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Resource for Students: Best Practices for Filming Presentations

If you find yourself in a situation where you are both the presenter and the camera operator, here are some suggestions to help you record a quality project. Stage 1: Preparing  Equipment: Be sure to check-out a camera and a tripod a day before your presentation session. Limited availability may impact your plans. The CxC studios have numerous videotaping options available to LSU students for check-out. Discuss your best option with a studio coordinator or mentor. Find out if you need to purchase any accessories for the camera, such as mini-DV tapes or flash memory.  Room sound: Whether you are filming in your classroom or in a conference room, sound is a very important aspect of your finished product. Remember that most cameras have an internal microphone; therefore, the camera should be close to the person speaking. Be aware that all background noises will be picked up, so think about what you can do to minimize them.  Room lighting: If filming during the day, record in a room with windows so the natural light can filter in. If filming at night, be sure the room is well lit. Do not film in front of a bright window. Turn on additional lights if necessary.  Recording time: Keep your camera’s recording time in mind if you restart your presentation over and over. Most cameras have a 30-60 minute memory/tape. Stage 2: Filming the presentation  Looking at the camera: Whether or not you should look directly into the camera depends on the audience and type of presentation. For example, if you are making a classroom presentation and are speaking to an audience that is present (or you’re pretending that an audience is present), you should maintain eye contact with the actual audience, looking at the camera directly only occasionally to include the viewer in the audience. If, however, the audience is the viewers of the presentation and the presenter is speaking directly to them, as in the case of introductory material on a web site, then you should look directly at the camera.  Filming projected images/television/Smart Boards: Remember that projectors, televisions and Smart Boards emit different amounts of light. Televisions and Smart Boards will emit much more light than a presentation projected on a screen. Record a short sample, and adjust your lighting if needed.  Framing your subject: When filming a presentation, consider the setting and the type of presentation being given. If you will be standing at a podium, position the tripod toward the front of the room, in the center. Be sure to zoom into where you will be standing. Do a practice taping for a minute or two to be certain that the image is centered and that you can capture gestures and any visuals. If you plan to walking around the classroom as you present, set up the tripod, camera, and zoom out to be sure to capture more of the room. (Always be sure of what is behind the presenter’s head so you do not record parts of the setting that might distract the viewers.) Stage 3: Completing the filming process  Return to Studio 151: After you have filmed your presentation, the mentors in Studio 151 can assist you with transferring your file from the camera to a digital format (if applicable) as well as making edits to your file to ensure a quality project.  Be patient: If you are planning to burn your file to a DVD or edit your footage, these processes take time.

Filming Presentations Best Practices  

This is for a workshop given to LSU Distinguished Communicator candidates on the best practices for filming presentations.

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