by Stuart Sweetow of Audio Visual Consultants
For 20 years AVC has been recording meetings in conference rooms and hotels. Here are some ways we can work together with the facility and you to make sure the audio and video are top notch, and that the videographer remains as unobtrusive as possible.
Recording Clear Audio
Audio is our first name, and we want to make sure the viewers of your video can clearly hear the presenters. We have a bag of tricks to accommodate most any location. We may attach one of our wireless mikes to your podium mike, or we might tie into the room’s PA system. We will want to know how many mikes you plan on having at the meeting. While we don’t usually provide a PA system, if you wish, we can subcontract for that service.
Wireless mikes let the presenters move around while they speak. We can tap into the facility’s wireless mike signal, or we can tie together our wireless mikes with the facility PA system. Usually the wireless mike is a clip-on mike. The presenter will need to have a collar to attach the mike and a belt or waistband to clip on the little transmitter.
Q and A
Audience questions are difficult for mikes to pick up. One way to handle them is to set up a mike or two on stands in the audience. Another is to have assistants hand one or more handheld wireless mikes to the questioners. While we can aim a directional mike at the audience, it sometimes doesn’t pick up quieter speakers or those farther away from the mike. If the audience will not be miked, please ask the presenters to repeat the questions with their answers.
When planning the room setup, please plan for a location where the camera may be placed. We usually like to position it in the rear of the room, directly opposite from the presenters. If slides will be projected on a screen, we like to be opposite the screen so we can get a straight angle on it.
If the facility provides a riser platform for the camera and camera operator, please request one; it helps avoid heads in the way. Similarly, use a raised stage so audience members and the camera can see the presenters. We usually plug into electricity. We will run an extension cord to the nearest outlet and will tape it down to the floor to avoid people tripping on it. Please make sure the facility will provide electricity.
While we record most meetings with a single camera, we can set up two or three cameras. One way to accomplish this is with live-switching between the cameras, so the final video is ready at the end of the meeting. This requires additional time to set up, extra cables run between the cameras and additional equipment and personnel. Another multi-cam technique uses simultaneous camcorders with the tapes edited at a later time in our studio. We will be happy to explain the pros and cons of each technique and can provide you a quote for either of these options.
Our digital cameras work well in low light, and in most cases, we don’t need auxiliary lighting. However, if the facility has spotlights, please order them and make sure they are properly aimed. Good lighting can make for a more pleasant video image.
If there are windows in the room that cannot be covered, please try to avoid placing the presenters in front of a window. If that can’t be avoided, let us know, and we will bring a bright spotlight.
PowerPoint Slides and Other Projected Images
Since lights are usually turned down, please ask the facility to provide a spotlight and aim it at the presenter. We can load your PowerPoint slides to our flash drive on-site and later edit them together with the video of the meeting. Better yet, send them to us after the event.
If you don’t have a budget for editing, we can pan the camera between the presenter and the images on the screen. For this to work, please ask the facility to provide a projector with adequate brightness to match their spotlights. Call us ahead of time, and we can help with designing the room setup to accommodate this.
Please ask the facility contact person how the videographer can best move equipment in and out. Will Security need to be contacted? Will there be any locked doors? Is there a loading zone? Are there any restrictions bringing equipment in the lobby or in passenger elevators? If you can arrange for the videographer to have a nearby parking space, that will help avoid delays. Also if he needs to get something from the car, it will be quick. If there are special driving directions, please provide them to us. We are happy to speak directly with the facility contact person or their audio-visual technicians.