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Old October 22nd, 2013, 03:46 PM   #1
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Syncing the presenter's A/V content

I am going to shoot a presentation at which the presenter will be showing slides/video on a separate screen. I will have access to the material to include in the video so I will be alone, using only one camera. My question is: what is the best way to mark when the presenter switches slides? In the past I have used a second camera with an operator, but that is not an option for this shoot. I really would not have to rely on my (failing) memory, or to guess based on the presenters words. Any suggestions??

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Old October 22nd, 2013, 06:01 PM   #2
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

I've done it with a pad of paper a pencil and the TC on the camera. Since the run time is in my LCD I simply make a quick note of the run time on the paper. Of course if he goes backward for any reason you could be in a fix. How about a palmcorder on the screen just to sync the presentation? I've done that also.
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Old October 23rd, 2013, 09:01 AM   #3
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

As Don mentioned, a static camera pointed at the screen is one of the easiest methods.

The syncing utility of this screen footage goes up as the quality of the presenter's spoken commentary improves on this recording. In other words make sure you've put some effort into getting a clear audio recording on the screen visuals footage.

For a monthly presentation I record and edit, I use screen recording software to capture what the presentation computer is showing. In addition, a second wireless receiver is picking up the presenter's lav mic and it is recorded directly in the presentation computer along with the visuals for clean sync and as a backup against wireless dropouts. So this screen recording not only has sync but is high enough quality to use as the visual recording of the presentation materials (and audio too as a safety).
Of course, I have full access to the computer, the presenter only brings their presentation on a thumb drive and not their own computer.

In the past if I didn't have access to the presentation computer but did have a copy of the presentation, I would advance the presentation on my own computer with screen recording software in sync with the presenter.

In addition to recording the computer screen with software, I also save the PowerPoint slides as .bmp image files after the presentation. So I have those to work with also if needed.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; October 24th, 2013 at 07:44 AM.
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Old October 24th, 2013, 08:39 AM   #4
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

I would agree, a little cheap camera set on the screen would be the best option. I have a Panasonic LX-7 stills camera that I also use for scoreboards during games or anything else utility/lockoff related. It cost $300, is small and in 720p has no time limit for video recording.
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Old October 24th, 2013, 10:46 PM   #5
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

if you really can't use a 2nd cam then how about shooting a slightly wider shot that includes the edge of the screen so you can see when the changes occur and cropping in post
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Old October 25th, 2013, 09:42 PM   #6
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Or a cell phone with video capabilities.
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Old October 28th, 2013, 07:49 PM   #7
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

How many channels of audio can you record on your camera? If 2 or more, record the presenter's audio on channel 1, then plug a lavalier microphone into channel 2 to record yourself cueing the slides as the presenter changes his. Of course in post, delete your narration.

This method eliminates any need for notes, timecodes, and extra cameras.
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Old October 29th, 2013, 06:25 AM   #8
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Thanks for the replies, some good ideas here. I'm going to go with a second camera (even though I really don't want to) since I want to be able to follow the presenter's laser pointer. That way there is no possibility of any ambiguity.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 11:20 AM   #9
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Jerry,

If you are saying the second camera is going to record the screen for use in the end product I would not suggest that. Shooting the screen always yields a low quality representation of PowerPoint and is considered the most amateur way of doing it. I think everyone was suggesting a second camera shot so you have a sync track for reference only.

Jay has recommended good processes if you don't have the ability to scan convert and record on site. If you would like to simplify his process on site and do the screen capture (a lap top screen, not the projection screen) afterwords try this. Put a copy of the presentation on your lap top. PowerPoint has a feature called "rehearse timings" in the slide show menu. If you activate that all you will have to do is hit the space bar every time he advances a slide. PowerPoint will record your copy of the presentation with those timings and play it back automatically so you will have a synced presentation. Then you can screen capture it afterwards so while you are shooting you can focus on your camera work. It is even better if you can get someone else to advance the slides for you.

Also, in the world of video recording presentations, if there is going to be a failure, it is the audio that gets messed up. It is not hard to do but you can't imagine how often guys fail at it.

