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Virtual Event Vocabulary

Written by: Gianna Kreider, CTUS Project Manager

When discussing virtual elements of an event, the terms can seem a little daunting. Some we may be familiar with in everyday life, but they take on a different meaning when applied to events. Let us break down some of the most important words you may here when discussing your next virtual event.  

Types of Virtual Events: 

Hybrid Event: An event containing both live and virtual elements. Live elements could be presenters together in a space or a limited number of attendees. For a deeper dive, read our blog on Hybrid Events.

Virtual conference: Event that contains multiple elements such as keynotes, breakouts, demos, or networking events that use a mixture of software and hardware to host your event in the cloud.  

Videoconferencing: Two-way interactive video and audio communication that ranges from super basic, like zoom, to a custom HD feed.  

Webinar: A graphic audio & video presentation made to a group over the internet.  

Internet Basics: 

Broadband: any high-speed internet access that is always on.  

Bandwidth: The measure of how much data is delivered over time for a network connection. This term is commonly used when referring to upload and download speeds of internet and is measured in megabytes per second.

CDN: Content Delivery Network. A system of servers across multiple locations that are used to transport content. Using multiple servers helps to eliminate a bottleneck of data that could happen if everything is pushed down a single server.  

Embed: This refers to content that you want to insert into an existing web page. 

Encoder: The process of converting uncompressed video and audio into a compressed format that can be streamed over the internet.  

IP address: Internet Protocol that acts as an identifier for devices on a network.  

Latency: The delay between when a signal is sent and when it is received. 

Platform: The “venue” for your virtual show, it is where your event is hosted, and data is stored. 

Remote guest/contributor: Any presenter, host, or participant of a show that will be coming in via an internet stream.  

RTMP: Real Time Messaging Protocol. A type of stream that allows for high-performance transmission of audio, video, and data from an encoder to a server. It is the type of stream most used to connect to an outside platform.  

Streaming: This is how we consume most content in our everyday lives. Instead of having to download content onto a device, it is the method of watching content load in real time as you watch it on the internet.  

VFX: Visual effects. The integration of live action and/or CG elements to create realistic imagery.  

VPN: Virtual Private Network which routes all data through encryption that disguises the IP address and makes the location invisible. This can prevent remote guests from accessing some video conferencing tools.  

Engaging Virtual Events

Virtual Production Elements: 

ICVFX: In Camera Visual Effects, a type of virtual production that uses LED screens to create visual effects. 

MOSYS: Robotic camera head system for camera tracking.

Polling: A form of audience engagement/response that records opinions or votes. Some platforms have this option. 

Q&A: A great tool for encouraging interaction during a virtual session, some platforms offer the ability to moderate questions as the session is presented.  

Smart Stage: a stage that includes LED, motion tracking, and other virtual production elements.

xR: extended reality, an overall term that applies to elements such as virtual reality or augmented reality.


Although it may seem overwhelming at first, virtual events are not that different from live events, they just require a different lingo. Becoming familiar with the terms above can help make the experience of planning feel more comfortable and communicate better with your event vendor.