Producing videos of live events is always a challenge especially when you are a one man show. I have been making short event videos to cover live events for our local chamber of commerce in the West Island of Montreal. These events vary from networking lunches, company visits, golf tournaments and the annual Accolades award event recognizing top businesses in the region.

These events can yield great short video content for websites and social media, but they can also spell disaster when not approached well.

Here is the breakdown of what you need to do to make this a great experience and produce a video that everyone would want to share.

Have a Plan       

plan Having a good plan will help you know what equipment you need and what you want to focus on during the event. It will also greatly shorten your editing time.

I have covered several networking lunches for the local chamber and had not always planned well. For the latest one I took some time to think about what I wanted to shoot based on my understanding of the business goal of the video.

The videos must appeal to both the audience and the client who is paying for the video. I knew from past experience that it is easy to overshoot with no real purpose in mind. Here is the plan that I jotted down on a piece of paper the morning of the event.

  1. Restaurant name – 40 West
  2. Close-up of food being cooked, steaks and fish on the grill
  3. Plates being prepared.
  4. People networking
  5. Guest speaker presented
  6. People eating
  7. Interview with guest speaker

I knew the restaurant and that I would be able to capture some pretty good footage of the food being cooked on the grill in the open kitchen.

The video below is the video that was produced for the event described. It took between 2 to 3 hours to fully edit and publish this video.

West Island Montreal Chamber of Commerce at Restaurant 40 WESTT with Dr. Bali of Yoga Bliss video from MemoriesFX on Vimeo.

Choose the equipment.

AG-AF100_S_14_140 camera ribbon handheld mic light led sennheiser shotgun

Simple, fast, easy, versatile and light. These were the keywords I jotted down to help me choose the equipment to use. My equipment consisted of a Panasonic AF 100 interchangeable lens camera, a Panasonic 12 to 35 mm F2 .8 lens, two portable LED battery-powered lights, the Camera Ribbon shoulder support and a handheld microphone. I also used a portable light stand to mount one of the LED lights for when the speaker was presenting and for the interview at the end. I also added a Sennheiser shotgun microphone onto the camera just in case I wanted to record some ambient sound or question from the audience.

Location Production.

Working as a one-man production crew in a situation like this, you have no choice but to make it happen. This is where your plan comes in and you need to remind yourself of that in order to stay on track. The key is to not overshoot to avoid making the editing take way too long.

One technique I learned was to record only part of the presentation by the speaker, unless that has been requested by the client. What I prefer to do is have someone interview the speaker at the end of the event and have them recap very quickly what they presented. I can use the footage of the person presenting as B roll to cover edits in the interview. I also make sure to shoot some audience reaction shots to also use a cut away shots for the interview.

One of the keys is to get nice shots of people enjoying themselves at the event. When people like how they look in a video they are more likely to share it.

Editing

When you have a focused shot list and have executed well, the editing should go fairly quickly and smoothly. I want the opening sequence to capture the viewer’s attention. In this case I intermixed shots of the food being prepared with people talking and networking.

I first go through the footage using the trimmer window in Sony Vegas and add specific clips to the timeline. I then rearrange the clips and trim them down even more. Once I have what I like. I’ll add lower third name and titles for those who are speaking.

After adding the animated video title graphic that contains the company logo and I work on color correction. I use a plug-in that makes it quick and easy to apply a specific color correction that goes along with the feeling of the video and event.

I then work on tweaking the sound and adding music. Sometimes the music can take as long as editing the video as there is so many options for different music and I want to use different music for each video I make for a particular client.

Publish.

The last piece is to publish the video so that it gets viewed and shared. In this case, my client publishes the video to their website, Facebook page, and YouTube. I also do the same on my pages as well as LinkedIn.

I choose a title for the video that would help optimize it for search. In this case I include the name of the organization in the video title, the video description and the video tags. One strategy that could be employed would be to send a link to the video to everyone who attended the event. This could greatly increase the views and have it shared more often.

The video below was shot over an entire day and the editing took more than a day. Part of the reason for this was not just the amount of footage, but also the fact that there was no clear plan for the video from the outset.

Golf Saint Raphael Video: Montreal West Island Chamber of Commerce Golf Tournament from MemoriesFX on Vimeo.

To summarize, it is extremely important to discuss the purpose or goal of the video with your client and to plan what needs to be filmed in order to achieve this goal. This will greatly facilitate the production and editing process.

Steve Goldberg
Video Producer, Memoriesfx