Loyola University Chicago

Information Technology Services

Live Events with a Virtual Audience

Are you hosting an in-person event or conference and want to extend the opportunity for remote attendance or participation? Review this resource as it will help provide recommendations to enable this dual-attendance model utilizing Zoom. This experience can be successful in both Zoom Meeting Room and Zoom Webinar formats.

In-Person Event or Conference with presenters engaging also via a Webinar


Event Space - Whether on or off-campus, conference and event spaces often have dedicated workstations available. These, however, may not have built-in webcams. Review your event space in advance to understand the technology that is present and what you will need in order to accommodate a virtual audience. For on-campus events, review and reserve your space via the Conference Services website.

Audience - Before you get started, think about your two audiences: those in-person and those joining virtually. Determining the physical layout and configuration is often easy based on the event space; however, to have a meaningful experience for virtual attendees, consider what they should see and hear from the event. At a minimum, audio from the speaker(s) should be heard clearly by your virtual audience. Is there one speaker or a panel of speakers? Is there a podium in use or a "round table discussion"? Will there be slides shared? Will there be time for Q&A from the audience (in-person and/or virtually)?

For those events that have "round table discussions" or more complex event configurations requiring multiple video capture considerations, or with both virtual presenters and in-person presenters, consider contacting the ITSHelpdesk@luc.edu and/or Conference Services to describe your needs and help identify what solutions may be available within Loyola or with external services (such as Livestream or filming capabilities).

Virtual Event Lead - Considering the extra steps and attention required, it's good practice to assign a dedicated team member to manage and monitor the audio and video for your virtual audience. Below, you will find a checklist the "Virtual Event Lead" can utilize for setup and execution.

Setup Time - Event organizers should always arrive early to their event. Ensure you pad in enough time before the event for equipment setup, configuration, and testing in the virtual environment before the audience arrives. We recommend 30 minutes for an individual or two from your event team to focus on setup and review for the virtual component.

Equipment Recommendations

If there is one primary speaking location, such as a podium at the event space where speakers will approach and speak from, we recommend this equipment:

  • Podium Computer - primary speaker computer or laptop that is located at the front of the event space
  • Network Connection - wired preferred, but wireless may be acceptable
  • Webcam - this includes a built-in microphone

  • Laptop - A secondary laptop, for an event organizer or partner to join and monitor the remote experience.
  • Headphones - For the event organizer with the above laptop to monitor the audio quality.

For this configuration, plug the USB webcam into the computer that the main presenter(s) will be using, then follow the instructions below for step-by-step configuration.

Checklist for Virtual Event Lead

1. The Presenter's Podium Webcam setup
If the podium or presentation space's primary computer does not have a built-in webcam, plug in an external webcam. Make sure the webcam is aimed at the Panelist who will be hosting or moderating the event. 

Typically this will go ontop of the Monitor associated with the Podium workstation at the event space. Ensure the speaker does not walk far from the podium, as audio for the virtual audience is only being captured from this webcam.

2. Using a Laptop to monitor the virtual experience
Find a suitable location nearby the front of the event space, allowing you to monitor on your own laptop the quality of the video and audio via headphones, to more easily request the speaker remain near the podium for the virtual audience's experience, and where applicable, to ask any questions submitted by the virtual audience via Q&A.


Primary Computer (front of event space)Example
1. Join the Zoom session.  
2. Find the Audio settings in the lower-left corner of the Zoom window. Select the carrot arrow to bring up the audio source options. The USB conference mic should be selected for Microphone, and the plugged-in headphones should be selected for Speaker.  
3. Test the speaker and mic by selecting Test Speaker & Microphone from the same menu.  
4. Find the Video settings in the lower-left corner of the Zoom window. Select the carrot arrow to bring up the video source options. If using a built-in webcam, it should be selected by default. If using an external webcam, make sure it is selected. If done correctly, you should see your webcam video displayed correctly in the Zoom session.  
Secondary ComputerExample
1. Join the Zoom session.  
2. Find the Audio settings in the lower-left corner of the Zoom window. Select the mic button to mute your audio. It is You will not need audio for this computer because it will be shared from the front/podium computer where the speakers are.  

3. Consider renaming yourself to "Virtual Event Lead" or something similar, to help keep your identity anonymous for ease of the panelists to know you're present to help answer questions.

To do this, locate your profile picture and select the "..." menu, then select Rename. Note that for Zoom Webinars, your profile photo will not be visible to attendees, only the webcam (and optional screenshare) of the speaker at the podium.



The Virtual Event Lead serves the role of the Zoom Host:

  • Monitor Audio and Video: Have a pair of headphones plugged in to monitor the audio and video quality throughout the event.
  • Monitor Q&A: Attendess joining virtually can ask questions to the presenter(s), which the Virtual Event Lead can then ask in the in-person event should time permit. Look below for options to either use Chat for a Zoom Meeting or in the Q&A tool for a Zoom Webinar.

Pre-event Checklist

We recommend you join your Zoom Meeting or Webinar as the host 15-20 minutes before your event begins. Below are our recommended settings:

Recommended SettingExample

Disable Attendee Chat. To disable chat, select the 'Chat' button on the toolbar. From the 'Chat' window, select the small ellipses button to review the settings. Under "Participants can chat with…" select 'No One'. This will help to minimize disruptions during your live event.

Adjust Participant Settings. Select the 'Participants' button from the toolbar. From the 'Participants' window, again select the small ellipses button. To minimize distractions, make sure that "play sound when someone joins or leaves" and "Allow Attendees to Raise Hand" are both unchecked.

Enable Screen Sharing. If your Panelists intend to present content via Screen Share during the event, you will have to enable access. To do this, select the small carrot arrow next to the 'Share Screen' button in the toolbar. This will pull up 'Advanced Sharing Options'. Under 'Who can share?' select 'All Panelists'. Under 'Who can start sharing when someone else is sharing?' select, 'All Panelists'.

If you or a Panelist intends to screen share a PowerPoint, video, or any other dynamic multimedia, be sure to check the box labeled 'Optimize for video clip'. If the shared content contains audio, check the box labeled 'Share Sound'.


Q&A Settings (Webinars only). You have the option to enable anonymously submitted questions for the Q&A. First, select the 'Q&A' button from the toolbar. Next, select the small cog button on the top-right of the Q&A window. From there, select "Allow Attendees to Submit Anonymously". This feature is something to consider depending on the nature of your content. Some topics require more privacy than others.


Enable Closed Captions (if applicable). If you would like to enable closed captioning for your event, select the 'Live Transcript' button from the toolbar. If you don't see this button, it may be hidden in the 'More' button in the toolbar.

If you wish to enable automated closed captioning, select 'Enable Auto-Transcription'. If you have hired a Captioner for your event, select 'Assign a participant to type', then select the Captioner from the list of Panelists to the right. Hover your cursor over the Captioner's name and select the 'More' button, then select 'Assign to type closed caption'.