Wake The Town
Stuck in Motion
Contemplative Reptile
  • International Edition
  • USA Edition
  • UK Edition
  • Australian Edition
  • Canadian Edition
  • Irish Edition
  • German Edition
  • French Edition
  • Singapore Edition
  • Spanish edition
  • Polish edition
  • Indian Edition
  • Middle East edition
  • South African Edition

Live in Lockdown: Producing Live Events in Times of Social Distancing


LBB learns how Chrome redesigned live auctions, galas, and events for the likes of Christie’s, J. K. Rowling, and ABBA in the midst of the pandemic, breaking down geographical barriers to reach new audiences

Live in Lockdown: Producing Live Events in Times of Social Distancing

Lockdowns and live events go together like...well, they don’t go together at all. Except, that is, when Chrome, a London and Los Angeles-based production company, is tasked with the challenge of not only pulling it off, but doing so for some of the best-known names in the industry. With their origins in extreme sports and a boundary-pushing attitude, Chrome turned the seemingly impossible into events that exceeded expectations, creating a blueprint for hybrid events in a post-pandemic future.

Today, LBB looks at the cutting edge live-streamed events Chrome has produced in the past 18 months and how, despite the challenges of capturing and translating live events for the small screen, they made them possible. “Our clients turned to us in the midst of the pandemic, asking for a solution. We took all our knowledge of production, live events, and the latest technology, and applied them in a way that hasn’t been done before,” explained Joel Mishcon, founder and CEO.

Looking at the calibre of projects on the list, it’s easy to see that Chrome has turned a moment of uncertainty for their clients into a triumph. Let’s take a closer look at the events in question. 

David Lynch Foundation 

The David Lynch Foundation (DLF) organises a star-studded fundraising gala every year, hosted and attended by high-profile names from all over the world. Not wanting to miss out on the annual fundraising opportunity, DLF turned to Chrome, who reimagined the event in a live-streaming format. The70-minute show was made possible thanks to a zero-latency stream underpinned by cutting-edge technology, which meant that the gala was created, produced, and directed from London while all the hosts were located in an NYC studio. The event served as proof that thanks to advancements in technology, it doesn’t matter where in the world your talent is - they can be brought together virtually to make it work. “Prior to the pandemic, we would have never stress-tested a scenario in which our on-screen talent was in a completely different continent to our core production team. However, there was no other option, we just had to go for it”, Joel reflected. “We produced, directed and vision-mixed the show entirely from London, while our hosts were all in a studio in New York. We collaborated with Innovate Live to beam in VIP guests in real-time via a giant screen on set. The whole experience and live broadcast was faultless and opened our eyes to what else could be achieved in this unexplored space”.

The high-profile event was hosted by David Lynch and Good Morning America anchors Robin Roberts and George Stephanopoulos. It featured Hugh Jackman, Katy Perry and Deborra-Lee Furness and saw musical performances from Sting, Angelique Kidjo, Elvis Costello and Kesha. The online gala - usually attended by 500 people -racked up over 100,000 streams and achieved its ambitious fundraising goal while reaching new audiences.

“It was an honour to work with the DLF team on the ‘Meditate America’ virtual gala. It was key that our virtual solution for the fundraiser mirrored the same high production value and entertainment as DLF’s previously in-person attended events. Our approach enabled a significantly larger and more global audience participation whilst greatly increasing revenue opportunities which is paramount for any fundraising event,” added Mark Wilson, Executive Producer.

Christie’s - Ultimate Hybrid Auction Event 

With the pandemic waning in some parts of the world, live ‘in-person’ events were becoming a possibility once more. The successes of streamed live auctions and events, however, had left a mark on the industry, with clients like Christie’s auction house determined to create more hybrid events that would bring the best experience to both in-person, and virtual, audiences. Christie’s turned to Chrome to welcome back clients to its iconic Rockefeller Center saleroom in New York for the first time since the start of the pandemic.

To create the ultimate hybrid event, Chrome knew that it had to deliver a unique experience for both the people physically in the room, as well as people watching (and bidding) online. “It’s almost impossible to capture the full atmosphere and energy of being at a live event when you’re watching something via a screen,” said Robert Chew, Chrome’s VP of North America, who Executive Produced the live broadcast. “So, we started thinking about how to give the viewers at home something that couldn’t be experienced in the room.” Chrome devised a complex hidden camera system behind the auctioneer that looked out over the sale room towards impressive giant LED screens displaying real-time bidding from Asia and London. “Not only did we give viewers a comprehensive understanding of how bids were being fielded - both in the room and from around the world - we actually put them up on the podium with the auctioneer, providing them with what many felt was the ‘best seat in the house,’ said Robert.

Christie’s first hybrid auction facilitated the sale of 120 artworks, generating more than $1 billion in revenue. Most importantly, the livestream reached 1.2 million viewers, with bidders from 27 countries. 

J. K. Rowling's Lumos

Lumos, founded by J.K. Rowling, is a charity that focuses on tackling the root causes of family separation in communities around the world. The organization typically hosts an annual fund-raising gala; however, during the pandemic, Lumos turned to Chrome to create a virtual event of the same calibre as its attendees had come to expect, and with a few delightful surprises too. Streamed globally, the final show was hosted by Alec Baldwin with a myriad of virtual celebrity guests, including Harry Potter’s Bonnie Wright and Evanna Lynch, as well as Noma Dumezweni; one of the stars of The Cursed Child theatrical production. Musical performances came from Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Peter Bence. J. K. Rowling made an appearance during the event for a session with her youth advisory team, who  joined the gala via a multi-location, multi-language pre-taped interview.

Chrome was tasked with creating sets that were then utilised across shoots in New York, London, and Edinburgh, which gave the event an aesthetic cohesion. The event was streamed via the ‘Virtual Tables’ platform, which allowed guests to communicate with others and participate through interactive features, creating an atmosphere akin to that of a live gala.  

ABBA - Voyage

ABBA's Benny Andresson and Björn Ulvaeus interviewed by Zoe ball

Chrome played an instrumental part in the global world premiere of ABBA’s highly anticipated new album. The event took place in November 2021 and was held at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park in East London, at the top of London’s ArcelorMittal Orbit tower. Working alongside Ed Sharpe of Side of Stage, Chrome brought in a livestream package facilitated by oXyFire Media. The event featured Björn and Benny on stage for a live interview, presented by Zoe Ball. The event was available for the whole world to tune into, which millions of eager ABBA fans did, keen to experience the magic of the band once again.

Necessity is the mother of invention, the adage goes, and Chrome has shown how in a time of need, creative innovation is both possible and essential. The world changed a great deal in the last two years, as have appetites for live and virtual events. With companies like Chrome Productions leading the way, audiences not able or not wishing to attend in person can still have a thoroughly rewarding experience, thoughtfully designed every step of the way. “Hybrid events are here to stay and that is a great thing for everyone”, said Joel. “Brands and event organisers can expect new, larger, and more global audiences, whilst reducing carbon footprint at the same time. As we’ve seen over the just the past couple of years, technology and an agile mindset can lead to incredible results and digital experiences we never previously imagined possible”. 

view more - Creative
Sign up to our newsletters and stay up to date with the best work and breaking ad news from around the world.
Chrome Productions, Thu, 21 Apr 2022 13:42:37 GMT