Why I Love Remote Demonstrations

There’s something about remote demonstrations that I really love, or rather there are several somethings I love about them. Here, I’ll do my best to list them in concise a way as I can.

I’ve written a couple of articles about remote demonstrations since 2020. The first one written less than a month since the first pandemic lockdown (HERE) describes what is essentially my first impressions on them.

The second one was written a year later (HERE) builds on the steep learning curve from the first article and where I think remote demonstrations will go now lockdowns have ended. My opinion hasn’t changed.

This article builds on the previous ones now we are over 2 years into remote demonstrating.

I’ve lost count on the number of remote demonstrations I’ve done since lockdown in 2020. My calendar on the website here is missing some so I can’t check to be sure, but it must be around a hundred or so to clubs and plenty on YouTube and Facebook.

Formality, or Rather, Informality

Visiting a club in person is great – I enjoy it a lot, seeing people in person is always a pleasure. That said, in a remote environment such as Zoom there is a different atmosphere. Perhaps it is because I am in a familiar space with everything around me, and the viewers are in their own homes (mostly) which makes everyone is more relaxed. Maybe.

I Can’t Forget Anything!

Thankfully, I’ve never forgotten to take a vital piece of kit to an in-person demo, there’s always a little bit of my head that is worried that I have. Demonstrating from my own workshop though, ensures that everything I have is to hand.

We never really know what questions we are going to be asked during a demo, so to have everything nearby is great for answering that question that comes out the left field and is completely unrelated to the demo!

Seven Permanent Cameras

I’ve invested a considerable sum of money in my studio/workshop on a permanent 7 camera set-up. This ensures my audiences benefit from a superb number of possible viewing angles to get the absolute best experience in HD quality.

Having it always in place saves a heap of time – there’s no need to set it up every time I have a booking or want to record a video for YouTube – all I need to do is turn the kit on.

An old shot of the studio with the cameras

Each camera has been positioned carefully to ensure a first class view. They can also be moved, turned and tilted to provide the best possible viewing angle.

And, the view can be changed at the touch of a button either by a moderator here in the workshop, or (more commonly) by me as I am working through the piece.

On Screen Illustrations

On screen graphic example

In my powerful little Stream Deck control box, there are around 200 images that I can use to illustrate products, cuts, tools and shapes for the audiences.

Each of these graphics has been designed by me for each particular demo I currently present. This gives audiences a super-clear indication of what I am describing and often the graphic will be overlaid on the piece (as above) for even clearer explanations.

The fact that these graphics and demo-specific illustrations can be instantly shown at the touch of a button makes one of my presentations different to the majority of other turners in the UK.

There is not an easy way for an in-person demonstration to facilitate this capability within the time constraints of a normal club evening. To get round this, I provide notes in a .pdf format for both in-person and remote audiences to digest afterwards that include the majority of what was seen on-screen.

Reaching Faraway Lands

It might sound a bit romantic, ‘faraway lands’ but you know what, there is something extra special demonstrating to a club in another country. So far, I’ve demonstrated for clubs in the US, Canada, Denmark and Norway and they have been amazing fun! I’m keeping my fingers crossed to do more.

Listening to overseas turners asking questions and their opinions on things is so interesting. And to share my knowledge with people live and interact with them is just awesome. YouTube videos aren’t the same by any stretch of the imagination.

Would I Give Up In-Person Demonstrations?

Absolutely not! Whilst remote demonstrations are so good for the reasons above, I would not like to substitute in-person demos for remote ones for love nor money.

Face to face communication is a vital part of the human condition and although lockdown removed that from us for many months, it is great to be able to go back out to clubs and demo for them face to face, meet the members and have a bit of a road trip at the same time.


Infotainment

To conclude, our job as demonstrators is what I call ‘Infotainment’ – My demos are mostly informative, but also partly entertainment. I love sharing my energy and passion for turning during demos, and I hope this comes across.

To be able to combine that energy and knowledge with some banter, anecdotes and sharing the experience with the audience is quite simply, a driving force for wanting to do more in-person and remote demonstrations.