Germantown academy’s hybrid graduation
Germantown Academy wanted to have their graduation this year as live as they could, while still making the ceremony accessible to as many people as possible and complying with current health restrictions due to COVID-19. The school wanted the students to process their traditional path and allow the backdrop of iconic school architecture for photos, so a live event was preferable. However, with the restrictions on numbers of people allowed, the students and their families could not all congregate in the same area in the normal way. We worked with them to create a hybrid virtual-live event. The graduates’ seating was spaced to comply with social distancing requirements and small groups of parents were brought into the area when their own student graduated. Throughout the campus, parents were gathered in several venues to watch the rest of the ceremony remotely in small groups.
In addition to the traditional audio reinforcement in their beautiful courtyard quad, we also provided live streaming services to reach a larger audience than were allowed physically on site. We chose a 4 camera shoot, 3 BirdDog PTZ cameras on truss uprights, and one static camera, all running on a full-bandwidth NDI network back to a Tricaster Mini4k located in another venue on-campus. From the main broadcast control area we had full control over the PTZ camera movement and presents both from the Tricaster operator and a dedicated PTZ operator running the first ever dedicated NDI controller (BirdDog PTZ Keyboard). Although a local recording was done, the main objective was to produce an HD internet livestream that could be displayed in over 20 on-campus satellite venues and viewed by attendees at home.
We were required to adapt and change plans all the way through the entire process, right up until the day before when the governor suddenly announced a much smaller size limit on indoor events.
Although Germantown Academy is looking forward to returning to a more traditional commencement next year, they received multiple compliments from the attendees regarding the quality of the broadcast and were very pleased with the success of the event.