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Old January 18th, 2010, 03:12 PM   #1
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Amsterdam, NL
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Conference recordings..

Hi,

Next week i will be working at a conference, my main purpose is to shoot a company promo for the organising company, with some testimonials from delegates/sponsors, some shots of the lunch, brainstorming sessions, maybe some words from the owner, and also some of a case study.

Part of my future working plan is offering services for recording conferences, ie the actual case studies (i have a background in the conference industry and some good contacts there), and so i'd like to use this opportunity to get a good item that i can use for my future job hunting!

So.. I'd like to use a split screen format, with the speaker on the right, the slides (bigger) on the left and the speaker title etc written underneath.

Anyways.. im still figuring out whats the best and most efficient and attractive way of working and would appreciate any input on this.

My thoughts so far are that a 1 camera job would look pretty poor (panning back and forward from the speaker to the slide, or finding the right angle with the speaker and the slides behind, only for the speaker to start walking around)

The idea of doing a multicam edit, even if theres only 2 shots, and you do it all in real time, is also not so attractive as many conferences would have upto 12 hours or more of material, thats a lot of (often not very exciting!) material to have to edit in this way. Hence the splitscreen idea.

So from what i'm thinking the options would be to use:
2 cameras, 1 camera and some kind of av recorder like a firestore, that somehow took a signal from the projector, 1 camera plus simply taking the powerpoint file from the speaker and manually editing in the slides at the right places (not keen on this one!), 1 camera and a laptop to take the signal from the projector??

So far i'm thinking the best may be for next week as the case study wont be super critical i'll use a camera for the speaker close up and a laptop to take a signal from the projector, plus maybe a line out from the audio mixer to the laptop at the same time??

I'd love to know if anybody has any experience or recommendations for this specific type of setup.. I've never used a laptop to record a live signal (my laptop is PC with premiere pro, however at home i use a macpro/final cut)

Thanks very much!
Manus Sweeney is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2010, 03:45 PM   #2
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Location: Nashville, TN
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Hi Manus,

I spent years shooting corporate presentations and putting them on the web using several different types of strategies and tools, so I know the issues in what you are attempting to do. A quality approach is taking the Powerpoint slide decks from the presenters and saving them out from Powerpoint as stills - then placing them at the correct points in the presentation timeline. If you can run a signal to an empty audio channel that records you tapping a mic or some other type of audio cue (even if it's just you saying what the new slide is) it can help you place them later.

Another option is to point a separate cam at the slides and record. More times than not this is the way to go, especially because presenters sometimes get irritated that their animations and transitions are not presented when you used exported jpeg graphics to create your video. With SD cams quality used to be an issue, but with HD I think the slides recorded off the screen would probably get recorded pretty well. Be sure to take auto-exposure off, and if anything under-expose your video a bit when recording slides - since an abrupt change in slide color will send your video into a temporary tizzy of brighness/contrast issues if auto-exposure is on.

A third option is to take an output feed from the projector, but to really do the slides justice you'd need an HD output feed. SD output just ruins slides that are made for computer resolution. Most projectors aren't going to have an HD output, and even if they do you'd have to have a capture card that takes an HDMI or Component input to digitize the signal. RGB to NTSC or HD converters are expensive for good quality as well. To get a really good signal is a real pain. I've had much better luck shooting the screen - whether it be shooting the laptop screen (i.e. demoing software, etc.) or shooting the projected screen image for presentations.

I think the second option is the best for both retaining the sync, original quality, and design intent of the presenter. You'll have two sources to sync, but that shouldn't be difficult - once you've synced them they should be in sync throughout.
Bill Vincent is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 18th, 2010, 04:08 PM   #3
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Join Date: May 2009
Location: Amsterdam, NL
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Thanks Bill, very usefull and fast feedback!

For the future i will most likely take your suggestion for the 2 cam format, for next week i will double check which projector they have, if they have an HDMI output, i may consider running it into the HDMI of my laptop..

Are there any pitfalls you know of to look out for with this?
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Old January 18th, 2010, 05:11 PM   #4
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Location: Durango, Colorado, USA
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For 23 years I was an AV technician in the meetings and conventions industry, and Mr. Vincent's comments are very accurate. I've been retired from the industry for several years, so a lot of things have changed. However, getting a good looking computer presentation to look equally good on video appears to have not changed ... it remains difficult without expensive equipment to get past the logistic barriers.

Because your home machine is a Mac (my platform of choice), you might have an advantage. Apple Computer's iWork suite of software contains Keynote, a significant improvement over PowerPoint, in my opinion. Keynote exports to HD video extremely well, and does a very good job of converting PowerPoint presentations. Not all transition effects convert well, however. With a copy of the PowerPoint presentation and a bit of time I'm sure you could prepare exceptionally good, or perhaps even better animations to insert in your finished video.

I always used three cameras and a video switcher for business presentations. One locked onto the projection screen. One for the speaker's podium, and the third either a wide shot of the stage or a house shot of the audience. All cameras recorded their unique video as back up. The switcher directed video feeds to a master deck which, was usually the master I delivered.

All audio was fed into the switcher from an audio mixer which allowed me to manage all microphones used during the meeting.

Good Luck!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Manus Sweeney View Post
Hi,

Next week i will be working at a conference, my main purpose is to shoot a company promo for the organising company, with some testimonials from delegates/sponsors, some shots of the lunch, brainstorming sessions, maybe some words from the owner, and also some of a case study.

Part of my future working plan is offering services for recording conferences, ie the actual case studies (i have a background in the conference industry and some good contacts there), and so i'd like to use this opportunity to get a good item that i can use for my future job hunting!

So.. I'd like to use a split screen format, with the speaker on the right, the slides (bigger) on the left and the speaker title etc written underneath.

Anyways.. im still figuring out whats the best and most efficient and attractive way of working and would appreciate any input on this.

My thoughts so far are that a 1 camera job would look pretty poor (panning back and forward from the speaker to the slide, or finding the right angle with the speaker and the slides behind, only for the speaker to start walking around)

The idea of doing a multicam edit, even if theres only 2 shots, and you do it all in real time, is also not so attractive as many conferences would have upto 12 hours or more of material, thats a lot of (often not very exciting!) material to have to edit in this way. Hence the splitscreen idea.

So from what i'm thinking the options would be to use:
2 cameras, 1 camera and some kind of av recorder like a firestore, that somehow took a signal from the projector, 1 camera plus simply taking the powerpoint file from the speaker and manually editing in the slides at the right places (not keen on this one!), 1 camera and a laptop to take the signal from the projector??

So far i'm thinking the best may be for next week as the case study wont be super critical i'll use a camera for the speaker close up and a laptop to take a signal from the projector, plus maybe a line out from the audio mixer to the laptop at the same time??

I'd love to know if anybody has any experience or recommendations for this specific type of setup.. I've never used a laptop to record a live signal (my laptop is PC with premiere pro, however at home i use a macpro/final cut)

Thanks very much!
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