Fireplay, in partnership with Production Resource Group (PRG) and Clair Global, has announced the launch of Virtual Crowd, a technology that is changing the way people connect during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Virtual Crowd is an advanced, fully customisable, and scalable multimedia technology that allows artists, speakers, and performers to interact with their fans, employees, or clients in real time while seamlessly showcasing high-quality production value and design within the online and hybrid experiences.
“Fireplay has been working continuously since the shutdowns to find a solution to allow real, meaningful, and interactive concerts and events to happen safely whilst being unable to gather in large groups,” said Fireplay CEO, Nick Whitehouse. “Nothing will ever replace the experience of an in-person live show, but I believe Virtual Crowd is a fantastic way for artists, live events, concerts and streams to re-engage their audiences who are getting tired of watching virtual events. I am really proud of the team here at Fireplay and excited that the two biggest and most respected companies in the industry have partnered with us to support our vision with their equipment, tech, and most importantly, creating jobs to put crew back to work.”
Virtual Crowd offers a unique, creative, and flexible solution, allowing performers or speakers to see and interact with their audience on large video screens. Meanwhile, fans experience a live and interactive performance with professional production value and can interact directly with the performer. The aesthetics are customisable in order to suit any event, brand, or business environment — from concerts, e-sports, and TV shows to business meetings and conferences.
One of the most unique visual features of Virtual Crowd is Interview Mode, which allows the client or production team to choose one or two guests and interact with them directly. Whether it’s an interaction between a lucky fan and a performer, a journalist asking a question at a digital press conference, a remote emcee or a thought leader stepping up to deliver a keynote at a virtual conference, Interview Mode offers an easy way to interact and create memorable moments.
In addition – powered by Clair Global’s Virtual Live Audience proprietary platform – Virtual Crowd delivers minimal latency, ensuring that viewers are seeing the live action with no visible delays. Logging in and logging on is a snap for participants, and a robust Moderation Mode ensures that moderators have full control of who participates in the event, as well as how they interact.
“The fact that our team was able to come together to develop a technology tailored to experiencing live events during these unfamiliar times is exciting,” said Chief Information Officer at Clair Global, Matt Clair. “Clair’s pivot towards packaged data services allowed us to utilise our experience in production audio/IT and be back at the table working alongside PRG and Fireplay in a new way. The prospect of getting our road crew – and the entire live events industry – back to work with the deployment of each and every Virtual Crowd system is the biggest win from our vantage point.”
The COVID-19 pandemic presents a host of challenges for those in entertainment and business and has devastated the industry that supports live events. However, Virtual Crowd provides a vehicle for entertainment and events to be enjoyed again.
“PRG is excited to collaborate with two well respected companies in entertainment to bring to market a vital missing piece of live shows,” said PRG Music Group CEO, Randy Hutson. “This solution, while creating jobs for our crews, will create an environment of live enhancement to support an artist’s interaction with their audiences. Further, with PRG’s unsurpassed inventory of technology, clients can easily activate Virtual Crowd on any scale, anywhere around the world.”