Large Screen and The Conference Event

Use A Professional Video Switcher and Multi-Cameras!

When was the last time you went to a large conference?  Were you sitting way at the back, or behind that only pillar in the auditorium?  As an event videographer, look for opportunities.  From your vantage point at the control booth, you have a perfect view of the proceedings - so why not share your view with others who do not have that elusive 'Front Row Seat'.  At LenseOnLife we want everyone to have the best possible experience so we offer the possibility of feeding our professionally crafted video mix to a Large Screen (or multiple Large Screens) so that everyone has an intimate view of the speaker, the panelists, the artists, performers ...

Setting up a Multi-Camera Live Event

For starters, it is going to take longer, there will be more opportunities to trip yourself up and unless you have a well oiled machine working as a team, your customer will be far from pleased with the end result.  It is not possible to grab a couple of cameras, go to the venue and 'have it work out of the box'.  Live Event Videography has to be practised again and again and again before you can even think of 'going public'.  In this article I am not going to cover the number of cameras, how to direct the action - this article is much more basic - a sort of 101 for Live Event Videography.

Camera Connections for the Live Event

This is an area that many videographers and low-end productions either forget about or hope that they will 'get away with' a simple connection schema - you won't.  If you want to be professional, then this is where you have to start.  Using S-Video, Composite or even Component feeds will not pass muster.  These are analogue signals that degrade appreciable (exponentially) as the cable run gets longer.  The S-Video and Composite are the worst, but component is not much better in terms of signal degradation.  A far better option is HDMI since it is digital and so the signal degradation can be eliminated provided that the threshold is not exceeded on the cable run.  However, even HDMI had a serious flaw - it is a push/pull connector.  Push it in to make the connection, and pull it out to disconnect.  What happens if someone snags the cable accidentally - and this could be the camera operator!  No, for a professional setup, the only option is to use a screw/twist-lock connector like the 90 degree BNC.  This is the standard for SDI Studio/Broadcast quality connections.

Camera Shots and Composition

Remember, you are trying to give the audience a better view of the action than they are currently getting from their seat.  The wide-angle establishing shot still has its place, but it will be used very sparingly.  The audience want to be up close and personal - just like the panelists or the folk in the expensive front row - so give it to them.

The process is called Image Magnification or IMAG and the word Magnification is there for a reason.  The audience want to see the magnified image - so close-ups are the order of the day.  Use a good quality camera with a good quality OPTICAL zoom - or else have the camera situated close to the stage/podium so that a long zoom is not necessary.  One of the advantages of the long zoom (and associated large iris) is the potential to use a narrow depth of field and cut out the background clutter, however, if the venue organiser is subsiding your work, or there is some corporate funder with a logo in the background - then make sure such logos are included in any long zoomed shots.

Finally, the audience can also see the action for themselves (albeit from a distance) so avoid using the Video Switcher too much.  This is not a studio production or a block-buster film.  Give the camera operators time to compose the shot that you want, keep it live for up to 5 times longer than a studio production and concentrate on the person at the podium, the person asking a question, the centre of attraction.  If the audience want to have a look at the audience, they are quite capable of doing that themselves - you don't have to do it for them!

The Professional Live Event Switcher

This is where you will really shine and move from a mediocre production to a truly professional one that you will be proud of.  One that enables you stand head and shoulders over your competition.

Not only can you switch between the different camera images, but you can also integrate images, logos, video clips ... that the speaker might want to include at various parts of the presentation.  Not everyone wants to have to control the PowerPoint presentation in all aspects - quite often there can difficulties getting some formats of video to work on the Event Organisers laptop - you can step into the breech, have them all pre-loaded onto your system and have them queued up, ready to rock and roll at the right time - a seamless, professional production - like we offer at LenseOnLife :-)


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