Is there a Rocket Scientist in the house ?

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    • #37613
      AvatarRadical Posture

      G’day all. Can I ask your advice please ? I do hope this is not Rocket Science !
      I have a workshop / conference style event coming up. I would like capture it audiovisually.
      Here’s some pertinent information that may help with any responses.

      1. Speakers will speak in front of about 80 people.
      2. They will use Powerpoint / Keynote in their presentations.
      3. I will have little control over the lighting (mostly dimmed for the Powerpoint / Keynote presentations).
      4. I have a Sony DCR-HC30E at my disposal and a tripod.
      5. I have no idea how to capture the audio effectively (previously, I can hear a slight whining-winding of the tape on footage I’ve taken before).
      6. I have some limited experience with iMovie and I’m treading carefully with FCE at the moment.
      7. I believe I’ll need to find a good place to position the camera and just be vigilant with tape switch overs and ensure power supply.

      How am I doing ?

    • #166783

      Would it be possible for you to get a wireless mic? or even one that had a long enough cord that you could run to the stage? I definitely think you should get at about 45 degrees, but far enough away that you can still read the screen, for location. Also wearing headphones while you set up will help you train in the noise with the cameras built in controls.

    • #166784

      There are a number of ways to go about recording the conference while dealing with lighting and sound. Your camera isn’t the best for low lighting and I’m sure that’ll mean that it won’t work well with the contrast of lighting on thepresenters face and the bright powerpoint slides in the background. Your camera does have a mic input, but it’s not a balanced XLR type so running a long mic cable to thepresenters podium will likely give you hum. However, you can get rid of some hum in post.

      As usual with advice about each event, “it depends.” If you can get a copy of all the slideshows then you concentrate on capturing the speaker and add the slides in post. If you are situated near one of the audio speakers you need only run the microphone that far and you made not need an external mic at all depending where you set up your camera. If your auditorium has a sound board you may be able to plug into that but you will have to adapt your 3.5 plug to either 1/4″ or XLR. If you can get your hands on an audio recorder to place on the speaker podium you can mix that in post.

      If you can’t do any of that, you need to be close enough to the presenter to get a clear image and pan over to the slides whenever the speaker looks that way. Just don’t make any quick moves and try to linger on either the slides or the presenter rather than go back and forth like a ping pong match. You may be getting some whinning noises from having the camera plugged in rather than running on batteries, (one of my cameras does that) so bring extra batteries.

      As with Rocket Science you have to evaluate the importance of your payload and put systems in place that match the project. Your equipment list says, to me, that this isn’t really that important a project, so just try your best and have fun learning about all theproblems that could have been cured with NASA’s budget!

    • #166785

      lighting: look for a fairly bright, halogen light that you can attach a gridded reflector and barndoors to. place a pool of light on the speaker at the podium. try to balance that to thier projector brightness if possible….. (cost as little as fifty dollars if you are handy and mod a worklight)

      sound: even a cheap peavy pv6 usb sound board will let you plug in the ‘House’ mic and another mic for ambient (i use a second camcorder with shotgun mic to caputre ambient and speaker)and let you mix or balance the two, and run a line out to the ‘House’ sound system, and also direct line in’s to your camcorders mic inputs… the usb out from the peavy can plug into thier laptops and capture audio from thier powerpoint/keynotes if they have sound…. (also usb can be used directly to your laptop for direct recording (audacity works for me). also if you have a laptop with firewire you can record directly to harddrive….. no need to change tapes.). (cost 150.00 peavy sound board, another 30-100 in cables and adaptors, if they got mics, if not add the costs of any mics you need (even a cheap mic will work for ambient sound, you only need applause/booing)

      set the projectors to ‘Movie’ mode for a warmer color balance, (and/or if needed you can add a blue gel to your light to color balance but that is a little more complicated needing proper ctb gels)

      just don’t feed your ambient mic back into the house sound system or you’ll get feedback noise…

    • #166786
      AvatarRadical Posture

      Great info. Thanks for the heads-up. I am prepared to spend a few bucks to get this project done efficiently.

      This website — — is for a rental place nearby my

      house here in Oz. Any recommendations amongst them? I’m tending to lean away from a hard-drive camera

      based on info on this forum ie., it’s actually 2 days of speakers . Is this correct ? Plus, I wouldn’t know how

      large the files ought be saved for editing later. I don’t imagine there’ll be much editing to do.

      So it seems that I can now fine-tune what I’m after ….

      … an efficient, easy to use camera that works well in

      low light and can capture audio easily.

      Thank so much for the info so far.

    • #166787

      I video tape a lot of festivals and public forums.???My cameras are usually Sony PD 170’s and?once in a while a?Sony HDR-HC7. ?For public forums I double mic the cameras so that each camera has a wireless hand held mic and either a wireless lapel mic or a standard camera book mic.? The HC7 is used as a backup crow shot with an external mic away from the camera to rid myself of the camera noise.? I will place the hand held mics on mic stands near the podium.? The views public wil see three mics and percieve it as a press conference type atmosphere.? ?If I’m lucky the guest speaker wil wear the lapel mic and the people putting on the program will be speaking close enough to hand held mic’s to get good reception.? During the presentation I wander around monitoring the cameras and refilling the minidv?chambers when necessary. ?

      The cameras should be set up to catch the speaker with one and the visual aids with the other.? If your real lucky you came make arrangements with the speaker to get jpeg?files and releases before the shoot.?? Video taping slide shows off of a screen only works about 50% of the time.? Inserting Jpeg files in their appropriate areas during editing makes a much more effective replay of the program.? I also carry a SLR digital camera with me using it to take still shots.? Merging still shots is a great way to fix a scene when the big guy…or gal stands in front of your camera during the important part of the speech.? My editing programs are Final Cut Pro, Adobe premeire, Sony Vegas Pro and Photoshop CS3.? Remember even the evening news live reporter needs a Story Board.? The minute you spend planning your shoot will save you hours in the editing room.

    • #166788
      AvatarRadical Posture

      Very very helpful. Many thanks. This is exciting. The more you guys have written the more I realise I need to know ! So, I’ll keep exploring. For now.

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