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Calix Connexions 2020

Making a Virtual Event a Real Success

How do you move a flagship user conference from Las Vegas to 100% online? By unleashing a torrent of activity, focused on reimagining the B2B virtual event experience. Surprise. Delight. Inspire. Engage. This was our goal. So how would we do it in this Zoom-fatigue era? And no, the option of replicating a webinar wasn’t even on the table. Our four-year relationship with Calix leadership has resulted in the mutual trust, enabling the rapid decision making and parallel workflow required to pull off a best-in-class, one-of-a-kind experience.

We started with a focus on constructing a virtual experience that would be worthy of an organization positioned and equipped to lead the bridging of the digital divide. Our strategy? Production and UX teams embarking on a 9-month journey. A custom-built technology stack. More than 40 video shoots. And, finally, multiple live streams in motion simultaneously over the course of two weeks. Consider the stakes raised.

82 videos. Two weeks.

One very robust platform.

Content had to be easily accessible. The online interaction of ConneXions 2020 had to feel as natural and dynamic as it would be on an actual event floor. It had to be measurable and thought provoking. In short, it had to be amazing. Working closely with Matt Collins, Calix CMO, the team built a strategic framework to define the experience that included 82 videos, live chatting, real-time attendee participation and top shelf entertainment.

Brad Paisley.
Seth Godin.
1,000 rural broadband providers. And Us.

To guarantee a 4K quality viewing experience, the team partnered with Sherpa Digital Media. Who already partners with market leaders such as Apple, Disney, and Blackrock, and recently collaborated with Decision Counsel on several projects. The team utilized Sherpa’s SaaS video platform that concurrently manages on demand, live, and real-time breakout session streams. Additionally, we designed the experience to offer real-time interactivity windows for sharing comments, enabling attendees to connect individually and empowering Calix to reinforce their connection to customers and reveal the power of its products across the two-week event.

Brad Paisley
Country Music Star Brad Paisley performs at Connexions 2020.
Marketing Guru Seth Godin gives a talk to Connexions Marketing attendees,
Marketing Guru Seth Godin gives a talk to Connexions Marketing attendees,

From the Big Screen to the Green Screen.

The power of ConneXions’ traditional 80ft screen in Las Vegas had to be completely reimagined through the lens of a website video viewport. To accomplish this, we created in-home studios by assembling and deploying green screen kits throughout North America. Multidisciplinary, remote production crews including directors, DP’s and audio engineers worked tirelessly to help speakers set up their own lighting, the green screens, microphones and cameras complete with teleprompter software and eye tracking – all built in.

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With an army of editors on standby to receive footage, we worked around the clock, uploading footage to the cloud. Getting to work, we sorted through every take, adjusting each speaker’s presentation with detailed keying and composite techniques. The result was speakers connecting with visitors from real environments within which there was room for vivid graphics and rich animation.

And for key executive sessions, we raised the production bar, going as far as renting an art museum and a drone. Through careful planning of onsite studio shoots, we executed sweeping interior views and an epic opening flyover.

Carl Russo prepares for his keynote presentation.
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When the smoke cleared, and the we had over 82 long form pieces of video content and our three-day virtual main stage run of show was born.