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Old March 6th, 2004, 07:35 PM   #1
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Training video--speaker & PowerPoint

Never done one of these before + don't have time to practice = getting pretty scared!

I've been allowed thirty minutes to set up. All I've got for lights is a 1K w/barndoors, a 650 w/barndoors, a china ball, and regular old work lights. Also carrying gels, black foil, reflectors and black "boards" for flagging or negative fill.

It's a six-hour training video; one person talking, using a Power Point projection onto a white board in a conference room. I don't know right now whether or not there are windows. There won't be any editing, btw.

If the speaker stays pretty much in one place I thought maybe I could flag one light on her so it wouldn't wash out the projection. But what if she crosses over, etc.? Also, I've read on other posts about turning off the existing lights and starting from scratch, which I think sounds good for this job, but really...I just don't know!

Any advice?
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Old March 6th, 2004, 07:45 PM   #2
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Re: Training video--speaker & PowerPoint

<<<-- Originally posted by Lorinda Norton : Never done one of these before + don't have time to practice = getting pretty scared!

I've been allowed thirty minutes to set up. All I've got for lights is a 1K w/barndoors, a 650 w/barndoors, a china ball, and regular old work lights. Also carrying gels, black foil, reflectors and black "boards" for flagging or negative fill.

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Use a bounce light if the ceiling is reasonably low so you don't have to nail the presenter's foot to the floor. Both the big lights held high on stands and pointed up.. Forget direct lighting or put a small kicker on the camera. Maybe 20 watts or so depending on where the camera is located. Put a white card on the top of the podium so reflected light will fill in under the chin, eyes and nose.
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It's a six-hour training video; one person talking, using a Power Point projection onto a white board in a conference room. I don't know right now whether or not there are windows. There won't be any editing, btw.

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OK, they cannot talk for 6 hours straight and you cannot tape for 6 hours straight on any tape-based camera. So they have to come up for air (as will you) some times. The white board is a real no-no if you mean the white board for wipe-off markers. You will pick up a serious glare somewhere (assuming you have to grab the powerpoint image in the first place.
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If the speaker stays pretty much in one place I thought maybe I could flag one light on her so it wouldn't wash out the projection. But what if she crosses over, etc.? Also, I've read on other posts about turning off the existing lights and starting from scratch, which I think sounds good for this job, but really...I just don't know!

Any advice? -->>>
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Old March 6th, 2004, 08:36 PM   #3
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A tough one!

Lorinda,

This is one of the worst possible "training video" scenarios you could be faced with.

We go through this all the time, but, we have a good "way out" due to past experience and how it is presented to the requestor.

First of all, NO ONE is going to sit through six hours of a video presentation unless it is an un-cut version of The Godfather or The Sopranos!

Our "Roll Call" training videos are no more than 10 minutes long and are not done using a "talking head" technique. Try to hold 20-30 cop's attention at roll call using what I call a "video memo!"

We stress this issue of people's attention spans when it comes to training, we stress it vigorously. You'd be lucky to hold someone's attention six minutes, let alone, six hours!

If the powers that be insist on documenting this whole presentation, it would probably behoove you to get a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and intercut it with your speaker video. This will make a world of difference in the watchability of your program.

This having been said, I would light favoring the speaker a little bit more than the presentation screens as you would be cutting away from them anyway when the speaker makes reference to them.

Mike's suggestion makes sense, bounce light, using enough light to give you a presentable image of your speaker.

More importantly and not mentioned...what about audio?

Are you planting a mic on the podium? Can your speaker be trusted not to leave the podium for six hours?

Is the initial audience being prompted or encouraged to ask questions? If so, you will probably need a second audio channel to accomodate a shotgun mic.

Are you adding a wireless, (probably the way to go), to your speaker? At least this way, he or she can continue with the presentation even while taking a bathroom break!

Anyway, this is not an easy gig.

Good luck, RB.
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Old March 6th, 2004, 09:22 PM   #4
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Thanks so much, fellas! I almost didn't ask and would have walked into a nightmare--well, a worse nightmare.

You made some great points--it looks like my inexperience has me saying okay to everything as is.

For instance, the gal who hired me doesn't want "anything fancy." That was her answer to me getting a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and intercutting it. She can't figure out why I don't just come in with a camera and shoot.

Sorry, I forgot to mention audio. I guess I'm borrowing some guy's wireless lav (that way she doesn't have to rent from me), but I'm taking one just in case his doesn't sound good. Never thought about the poor employees asking questions--I'll ask.

Good point about the white board. I'll ask if I can at least bring a projection screen of my own.

As for the lighting advice, I appreciate the idea of bouncing off the ceiling; I would have gone direct and tried to cut it somehow. I'll have to ask, but am afraid the presenter will not be using a lectern. In that case, I'm not sure how I'll light her eyes and get rid of shadows.

Looks like I'd better call and find out a few things. Thanks again; I'm down to a "stage one" panic now.

BTW, they surely weren't planning a continuous six hours; gotta have potty breaks! I'll find out more about that, too. :)
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Old March 6th, 2004, 09:36 PM   #5
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Nothing fancy, huh?

Make sure that the person who said this owns up to it later.

I would still, for my own piece of mind, fight for the PowerPoint.

I would not worry about eyes, shadows, rim-lights, etc. with this type of production.

It is what it is!

You will more than likely not be any closer than a medium close-up at best. As a matter of fact, you will probably stay in a wide shot most of the time.

Live life by these two, very simple rules.

Rule #1. Don't sweat the small s**t.

Rule #2. EVERYTHING is small s**t!

