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Old September 17th, 2014, 12:41 AM   #16
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Re: Filming a conference

Yeah, for live switching, definitely grab the VGA feed. Just like recording audio from the board, if that doesn't work, put a camera on a screen (or, for audio, a mic near the loudspeaker.) In post, the live capture is nice too as you won't have to export and manually sync the slides. Then again, you can't beat the quality of exporting the slides and using the properly scaled bitmaps in post.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 01:47 PM   #17
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Re: Filming a conference

For the monthly internal conference I shoot, I record the PowerPoint show live on the presentation computer using screen recording software. In addition, I use a BeachTek box to input a feed from a second wireless receiver into the presentation computer to get a second high-quality and in-sync audio recording with the show, as backup to the wireless receiver that feeds my main camera.

In fact, for some dates when I had a conflict and couldn't shoot video, this screen recording and direct audio feed serve as the entire finished product after trimming the head and tail. A couple of presenters who didn't really want to be on-camera preferred this method, but of course the final video isn't nearly as interesting.

I also export the slides as .bmp files in case I have to fix something later.
Plus I have the PowerPoint show itself if something really needs to be modified later.

So in total visually, I have the main video camera, the cutaway/crowd camera, the screen recording .avi from the computer, and the .bmp images from the PowerPoint.

For audio, I have the main wireless lav going to the main camera, and a mic on the lectern for the host's intro and as backup for the presenter, also going to the main camera.

I have the matching main wireless lav audio recorded directly with the PowerPoint computer screen .avi using a second and totally separate receiver.

Lastly, I have two AT3031 mics covering the two halves of the audience for useable but not great question audio. These are recorded into an H4n.

The cutaway camera has onboard guide-only audio for syncing and it records continuously so it only needs the starting sync point.

Once everything is recording, I clap it for sync at the lectern. Then some housekeeping comments are made before the host does the intro and the presenter starts.

I'm able to record the computer screen with software because it's essentially my venue and my coworker's laptop and her department is the hosting organization.
I realize for most people doing one-person-conference-recording, they won't have that luxury of full access to the computer, the presentation, the sound system and ample time to set up and test everything.
If I had to do this at an outside event, I would use a spare camera to record the projection screen and have guide audio for sync, to put the .bmp slides on the timeline instead of using a computer screen software recording.
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Old September 17th, 2014, 04:33 PM   #18
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Re: Filming a conference

Using screen recording software isn't a bad way to go, especially because exported bitmaps don't include the PowerPoint animations. This is no big deal if the animations are just matrix and heart wipes, but for progressive reveals, it can be a problem. With the bitmaps, one is left to choose whether to just show the fully revealed slide from the get go (possibly ruining a punchline) or to take the time to fake it in post, which could be quite time consuming. I generally just show the fully revealed slide, unless the staged reveal is really compelling for the story. In other words, one had better make their animations compelling if they want to motivate me to put in the time to bring them to the screen. :)
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Old September 17th, 2014, 07:15 PM   #19
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Re: Filming a conference

Yes that's true, the screen recording captures everything that happens as the PowerPoint show progresses. This includes any pointing done with the mouse (which I encourage) to highlight the details being discussed, as well as quick flips either back and forth or jumping ahead to skip slides. The presenter invariably talks during this activity and having to fake it or cut it out often doesn't fit with the flow of their banter and audience interaction. With the screen recording, it just seems natural even if a bit unprofessional from a performance standpoint.

The computer screen recording of course won't capture if a laser is used to point to the projection screen (which I discourage since I usually don't have a camera pointed at the screen). Plus in that room the projector brightness, the lectern angle and having only a red laser, isn't very effective visually.

For a larger yearly internal conference, I actually use the screen recording software after the fact. I edit the camera videos of the presenter's onstage segments, then play those back for myself and run the PowerPoint show while watching the videos. I also feed the playback audio into the computer to be a sync guide on the screen recordings. Then I do the final editing once I have those screen recordings saved. It's too large a show with too many other segments intermixed that don't have PowerPoint, as well as too much risk with that large an audience to also try to do the screen recording live for that event.
But there's a lot of animation so it's worth it in the long run to recreate these segments in post.

Last edited by Jay Massengill; September 18th, 2014 at 07:48 AM.
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Old September 18th, 2014, 05:47 AM   #20
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Re: Filming a conference

Here's one that I recorded last night. The presenter had used Prezi to make a more interesting presentation, and the screen recording from the laptop captured not only the slides but also the transitions.


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Old September 18th, 2014, 09:52 AM   #21
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Re: Filming a conference

Conferences are the dullest thing AV companies do, but nicely paid. Proper planning is essential, so you can go from a lectern mic and a boom mic in the delegates area, but it can rapidly get out of control when it features multi-people top table discussion and Q+As. Our conference kit consists of a dozen small table stand small condensers, three or four cameraman operated cameras, and as mentioned splitters to get the PPT slides into the portable production unit - which goes to another projector as IMAG. That said, only about 5% of our jobs use this kit. Most have two cameras, one lectern mic, one audience pass around hand held radio and copies of the PPT that we insert during editing. The radio has a big yellow windshield on it - totally unnecessary, but easy for the cameraman to find!

This scale event is economical, the full system very expensive. Client choice means they WANT the expensive one, but make do with the simple one.

We've had the PPU for nearly 8 years now, and it's only just paid for itself - we won't replace it.

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Old October 18th, 2014, 02:20 PM   #22
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Re: Filming a conference

Hi, everyone! When I logged in, I was informed that I hadn't been on the forum since June! Don't know whether that's because I've been slammed or just lazy! ;-) Anyway, here's a little different take on the 'conference' type assignment. I recently did a gig for a food & beverage conference, where instead of providing the A/V support, I was hired to roam around capturing footage for a "highlight" video that will be used to promote future conferences. The A/V support didn't include IMAG, so I was the only "real" videographer on site, and thankfully, I wasn't hired to record the sessions verbatim. My takeaway as a SPC: it was still a challenge--particularly during breakout sessions, but I got everything the client wanted to see, and they were very happy with the finished product. For two days, I was really "humping it," but it can be done. I was just out of breath for a couple 'a days afterward!
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Old November 14th, 2014, 11:50 AM   #23
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Re: Filming a conference

1) I have always had one camera to the left or right of speaker shooting chest up. Second was the wide shot like others have said. Third is where I roam and get different angles of the speaker and crowd shots for b roll.


3) What is the best way to capture audio? One conference has a Q&A at the end, so audio would need to be captured from the audience.

I have always hooked up an H4N to the soundboard, had mics going into the camera and then another H4N going into the speaker or on the podium where the speakers would be. That depends on how the stage area is setup.


I've shot many solo and I use DSLR's. An easy process, but you have to pay lots of attention to the cameras.
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