You’ve just been put in charge of coordinating a video that will be used in your company’s next learning program—but you’ve never done it before. Here are a few tips to make things go a little easier:
Prepare a checklist of important pre-production procedures, supplies and equipment, as well as a schedule of what you, your staff and the speakers/actors need to do by a certain date. Identify who will be responsible for completing each item. Be sure to regularly update the checklist and the schedule and distribute changes to everyone involved in the project.
Get a copy of the script and PPT slides (if it’s a speaker’s presentation), as well as any later changes. Read them to establish whether you’ll need props or where to place signs and furniture for best effect. If you can’t afford a Teleprompter for a speaker, prepare PowerPoint slides with the script typed on it. Position a laptop with the script in large print right next to and horizontal with, but out of range of, the camera.
Get to know your video team and help them prepare. Meet them at the venue at least a week before the shoot, so they can check out the ambient lighting and noise, power outlets, location of audience (if any), background and speaker movement area, location of projector screen and so on. Take notes on the audio and video equipment they’ll be bringing to the shoot and where everything will be placed. If possible, run through the presentation or script so the video team can see where any additional cameras, lighting and sound equipment will be needed. Display the PPT presentation on the projector and determine that the slides will show up clearly, not washed out by the additional lighting.
A few days before the shoot, send an e-mail to your speakers and actors on what to wear. In general, it’s best that they wear muted colors and avoid extremely dark colors or bright whites. Also avoid fabrics with tight patterns, like checks, stripes, herringbone and hound’s-tooth; baggy clothes; shiny or noisy jewelry; fabrics that can easily rustle (such as silk) and interfere with microphones; clothes with designer or other logos (except for your company’s logo, if necessary); and deeply saturated colors, especially red.
Know in advance where the video will appear. Will they be uploaded to YouTube, Vimeo or your intranet site, or will they be embedded in a PowerPoint, Adobe Presenter or Articulate Storyline slide and played from your LMS or web site? This information will dictate the eventual file size and format of the video.
If there’s any writing on a white board or flip chart to be recorded, have the text written professionally and in advance so that the speaker can point to it. Make sure the text is large, boldface and legible from a distance. Thin or handwritten words often create an unstable, vibrating, jumpy effect—called a moiré pattern—or lose pixels when viewed on the screen.
On the day of the shoot, about an hour before the speaker and audience arrive, meet the video team so they can set up and test the equipment. Review your checklist and determine whether everything has been completed to your satisfaction. Also, take note that your speakers have fresh water, microphones are available for audience member, all production equipment is working, props and charts are set up, everyone is properly attired, and so on.
Only after you’ve followed these tips can you say with complete confidence, “Lights, camera, action! It’s show time!”