Talking Heads

Quite often, we're asked to film "talking heads" at a podium. This might be a guest speaker, a political forum, a student speech, or any number of things said from a podium by a human orator. While it's not always the most dynamic footage, recording these types of events is very important, and we have a very specific workflow and very specific requirements to make sure it's done right. Following this guide will ensure that your podium presentation will look and sound its best on film.

Preparation and Setup

We generally try to arrive on-site at least an hour early. Sometimes, if possible, we'll arrive even earlier than that and do our setup, and then leave or break for awhile until the event starts. There are several reasons we arrive so early:

  • Setting up takes some time. We might be setting up a riser for the camera, we will run cables and power, and we will set up audio. All of these things take a little bit of time to accomplish.
  • Testing. We want to make sure everything works right, and if it doesn't, we need time to troubleshoot and fix the problems.
  • Disturbances. We try our hardest to minimize the disturbance to your audience and your guests. Therefore we want all of the setting up to happen before they arrive, including carrying in all of our cases and equipment. Sometimes these things are set in a banquet room and the servers need to be doing their jobs, so we also want to stay out of their way.
  • Neatness. When we get there early, we're able to hide our cables and make the setup nice and neat.

Audio

Because the podium talk is centered around human speech, audio is extremely important. We need to be able to record your speaker very clearly. To get good, clean audio, we'll need to do one of two things: either tie in to the house sound system, or run our own wired or wireless microphones to the podium or to the speaker's person.

If we choose to tie in to the house audio system, we'll want someone from the venue on-hand when we do this. An audio engineer or event management are the best people to supervise this setup. We like for them to be there so that we can put them at ease and assure them that what we're doing will not interfere with their house PA system. If it's a complicated audio setup or if parts of it are locked away, it helps to have this person on-hand to give us advice and access.

Sometimes we may choose to use a wireless microphone on the speaker's lapel. If this is the desired workflow, we'll want to meet the speaker in advance and get him/her wired up. Also, right before the presentation, we'll need to turn on their transmitter and get a quick sound check.

Camera Position

Most venues are not set up for good video. The banquet hall is generally flat, and people getting up and down will sometimes block the camera's view. So we usually want to elevate the camera as much as possible. This can be accomplished by providing a vantage point that is higher than the majority of the audience, or we can provide a stage riser that elevates the camera position by as much as three feet. The camera riser will be anywhere from 4'x4' to 8'x8' depending on the event. Please design space for this riser at your event if it's needed.

The camera position should usually be in the back of the room, perpendicular to the direction of the podium. This provides a straight-on shot of the speaker. If the room is extremely large, we might ask for the camera position to be moved up to the center of the room for a better shot.

Be sure that nothing is blocking the camera's view of the important elements. Even things like table centerpieces are sometimes tall enough to block our shot.

Timing and Schedule

Be sure we know the full program of events, and be as specific as possible. We need to know duration, start time, end time, and all of the happenings on stage. We want to be as prepared as possible so that we don't miss anything important. We also need to plan for battery changes or "tape" changes if it's a long event.

Breaking Down

Once the event is over, we'll usually wait for your guests to start leaving, and then we'll break down. Keep in mind that if we have cable runs or other complicated/large equipment, we cannot really break down until the room is cleared enough for us to do so. The setup and breakdown time is included in your bill, so the sooner we can break down after the event, the better, but we certainly don't want to disturb your guests.

Conclusion

The key to a successful podium or stage presentation is in the preparation. We want to plan for visuals and audio well in advance of the event date. Contact us with any questions you may have, and please keep us abreast of any last minute changes in programming.

Holiday Schedule 2014

Greetings, Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Good Kwanzaa to everyone. If you're doing business with us this holiday season, first off, thank you very much! If you need to reach us during the holidays, you should be aware of our planned closures. We are always available by email, but will be unavailable for certain times during the holidays so that we can take some much needed time off to be with our families.

Thanksgiving Break

We will close at 3 PM on Tuesday, November 25, and will re-open at 9 AM on Monday, December 1.

Christmas Break

We will close at 5 PM on Friday, December 19, and will re-open at 9 AM on Monday, January 5.

Again, if you need to reach us, we are almost always available by email. Happy holidays and happy new year to all!

Backups and Archiving

In today's digital world, so many of our important assets are stored digitally. For our business that creates digital multimedia as one of our primary services, digital storage and backup is a huge project and is extremely important to us. We have harped for years about storing your digital assets correctly to prevent disaster. Most of your personal multimedia is your family's precious memories, such as photographs, videos, documents, and more. We're going to talk today about how we store and backup our huge archives.

Read more: Backups and Archiving

The Weird Thing About Wedding Dates

As we approach Thanksgiving, it's interesting to note that 39% of all wedding proposals happen between November and February. That means almost half of all engagements for next year's weddings will start taking place this month! It's important to keep in mind that a lot of folks start booking their vendors just days after becoming engaged. They're excited and ready to get the ball rolling! So we're already making bookings for our 2015 wedding season.

As of today, even before Thanksgiving, we already have SIX weddings booked for 2015!

Mark and Lacey Wedding Rings

Read more: The Weird Thing About Wedding Dates

Live Sports Video Production @ Antler Stadium

When the news broke that Antler Stadium in Kerrville, Texas, would be home to a brand new "jumbotron" video screen, I knew we wanted to be a part of it. I contacted members of the Tivy Antler Booster Club to let them know that they had my full support and I would be on hand if they needed anything. Soon, they let me know that they wanted our team to produce the shows at the new and improved stadium for the 2014 Tivy Antler Football season. We were thrilled. This was a great opportunity to challenge ourselves and create content that would be seen by up to 4,000 fans each week. Of course we accepted the opportunity!

Read more: Live Sports Video Production @ Antler Stadium