Event Planning

Going Live vs. Pre-Recording Content for Virtual Events

Going Live vs. Pre-Recording Content for Virtual Events

Regardless of which industry you’re in, I think we can all agree that virtual events have become key to connecting to and engaging with our stakeholders. It’s hardly a surprise we want to pull out all the stops to impress them.

We envision a presentation where our speakers don’t fumble with their sentences or wrestle with technical problems, so we’re seduced into pre-recording our content. For good measure, we sprinkle it with top-notch visual effects. The result is a perfect virtual event … or is it?

This was the question we were led to ask when producing the NDP 2021 official livestream. In the end, we combined different live segments with a variety of pre-recorded content. Over 300,000 people tuned in to the event, making it a roaring success!

But what contributed to its success? In this article, we examine the merits of both going live and pre-recording your content

Why Should You Go Live At Your Virtual Events


A virtual event is, for all intents and purposes, a shared experience between you and your audience. Unless you’ve informed your audience members that you’re playing recorded content, you risk losing their trust and the connectedness that comes from being ‘together’ with your audience.

Of course, you may try to simulate going live with pre-recorded content by getting your speaker to wear the same clothes and be in the same venue. The transition, such as a cut back to the host, must be equally seamless. Even so, some audience members still may notice something amiss.

Authentic Reaction to the Audience

NDP 2021 Official Livestream

Besides being able to rein in your audience’s attention with an interactive poll and Q&A, one of the largest advantages of going live is the fact that you can respond to live comments or feedback from the audience and adjust your performance on the fly. 

“I feel an adrenaline rush whenever I present live,” Adam Piperdy, Chief Experience Officer at Unearthed Productions, says. “You can’t recreate this energy in a pre-recording.” He regularly hosts corporate webinars and was also the co-host of the NDP 2021 official livestream. 

Room for Mistakes

Although a live presentation can boast the same elaborate visual effects seen in a fully edited pre-recording, it’s an exception rather than a norm. The overall ‘rawness’ of a live presentation places less pressure on the speaker to deliver his lines perfectly. In fact, mistakes can even generate friendly laughter and lighten the mood.

That said, you’d still want to carefully manage the duration of your presentation. “As a general rule of thumb, your webinar should be short enough that your audience members won’t ever have to leave their seats for the bathroom,” Adam says. Hence, we recommend rehearsing with your speaker to ensure that he’s familiar with both the content and the set-up.

When Should You Pre-Record Your Content

Speaker is Unavailable on the Event Day

NDP 2021 Interview with parade commanders

During the NDP 2021 official livestream, we played a pre-recorded interview with the parade commanders. As the livestream started just hours before the NDP 2021 parade, the parade commanders wouldn’t have been available if the interview was live.

This is a great example of when pre-recorded content could be instrumental to the success of a virtual event. Going live requires a close coordination of everyone’s schedules, so a pre-recording may be the only option if a speaker can’t make it for the event.

Add Value to Virtual Event

The NDP 2021 official livestream also saw us play two pre-recorded video montages of people singing and dancing to the NDP 2021 theme song ‘The Road Ahead’. Released on YouTube in the lead-up to NDP 2021 on 21 Aug, these video montages weren’t new to the audience. But they emphasized the ‘Together, Our Singapore Spirit’ theme of NDP 2021.

In this scenario, the pre-recorded content added value to the virtual event. In deciding whether to pre-record your content, it’s important to consider its objective. For example, if you’re aiming to show off how a product works exactly, a pre-recorded product demo is inherently more effective at conveying the necessary information. 

Our Experience Managers are on hand to help you take the fuss out of organising a virtual event, whether it’s a webinar, a conference, an AGM, a town hall meeting, an award ceremony, dinner & dance or a product launch. 

Create your next hybrid or virtual event experience with us today! Book a complimentary consultation or contact us at +65 8201 4088 (WhatsApp) or at +65 6242 8032 (Call)

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