Monday, 11 October 2021

A guide to filming events and conferences


Farsight Films has worked on many events and conferences over the years – filming talks and presentations along with producing highlight videos to promote the event. Obviously, the Covid pandemic has had a big impact on the entertainment and hospitality industry and things are only starting to open up slowly again. So, if you are thinking of organising something soon, here are some important things to think about when it comes to having your event or conference filmed:

Sound / Audio
Sound is really important, especially if you are hoping to record keynote speakers delivering a powerful presentation. There is usually amplification at most venues: the speakers use a lectern microphone, tie (lapel) mic or handheld microphone and their voice is amplified and comes out through speakers. This is essential for all but the smaller of function rooms, in order for attendees to hear everything properly – so we really recommend amplification of some kind. When there is amplification, we usually connect our equipment directly into it so that we have the best sound quality. We tend to also use a secondary audio recorder as a back up.

Video
In order to record video, we typically locate our equipment at the back of the room (near to the sound desk if there is one) or in the middle to the sides – we want to minimise any disruption to delegates. We use either one or two camcorders to record the speakers/presentations and one camera to gather extra shots (e.g. audience reactions, panning shots of the room, close ups of individuals, roving shots). Even though this is difficult to control, we prefer bright rooms with lots of lighting – this is normally the case, although some larger set ups employ a 'black backdrop' arrangement. As long as the stage is lit by spotlights, though, this shouldn't be a problem.

Interviews / Voxpops

You might want to conduct interviews with keynote speakers during the day. This can be done during coffee / lunch breaks or concurrently with the main event in a separate location. For the latter, additional kit and crew is normally needed. It is also wise to film interviews in a quiet room which is not a thoroughfare to avoid unwanted external sound or being interrupted midway through. These interviews are a great way to get the speaker to provide a summary of the talk from the main event and can be used for social media posts or included as part of a longer 'highlights' video (see below). Voxpops (derived from the latin phrase Vox Populi - 'voice of the people') are quick interviews with delegates, usually asking for a sentence or two about how they are enjoying the conference or something similar. Similarly, these can be useful for social media or the 'highlights' video.

Social Media / Highlights Videos
As you probably know, social media is a really important tool and a conference is a great way to gather content that can be used and re-used to get your message across on the likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter etc. We can film quick snippets for posting, whether it's voxpops or capturing the general feel of the day. We can also produce a highlights video that is ideal for sending out after the event to provide delegates (and those that were unable to attend) a summary of the day. This typically consists of a mixture of footage from the conference, interviews, voxpops and text/graphics/imagery edited together with music.

Keynote speaker videos
It's good practice to record the keynote speakers and share their presentations on social media (e.g. YouTube). That way, delegates can revisit presentations that were of particular interest to them and those that were unable to attend can catch up on what they missed. If a Powerpoint presentation (or similar) was used, it's good to include them as part of the video. This requires additional editing, but not a huge amount.


How Farsight Films can help
Farsight can provide comprehensive videography services to cover your event, big or small - tailored to your budget and specific requirements. Please get in touch via our contact page or call now on 07968 033 089.

Tuesday, 5 October 2021

A guide to work experience in corporate media production


Disclaimer: This guide comes mainly from the perspective of the corporate video industry, but don’t dismiss it entirely if you don’t think it’s relevant to your career aspirations. A lot of the principles are the same, whatever sector you start out in. This article is intended to help those who have just started out and want to know how best to get a ‘foot in the door’. I was there once, and wish I’d had someone giving me a bit of advice and guidance at the start.

First and foremost, remember the film, TV and media industry is fiercely competitive. There are loads of young and enthusiastic wannabes out there just like you and you need to do all you can to stand out from the crowd. Volunteering or internships are invaluable in terms of giving you good experience and making contacts, but crucially it can also lead to paid work.

Spend some time researching local companies and contacts, compiling a list of phone numbers, web addresses and emails. Familiarise yourself with their content, so that they are not just an entry on a list of names. See if you can identify a gap in their staff team or the way they work that you might be able to help them with.

When getting in touch with contacts, it’s likely that they won’t have anything to offer you. If that’s the case, make sure you keep a note and get in touch with them again sometime in the future. Don’t do it too often (that will come across as desperate or annoying) but it just helps to keep you at the forefront of their mind, in case something does come up. Follow up with a message to show what you’ve been up to with links etc. Treat it as something like a newsletter.

