Don’t Cancel It: How to Hold a “Virtual Graduation Ceremony”

Allan Chochinov
11 min readMar 23, 2020


Students are nervous, parents are nervous, schools are nervous.
Here’s a possible solution.

Let’s do this quick.

It’s no secret that everyone is getting very anxious about “canceling this year’s graduation ceremony.” It’s two or three months away for most schools in this part of the world, and things may not be looking so promising right now.

Please don’t cancel your event; instead, consider moving it online.

This is a quick-and-dirty guide to help you figure it out, with a couple “special effects” and a no-nonsense workflow.

I’m going to be very detailed in some of the following, but the ideal scenario here is to involve your own “creative team” at your school and to make this your own project. That said, most school’s leadership is overwhelmed with…well, with everything, so copying and pasting this plan for “how do we solve graduation?!” into an email, or just sending them this link might come as a bit of a relief. So, if the guidelines below make sense for you and your institution, please take ’em and run with ’em. (Well, walk with them, since the students will be “walking” at their upcoming virtual graduation:)

It’s likely that each of the videos is going to look a little bit different — this is not going to be perfect. But it’s not going to be “canceled” either.

There are 7 easy steps to pulling this off:

  1. Students record their own 5-second video clip at home using a common virtual “greenscreen” background. (Don’t worry, it’s described below, and it’s a cinch.)
  2. These clips are strung together into the “walking” portion of the movie.
  3. School leadership, valedictorians, guest speakers, and anyone else scheduled to be “on stage” each record their own segment. (They can also use the same virtual background.)
  4. All of the elements are assembled together into a full-length Graduation Movie by a video editor. If you don’t have one at your school, you can easily hire one — especially now! — and you should. (Videographers…



Allan Chochinov

Chair, MFA Products of Design at SVA. Partner, Core77