Some events such as seminars and public addresses can be quite dry and as a video producer it’s our job to come up with ways of making them look visually interesting and engaging for the video audience.
Making an event look visually interesting for viewers can be achieved in a number of ways. To start with, where you chose to have your cameras positioned can be very important.
If you only have one camera, make sure that the position is front on to the subject. It can be behind the audience but the more front on and central the better. Although the presenter is predominantly addressing the audience in front of them, a well positioned camera allows engagement with the video audience as well. If the camera is positioned to the side there is much less engagement with the presenter and the audience feels less involved with the content.
If possible, it’s a good idea to use multiple cameras. If you have the ability to use two cameras, then position the second camera at the front of the room facing the audience. It’s sometimes possible to get a position behind the stage, just to one side of the center, but most likely this position will be to the side of the stage, facing the audience.
The addition of an audience shot adds a lot to the production value of the video and makes for more interesting viewing. It’s also a necessity if the presentation includes a question and answer component from the audience at the end of the presentation.
If it’s possible to use a third camera, position this next to the first camera facing the subject. This can be used for the wider shots like covering a panel of guests.
Editing a multi camera shoot can be very time consuming, most of which can be avoided by using a video switcher to switch live to tape.
There are now several reasonably priced switchers on the market such as the Blackmagic ATEM series, that allow you to input multiple camera sources.
Audio is an equally important consideration when thinking about your viewing audience. There is nothing more annoying when watching an event video and having the presenter walk off mic or worse still, being unable to hear what has been said at all.
Minimizing the chances of this happening just takes some good production planning.
The safest way to capture the audio is to individually mic each presenter or speaker using wireless lapel microphones. This lets the presenter walk around while still ensuring good audio for your viewers.
Sometimes it is best not to rely on patching into the existing front of house audio system. This can be plagued with a whole new set of problems that will be out of your control.
You can also mic the lectern using a good quality gooseneck microphone, ask the presenter not to move it around! It is ideal to have wireless microphones if possible, but if not, make sure you have adequate lengths of microphone cable to reach from the lectern to your camera.
Using adequate lighting is also a big consideration. Although most venues will have good stage lighting, its always handy to have a lighting kit on standby.
Once all the technical side of things has been thought through, turn your attention to how the presentation environment can be improved.
Although the arts direction is usually not your concern, some clients will find it helpful if improvements are suggested. It’s not very interesting watching a presenter talk in front of a white background Maybe there are banners or a backdrop that can be used to break up the background.
There are lots of components to think about when shooting an event video. Your client will no doubt be impressed if you make it as visually interesting as possible.
John Hubbard is a video production professional who resides in Melbourne, Australia.