Videoing training courses

4 replies [Last post]
chris thomas
Joined: Apr 23 1999

Hello! I'd really appreciate some help.

I've got an opportunity to produce a 'training' video. Basically, the customer wants a recording of a series of fairly long presentations (about four hours in total, probably with a break in the middle), with three or so speakers (probably all on stage at the same time). There will probably be slides, or maybe powerpoint presentations, and questions from the audience. There should be some sort of venue sound system that we could hook into to get a good audio stream, and they've got their own lighting setup.

I've got access to three miniDV digital cameras (2xSony TRV900, 1xSonyTRV9), tripods, a couple of portable minidisc recorders, and maybe one or two decent microphones, but that's about it.

I'd just like to hear what everyone thinks I should be thinking about! Should I dump my equipment and hire some pro kit? What should I be concentrating on? I'd like to get into this line of work, but am I living in cloud cuckoo land?


Chris Thomas. [][/email] - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

Chris Thomas. - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

chris thomas
Joined: Apr 23 1999

Doesn't anyone have any ideas?

Chris Thomas. - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

Joined: Aug 31 2002

The big problem with miniDV cameras is the length of the tape. Full size tape cameras are easier to do long evevnt records with. On the other hand lighter kit is easier to follow the action in an audience question situation.

The most important thing is to get good close-mic'ed sound recordings of all the key speakers - and any audience participants.
And good enough lighting to get interesting pictures, so if the venue does the sound and lights then thats two big problems cracked.
How many assistants (reliable) do you have - that seems to me more important than more expensive kit. If you get all the sound recorded, and three cameras shooting the event then it all SHOULD be editable.....
And of course you need to get the Powerpoint presentations etc into the edit direct from a computer NOT off the screen at the venue.

Actually the kit is not the issue - its who is going to view this? 4 hours is a hell of a long stretch to watch. Nobody learns anything if they are asleep....
Do you have experience of the editorial side of condensing the vital training issues down to a more manageable length?

What I have done in a similar situation is got the key speakers to do a short 'piece-to-camera' away from the presentation hall (either before or after) 'summarising' the key points of their speech. Together with their Powerpoint this allows you to edit each speaker's contribution from 1. Their stand-up speech 2. Their graphics/bulletpoints and 3. Their p-t-c summary. That way you can do a half-decent edit which viewers will want to watch.
Of course that means a LOT of running around on your part as director/producer, but that is why films and TV cost millions to make, rather than just being filmed 'one day' in a theatre....

If the filmed training video is important to the client you must be given the authority to step in to make sure your cameras are rolling at all the key moments of the day - particularly when people interrupt with questions etc, and when the audience ask questions. The mic must be in front of the speaker or their question wont be useable. Obviously you would need to be tactful in doing this.....
Have fun

chris thomas
Joined: Apr 23 1999

Hi Paul, thanks for the advice.
Unfortunately, after some careful consideration, I've had to decline. It mostly rests upon me being able to get a good audio recording, and I don't have the equipment to handle a long session.

quote:4 hours is a hell of a long stretch to watch.

Yes, it would be! As I understand it, it would be a few self contained presentations, so it should be manageable to watch in chunks. Mind you, have you ever been to a conference? People are expected to sit though 6 or 7 hours of talks a day!

quote:key speakers to do a short 'piece-to-camera'

A very good idea. I'll try to remember that in case I get the opportunity to do this sort of thing in the future.

Cheers, Chris.

Chris Thomas. - over 30 minutes of streaming video to bore yourself with!

Joined: Jan 4 2003

When I was making training videos ( about 10 years ago) the attention span of an audience was judged to be 13 minutes - and getting shorter. Most training films can really only hope to get the viewer to remember 3 or 4 main points.