Kevin Standlee (kevin_standlee) wrote,
Kevin Standlee
kevin_standlee

Worldcon 75 Day 3: Hugo Award Night

Worldcon 75 elected to present the 2017 Hugo Awards on the third night of the convention, which in this case was Friday. So this evening it was time for the Hugo Awards web site's annual live coverage of the Hugo Awards Ceremony.

Ready for the Show

I and Cheryl Morgan are here ready to do our coverage, this time in the same place instead of separated by half the planet. I'm in my suit, while Cheryl sports a lovely dress suitable for accepting a Hugo Award. She was Neil Gaiman's designated acceptor for The View From the Cheap Seats. She thus went to the pre-Hugo reception, while I took charge of her computer and headed over to Hall 1, where I joined Susan de Guardiola, the third member of our coverage team.

The View from CoverItLive

There had been some challenges getting us a place from which we could do our coverage. There was no good place to safely put a table without blocking an access aisle, and none of the seating areas had power outlets. So the Events team figured a way to put us over far to stage right at a table where we had our backs to the drapes, and they ran an extension cord from back stage. This worked, but it also meant that this was our view of the stage. It was awkward, and also we had difficulty hearing anything properly, because we were out of the focus of both the main audience speakers and the stage-facing "monitor" speakers. However, it gave us a place with power from which could work.

Lisa came by just before the event started (but after we had actually launched our coverage), but she didn't stay for the ceremony.

Susan de Guardiola did stellar work doing advance research on the finalists and taking scads of photos. When Cheryl rejoined us before the ceremony (just after we kicked off the "pre-show" on CoverItLive), she brought additional photos. Susan provided photos and posted the finalists in each category. I posted the winner in each category (which is a great time-saver; this live coverage is harder than you might think it is). Cheryl moderated comments, provided descriptions of what was happening, and did her usual great job of telling us how the event was unfolding.

Now there are some people who question the utility of mere "text-only" coverage of events like this now that video-streaming has become more common. However, tonight, I think the Hugo Awards Marketing Committee got their $200 worth. (That was the cost of upgrading our CoverItLive account to the level necessary to support such a large event.) That's because for whatever reason, the live video stream that Worldcon 75 intended to provide (and they've generally been pretty good at producing such streams, such as the one they're providing of the WSFS Business Meeting) failed to work. There were "casual" streams such as one produced by a fan in the audience, but the official video feed from the convention failed to materialize. As with the time that the UStream feed was shut down by a 'bot, our CoverItLive event attracted a lot of attention from the "refugees" who had gone to the YouTube site.

At peak, we had more than 1300 people watching our coverage, and I think that it may be the best show we've done yet. Besides being the place to go when the video streaming fails, CoverItLive uses a lot less bandwidth than video streaming, and thus people who have lower-bandwidth connections can watch it without being overwhelmed by the amount of data. Bandwidth out for us was not a problem, though. Wireless connectivity in the convention center is excellent, and we were also given access to the separate "press" wi-fi so we didn't have to compete with all of the people in the audience using social media during the event.

Cheryl and I had invitations to the post-Hugo party. Indeed, as Worldcon 76 was co-hosting the event with George R.R. Martin, we'd been encouraged to come down and work a shift. However, Cheryl is staying at the airport (and the trains don't run all night), and I have to be up earlier than most for the Business Meeting. (Yes, others attending have to be up early as well, but I'm one of those who needs to be there an hour before the meeting starts to do setup.) Furthermore, there had been something of a confusion over the delivery of certain boxes of WSFS papers that should have gone to 208 (Business Meeting) instead of the Hugo Backstage, so I said goodnight to Susan and Cheryl and moved a cart of boxes over to 208. And I got out of the hall just in time; they turned off the lights just as I was leaving!

You can see the 2017 Hugo Awards results here. We'll also clean up the Hugo Awards web site and get pictures of this year's trophy online soon — I hope tomorrow. We were not provided with photos in advance, nor did we get the detailed results until right after the ceremony, so we haven't had time to do more than the basic work on the site, and I need to get some rest, because the Business Meeting tomorrow is scheduled for four hours.

I am very grateful to Cheryl Morgan for sorting out our base from which we did our coverage, to Susan for the color commentary, photos, and analysis, and to everyone on the Worldcon 75 committee who came together to make our coverage of this year's Hugo Awards Ceremony a success. Thank you all!
Tags: business meeting, hugo awards, wsfs
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