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Old February 1st, 2013, 11:13 AM   #1
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Videotaping a Speech

Hi, Everyone

I've been asked to videotape a speech. What things should I consider when doing this? It's a single person speech in front of a 100 person audience.

Thanks for your help...
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Jaime Espiritu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 1st, 2013, 11:31 AM   #2
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Re: Videotaping a Speech

One of the first things to consider is how you will mic the speaker. You could use either a shot gun mic or wireless lapel mic. I can only imagine that the venue will be to large for a shotgun mic since there will be 100people in attendance. Also, depending on the situation, you may want to have a second camera that faces the audience so that you can get some audiance response and reaction. How you frame the shot may be important if you need to add bullet points in post. You should also consider having more than one source of audio. Perhaps both a wireless mic and a direct feed from the sound board if possible.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 12:07 PM   #3
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Re: Videotaping a Speech

As said above, audio is key. If there is a sound system, get plugged in to it and do a thorough sound check. Make sure some one is also monitoring that recording during the speech to make sure it's at the right levels and you are actually getting a feed (you'd be amazed how often the feed gets cut!).

As a backup (always have a backup for audio!), get a microphone as near as possible to the speaker to avoid room reflections (echo) and other noises from the audience. This generally means either a lapel mic or another mic on a stand very close to the lectern. You'll also want another mic source for ambient room noise and/or applause of possible.

If there are going to be question and answer sessions then capturing the audio from an audience member is tough, especially if you are located behind them, so make sure the speaker repeats the question or no one will know what the question was when playing the video back.

In terms of cameras, one camera as a medium shot of the speaker (remember the rule of thirds ;)). We'd typically add at least one more camera to give the viewer some relief from the single shot. This could be wide, close or a mixture of the two. One shot for the entire speech would be visually boring and will be harder to watch.

Having a third camera pointed back at the audience is good for reaction shots if you are expecting lots of applause and/or laughter.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 03:18 PM   #4
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Re: Videotaping a Speech

As stated, use 2 or 3 mics. One camera mounted is fine as emergency option. Straight from the sound system is ideal. A lapel mic on the speaker is good, too, or at the podium.
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Old February 1st, 2013, 03:29 PM   #5
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Re: Videotaping a Speech

Hi Jaime, you've got some research to do. Is the speech going to be by a professional speaker?*

If so you should get a concise, clear well spoken delivery. What is the subject? How long is it? Is it humorous? Will there be audience responses.
Any questions from the audience? Will your speaker be introduced, how will you mic him?

Where is the venue, what are the acoustics like, is there any public address? 10X10 rows of seats is not big, he may not have or even need amplification.
Is there any outside noise to deal with? Will he walk around the stage, is there a podium to hide an audio recorder under?
If you use a wireless mic, what's the likehood of getting RF interference?. Go there days in advance and set yours up and monitor it.

Make arrangements to run the camera on battery, to avoid any a/c ground loops or unforseen house power problems.

What's the room lighting like, be careful he doesn't have strong lights in back of him. Be prepared to take your lights, maybe a spotlight with flags.

Should you get some intro footage to put titles over? Does he want copies, how many and when?

Watch out he doesn't suddenly decide to turn up with some slides or video to project, I've had this happen, total gamechanger.

*If not, good luck.

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Old February 2nd, 2013, 01:15 PM   #6
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Re: Videotaping a Speech

Lots of great advice here already Jaime.

I have done "board feeds" while doing band videos and my complaint with them, after listening to them a bit, they are way "too sterile". When I did was to take a board feed and them take an ambient feed from the room as well. In post, it was easy to mix the pair giving preference to the board feed, but allowing the ambient to fill in the voids. I found it gave me a more natural sound and appeared to be more realistic.
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