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.

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!