The reality is, you need to be a bit tenacious in what you are doing. The people you are contacting don’t usually have a lot of free time and are dealing with a million things all at once so you have to get their attention and make them sit up and take notice. You need to demonstrate that it’s worth their time to take you on.

It’s pretty much a given that you need to be on social media. At the very least, have a YouTube channel and keep it up to date. Even if it’s about your cats, it shows that you know how these things work. You don’t need to rely on expensive camera equipment or fancy lighting. Most modern smartphones can shoot footage that’s decent enough for social media. Bear in mind that social media is your public profile and that anyone can access it (unless you’ve set everything to private). Make sure you don’t have any embarrassing content you don’t want a prospective employer to see!

It almost goes without saying, but turn up on time. Punctuality is enormously important, so if you struggle to get out of bed in the morning get plenty of alarm clocks and avoid staying up until 3am every night. Turning up early is even better, but being an hour early is probably too much. If you can’t avoid being late (e.g. the trains have been cancelled last-minute), text or phone ahead and explain giving an estimated time of arrival (ETA).

Be friendly and positive when doing your work, so avoid moaning or complaining about things. Do what is asked of you within the time frame expected, but if you are struggling ask for help. Don’t talk too much or say too little - this might be where a bit of self-awareness is needed. If you are an extrovert, practice keeping quiet for short periods. Similarly, if you are shy, make an effort to be a bit more talkative that you are used to. We all have to do things that are outside of our comfort zones so it’s good practice - eventually you will get used to it!

Show an interest in what you are doing and don’t be afraid to ask questions, but make sure you aren’t getting in the way or slowing things down during a production. Always keep an eye out for opportunities to step in and help.

Finally, be aware that some people might end up taking advantage of you. Having someone working for free is an attractive prospect, so establish what you are committing to before you start and stick to it. The main thing is don’t leave things open ended so that after six months you are still working full time with no pay. That’s exploitation and should not be tolerated, no matter how cool the company might appear to be.

What do you think? Was that helpful? If you have any comments or questions please feel free to write below!

Tuesday, 14 September 2021

Filming yourself on a smartphone - a handy guid

Nowadays, most phones can shoot high quality video with great sound. Here are a few tips on how to get the best footage. Most of these principles also apply to using a computer's webcam as well.

1. Video Quality
As a good rule of thumb always try and shoot the highest quality video possible. Most newer phones can film in 4K, but if yours doesn’t simply go for the best settings (usually HD). Be aware, however, that your phone storage may be affected so make sure you have enough disk space first. If you don’t think you have enough room, either delete other videos to free up some space (as long as you don’t want to keep them!) or opt for a slightly lower quality video recording.

2. Framing
Try to frame the shot landscape (not portrait) ‘chest to head’.

Centre Framing
Framing to the side
Here are two good examples of how to frame your shot. If you are talking directly to the camera, it is best to position yourself in the centre. If you are talking off camera (e.g. to someone who is asking you questions in an interview style), then it is best to position yourself either to the left of the right side of the frame. Make sure the direction you are looking is where there is most ‘empty space’ in the frame.

Placing yourself a bit further away is fine, but any closer might be too much. If you are too far away, it can be more difficult for the audience to ‘connect’ with you.

3. Positioning
Put some thought into where you position the camera. What is in the background? Is it relevant to what you are talking about? Is it distracting? Keep your phone level with your eyeline - you want to make sure that you are not looking up or looking down too much at the lens. Avoid having shaky video as it can put people off. Try not to hold the phone if possible but use a tripod or selfie stick instead. Alternatively, a shelf, pile of books etc. can be just as good.

4. Sound
Sound is just important, if not more so, than visuals. Most microphones on smartphones are pretty decent but check the quality before recording. If you have earpods, a handsfree kit or similar you might get better quality. Be aware of external sounds that could affect the recording. Don’t film next to noisy machinery, for example, or outside on a busy street. If there is noise, move away to a quieter, more secluded location – preferably inside where you can close windows, doors etc.

5. Lighting

A simple lighting set up using a desk lamp
Simple lighting can help avoid your video looking too dark or gloomy. You don’t necessarily need complicated lighting kits. The sun is a great source of light, which you can make use of either outside or inside. Just don’t shoot with the sun directly behind you. This will create a silhouette effect which will make your face difficult to see. Instead, always make sure the sun is in front of you when filming. This can be done outside easily enough by adjusting your position, and indoors by simply facing a window and using that as your source of light. Alternatively, use artificial lighting – as much as you can to illuminate your face. For example, you might want to position a table or desk lamp facing you. Don’t overdo it, though. Too much light and your face could look washed out. It could also be too bright for your eyes – you don’t want to be squinting either!

