When it comes to virtual events, many wonder whether to pre-record or host them live. Here are the pros and cons of pre-recorded and live streaming online virtual events.

Pros: Pre-Recorded Virtual Events

Ability to Edit

Pre-recording live events allows the talent to rehearse and edit the video so that it runs smoothly. Easily take out pauses, mispronunciations or deviation in the conversation. Additionally, you can add graphics, captions and more to make the event easier to follow along with. 

Increased Flexibility

Since pre-recorded events are not live, the talent and attendees have some flexibility about when they record and attend the event. Pre-recorded events are great for large groups of people who have different schedules, or groups with members in different time zones.

Fewer Technical Malfunctions 

A major positive point for pre-recorded events is the decreased risk of technical malfunctions. There is no need to worry about poor connection, starting time or glitching video. Video quality is a very important part of a virtual event, therefore, ensuring that technical issues are minimized is a great way to run a successful event.

Virtual Events
Pre-recording events provides the ability to edit out pauses, but lacks human connection

Cons: Pre-Recorded Virtual Events

Lack of Audience Engagement

One of the biggest negatives about pre-recorded events is the lack of audience engagement. In some pre-recorded events, it is impossible to have live conversations with attendees. Participants might not have the ability to network with other attendees.

If the talent is not watching the event live, there is no way to create a deeper discussion, clarify points or answer questions from the audience. This can be frustrating to attendees who are interested in learning more about the topic being discussed. If 

Loss of human touch

Although it can be nice to edit an event so that the video is perfect, there is a certain charm and human connection in awkward pauses, laughter and body language that is frequently lost in pre-recorded events. 

Lower Perceived Value

Some attendees may feel that watching pre-recorded sessions promoted as live sessions is misleading and provides less value. After all, they signed up to attend an event and are watching a pre-recorded video.

It would be best to be reasonably clear about the format for your event. Other audiences may prefer the flexibility that video recording provides, so it’s important to know which format your audience prefers.


Pros: Live Streaming Virtual Events


Live virtual events can be a great way to network. Many live streaming platforms have chats, break-out rooms and Q&As that allow professionals to talk to other people in the field and get to know one another. 

Audience Engagement

Live virtual events usually offer ways the audience can interact with the speaker and other attendees. Chats, polls, games and break-out rooms are easy ways for the participants to engage with the speaker and dive deeper into the discussion. The talent doesn’t have to stick to a script and has the freedom to take the conversation to another level. 


Streaming live virtual events are typically less expensive than pre-recorded events because there is no need for special equipment, editing or platforms. A live event can be hosted on platforms like Zoom or Google Hangouts using a regular computer or even a cell phone. 

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Breakout rooms are a great way to boost audience engagement and get discussions moving

Cons: Live Streaming Virtual Events

Technical Issues

Poor wifi, platform shut-downs and more can lead to technical issues that could hinder an event from running smoothly. No one wants to listen to a 40 minute talk with glitches every 30 seconds and it’s frustrating when the speaker’s mouth doesn’t line up with their voice. Steaming live events can have unpredictable issues. As Jaime Casap said in a video featured in a recent blog post about virtual meeting best practices, people will listen to bad videos but they will not watch bad audio.

Inability to Edit

Unless you are a large TV network running on a time delay, which most of us are not, there is no way to edit out a stumble in a live event. The speaker may forget their speech, talk over-time or say the wrong thing. In a live streamed event, the audience will be able to hear and see every imperfection. It can also be harder to include graphics or other visual aids to the presentation when it is steaming live because the visuals must be ready to be shown live from the streaming device instead of added in after the recording. Typically, if you want to include visual aids during a live streamed event, the presenter needs to share their screen with the graphics. 

Issues Accessing The Event

It is very important that the event planners send out specific instructions on how to access and attend the online event before the event occurs live. Attendees can get confused if they need to download a specific live streaming platform, make an account, or use a code to participate in the event. Without proper and clear instructions, attendees may not be able to join the live streamed event.


There are positives and negatives to both pre-recorded and live streaming virtual events. You can even use a mix of pre-recorded and live content to best suit the event needs. No matter which direction you take with your next virtual event, contact us today to find a top-rated speaker to help make your event memorable.