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Old October 29th, 2013, 11:41 AM   #10
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Steve,
I am going to use the second camera only to sync the slides with the speaker while editing. I am going have the presentation in a form that I can include directly in the final product. Definitely not using the second camera in the project!

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Jerry
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Old October 29th, 2013, 11:48 AM   #11
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Jerry,

Hope I did not offend you. When you mentioned following his laser pointer I got the idea you may be shooting the screen. You can't know someones level of experience from a few words on a forum!

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Old October 29th, 2013, 12:05 PM   #12
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

And, I hope for your sake the presenter is NOT using a laser pointer. Amateur presenters often over use them and you could end up with your entire video being a shot of the back of someones head.....it happens!

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Old October 29th, 2013, 12:10 PM   #13
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Steve,
No offense taken. I did not mean to make it seem like I did. As you said it is sometimes difficult to make one's intentions clear when having to rely only on text.

All the best,
Jerry
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Old October 29th, 2013, 08:48 PM   #14
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

In my situation when using the screen recording software, I encourage the presenter to use the external mouse connected to the presentation laptop to move the pointer over the spots of interest if needed.

This movement gets recorded visually by the software and is good quality to use in the final video without having to recreate it.

In this room, the projector is very bright and the lectern is well to the side. So only a high-brightness green laser would really show up effectively at this glancing angle on the very bright screen. A normal red pointer appears very weak. So using the on-screen mouse pointer arrow is most effective and keeps the presenter facing the audience.

Speaking of audio failures, once several years ago at a large conference my company was sponsoring where many presenters were coming to the podium one after another without a break, we used a cardioid podium mic which worked perfectly for all but one presenter. The presentation laptop was also on the podium, so each speaker could look directly at their slides and the audience, and advance their show with the clearly marked keyboard arrow buttons. During the middle of his presentation, he exclaimed, "I can't do it this way!!" and proceeded to step down and face the projection screen with his back to the audience! Of course he was now about 5 feet directly BEHIND the cardioid PA mic... So for the rest of his presentation he had to basically shout, and the audio and camera recordings were useless. Plus he had to keep stepping up to the back of the computer and reach over to advance his slides! It was the most bizarre thing I've ever seen. I guess it was fortunate for me that he was in the middle of a long string of presenters who all did it normally, so it was obvious that he was just a little nutty and there wasn't anything wrong with the setup.
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Old October 31st, 2013, 07:34 PM   #15
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Re: Syncing the presenter's A/V content

Have been following this thread with some interest as I also film seminars and conferences and I'm still trying to sort out what works. Firstly I also use 2 Cameras to film the event. I also ask for a copy of the powerpoint to edit in later. if I am guaranteed the powerpoint, I frame the second Camera to cover both the screen and the Presenter, this gives me cue points and a wide shot to allow me to reframe the first camera (which is very handy).

A couple of things. First re laser pointers. I have just recorded an event where a laser pointer was used a lot and to good effect - pointing out teeth that could or not be extracted from an X-ray image. For the audience and the Presenter the laser pointer was an ideal way to communicate a complex subject. For the video, not so good. The client had me positioned in a corner of the room and Yes, I did film a lot of the first speakers head, realising the problem I switched sides for other Presenters so I could see their face, still not great but because of the subject matter (Dental surgery) interaction with the screen was important for the communication.

Another Presenter was a roamer. Sometimes he disappeared out of the light into the gloom. However, he was good in terms of being an engaging speaker. Again not good for video but for the audience he gave an engaging presentation. At least I had good sound as I used a radio mic which I swapped for each speaker.

So, having the above problems I think a solution to make videos that communicate well to a web audience
is to do a split screen video (I use a fcpx widescreen plugin). This way the powerpoint is always viewable and if the Presenter is looking at the ppt screen pointing out some detail chances are the web viewing audience are doing the same. Is it ideal, no. Does it tell the story, I think yes and that really is the bottom line.

As to screen capture, I have been looking at getting a VGA to HDMI converter so that when their is a vision mixer available I can plug this into a Ninja 2 and record the ppt presentation. Haven't got it to work yet (tried a Digitech box which failed miserably) however I think this idea could save a lot of time in post.

A lot of this is a trade off in one way or another and often it gets down as to how serious the client is in getting a video that really does work and paying accordingly.
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