6. Don’t use digital zoom
Some cameras enable you to digitally zoom into the image (usually by spreading two fingers at once on the screen). This is best avoided as the picture quality decreases and can become much shakier.

7. Film with editing in mind
When filming, it’s important to think about the final product. Some form of editing is usually needed so it’s best to bear this in mind. Typically, this just means pausing for a couple of seconds before you start talking. What this does is allow the editor to briefly ‘fade in’ before you start. And when you’ve finished, pause for a couple of seconds maintaining eye contact with the camera. Similarly, this makes it possible to ‘fade out’ smoothly. It also avoids having to include the often-inevitable camera shake and noise when turning off the camera.

Finally, if you make a mistake, stumble on your words or are unhappy with your recording you can either:
- stop recording, take a deep breath and start again
- keep recording and go back to the start
- keep recording but go to an earlier part of your speech and carry on from there

Just make sure you take a deep breath and pause for a couple of seconds before talking again.

8. Additional tips for presenting to video


- Smile and be yourself. Overcoming the odd feeling of talking to a smartphone, computer screen or camera is probably one of the biggest challenges if you haven’t done it very often before. If it helps, try and treat it more as a conversation with a friend as opposed to a formal lecture. As with anything, practice helps – and remember to try and be yourself, relaxing into the talk. A dull and monotonous delivery will turn people off.

- Don’t self-deprecate or draw attention to nervousness etc. Even though you may feel very different internally, it’s important to convey confidence when delivering to camera, otherwise it can be very off-putting and distracting to viewers. The beauty of video is that it is not ‘live’ (unless you’re livestreaming of course!) so you can always re-do sections if you are not happy – also, you can deliver your talk one section at a time if doing the whole thing in one go feels overwhelming.

- Maintain eye contact. Try not look away from the lens too much. Having notes is fine, and if you have to look at them occasionally during your talk it is acceptable. Looking around in all sorts of other directions all the time, however, can be distracting to the audience.

If you require training or support in producing videos - feel free to get in touch with Farsight Films to see how we can help. We offer bespoke training both onsite or online tailored to your requirements. Find out more here: https://farsightfilms.com/consultancy-and-training/

Friday, 1 January 2021

A look back at 2020

For most of us, 2020 was a hugely disruptive time. With lockdown restrictions in place, working from home has become the 'new normal' for many.

Initially Farsight Films was impacted by the pandemic, with several events and conferences that were booked in for filming cancelled or postponed indefinitely. Thankfully, we were in the fortunate position to have a number of editing projects on the go, as well as being in receipt of government financial assistance. 

Towards the end of the year, it has been possible to do some filming on location. In light of the ongoing virus spread and lockdown remaining in place for most of the UK is has meant keeping to social distance and hygiene rules in order to keep everyone safe.  



2020 has certainly be an unusual time in recent memory, and we hope that 2021 will see things eventually return to normal.

If you require any filming, please be assured that we are able to continue our work under Covid-19 safety rules.

Get in touch




Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Recent Film Projects

Farsight has been busy these last few months on a range of diverse video production projects. These have included:
  • a series of healthcare short videos provided in British Sign Language with English and Welsh subtitles
  • filming two healthcare events in Cardiff and Carmarthen
  • a music video for a local health campaign
  • promotional films for a wellbeing expert, an independent hotel in Cardiff, a beauty salon app and an international business training provider
  • a wedding in Cumbria (see video below)
Farsight Films offers a friendly and professional video production service to suit all kinds of budget. Call or text now for a free consultation and quote: 07968 033089.



Farsight Films (www.farsightfilms.com).

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Filming a promo video for local homeless charity


Last November, Farsight was asked to support homeless charity Llamau by filming their Sleep Out 'Diff event, held at the Leckwith Stadium in Cardiff.

At Sleep Out 'Diff people are challenged to build a shelter and sleep in it overnight – whilst at the same time raising funds to help end homelessness for young people and vulnerable women in Wales.

We were delighted to help and worked with AME Videography to capture the event from early evening right through to first thing the following morning.

If you need your event capture on video, find out how we can help by visiting www.farsightfilm.com or call / text 07968 033 089.