Hang in there, RB.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 09:18 AM   #6
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I would just get a copy of the powerpoint and edit the stills of the powerpoint in the video. I would simply film the speaker without the whiteboard in view and put them on the right of the powerpoint display in a smaller window of the video. I would also shoot with a second small camera at the powerpoint display so i would know when to change the stills to match the speaker. That means you only have to light the speaker and add the stills from the powerpoint in post. Hope I am not confusing you.
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Old February 23rd, 2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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if there is a projector, bounce light is THE WRONG thing to do. it will wash out the projected image on a wider shot.

rig 1 650 off the ceiling using a sissor clip ( drop ceiling grid) with some diffusion more or less head on to podium, and some extra black wrap on the barndoors to flag off the screen. the goal of the light is to kick the skin tones up a bit, and reduce eye socket shadows. if there are windows, maybe you'll be lucky and they will have 5600K flo's in the ceiling. gel your light with CTB and life is good... as long as direct sun doesn't come swinging thru the room.

if its really a white board they will draw on, and a projector, your basically screwed. get a copy of the power point and cut it in. if all 6 hrs is really critical to be seen by viewers, cut to the PP when you can. also remember, its a training video with a VERY limited audience. no one is judging this to be gone with the wind, or even 60 minutes. if the presenter walks in front of the projector, thats what they did, its not your fault or problem.

the most important thing is clean audio. be sure to have a solid wireless setup and DONT use some sound companies feed because I've been burned by them way too many times to talk about it politely. control everything you can, and don't worry about what you can't. its a training video!
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Old February 24th, 2008, 12:23 AM   #8
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Lorinda,

There's a lot of good advice here.

Let me add two simple notes.

First, remind the client that while a roomfull of people need to be served by a good presentation - potentially many, MANY more can get that content if they let you create a good video. So the video is every bit as important as the presentation - potentially more so.

Second, the only way you can "light" a presenter in this kind of setup is if you can get them to set up and STAY in one place. (It's kinda like Murphys law of speakers with powerpoint. At some point the presenter will lean over to point at something on the screen and remain there with a garish bar chart supered across their face making them look like a clown!)

Typically I'm totally against podium speaking since it often encourages presenters to clutch the podium for dear life - but what makes that so bad for many speakers makes it PERFECT for video in a dark room.

Set up your 650 in the back of the room and barn door it RUTHLESSLY to the podium at a good key light angle. Try to get some background light on a wall with the room lights - not much but enough to bring it up from black and help soften the overall shot.

Ideally, you'd set up rim and fill lights - if the 650 is far enough away, 150 fresnels for fill and rim would be all you need. (and pretty cheap to rent or even buy.)

Then intercut the master shot of the presenter with the screen content.

If the presenter wanders you're pretty much lost - since what makes for a good room presentation (dim light) is exactly what makes for bad video.

Good luck.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 03:46 AM   #9
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This job looks like a project that neither you, nor the client, will be happy with. The advice you've gotten is good advice, but it's still a nightmare gig.

I would consider just using available light so that the speaker and screen/whiteboard are both visible in the shot. If you try to cut in later and the screen isn;t already showing, you may not know where to insert the Powerpoint stuff. It won't be as obvious as it seems. Also, this insertion stuff requires editing time.

I'd also focus on getting good audio, because in the end, this will probably be more listenable, than watchable.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 04:04 AM   #10
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I have had to watch, listen to and take notes on more than 60 hours of video of this type of presentation. I will reiterate the need for good, clear audio (without that distant sound of a mic too far a way in a bad sounding room).

If it were me watching these videos, if the sound is near, clear and clean, I wouldn't care what the picture looked like.

It is terrible watching these things when they have bad sound.

It goes back to the old idea, which would make you walk out of a movie sooner... bad picture or bad sound?
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Old February 24th, 2008, 05:49 AM   #11
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Lorinda,

Just out of curiosity, as the question you posted was 4 years ago, what did you do and how did it turn out?

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Old February 24th, 2008, 09:19 AM   #12
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LOL! Here we are giving advice for this upcoming event...

Nonetheless, it was good to hear all of these ideas.
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Old February 24th, 2008, 08:10 PM   #13
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Too much. Why did this get revived?
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Old April 20th, 2008, 05:20 PM   #14
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Wow! While doing a search for something else I stumbled across this old thread. I’m so sorry—I didn’t know it had been revived after all this time! Gotta say, though, that it was nice to read a post from Rick Bravo after all these years…

How did it turn out? I don’t remember! No, actually, it was okay. I left the existing lights on and aimed the 650 from barely below eye level at the podium. Had to put a bit of diffusion on it to keep her teeth from reflecting, but by golly, I was gonna get those eyes or know the reason why. With the 650 aimed at the opposite side of the podium from the projection I ran a static camera on the projection side and cut to it when she crossed over. It cut together more nicely than I expected.

Overall, the look turned out more soft (flat) than I would have liked, but was a decent compromise. For audio I used my own wireless lav and got pretty clean stuff, with the exception of an occasional brush from her hair when she turned her head. By the way, the whole thing fit on two disks, so if I remember correctly it was well under four hours.
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Old April 20th, 2008, 07:20 PM   #15
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Hey, a blast from the past!

This reminds me that I did a similar shoot back about three or four years ago. Same scenario, single speaker in front of a class, PowerPoint and inadequate lighting. Except my speaker was male and African American (remember the inadequate lighting?!), and the sessions lasted for 1 1/2 hours once a week for 13 weeks! We had to set up and break down every time! I did get the PowerPoint files, demanded them actually! My assistant did the close up and I did the wide because the audio engineer flaked after the first week so I had to monitor audio as well. We ended up not using lights except for the overheads but fortunately with the PD 170s we only had to gain up to 3dB with a very shallow DoF. We used two SM58s in the crowd to pick up audience questions. It turned out pretty well since they sold enough of the series to pay for my time!
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