This post is mainly for my fellow producers, but not only.
The client wanted a 3 days conference filmed with one camera in Full HD and each session edited into separate videos.
Why filming a conference?
Below are some of the reasons why my client has chosen to film this conference:
- Video can be a fantastic marketing tool for prospective attendees
- Video can reach an audience not able to attend your conference.
- Ideas and discussions can be accessed well into the future.
What equipment did I use and roughly how much did it cost?
Obviously the equipment below is being used for other projects as well, but this is the basic gear I need to cover a 3 days conference.
|No. Units||Image||Description||Unit Price||Price (£)|
|1||Manfrotto 055XB Tripod||£100.00||£100.00|
|1||Manfrotto Pro Video (501HDV) Tripod Head||£150.00||£150.00|
|1||EasyAcc Metal Mini Portable Power Bank Bar||£10.00||£10.00|
|6||SanDisk Extreme PRO 128 GB SDXC Memory Card, Up to 170 MB/s, Class 10, U3, V30||£41.48||£248.88|
|1||Memory Card Carrying Case 22 slots||£4.69||£4.69|
|1||Audio cable 3.5mm Stereo Jack Plug aka. 1/8″ Stereo||£1.50||£1.50|
|1||Apple EarPods with 3.5mm Headphone Plug||£29.00||£29.00|
|1||Matt Professional Grade Black Gaffer Tape||£11.42||£11.42|
|1||Ultra-High Capacity External Battery Pack||£30.00||£30.00|
|1||WD 2TB Black My Passport Ultra Portable External Hard Drive – USB 3.0||£139.90||£139.90|
|1||Synology DS918+ 32TB (4 x 8TB WD RED) 4 Bay Desktop NAS Unit||£1,504.45||£1,504.45|
|1||Samsung Portable SSD T5 500 GB USB 3.1 External SSD||£87.88||£87.88|
|1||Pro-X XD-L56P LED Camera Light||£146.00||£146.00|
|1||Battery suitable for Pro-X XD-L56P LED Camera Light||£56.69||£56.69|
|1||Apple Magic Mouse – Wireless Bluetooth with 2 AA batteries||£45.00||£45.00|
|1||3 PIN XLR Female To XLR Female Jack Connector||£8.99||£8.99|
|1||Rode NTG2 Shotgun Microphone||£164.00||£164.00|
|1||Dell Adapter – USB 3.0 to HDMI-VGA-Ethernet-USB 3.0||£159.00||£159.00|
|1||Lexar Professional USB 3.0 Dual-Slot Reader Compatible with SD and CF Memory Cards||£31.54||£31.54|
|1||Tascam DR-05 – High-quality handheld audio recorder||£179.99||£179.99|
|1||Sennheiser ew 100-ENG G3||£263.00||£263.00|
|1||Manfrotto PIXI Mini Tripod with Handgrip||£17.85||£17.85|
|2||4 Gang Extension Lead, White, 0.5m||£2.59||£5.18|
|1||Canon PowerShot G16||£299.00||£299.00|
|1||8 x Panasonic Eneloop Pro Rechargeable AA 2500mAh Ni-MH Batteries||£26.50||£26.50|
|1||Panasonic AG-CX350 4K||£3,330.00||£3,330.00|
|1||Petrol PCCB-2N Camcorder Bag||£150.00||£150.00|
|1||XLR High-Quality Balanced Male to Female Microphone Lead||£8.99||£8.99|
|1||Logitech Wireless Presenter||£24.99||£24.99|
|1||Apple iPhone 6s||£159.00||£159.00|
Obviously, you might not need everything on the list above. You might not need £1500 NAS (a few extra SD cards will do), the headphones are usually coming with the phone, you might get away with a cheaper laptop especially if you normally edit Full HD and not 4k/UHD. Some of the items (PowerPoint clicker, Shotgun Microphone, Mini Tripod and the Ultra-High Capacity External Battery Pack) I didn’t use at all, but I was happy to know that are there if I do need them.
