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  • Need Advice: Client wants to shoot remotely on his laptop

  • Ned Miller

    November 13, 2020 at 8:53 pm

    Hi Everyone,

    Being yanked out of retirement yet again. ..I have a client who wants to film a product demo using their laptop and needs my virtual help. I’m suggesting he buys either a laptop holder on a stand (or tripod) so he can tilt it towards the product or he gets a detachable external camera on a lengthy USB cable and I send him a small flexy tripod for the camera, plus a mic he can wear. Whatever the PC equivalent of QuickTime is he can record clips on that and send to my editor.

    <font face=”inherit”>So, has anybody here have had to have a client do something like this remotely? They suggested using Zoom and in that way I can view and “direct” him but I don’t know anything at the moment about Zoom’s recording capabilities. The product he needs to record is fairly flat, think of a </font>cashier’s<font face=”inherit”> scanning window in the check put lane but this one has an angled dashboard for its readout.</font>

    <font face=”inherit”>Thank you for any insights you have. Amazon has many laptop holders that can angle downwards if he gaffer tapes his laptop safely on.</font>

  • Steve Kownacki

    November 13, 2020 at 9:21 pm

    Zoom only records 640 at best right now. My suggestion is for him to buy a logitech c920 camera and a tripod. Comes with LogiCam software that can record HD nicely and simultaneously offers virtual USB cam output that can feed zoom for you to see what’s going on. You also get manual cam controls too. He can then put the laptop someplace he can see the video and type if needed. Any $20 wired lapel mic will work.

  • Mark Suszko

    November 13, 2020 at 9:39 pm

    On top of Steve’s good advice, I’d suggest you add a second b-roll/cut-away camera, which could be the guy’s iPhone or Android, on some kind of stand or tripod. The local Five Below store has, like, eight different designs for these right now, for example, or you can get it off Amazon, etc. or even make a cel phone tripod out of any random cardboard box in 60 seconds, (I call it the “box pod”: you cut two horizontal slits across one corner of a cardboard box, set apart the same distance as the width of the phone, press into the box to collapse the corner inwards, instant phone holder)

    The thing consumers might not know is that the selfie cam on a smartphone is often of lower resolution or quality than the camera on the non-screen side of the phone, so if anybody at the demo guy’s home can be drafted to line up the phone shot for him and press the “go” button, you end up with a better cut-away shot for the product shots. All the better NLE’s now can automatically synch multiple cameras by their audio, so you can edit something that is visually much more interesting and professional-looking to watch.

    Just because it’s web video, shouldn’t mean we have to give up the good things we’ve developed in shooting broadcast video, like lighting, sound, and camera shots. We just have to get creative on how to obtain them in different ways. Spend the time to coach the client on lighting, backgrounds, and sound. Lighting can often be greatly enhanced with a simple bounce card of foam board or poster board from the local store, for example. Leverage your craft wherever you can; it need not be expensive to look good.

  • Ned Miller

    November 17, 2020 at 3:42 am

    Thanks Mark & Steve. Good to know.

    Best,

    Ned

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