3 Ways to Make Graduations Great (Even If It’s Virtual)

Annual events, like graduations, have historically drawn large crowds of family, friends, and neighbors to attend and celebrate. But we’ve all seen how virtual events are a way to celebrate and connect safely with loved-ones near and far. 

We’ve successfully live-streamed a few different types of graduations last year, and so we’re sharing the 3 ways to make your graduation great—even if it’s virtual. 

1. Live: Drive-In Diploma

Drive-in movie theaters used to be a big draw, and have actually seen a resurgence during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s easy to see why, as the drive-in model keeps people in their own space, socially distanced, and still able to fully enjoy the event. Using this model, graduations can take the place of the movie, with students approaching a stage from their car one at a time to grab their diploma. 

A great feature of this type of event is the ability to split the camera feed. This means that in-person attendees can see a video feed on the drive-in big screen while remote attendees from home can still watch the event in real time via a Youtube live stream. 

2. Hybrid: Live Pomp + Circumstance (i.e. Graduation March) with Pre-recorded Speeches 

Graduation elements can be pre-recorded, with keynote speakers, students’ photo and video highlights, and more shared during a live event. Virtual events are much easier to scale, and because of this, keynote speakers who may not be interested in traveling to the graduation’s physical location may be interested in delivering the commencement address through video they send in. 

In this hybrid event, we would blend a live camera feed with pre-recorded content, such as the commencement or valedictorian speech, and combine those into a live stream of the event. 

3. Pre-recorded: All Graduation Elements are Recorded and Streamed Later

The third option is to have all the elements of the graduation pre-recorded including student diploma acknowledgments and all speeches. These would be blended together and then streamed at a pre-designated time through a platform like YouTube. 

This is a great option for large schools where a live event wouldn’t be compliant. Additionally, this option is good for administrators facing technical or infrastructure challenges around live streaming an event. 

With any of the options, there are multiple questions and elements to consider, like: 

  • How many students will be graduating? 
  • Will a pre-show slideshow be necessary? 
  • What speeches and awards are needed? Even if you plan for them to be live, it’s always a good idea to have a pre-recorded back-up. 
  • What about sanitation protocols? This is especially important for mic sanitation if this is a hybrid event; switching mic covers or using separate microphones is key. 
  • What music do you want to use? Music must be royalty-free if your event will be broadcast. Don’t worry, though—Pomp & Circumstance is in the public domain. 

Let us help. 

We care about making graduation a memorable experience for the students, parents, and educators. Two decades of experience has taught us that events that bring people together matter. Virtual events are more important than ever, as we navigate connection amidst challenges. Reach out so we can partner on your school’s graduation.