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  • Shooting multiple presentations including PowerPoint

  • Greg Ball

    November 6, 2019 at 6:06 pm

    Hi there,

    I’m working on a project where there will be 7 presentations going on at the same time in different rooms. That means a total of 7 Cameras and operators each day. Each presentation will have a presenter and PowerPoint slides. So my initial thought is to have an Atomos recorder record the slides and audio, so when it comes time to edit, I can just treat this as a 2 camera shoot.

    Otherwise I may be caught several times not knowing what slide to insert during editing.

    My other thought os for each camera op to also provide a cheap camera to shoot a wide reference shot of each presenter and screen with room audio. Then I can match them up and drop in the slides during editing.

    Any thoughts or suggestions. This would be 4-5 hours of presentations a day X 7 for 4 days.

    Thanks so much!

    Greg Ball, President
    Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

    Miami Video Production Company | Miami to Orlando Florida | Corporate

  • Mark Suszko

    November 6, 2019 at 8:19 pm

    I face this kind of thing all the time in my work. You are on the right track. Get a clean audio feed to the Atomos to grab the powerpoints as an iso recording. I also applaud and second your idea of adding cheaper wide shot cam for cut-aways and backup audio. For this, I have three identical Cannon Vixias that are 2k consumer camcorders. On battery they run about two hours but on AC of course all day and with a 132GB SDXC card in each, I have days of shooting time in each one. Though they are consumer grade, they have mic inputs so I can give them a clean feed from the audio board or external shotgun.

    How I generally use the untended Vixias is, they stay on wide cover shots, giving me the cut-away I need to cover a fast snap zoom and pan with my main camera to things like audience Q&A speakers popping up, or just tracking the speaker as they wander the stage. I’ve found it handy with stage-walker type presenters to put one Vixia on the far left or right of the stage and frame it so as to compress the horizontal distance the speaker travels. One on each side this way makes multicam coverage look way better. Multicam in FCPX or Premiere Pro, using audio, is a breeze and I find I can cut these in faster than real-time by skimming in JKL mode and hitting the number keys like it was a live switch.

    Used Vixias like mine sell on amazon and ebay for around $150 to $250, though I got one matching unit at a pawn shop for $75 and it was in perfect shape.

    I’ve also used a Vixia as a cheap way to grab powerpoints off the projection screen, with synched audio, then I can use this as a fast guide for replacing the slides with clean ones in post.

    I often edit direct from the native MP4 files but for high stakes work I first convert to prores 422 before editing ingest.

    Consider too: 4K go-pros or their knockoffs, can be set up without the fisheye and make for a decent cut-away cam sometimes as well. With 4K footage feeding a 2K master, you have the option of being able to make some synthetic moves like zooms and pans or re-frames, in a limited way.

  • Greg Ball

    November 8, 2019 at 7:05 pm

    Thanks Mark,

    I never thought about a GoPros. That’s an interesting idea.

    But I think the Atomos would be best and quickest to edit from.

    Greg Ball, President
    Ball Media Innovations, Inc.

    Miami Video Production Company | Miami to Orlando Florida | Corporate

  • Mark Suszko

    November 8, 2019 at 8:14 pm

    Well I don’t use “real” go pros, I use a knockoff brand that costs around fifty bucks but they are still 4K, have a built-in screen and offer most of the same features. Cheap insurance.

    I mount them with a “skeleton” frame that fits a standard threaded photography tripod screw, like the Vixias, and allows for external power. The fisheye effect can be dialed-out in-camera using a menu setting, which I don’t do in-camera because it reduces the resolution to accomplish the flattening, so I un-bulge it in post.

    I can stick one on top of my P2 camera and know I have a wide cover shot of whatever I’m pointing at with the P2. The cards fit an adapter and slide right into my iMac, editing has not been any problem.

    GoPros being small an unobtrusive and be stuck in useful angles and places on and around a stage and etc. in a way that doesn’t call attention to them or intimidate people. Sticking one next to the ppt projector lets the auto-iris expose well for the screen and not the room. But I’d still just use it for a guide to replacement slides, generally.

  • Barb Scott

    February 28, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    Hi Greg!
    I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind giving a follow up to what you ended up doing? I’ll be having this situation coming up on a much smaller scale.
    I have to film a presenter and incorporate their power point. I did this before and tried to use an Atomos recorder previously. Spliting the signal coming from the computer (VGA). I didn’t render a recording unfortunately. The Atomos didn’t get a signal but when I tested an external monitor it did(using HDMI adapter of course). Needless to say it was a lot of incorporating the power point in post.
    I was wondering if you found an effective way to record the power point live?

    Thank you so much in advance for any info!


  • Mark Suszko

    March 2, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    The preferred method we use in these cases for capturing the powerpoints is to tap the laptop’s VGA output with a splitter, sending one signal onward to the projector; the other, to a scan-converter which converts the VGA signal to high def SDI. That SDI cable goes into a hard-disk-based video recorder; in our case, a P2 recorder or a an AJA KiPro. Black Magic Hyperdeck is another similar choice of hard drive based recorder.

    Audio for synching the slides can come from a dedicated mic or out of a mixer or a tap from one of the cameras.

    The only thing this method does not record is anything the presenter might do to the actual projector screen in real time, like pointing at things with a laser pointer. You automatically get a recording of anything they do with a mouse cursor, obviously, but not the laser pointer. It’s wise to ask ahead of time if anything like that is going to happen, so you can put a back-up camera on the projector screen itself.

  • Barb Scott

    March 4, 2020 at 8:46 pm

    Thank you for sharing Mark. This is extremely helpful.
    Have you worked with any of the Atomos recorders?

  • Mark Suszko

    March 4, 2020 at 9:12 pm

    Unfortunately no, but they all work on the same general principles. The AJA KiPros have XLR’s right on the back so I can use analog audio inputs from hardwire or wireless mics or cameras, separate from the embedded audio in the SDI cable from the camera.

    If you are using SDI, there will be an internal menu setting regarding how your audio is accepted, which channels, etc. You might need to run an independent mic just to grab the entire room for synching purposes, or grab specific channels from specific cameras or mics or the audio mixing board. You’d have to consult the manual to know how to set it for your specific device.

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