Royal Society for Panasonic Connect Blog

The events of the past two years first stopped and then changed the world of events forever. As people were unable to come together at events to network, learn and socialise we moved to the virtual world of streaming and video conferencing.

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Written by
Ollie Newland

Field Marketing Manager at Panasonic Media & Entertainment Business Division.

Hybrid Events - Equipped for the new world

The events of the past two years first stopped and then changed the world of events forever. As people were unable to come together, face-to-face at events to network, learn and socialise we moved to the virtual world of streaming and video conferencing. As society is now beginning to normalise, a new normal of hybrid events is beginning to emerge. One where people have the choice to attend in person or join online.

This new dynamic has forced organisations to address how they provide a valuable event experience to both types of participants. How to match the experience of those there in-person with those viewing remotely. For example, it’s important that those joining the event online don’t feel like second class attendees. Ensuring they also can experience the multimedia presentations, as well as see and hear the speaker clearly are important considerations. 

camera control room

Establishing a complete chain of content production with a glass-to-glass solution from capturing and mixing, to distribution and display, is essential for the seamless integration between live and remote audiences.

Building on its prestigious history, the world’s oldest independent scientific academy, The Royal Society, is already beginning to pioneer this area in the UK. 

The Royal Society has always been a trailblazer in event streaming, starting back in 2004. Today, it typically streams around 20 live events a year to its YouTube channel, mainly lectures aimed at increasing public engagement in science. Its London HQ, with 12 rooms for venue hire, is also a popular location for events organised by external organisations for groups ranging in size from 10 to 300.

To cater for the new demand for hybrid events, the organisation has recently upgraded its professional AV technology to create a complete end-to-end 4K system to capture and stream a mix of physical and virtual events.

The first priority was to upgrade the building’s Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall, as part of a major refresh completed by Whitwam AV Integration. The Royal Society tested numerous PTZ offerings and were impressed with the image quality and the digital zoom feature of the Panasonic AW-UE150 camera.

Four cameras were installed in the room - two at the front, one on the left-hand side wall and a rear camera on the front of the control room with a Panasonic AW-RP150 touchscreen remote camera controller inside. In addition, the team installed a Panasonic PT-RQ22K projector, providing a 4K-ready multi-screen presentation system.

The Royal Society also has an additional UE150 camera placed on a tripod that can be deployed around the room and to support hybrid events taking place in other spaces using live stream platforms like Wirecast and V-MIX. This is supported by an additional two Panasonic AW-HE40 PTZ cameras.

A further three AW-UE150s cameras have also been installed in the Dining Room alongside a PT-RZ970 projector, operable from the Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall control room, and two additional AW-UE100s are to be installed in the Kohn Centre to support event capture.

A flexible professional AV infrastructure

The Royal Society live streams to its YouTube channel from the Wellcome Trust Lecture Hall using Teradek encoders. Audio was upgraded to a K-Array audio system, alongside Sennheiser Speechline digital wireless microphones, and a Shure ceiling array microphone above the stage for voice uplift. The ceiling array is ideal for panel discussions. All audio then inputs into a Yamaha QL5 mixer and is embedded into the video.

While the Society was unable to use the venue during the pandemic, virtual events in the form of Zoom webinars, continued and streamed to its YouTube channel. As physical events return, the Royal Society expects to initially see a smaller live audience, alongside both virtual audiences and virtual participants. This is where the camera system will come into its own by providing a view of all speakers and any audience – whether present or virtual.

With the new system and the capabilities of the Panasonic PTZ cameras, the Royal Society is set to continue trailblazing with the streaming of next generation blended physical and virtual events.

In fact, Panasonic has the perfect solution for event organisers, whatever their needs. Our PTZ cameras operate in everything from intimate spaces to large venues. Kairos, our IT/IP platform, can sit at the centre of a hybrid event, hosting numerous signal inputs and outputting them in any resolution or size required for projection, display and online content. Our projectors, ranging up to 50,000 lumens, make us the world leader in high-brightness projection and our displays, some including touchscreen capabilities, range from 43-98".

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