Last weekend was Star Wars Celebration: Orland and it was quite full of entertainment for those there and watching on their screens. Livestreaming panels is becoming more common especially for larger events. I was part of the team doing so for PAX East. There were several official livestreams for that event (PAX, PAX2, PAX3, and PAXArena) which carried panels, tournaments, and performances. At Star Wars Celebration the majority of the official livestream carried the main Star Wars stage hosted by Anthony Carboni (@acarboni) and Andi Gutierrez (@DeeGoots) and some of the highlighted panels. It also contained some various pre-recorded (or rather recorded at) segments such as interviews with people at the 501st.
Nothing is better than being at the convention because of the experiences you’ll have, the people you’ll meet, and simply the fun that you’ll have. Though while you wait on lines in some cases aside from striking up conversations with those with you, the livestream can keep you informed of things you’ll want to see, buy, and the way Star Wars did it, and various fun surprises such as some of the actors from the films and series. What they also did right was make it a part of the events of the show floor with at show audience interaction as opposed to having it away from the floor. This adds to the visceral excitement and also provides additional possibilities for the businesses speaking on the show to reach out to the audience at the show and also online.
Sometimes you have to know something exists before you want it. These kind of featurettes on a livestream let people know, they serve to inform on products that can be part of the experience at the con and also after in the case of games. Interviews with the publishers can let people know about the growth of a game, figure and model makers can talk about the development. In many cases especially now those who work for (and plenty of times have founded) the company making something are fans. This was something said several times on the livestream and we know it to be true.
By being on the livestream especially when it is part of the show connects the brand and the people of the brand with the audience, building the community. It also allows people who are there to go to the booth, connect to the company, ask more questions, and have conversations about the product they just saw. For those at home watching the livestream they can begin to do that on social media. This can be a boon for a product that is not as well known or enhance the excitement. Doing a mix of both really connects with the community.
In addition, the Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough, and other correspondents added to this with various recorded at show segments adding more into the community interaction at show and more interesting content. They featured the charity work being done by various individuals such as Running Stormtrooper (@StormtrooperRun). This also shows how the community itself works to do charity and give back. In addition to showing the charitable works that those are doing and by extension allows those who want to donate know who to donate to. It also inspires those to do charity work in their own lives.
Then of course one of the main focuses of the livestreams are the panels and performances. For those who can’t be there this is a great way to stay a part of the excitement and is especially great for international audiences. Pop culture is global and the many well known brands are known to international audiences and people. It’s great to see things happen live and be able to be a part of the conversation and not necessarily have to learn about it secondhand via news outlets etc. While people might be thinking spoilers, this is not that. It’s things like Mark Hamill’s Tribute to Carrie Fisher
which was truly wonderful. For something like that it allows everyone to share the feeling and experience in real-time.
As livestream technology evolved what’s good is that it’s not lost if you can’t make it for the livestream. Twitch and YouTube archive the livestream. Facebook does this to a degree as well but on facebook it can be harder to find. It also allows you to go back rewatch the moments to see, or see if there is something extra to speculate on. Having it in easy to find places like Twitch and YouTube makes it easy. As we know you can watch in-app, in a browser, and the best of all cast to a TV screen.
I have worked for over a decade in working to document and share events so I know how important it is to be able to find the content easily and share it. The livestream and these central archives after have it.
A lot of hard work goes into these livestreams and I’m looking forward to seeing what will come for Celebration in 2019. What I want is more of the events livestreamed on perhaps more than one channel. This is what was done at PAX and this way while there is the big events you don’t miss some of the awesome things like other 40 year celebrations such as “40 for 40: Highlights from Four Decades of Star Wars Collectibles,” “Rancho Obi-Wan with Steve Sansweet” “Chuck Wendig: A Small Group of Characters Can Change the Whole Galaxy” and so many others. (Where things are not livestreamed I work to document the event so it can be shared.)
I can see each programming room and stage being livestreamed and archived in 2019, with even more content and I expect in 4K or higher resolution perhaps even a few holographically to give an even more in-canon Star Wars experience.