Business Video Production
What To Ask & Look For When Selecting a Video Production Company
Part 2 – Recording Presentations:
In this part 2 section on Business Video Production we are going to discuss WHAT GOES INTO PRESENTATION RECORDING and the steps you can take to get the best results.
Have you ever watched a recording someone made of a speaker which came out yellow, grainy and with audio you could barely understand that sounded like it was recorded in a cave? How about a video of a presenter that has more of the audience heads in view than the speaker, or the speaker is a washed out head in the distance you can barely see?
I’ve just described the results you can be stuck with unless you prepare before the presentation.
Here are some of the items that need to be addressed:
Coordination with the Venue
The key to success is pre-planning coordination with the venue or event planner when planning the setup. They have to know your shooter is coming and what is needed. In most cases, you’ll need to get permission to have a presentation shot. In some hotels there are also union rules that have to be adhered to. You’ll also need to have the AV or Event Planner’s contact information for your video production company to make arrangements with. If there are PowerPoint or similar presentations, you’ll need to plan so that the screens aren’t in the same area as the speaker. Your video production company will need an audio feed and often AC power. Additionally, where the camera will be placed needs to be thought out so that it is close enough to the action with a good angle, usually with the speaker speaking at a slight angle facing the camera.
For lighting, the first choice is to keep the room lights up. Professional cameras are amazingly light sensitive and can adjust so that the speaker is reasonably bright and not yellowish. Though the results won’t be perfect and will be somewhat monochromatic, in many cases, particularly smaller rooms or when limited setup time is available, this is all you’ll need or can do. In these cases, your speaker has to have direction on where they can stand for the best results. Obviously walking or standing in front of a projection screen won’t work.
If you want it to look better you can usually order lighting through the conference facility, if not your video production company can light the stage. If your speaker is directed to stand in one spot such as a podium, it is easier to light than if they wander the stage. If they wander, you might want what is called a “stage wash” which is lighting covering the whole stage evenly and if ceiling mounted lights aren’t available, a truss might be needed. If your speaker can stay in a certain area, lights on stands will do an adequate job though could be distracting to your audience. To look really professional you’ll want back-lighting also. Bear in mind that lighting needs to be setup and tested before hand and requires time and money, sometimes an extra day or evening before the presentation. When we setup and shoot, we bring a separate monitor so that we don’t have to rely on a camera viewfinder to get the right color balance, balanced lighting and to focus.
Often for presentations people forget that what is behind the speaker is what is going to be behind the speaker on the video. If a projector screen is behind the speaker you know that won’t work and has to be moved but how about an ugly doorway or a fire extinguisher in the shot? Pre-planning and even a location scouting visit can address the need for drapes in back or some speaker consistent signage. Most presentation venues can provide risers to create a stage and get your speaker above the audience. When we shoot we either get a similar riser in back or bring a portable riser we have to elevate the camera.
We spoke about that voice in a cave sound and that is what it will sound like unless your videographer connects his camera to the sound system or puts a separate wireless mic on the speaker. If multiple people will be speaking it is usually best to connect to the house system which is part of coordination as addressed in “Coordination with the Venue”. When we coordinate with the AV people we ask for an XLR cable at either mic or line level and connect that to a portable audio mixer we bring so that we have some control over what is fed us. If needed your video production company can usually care for all audio requirements if allowable by the venue.
Video of the audience
It is helpful to have footage of the audience that can be used for transitions of the speaker and reaction shots when the presentation is edited. We normally shoot short segments of such footage at no cost with a separate camera but if you want a second camera full-time recording, that is an option with us and most video production companies.
Getting You the Footage
OK, now the presentation is shot but what to do with the footage. We and most video production companies today record on solid state media and after the presentation can transfer your footage to a laptop you bring at no charge or put it on a hard drive or memory stick we can sell you.
Recording PowerPoint or Similar, Group Recording and Other Options – PART 3
Up until this point what we’ve described is recording a speaker. If that is all you want, you are done. However if you want the PPT included either live or in subsequent editing to be part of a finished product then more options are needed.
What about recording directly to a DVD you can take with you?
If you want to record a focus group or meeting with many people trying to talk at once, we have set ups for that we will describe. And if you want multiple cameras, the PPT and everything else included and streamed live, those are other options all of which will be described in PART 3 of this series.
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