How to Shoot Good Video for Online Events
Pre-recorded content is a big part of online events. Whilst the live element of the agenda is important for your audience to interact and engage with, pre-recorded content allows for your speakers to have some breathing space and for an uninterrupted exchange of information to be relayed to your audience.
Pre-recorded content is more controllable; you know exactly what to expect when you turn to the pre-recorded section of your live event. Not only that, but you have more control both when shooting and in postproduction. You’re given the luxury of a retake when you shoot pre-recorded content, something you unfortunately can’t rely on when streaming live.
Pre-recorded content also makes for great filler when you are experiencing technical difficulties with technology or your WiFi connection, and for that reason alone (as technical difficulties love to arise) it is important to have good, pre-recorded content lined up and ready to go.
During these difficult times you may think it’s almost impossible to be able to shoot professional-feel footage, however UKSV have a few different suggestions which will allow you to keep putting your messages out there and engage with your audiences.
How to use your smartphone to shoot high-quality footage
With some smaller events you might be tempted to produce the footage yourself. Whilst we heartily recommend asking for some assistance with content creation, self-shooting can be done and done well with some initial research and some thorough planning.
You might be surprised to learn that you are already in possession of a good video camera for your production. Your smartphone can do wonderous things if used correctly and with the below tips we are confident that anyone can create a professional finished product with any relatively new smartphone. Here are UKSV’s smartphone filming tips:
1. Always shoot landscape. Unfortunately, if you send us your portrait video to edit, there’s very little we can do to make it look professional and we may ask you to reshoot. Landscape footage is instantly more refined and won’t look out of place against the rest of your live footage and visuals in your online event. Portrait does have its uses, and more and more people are shooting this way. Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Vimeo all allow vertical uploads now, however if your footage is to be used for a business virtual event, landscape still trumps portrait.
2. Shoot at 1080p at 30 frames per second. You may be more constrained by the settings on your smartphone compared to those on an industry standard camera, but many smartphones have a few settings you can use to produce the cleanest footage. One of these settings is the frames per second, or fps. Depending on your smartphone, you may have the option for 24fps, 30fps, or 60fps. As a general rule of thumb, the more frames per second, the smoother the footage and the closer it looks to resembling real life. 30fps is a great starting point, and generally speaking 60fps is used for slow-motion footage (if your phone has that capacity). These settings can be found in the main settings under camera for iPhone, or directly in the camera app if you’re using Android.
3. Use a tripod. If you can, using a tripod is a great way to quickly make your footage look more polished. Many smartphones now have image stabilisation built in, which means that your phone will automatically try to offset any handheld wobbling and smooth the footage out itself. While this is a great feature for any smartphone videographer, we wouldn’t recommend relying on it. If you don’t have a tripod, get creative! Stack a load of books on one another and rest your phone at the right height. Alternatively, if you’re working with an agency like UKSV, this sort of equipment will be sent to you, as well as a greenscreen, lighting kits, and full HD webcams.
4. Check your phone’s general settings. Finally, as good practice, make sure your phone is on airplane mode, has enough storage and the battery is full. Also, make sure your lens is clean – a fundamental step that many people overlook. You don’t want to upload hours of shooting to realise there’s a spec of dirt on the lens when you move it to your laptop.
Filming yourself with your smartphone can be a great way to record some short footage for an internal event or an informal online event, however for a bigger, more formal event, we really recommend working with an agency to help you shoot more professional material. Industry help can ensure your footage is shot quickly, efficiently and in the correct settings for your final output. This can save time in the long run and produce a more finished product.
This brings us to…
Use an agency to help you self-shoot
If you’ve decided to create your content inhouse, but aren’t confident in going it alone, why not find a creative agency who are able to assist you with the production and postproduction of your content, creating a polished final product.
Perfect for working within tough restrictions, UKSV are able to give you access to your very own ‘virtual director’ who will work closely with you via a virtual platform to give self-shooting tips and review your pre-recorded content as it’s being filmed. This makes the process far quicker than filming the content and sending it over to us only to find that it needs to be re-done due to poor lighting, inaudible sound or the wrong orientation (see above for: always shoot in landscape mode!).
When self-shooting, there are many things you need to take into consideration for your footage to seem professional. For example, location; make sure you are stood in a well-lit room with no distracting backdrop. Similarly, make sure you aren’t likely to be disturbed (as much as we all enjoy clips of newscasters being interrupted by their children). Lighting and positioning of the camera is of the utmost importance when it comes to self-shooting; anything filmed or lit below will make you look like a Disney villain, and anything filmed or lit above will make you look small and distorted. Instead, opt for head height, where your eyes can naturally look into the camera with a relaxed gaze. Our on-hand virtual director will be with you every step of the way to make sure your footage is the best is can be in your home- or office-studio.
The content can then be edited professionally by a professional editing team who can include motion graphics, soundtrack and branding as required. This is a great option for smaller online events that may require some, but not a lot of pre-recorded content.
Enlist a small crew to direct and film your content
Perhaps you’re planning on hosting an online conference or expo and need more than one section of pre-recorded content. In which case, it might be more beneficial to you to hire a production crew. UKSV are COVID-compliant and can come directly to you. We can turn your office space into a studio using a greenscreen, professional lighting and industry standard camera equipment.
With an experienced crew, your content creation can be filmed quickly and professionally with crew members on hand to help with delivery as well as technical set up and staging. You’ll be amazed at what can be done in a small space such as a shared office! Your audience will never know the difference.
One of the main concerns of pre-recorded content is keeping the audience engaged. Since there’s no direct interaction with the speaker, some audience members can switch off, and with the challenge of working with remote audiences, it can be hard to gauge interaction. You need to make sure your content is engaging, and a good crew will help you with this. For example, eye contact and speech delivery are two of the most important aspects of keeping an audience engaged. Our director will ensure you are pacing your speech and looking directly into the camera, making sure you get the perfect shot.
Once again, this footage will then be edited by our postproduction team and cut with motion graphics and soundtrack to your branding and requirements.
Still not sure?
We know events are a challenge for all businesses at the moment. If you have an online event coming up but you’re still not sure what level of assistance you need, give us a call and we can have a chat about your exact requirements.
Alternatively, download our virtual and hybrid event guide here for more information on how to host great online events!