So earlier this year I attended several events which had a film crew to record the event.
I love watching other people especially when they are doing something I also do, or enjoy doing, to try and get some tips or new ways of working which may be more efficient or get better results.
On both events the first thing I noticed was their appearance. Both these events were high profile business people events, with most if not all the participants suited and booted. The crew were all dressed differently one had a jumper with the logo on and the other a t-shirt and jeans both wearing trainers.
Now it’s not easy to stand filming an event that lasts all day and so I could understand the need for trainers with a soft sole (been there and done this in shoes, not an easy task).
Personally, I insist my crew even my subcontractors all wear our company shirts and / or jackets and black bottoms with black shoes, or trainers that could pass for shoes, for me the crew is representing my company and I take pride in what I do and so should they.
The rules for filming a live event with Hartshead Productions are as follows:
No mobile phones whilst in public filming
Be respectful of people and their personal space
Do not stand in front of anyone or restrict their view of the event
No talking whilst filming.
I believe the above rules apply not only to business conferences and events but also theatre and other live events.
My opinion is, that we are there to capture the event for the client with no disruption to the event if we are a distraction then we are not doing our job.
Lots of companies are trained by universities and colleges to film in a manner that allows retakes but during a live event this is not possible and walking across the stage whilst a performer or speaker is doing their session is just rude and disrespectful.
I was quite surprised that on both these events they had a moving camera operator who was basically given full reign to go anywhere or do anything to capture the event in as creative manner as possible. Now this can make a fantastic video but is this really a good idea during a live event, especially when the event has members paying to be there.
On both events they had some cool pieces of equipment to help them capture the events, I was mightily impressed with the gimble used at the last event, allowing the camera to stay perfectly still whilst moving around, however for this event I don’t really think it was needed and from seeing the footage afterwards it was not used correctly.
We often have a moving camera, but they are instructed to ensure they move around the back of the room and if they need to go in front of someone, they must crouch down to ensure the people in the room are not disturbed or prevented from seeing the screens or the presenter.
I have to admit doing an event with 5+ cameras does make moving around unnecessary, to a certain degree, as you can capture almost any angle at once. Both these events had two operators one with a fixed camera and one with a moving camera.
We then move on to the videos played on the presenter screen. The hardest part of this is that there are so many different screen formats that it can be a nightmare to ensure they all look the same, PowerPoint tends to create everything on a square screen rather than wide screen so sometimes you have the black box effect at the side, other presentations may be in 1080p when the screen can only do 720 so you loose the outer edges of the screen on a larger display.
This can often be acceptable however if it omits information or a company logo then this can become an issue which then means the file needs to be re done.
At one event in London the screens were brand new LED screens which were not quite 16x9 (widescreen) which meant that the presentation was slightly bigger than the screen, some were fine but others had text very close to the edges of the screen and others had logos missing.
A top tip for anyone wishing to attend an event which uses someone else’s laptop or equipment such as screens or projectors, export your presentations in both 1080p and 720p this way you have the best of both worlds and a backup.
Also imagine that there is a small boarder around the edge of the presentation as shown in the illustration, most cameras have this function, it’s called a safe area and some screens will not show anything outside of the outer line. Keep your presentation away from the edges and you will rarely go wrong.
If your event has a camera crew, check they have a set of rules to abide by and if not make sure you agree some upfront to ensure the event is not disrupted and enjoyable by all.
If your organizing an event check the screen sizes and resolutions so you can let everyone know what your working with on the day, tech crews are often really busy on the day ensuring things work but their attention to the content or display of the content is not always as good as often they haven’t seen the footage or slides before and have to make them work one way or another not just for you but for everyone. Give your files to the tech crew the night before if possible and they can work them out as soon as they get in instead of just before you go on. These little things can make a huge difference to the presentation you provide.