Virtual events have the financial advantage of avoiding the costs of hotel rooms, catering, and travel – but still require a significant investment. Each virtual-event budget is unique, given the differing revenue models, the length of the event, the number of attendees, the production quality, the desired level of interaction, and the overall purpose of the event.

Budgeting needs to be applied in new ways – with a significant part needing to be used for pre-planning and pre-production of the event content and format. Some initial costs of a virtual event may include pre-recording presenters; designing the content; editing video content; renting or a stage or studio environment; conducting technical checks at your site and with your remote presenters and test subject attendees; and, providing technical support and perhaps equipment for your remote presenters.

Pre-event logistics will require both money and organizational resources. Organizers will need to use some time to work with your presenters to schedule rehearsals and practice question-and-answer sessions. These sessions will often take place across multiple time zones.

Editing can be one of the most significant costs in creating a virtual event. Event platforms will usually charge for editing based upon the scale of the event, the number of sessions, and the review process. Pre-recorded material by individual remote presenters may be submitted using different software programs that will require extra editing – greatly adding to the overall cost. This can be mitigated by providing technical support to the presenters, along with sending out presenter kits that can include a ring light, microphone, headset, high-definition web camera, and standard backdrop or green screen.

A basic post-recording editing usually consists of adding an intro graphic – such as the name of the conference, session, or company logo; adding the name and affiliation of the presenter; smoothing transitions; and adding a wrap-up graphic at the end of the recording. Such basic editing will usually take about one to two hours depending on the length of the recording. It’s generally estimated that 1 hour of footage can take 10 hours to edit.

In some situations, you can bring your presenters into a studio for pre-recording. Studio costs can vary greatly, depending on geographic location, length of time the studio will be used, the number of panelists or guests on stage at any given time, and backdrop elements such as graphics and customer branding.

In our next article, we’ll take a look at the varying costs of the different virtual-event platforms.