How to make a Faceroll of the attendees to document & show who participated to your conference

May 5, 2009

in Documentation, How to

Larry Lessig's Faceroll photo @ iSummit '08

Larry Lessig's Faceroll photo @ iSummit '08

Making a “faceroll” consists in documenting through photos the faces of the attendees to a conference with the scope of having a visual archive for you (the organizer) and the other participants.

You can achieve this goal through many ways depending on the kind of conference, venue and resources available. The one I describe is probably the most simple and direct one using resources widely available and of course you can make it however you like. The main aim here is to get everyone’s image and name associated and published online in a simple way.

You will need:

  • a digital camera and a photographer (doesn’t have to be a pro)
  • a dedicated area for the faceroll
  • a flickr account to upload the photos
  • the conference website/blog to show the photos
  • a slideware software (like PowerPoint or Keynote)

How to make the faceroll for your conference:

  1. Decide in which part of your website/blog you are going to publish the faceroll and if it is going to be visible to everyone or only to the event’s attendees (I suggest to make it open to everyone)
  2. Add the necessary code to show the photos that you will later upload, filtering by a specific tag (like “event-name-faceroll”). In this example i suggest using the Flickr badge in HTML format, that will randomly change the photos within the selected tag each time the page is reloaded
  3. Designate an area where you’re going to take the pictures. Usually it is better to place it adjacent to the registration area, where participants will pick up their badges. It is better to have a clear and neutral background and adequate lighting (natural/artificial)
  4. When the registration staff gives the badge to the attendees, they should direct the latter to the faceroll area. It works better to have a person dedicated to “capturing” people after they pick up their badge or it can be the photographer to do so. In my experience the best thing is to have 2 people with cameras, so that they both “capture” people and take photos simultaneously, avoiding forming a long waiting line
  5. It is better to shoot the photo directly in Jpeg format (compared to Raw), so that it can be uploaded directly without any retouching or processing
  6. Ask people to hold their badge VERY close to their face and be sure that the his name is readable in the photo (see examples). At first people are a bit wary as they are not sure what the photo is going to be used for. Gently explain that it is for documenting the attendees of the event, allowing them all to see who is participating, and that it will be published on the conference’s website/blog
  7. In most conferences the arrival of participants is concentrated in small periods of time, so you should work to have the maximum throughput of participants photographed
  8. After the registration phase is over, immediately upload the photos as a batch to flickr and tag them with a unique tag (use the same tag defined in point 2). This will allow you to retrieve the photos of the faceroll automatically
  9. The photo of each participant should be titled with name, surname and company
  10. Once pictures have been uploaded and tagged, make them public and publish the code on your website/blog to show them online

Most probably you won’t be able to get everyone’s photo during the registration phase so now you have to promote the existing faceroll to invite the rest of the audience to take part in it. At first, some persons are wary of what is going to happen with their image so they are reluctant to have a picture taken. After they see the effective use of it, they immediately see the potential and their ego is boosted.

There are several ways of promoting the faceroll during the conference. The one that I’ve found most successful is to have the chairman of the event explain that the faceroll lets you see who else is there with you and while he is doing so project on the screens some photos. They could be incorporated on a PowerPoint slide (see example) or it could be a view of your website indicating the area where the photos appear. Unless you work on the porn industry, everyone will want to showcase themselves to say that “I was there“. Remember to indicate the area where people can have their photo taken and make sure the photographer is there at the designated time, e.g. during coffee breaks.

Sample slide to promote the faceroll inside the conference room (photo of Joi Ito @ iSummit '08)

Sample slide to promote the faceroll inside the conference room (photo of Joi Ito @ iSummit '08)

During idle times, show on the screens of the conference room a random selection of photos&names or your website with rotating images, as if it were a screen saver.

Your business intelligence and commercial staff will be the first guys to rejoice with the fact of having an accurate faceroll, as it tells them who effectively participated. Attendees will also be happy to see their faces published.

Follows an example of Flickr badge with two photos that rotate each time you refresh this page and an screen capture of the iSummit 2008 homepage that shows how they showed the faceroll of the event.


iSummit 2008  homepage with faceroll highlited

iSummit 2008 homepage with faceroll highlited

Do you make a faceroll during your conference? Share your method here please…

All the pictures shown in this article were taken by me (except mine taken by Kiruba Shankar) during the iCommons iSummit 2008 in Sapporo, Japan.

  • http://africancommons.org Daniela Faris

    Hi Gianfranco

    What a fantastic write-up – brings back some great memories! :) I like your ideas on marketing the face roll at the event, this is definitely a must – I remember at the iSummit ’08 that some people tended to be quite hesitant to participate, so any motivation is good!

    I’m going to be subscribing to your site, a great resource – thanks a ton. Keep in touch!

    Regards

    Daniela

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      Thanks Daniela. Indeed a key ingredient to making a successful faceroll is motivation!

      cheers!

      gian

  • http://africancommons.org Daniela Faris

    Hi Gianfranco

    What a fantastic write-up – brings back some great memories! :) I like your ideas on marketing the face roll at the event, this is definitely a must – I remember at the iSummit ’08 that some people tended to be quite hesitant to participate, so any motivation is good!

    I’m going to be subscribing to your site, a great resource – thanks a ton. Keep in touch!

    Regards

    Daniela

    • Gianfranco Chicco

      Thanks Daniela. Indeed a key ingredient to making a successful faceroll is motivation!

      cheers!

      gian

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