Video equipment question
November 20, 2012 2:33 AM   Subscribe

Need advice on recording presentations for web video.

I'm organizing a meetup (in two days) with about 80-90 people that will include formal slide presentations from three different speakers, totaling about 90 minutes including audience Q&A after each. I want to record these presentations and upload them as web videos, but the facility hosting it doesn't have any of their own video equipment. So I need to rent a video camera and tripod and get someone to run it.

We have a budget for this but not a huge one. The videos obviously do not have to be TED Talk quality but I particularly want the audio to be clear, I notice the audio sucks on a lot of low-budget videos like this. What kind of equipment should I rent? And do I need to hire someone to run it or can this be done by an unskilled volunteer? If I need to hire an experienced cameraperson, where can I find one for something like this on short notice?

Also, the room has pretty good acoustics and we would probably not use a microphone, but the facility does have a mic and speaker setup if we need it. Should we use it anyway to have a separate audio track for the video, or is that overkill? And wouldn't it involve even more equipment?

I'm less worried about the postproduction at this point (like editing the slides into the videos) but would welcome advice about that too. Basically I've realized too late that I have no idea what I'm doing for this part of the event :)

Thanks in advance for your advice!
posted by pete_22 to Technology (1 answer total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I just went through something similar, where I had to tape a classroom presentation. I needed a wide angle shot of the room and needed to capture the speakers presentation and the classroom discussion.
I was concerned about the poor sound quality too. When I bought my camera - a lot of the cheaper models could not accept an external mic, so I ended up buying a Canon Vixia HFR200 ($225.00) - fairly average camera. I purchased an omni-direction mic for $10.00 (it was selling as a karaoke mic). There was a lot of mics in the $200+ range - which I could not afford. I got one of those flexible, small tripods and wrapped it around a wall light sconce and leveled it. I ran the mic cord along the wall, closer to the center of the room and taped the mic to the wall. I am quite impressed with the quality of the video and the clarity of the sound!. It's very useable for my purposes (instructional/teaching).
If you just need the presentation taped – I would still recommend getting an external mic and aiming it towards the sound (the speakers). I would guess that presentation mics are directional and the camera may not pick up the sound clear enough.
I would recommend testing a camera in the room prior to filming. No doubt you could rent a better quality camera and mic - it just depends on what quality you need your final product to be.
posted by what's her name at 8:17 AM on November 20, 2012

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