stephen Colbert giving a monologue from his home and your average business presenter? Here’s an essential one: he’s looking into the camera. When presenting remotely, it’s tempting to look at yourself to make sure you’re doing alright, at your notes, or, in certain types of events, at the video feeds showing you your audience. However, the only thing that is going to give your viewer the impression of eye contact is looking at that little black circle. Don’t kick yourself if this is hard; Stephen Colbert is a professional who has been performing for cameras for years, after all. If you try putting your notes somewhere closer to the camera and practicing ahead of time, it will start to feel more natural.  

5. Have Fun 

If there’s anything we can learn from TV comedies’ transition to home production, it’s that broadcasting from home can be an opportunity to be creative and create a unique experience, not just an imitation of a live event. These performers have experimented with their spaces and the types of stories they create.