A new generation of content creators are harnessing the power of the web to drive viewers… and revenue. These are the conferences they attend to up their game.
Above image via HitFilm’s 2015 recap of VidCon
The annual National Association of Broadcasters conference in Las Vegas every spring is the preeminent event for video professionals. Thousands of exhibitors crowd the halls to show off the latest production and post gear, workflows and software. With roughly 100,000 attendees, the focus is on the professional video market — mostly large-scale and enterprise-level offerings for television stations, studios and video production companies. When most video pros talk conferences and events, NAB is at the top of the list.
But times are changing and the web is democratizing video distribution. No longer are the most-viewed online videos created by major brands and agencies. Video pros are having success garnering millions of eyeballs on YouTube and Vimeo, without large-scale budgets and production setups. In this vein, a slew of smaller conferences have also popped up, aimed squarely at the ‘do it yourself’ web video creator. Below are our top five video conferences and events that offer a more intimate experience, sharing actionable and accessible knowledge for video professionals.
Note: For a listing of the largest video events, see our previous post The Best Conferences for Filmmakers and Video Pros.
You can’t talk about video events without mentioning VidCon, unarguably the world’s biggest annual event focused solely on online video. Attended by the biggest YouTube stars — and the fans that follow them — the conference is a mix of those who have ‘made it’ and rising up-and-comers. Two session tracks are beneficial for video pros: Creator sessions show you ways to improve your projects and your reach, while Industry sessions focus on the changing landscape of streaming videos and the personalities/brands behind them. In recent years the focus has extended to platforms other than YouTube (the event’s main sponsor), including Facebook, Snapchat and other networks.
Bonus reading: At VidCon, the World’s Biggest YouTube Convention, Rival Video Platforms Rush the Stage (via Entrepreneur.com)
Over the last few years Wistia, a popular video hosting and analytics platform, has put on a small three-day event for creative video pros. WistiaFest’s focus rests primarily on creating marketing videos for businesses and agencies — and how to measure the results of those projects through online analytics. Past topics of breakout sessions include:
- Generating and Nurturing Leads Using Video
- Tools and Techniques for DIY Video Production
- Making the Most of Your Onboarding Videos
The event is lively, fun and absolutely worth exploring for anyone looking to up their production skills and be more effective with their video marketing.
Bonus reading: 11 Things I Learned at WistiaFest (via JohnBarker.com)
At InFocus, the target is successful independent filmmaking — whether you’re making commercial ‘films’ for a client or a narrative video. The three-day event tackles hands-on production education, as well as the logistics of raising funds and producing film and video content for both commercial and passion projects. The speaker lineup is a veritable who’s who of the top independent video pros, including Ryan Connolly, Joe Simon and other well known web and wedding videographers.
For those into more of the logistics of web streaming and distribution, Brightcove’s Play event has got you covered. As a platform, Brightcove focuses on multi-screen streaming, video monetizing, web players, and encoding. It’s no surprise that the topics covered at this event follow suit:
- Keep ‘Em Coming Back: Video for Customer Loyalty and Retention
- Growing Reach and Revenue with Syndication and Social
- Brightcove’s Guide to Live Streaming
The conference is especially useful for those already using the Brightcove platform (as many of the topics covered directly address the product).
Bonus viewing: Keynote addresses from past Brightcove Play events (via Brightcove.com)
NAB is a complete frenzy of new gear and products — but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Off the show floor there are breakout sessions and education tracks focused on different segments of the pro video industry. One conference track highlights the rapidly evolving landscape of online video — especially in regards to management and monetization of web video properties. A few of the sessions covered at this year’s event include:
- How to Reach Millennial Audiences With Video
- How Online Video Is Unleashing Creativity
- Mobile Video’s Explosion: Personalized TV Has Arrived
Bonus Events for YouTube Super Fans: StreamCon & Playlist Live
Online video — and YouTube specifically — has created legions of rabid fans who religiously follow the most popular channels and web personalities. At two annual events, StreamCon and Playlist Live, the focus is on web superstars and the fans who clamor for their content. There’s not a lot to be taken away from these events from a training and education perspective, but if canoodling with the next ‘viral video’ star is your thing, well, we’re not here to judge.
Bonus reading: Everyone’s a Star at StreamCon, the Convention for YouTube Sensations (via Vice) and We Went To A YouTube Convention, And It Was Insane (via Business Insider)