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The 9 Coolest Virtual Event Stages Organizers Came Up with

By Stephan Cartello • Nov 30, 2020


While a cheesy Zoom background might be OK for a morning meeting with co-workers, that low-tech solution won’t fly for high-profile livestreamed events for a virtual audience.

Through the use of LED screens, multiple cameras, extended-reality (XR) technology, and several months of trial and error, event producers are now creating immersive virtual experiences that rival IRL events to engage at-home attendees. Even Oprah got in on the high-tech action for her recent interview with former President Barack Obama. The socially distant broadcast, which included Obama in Washington, D.C., and Winfrey in Santa Barbara, Calif., was spliced together via green-screen wizardry so the two appeared to be sitting together in Winfrey’s home.

From livestreamed concerts that look like sleek music videos to company events that take Zoom to the next level, here are some innovative stage setups for virtual events.

During her “Where Do We Go? The Livestream” show, which aired in October, Billie Eilish performed on a 60-by-24-foot stage at Los Angeles studio Lili Studios in front of multiple roving cameras. With the help of LED screens and XR effects, the singer popped up in numerous visually impressive 3D environments.

Montreal-based creative production team Moment Factory, extended-reality group XR Studios, Lili Studios, and livestreaming platform Maestro all collaborated on the design of the livestreamed concert.

Global beauty empire SeneGence International recently hosted an internal company event for 2,000-plus guests located in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, and Hong Kong.

Produced by KATAPULT Events, the stage featured over 700 LED tiles, forming a circle that was approximately 56 feet in diameter to create a giant Zoom call that included an award ceremony.

In June, Snap hosted a virtual version of its annual Partner Summit event, which featured the integration of augmented reality into the presentations.

Speakers appeared in front of a massive backdrop that looked like a Zoom background on steroids and featured the company’s signature bright yellow color.

The virtual stage was able to transition from a beach setting to a moonscape.

Twitch’s flagship conference, TwitchCon, turned into a virtual event this year called GlitchCon. The event that celebrates gaming culture took place Nov. 14 and featured a gaming arena-style virtual stage produced by XR Studios.

This year’s MTV Video Music Awards, which were broadcast in August, centered around a main stage that appeared to be atop a New York skyscraper surrounded by a computer-generated cityscape. See more: Get the Inside Scoop on the High-Tech Mask Lady Gaga Wore at This Year's VMAs

During the show, Maluma and CNCO performed at Brooklyn’s Skyline Drive-In for fans in their cars. The IRL events included traditional concert stage setups with staggered video screens to create depth. See more: Get the Inside Scoop on the High-Tech Mask Lady Gaga Wore at This Year's VMAs

For its recent iteration of American Express UNSTAGED, a digital musical experience that featured a free performance by Alicia Keys, the financial services company hosted an enhanced streaming experience dubbed "Behind the Stream." The livestream, which was broadcast from World Stage East in Secaucus, N.J., featured a set built with XR technology.

ADCOLOR’s annual conference, which featured the theme "Here For It" and took place in September, included panel discussions, with some programming broadcasted from Sound Investment’s Livestream Studio.

For the virtual iteration of this year’s Byrdie Beauty Lab, Stoelt Productions produced IRL programming segments at Goya Studios in Los Angeles. The in-person production followed safety protocols including COVID-19 rapid testing and the use of Plexiglass dividers during panel discussions.

Would you invest in a virtual event stage and other production?