Google Assistant Developer Day

ROLE:  Executive Producer

CLIENT:  Google/Alphabet

YEAR:  2020

LOCATION:  Virtual

With the global pandemic forcing the cancellation of Google's flagship I/O conference, Google looked to the virtual world to make exciting new announcements to its partners about the Assistant platform.

The brief was to create a virtual environment and stage set within which Baris Gultekin, PM Director for Google Assistant, could make a keynote address before handing over to other members of the team to deep dive into the big announcements.

After assembling the project team consisting of a Creative Director, Technical and Creative Producers, Production Management and Account support, we submitted several initial concepts to Google for the virtual set and show rundown.


Once green lit, I brought in LA video wizards Tool of North America, along with legendary Hollywood VFX Supervisor Rob Legato (Harry Potter, Wolf of Wall Street, Jungle Book, Titanic) to develop the virtual environment with their teams, working in Unreal Engine.

In parallel, we supervised the concept, development and execution of a pre-event sizzle reel and worked with the Google team on creating briefs, treatments and scripts for the event itself.

The keynote presentation was conducted as a COVID safe shoot at a green screen facility in LA, with a skeleton location crew. A remote viewing capability was set up, which allowed viewers to see the shoot live and even preview the finished product - with high performance computing power rendering the virtual environment live and broadcasting out to the private viewing streams.

Beyond the keynote, one of the greatest challenges of the project was to understand how to capture breakout content without putting further Google executives at risk. To do this, I led the implementation of a remote production workflow based around pioneering IP broadcast technology, with crew operating from their respective home locations and collaborating using video production software running on AWS instances. Panel hosts and participants were mailed recording kits, consisting of a mobile phone capable of recording in 4k, a microphone and a lighting package. They were guided through the set up and recording by a director operating completely remotely, with production team communication facilitated by a Discord server. The upshot was that not a single member of crew was deployed on site to conduct these recordings, yet the result was a 4k quality shoot beautifully shot and edited for simulive broadcast.

In addition to overseeing the production elements, I also supervised the development of press releases, social media, and blog posts to be posted by third party organizations to promote the event. 

On the day of broadcast, and since then on YouTube, tens of thousands of Google Assistant partners have tuned in to watch the latest announcements about Google's voice ecosystem delivered in a fun and creative way despite the challenges of the pandemic.