Live stream a wedding with big screen at the location?
July 25, 2020 7:18 PM   Subscribe

My young relative is getting married this fall. Young friends will show up, coronavirus or not. Older invitees will struggle with the decision. How to live-stream the wedding so that virtual and physical participants can see each other? For example: A big screen behind the officiant showing all the online attendees in their Zoom boxes, with a camera (also behind the officiant) so that online attendees can see the entire wedding including attendees. Should be doable, but how?
posted by mono blanco to Human Relations (2 answers total)
Best answer: Where will the ceremony part be held? Indoors at a hotel? Doable, ask the venue to quote setting this up. Outdoors? Not so doable. Someone's house? It'll take some work/gear. I recommend assigning one person to help remote guests get situated (tech questions, names, muting (or unmuting) them, letting in people who drop the connection 10 minutes after it's started, etc.), and possibly hiring someone to handle that stuff.

Will there be a hired photographer? If so, I don't recommend putting screens directly behind the officiant because those will be in every photo of the wedding. Unless that's ok and what the couple really wants. For ceremonies I've done (weddings and funerals), the screen has been positioned out among the guests so that it feels like those attendees are another guest, and so that when the couple turns to guests on site, they're also "including" the remote guests in their gestures and view.

The easy answer is to just have someone livestream it outbound on a tablet or phone. In my experience, the couple doesn't care as much about seeing remote guests because they're focused on each other and the mechanics of the day, and their nerves. Remote guests are much more interested in seeing the ceremony and other guests. One nice thing is to set up a stand or tripod holding the livestreaming device so that people can go up and chat before and after the ceremony. Then re-position it for the reception similarly. You might ask the couple to "stop at the remote table," even if they're not having a reception or doing that thing where they walk around to each table, but it's nice (and considerate) for them to say hello to remote guests, and generally the couple is much more relaxed after the ceremony.
posted by cocoagirl at 8:20 PM on July 25, 2020 [3 favorites]

One way of "de-risking" having your remote guests displayed would be to record video loops of each beforehand. You can have one loop of them paying attention as normal - and you could maybe then record others of them waving or cheering. Then - before the wedding day - you get somebody to combine all those recorded feeds into a composite image which can be shown somewhere as regular video. You could also have this video move to the waving/cheering part by mean of somebody in the audience controlling the timing.

You can also have people dial into the wedding too - it is just that you would then not be having to show them live - with all the problems of unmuted sound, people doing picking their noses on camera without realising their are being projected to everybody, overall quality problems because of bandwidth use and so on.

It might be a good idea to appoint a "remote guest usher" who could get into touch with everybody who will be attending this way before the big day - and who could help solve problems with these guests on the day. This person would have the job of moderating "announcing" and helping and representing the remote participants.
posted by rongorongo at 12:39 AM on July 26, 2020

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