On Tuesday & Wednesday this week we were doing a spot of event filming. We were through in Glasgow filming at the Transitions as Tools for Change Conference, held at Strathclyde University. The conference was an international gathering of experts on the subject of childhood transitions, from early learning and childcare through to primary school and beyond.
Our role was fairly straightforward, in that we were just filming the presentations for archival purposes, but we actually had skin in the game in several ways. Firstly, the members were treated to an advance screening of the Revolving Doors film which we produced for Forces Children Scotland. Whilst it is officially being launched at a conference next week, it was nice to see it form part of the conversation at a conference about the difficulties children face in transitions, as military children have to transition far more often than civilian children.
But also, as a father to a young boy who is currently in nursery and will at some point in the next 18 months transition to primary school, I am all too aware of the sensitivities and care that needs to be taken in both helping children transition and also ensuring schools can be environments which develop confidence rather than focusing on curriculum too much. As such it was actually really pleasing to be present for the launch of the Scottish Transitions Statement. You can download a copy of the statement below;
The tricky thing about event filming is that you are having to anticipate how people may act, in order to have put in place systems to cater to their actions. Whilst filming events is simple, capturing good audio is not. We had a radio mic on the lectern, plus a backup, and another Rode H1 beside the computer, just in case they decided to present from there. Just as well, because the accoustics in the room meant that they didn’t need to use the room speaker system, so a line out from the audio desk would have been pointless. In the end we circled the entire presentation floor of the auditorium with Zoom H1s, to catch all the presenters, speaking from a variety of locations. I don’t think any two presenters used the same location to speak from.
What this really demonstrated was how valuable and capable the auto-level ability of the H1s is. If I had set it to a -6db peak on a normal presenting voice, it would have never really picked up the speakers who decided to move further away. Auto-level seems to have done the hard work of getting safe feeds of the audio for me.
The second day was much simpler, with an auditorium that required speakers to use the lectern, I also had time to drop a Sony recorder onto the necklines of two speakers so I was guaranteed good audio.
In post, thank whomever you like; Odin, Zeus or God, for that miracle that is Plural Eyes. With so many audio recordings, it was a pleasure to watch this demon bit of software automatically synchronise everything into one file to export into Premiere. Magic! Then it was simply a case of running through the sessions, checking for any jolted camera movements where I probably tripped over the tripod leg and cutting to the b-cam (safety shot on wide).
If you’d like someone to film your event for posterity or for prompting its aims, give us a shout today.
Oh, and another bonus of filming conferences is the food. You can’t go wrong with Asian snacks;