Editorial

Should I Pre-record My Live Event with Captions or Just Show it Live with Captions?

The 2020 pandemic produced a fundamental shift in the event industry that required event organizers and planners to relearn and re-plan everything from business models and sponsorship to event technology and event delivery. Yes, the COVID pandemic, for better or for worse, changed everything, and these changes are here to stay, like it or not. Event professionals need to adapt and navigate in these uncertain times. According to Reed Exhibitions, 65% of visitors and 57% of exhibitors expect that digital event technology will still have utility after the pandemic ends.

Event professionals are increasingly choosing captions including multilingual subtitles during live events as a means to meet accessibility as well as maximize the audience outreach by increasing the comprehension of information delivered at live events. At Syncwords, we get asked by many event planners if they can deliver pre-recorded videos “as-live”.

The answer, of course, is yes, but the bigger question is if and when they should use Pre-recorded versus Live captions? Here are things to consider as you ponder this decision.

  1. Pre-recorded captions, and subtitles obviously are the only options when a speaker cannot attend a live event due to timing conflicts.
  2. If event speakers can produce their videos remotely in a proficient manner a few days prior to the actual event, then pre-recorded captions would be a good option. But in that case, the onus and responsibility of producing the video on time lies on the speaker.
  3. Pre-recorded videos need to be produced at least a couple of days before an actual live event with a week being the ideal time to caption and subtitle the video into multiple languages.
  4. The event planner should use a virtual events platform and video player that facilitates the as-live display of pre-recorded videos with subtitles, preferably, in multiple languages. Burning-in the captions or subtitles into the video is also an option that ensures the captions are always “on” the screen. But this can be a challenge when there are multiple languages subtitled.
  5. Having a Live Q&A in the session can throw a wrench in the works for pre-recorded sessions, although there are ways this also can be handled.

Amidst all the confusing choices and possibilities, one thing becomes clear, and that is event planners need to make decisions well in advance of their events, and they need a captioning provider who has the capability, technology platform, and experience of producing BOTH Live and Pre-recorded captions and multilingual subtitles.  But don’t worry, with SyncWords you can be assured of high quality Pre-recorded and/or Live subtitles for your events because we have the platform, personnel and experience to make this possible!

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