Skip to main content
esports camera setup

RAF virtual event takes flight

The RAF's annual Royal International Air Tattoo was successfully repurposed and transformed to a virtual event, with the help of leading human experience agency, Identity.

The overarching aim of the Virtual Air Tattoo was to give viewers a flavour of the in-person event that was originally planned for 2020. This included virtual flying displays, interviews and never seen before footage, alongside added extras to ensure quality audience engagement and entertainment.

Identity worked the RAF’s Video Game and Esports Association’s ingrained passion for esports to develop a unique experience for the two day, free to view live-streamed event.

RAF Squadron Leader Nige Bell said: “The reach into esports came about because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Royal Air Force and Identity looked at alternative ways to gain an audience share in terms of events, and that naturally went into the virtual events aspect. We looked at esports as an up-and-coming vehicle that individuals can do in the Air Force, have an enthusiasm for it and get paid for it.”

A best of five, Rocket League esports showcase between RAF esports teams was produced. This 90-minute livestream was backed by Identity's extensive expertise in esports activations, broadcasts and sets. It delivered the creative ingenuity and entire production at a purpose-built, Covid-secure broadcast studio in Bristol. It designed and produced a bespoke, RAF branded esports set that featured a 4-metre high LED backdrop, gamer desks, chairs, PCs, peripherals, host lectern as well as 3-camera filming, AV, lighting, and cast and crew. These all worked seamlessly with social distancing requirements in place.

The event was MC’d by professional esports host Freya Spiers and broadcast to a global audience via the RAF VGEA Twitch channel.

Logistical consideration of traffic flow throughout the studio was planned meticulously, with separate green rooms for cast and crew and multiple sanitisation stations, to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience for everybody involved. Other elements of Identity’s virtual delivery package included, behind the scenes footage of a life and career in the RAF, interviews and analysis.

Rebecca McCreath, RAF account director, Identity, said: “The RAF and Identity has developed a very close working relationship and this ensuring we had a very clear understanding of the objectives and target market. As such we are able to effectively add value through identifying opportunities to uniquely position the RAF. Within the confines of the pandemic occurred we proactively found alternative routes to market and continue to provide virtual solutions that we know work for both the end-user and the RAF.”

Shéa Bennett, Head of Strategy at Identity, whose son Joshua is a five-time European champion, said: “The RAF’s passion for esports is equal to our own. This was evident in early meetings regarding a Virtual Air Tattoo event and aligned elegantly with our vast experience in virtual events delivery and our expertise in esports.”

Michael Gietzen, MD Identity, said: “The enforced pandemic lockdown presented Identity with an opportunity to completely transform and invest in an even more dynamic business model. With further investment, a strategic recruitment programme and a repositioning of our offering, Identity now provides a vastly enlarged creative and digital offering of live, virtual and hybrid events. Our repositioning, as the first ever ‘human experience’ agency, has already borne fruit with some big wins for the agency.”


Identity is the lead human experience agency. It scooped a Queen’s Award for International Trade in 2020 and ranked in the latest Sunday Times Top 100 Fast Track companies. Identity works with blue chip clients, global brands and governments from around the world delivering exceptional live, virtual and hybrid events.