The Business Event Video

The Business Event Video

Over the years we have been involved in various types of Event Videography - from the immediate broadcast to the single-camera one-off event for a local club.  During this time, there have been times when I wished that we had a checklist or some notes to guide us through the pitfalls - as mistakes did happen - unfortunately.  But we have learned from those mistakes, so I hope these pointers will keep you on the straight and narrow.

Tomorrow Just Won't Work

There are times when you simply have to pass on a possibility for work.  If it is likely that you will not do a good job, then don't do it.  It is a hard thing to do - especially during these recessionary times, but reputation is a lot more important than a rushed job gone wrong.

Recently we were asked to cover an event with about 5 cameras, show the event live in a marquee about 500m away and all cables would have to be run over a mucky field.  We had no opportunity to view the location, we were free for do the event and it was 'right up our street'.  On this occasion we passed and a competitor got the gig.  For us, it was the right decision.  If something had gone wrong, if a member of the public had been injured from cables lying around, equipment not secured properly ... there were so many things that could go wrong, we felt it better to step back and fight for another contract on another day.

So, if you are an event organiser, don't leave the Video Production aspects to the last minute.  We can keep the costs down, if we are given the opportunity to plan properly and to do a proper recce.  As experienced Videographers / Live Video Producers we might see more angles, more opportunities to allow you to defray costs - so book your videographer early, it will save you money in the long term.

A Proper Recce of The Location

Go to the location, at least a couple of days before the event AND meet with the key people on site.  I can't over-emphasise this stage of the project.  Whether it be in a hotel conference room, ball-room, corporate boardroom - no matter how big or small the venue, go there and see for yourself.  You are the person with the artistic flair, with the technical expertise, your eye will notice things that the untrained operator will miss.

What sort of sound system is installed, or will it be coming along 'on the day'?  Will it be possible to hook into it for a clean audio track?  Most sound engineers come along with their own loud-speakers on tripods - where will they be located and what will be the implications.  Maybe they are going to block your shot, or maybe they are going to help keep a space clear for one of your cameras - think!

Lighting is always a problem - either too much or too little.  I remember doing an event recently that spanned three nights.  For the first two nights the speakers were situated in front of a window with a setting sun - very difficult to light.  On the final night, a famous international celebrity was to be interviewed and as he was about to come on stage, he say the window as a distraction from him and ordered the curtains to be closed.  Suddenly we were into a completely new lighting scenario with no advance notice.  So, plan for the expected but be prepared for the unexpected - it will happen more often than you think.

See also PowerPoint below.

The PowerPoint Slides

There will be slides - the number of times that I have attended at a business conference where the speaker did not project information onto an overhead projector cannot even be counted on one hand - there have not been any - none!  The use of a laptop with an overhead projector is now ubiquitous, so your arsenal must have some tools for handling it professionally.

How often have you been at a conference and the slides being projected have been anything but crystal clear and crisp?  The lighting in the auditorium is seldom ideal.  Shooting these presentations straight through your camera will not be acceptable.  They will lack clarity.  At LenseOnLife we use a state-of-the-art video mixer which has the capability of linking into the podium laptop through the local area network (wired or wireless).  This means that we mix crystal clear, crisp slides in High Definition that is not dependent on the in-house projection system.

Be sure to check out the laptop before the event, or at the very least bring a pre-configured computer with you that has an operating LAN connection, can share screen data and has the relevant PowerPoint viewer installed.

Get Permission

Anyone involved with the broadcast industry will understand the need for 'Release Forms'.  These are legal documents that you have to go and get each participant to sign - allowing you use their contribution for any future transmission, incorporation into documentary etc..  But, even for a business or local event, you still need to get  permission, probably nothing signed, but ...

Not so long ago I was asked to cover a week-long music event, there were many participants, local, national and some international.  The people participating were all at different stages of their careers and so there were different attitudes to being videoed live.  Problems started to occur as we started setting up cameras near the stage.  The event organiser was called and what followed would have done justice to the negotiating skills of the UN.  While videoing did go ahead, albeit on a much smaller scale, all of this could have been avoided if the artists had been consulted beforehand.  

Could this happen with a business / corporate event?  Absolutely.  People can be camera shy.  Participants might feel under enough pressure simply making their speech / presentation, the sight of cameras might be the straw to break the camels back, and they do have the right not to be videoed - so check beforehand.  Not only that they are willing to be recorded, but what can the ensuing video be used for.  IS it for internal use, for commercial sale, available on the web ...?

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