What software did I use?
|No. Units||Software required||Per year||Per month|
|1||Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 CC||£239.64||£19.97|
|1||Office 365 Personal||£59.99||£5.00|
Grand Total: £9,677.41
The Production Process
This is when the event is being filmed and all the steps that go with it.
Going Above and Beyond
I decided to use two cameras to record the event, even though the client only requested one camera.
Both cameras set up on tripods at the back of the room.
- Camera 1 – Panasonic AG CX-350 used as the main camera
- Camera 2 – Panasonic HC-VX980 used as the backup camera and second angle
Camera 1 – Audio feed
- XLR from the floor into the rear input 2 of camera 1
Monitor Audio Levels
Monitor audio levels with the wired Apple headsets. Try to get a good level from the get-go. Increase or decrease levels as needed.
In this case, because the audio at the venue was managed by an engineer the sound quality was spot on. As a result, I selected both channels to Channel 2.
Secure the XLR cable and power supply to the tripod’s legs with gaffer tape. Make sure the camera can pan left right up and down easily.
Use Manual Focus
I use manual focus and focus assist, I don’t trust autofocus.
When using Focus Assist, touch the small triangles on the screen to zoom in to a different area of the frame, then focus using the focus ring.
Shutter Speed, Iris and White Balance
I used 1/60 shutter speed to match the projector’s refresh rate, in order to eliminate any flicker.
Gain: Medium 6dB
ND filter: CLR (no ND filter required)
WB B 3540k slightly less than the custom bulb preset 3800 K
I used 2 x 128 GB SD V30 170MB/sec Sandisk cards, recording simultaneously on both cards in 1080-50p Mbps AVCHD PS
In between sessions, the card on Slot 1 of camera 1 was backed up on the Samsung T5 External SSD via Laptop. Then insert it back in slot 1 and format it. In this way, the second slot will have the entire event and slot 1 will only carry the current session.
At the end of the day, the SD card from camera 1, slot 2 and SD card from camera 2 will be backed up on the Synology NAS at the office.
The folder structure is very important. I use YYYY.MM.DD Name of the event/Day 01-03/S01-S04
Camera 2 – 4K Panasonic HC-VX980 set up
On a tripod at the back of the room, on a table in the middle of the room on a wide shot. When people are clapping the table can move slightly and a warp stabiliser effect may be required in post.
Depending on the budget, a third camera could be fixed on the tripod, focused on the lectern – no zoom or panning recording in 1080-50p Mbps AVCHD
Camera 2 settings used
I used Manual settings
- Focus – MF
- White Balance – Tungsten 1 preset
- Shutter 1/50
- Iris +6dB
- Backup audio feed using an audio cable 3.5mm Stereo Jack Plug; camcorder audio input -30db attenuation and AGC off.
Have a power bank fully charged, in case no power sockets are available at the venue. Panasonic HC VX980 will record 5-6 hours with a power bank, depending on how big the power bank is.
Health and safety
Tape all the cable to the floor to avoid tripping and falling.
The Post Production Process
The backing up process starts during the event. In this case, I had to use a third hard drive because of the lack of space on 500Gb SSD.
The time required to back up the footage during breaks – 10 minutes per card (2 hours worth of footage) via USB 3.0
Sync and edit multiple cameras in Adobe Premiere Pro 2019 CC and export each session as a separate Full HD *.mp4 at 8Mbps video.
Keep in mind that conforming audios will take place on the C drive and files are massive – make sure you delete unused conformed audio from past projects, especially different versions of Adobe Premiere Pro.
Conforming audio from a total of 4 hours of footage will take about 1 hour. For at least 15 min you won’t be able to edit because you will have no audio.
Upload all the sessions on OneDrive and share a link with the client.
Sometimes revisions are necessary, so don’t delete the raw footage just yet. I like to keep mine for at least 30 days.
Below you can watch the first session from a 3-day conference.
If you have any questions, please leave me a message below or contact me directly.