How to make an event video look interesting and sound good

Some events, like seminars and public speeches, can be pretty boring and as video producers it’s our job to come up with ways to make them look visually interesting and engaging to the video audience.

Making an event appear visually interesting to viewers can be accomplished in a number of ways. For starters, the location of the cameras can be very important.

If you only have one camera, make sure the position is facing the subject. You may be behind the audience, but the more front and center, the better. While the presenter efficiently addresses the audience in front of him, a well-positioned camera also allows for interaction with the video audience. If the camera is positioned to the side, there is much less engagement with the presenter and the audience feels less invested in the content.

If possible, it’s a good idea to use multiple cameras. If you have the ability to use two cameras, place the second camera at the front of the room facing the audience. Sometimes it is possible to get a position backstage, just to one side of center, but most likely this position will be to the side of the stage, facing the audience.

Adding an audience shot adds a lot to the production value of the video and makes for more interesting viewing. It is also a must if the presentation includes a question and answer component from the audience at the end of the presentation.

If it is possible to use a third camera, place it next to the first camera facing the subject. This can be used for wider shots, such as covering a panel of guests.

Editing a take with multiple cameras can be time consuming, most of which can be avoided by using a video switcher to switch live to tape.

There are several reasonably priced switchers on the market now, such as the Blackmagic ATEM series, that allow you to input multiple camera sources.

Audio is an equally important consideration when thinking about your audience. There’s nothing more annoying when watching a video of an event and the presenter steps away from the microphone or, worse, you can’t hear what’s been said.

Minimizing the chances of this happening just requires good production planning.

The safest way to capture audio is to individually mic each presenter or speaker using wireless lavalier microphones. This allows the presenter to walk while ensuring good audio for their viewers.

Sometimes it’s better not to depend on connecting to your existing front of house audio system. This can be fraught with a whole new set of problems that will be out of your control.

You can also mike the lectern using a good quality gooseneck microphone, ask the presenter not to move it! It’s ideal to have wireless mics if possible, but if not, make sure you have adequate lengths of mic cable to get from your lectern to your camera.

Using proper lighting is also a big consideration. Although most venues will have good stage lighting, it’s always helpful to have a lighting kit on standby.

Once all the technical side of things has been thought of, turn your attention to how the presentation environment can be improved.

Although art direction is not usually your concern, some clients will find it helpful if improvements are suggested. It’s not very interesting to watch a presenter speak in front of a white background. Maybe there are banners or a background that can be used to break up the background.

There are many components to think about when shooting event video. Your client will certainly be impressed if you make it as visually interesting as possible.

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