Prepare for problems

We had a company event with presentations two weeks ago in our office up here in Stockholm.

Five different speakers talked about Turning Technological Innovation into Business Value and I was filmning their presentations

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I scouted the venue a week before to be prepared. Then there was a change in location so I had to check the new place the day before. I learned this when taking wedding photos. Always check before!

The primarily gear I used was a Sony HD videocamera attached to Manfrotto tripod with a sturdy videohead. The sound was recorded with a separate Audio Technica lavallier microphone connected to the camera with an extension cord. I also had an extra lav with me as a spare. Didn't either forget change to new batteries in all of the before the event in the morning. The budget didn't allow for a wireless setup.

Following good advises from others, I had a secondary Sony shot-gun mic attached to Røde boom-pole and recorded this channel with a separate Zoom digital recorder. A colleague was doing his first gig as a sound assistant and was responsible for changing lav on the presenter and handling the pole.

Then, when filming the second guy, I heard in my monitor headphones a lot of scratching from the lavallier touching his jacket. It totally ruined a 30 minute session and I didn't have the guts to interrupt. Fortunatly, the separate video-recording sounded good, albeit a little low.

When editing, I found out that it's not so easy to handle a long stick. On several occations, the assistant was in the frame and I didn't notice when filmning. By using the presentation slides as B-roll, we manage to do some creative cuts, combining images and sound to masqurade my misses.

Finally, after the shooting, I found out that I needed model releases to publish the videos on our companys channel on youtube. The video is now in a final version ready to be released publicly, only waiting a number of signatures.

So some of the lessons from this assignment are:

  • Have a separate sound recording as backup or use the videocameras sound as a secondary microphone
  • Get a lot of B-rolls to have as clips in-between
  • Get the model release signed before shooting
  • Don't use auto white-balance when running powerpoint presentations 

The question is now what I will learn next time.