How to Record a Lecture and Slides with Minimum Editing

A client asked me face-to-face to propose the quickest way to shoot a lecture with the slides and upload to the web without wasting time editing and with minimum budget.

Here’s the situation… the client is hiring me to shoot raw only, and their multimedia production team will edit the final video.

Here’s one more thing… they would like to achieve the TED-style of production.

Three Ways to Video Record a Lecture with Slides   

I gave three proposals…
1. The world-class TED-style production method.
2. The quick and dirty old way of shooting.
3. The ultimate low budget time saving way.

Who Will be Watching the Video?  

First I asked ONE important question…
Who will be watching the video? Internal staff or external customers.

If internal staff is watching, then use the quick and dirty old way of shooting.  Why? They have to watch it anyway because the information is more important than the visual-audio quality.

If external customers are watching, then you may want to present your organisation in the most professional manner by using the more tedious production method.

1. The world-class TED-style production method
- Minimum two camera. Sometimes five and one on a crane.
- Controlled environment… lighting on lecturer, stage walking room, matching projector screen exposure.
- Recorded and mixed live, though editing is required to polish the final delivery.
- If you are not using your own in-house production staff, then be prepared to pay a hefty sum to a vendor.

2. The quick and dirty old way of shooting
This was how I did it when I first started in the Videography business.
- One camera on a tripod at the back of the lecture room/hall.
- Start with a wide shot of the stage to show the lecturer and the lecture title on the projection screen.
- Zoom in slowly to a mid shot of the lecturer when he/she starts speaking.
- Pan away and zoom out to the projection screen when the lecturer is making reference to it.
- Pan the camera back to the lecturer again when he is not talking about the points on the screen.
- This is the most cost-effective and fastest way to shoot a talk.
- BUT many of my higher-end clients did not like this way of shooting. Too much camera movements, panning left and right, zooming in and out, exposure not consistent, the slides do not have the right colour and the slides are not clear enough to read.

3. The ultimate budget and time saving method 

This video is shot and edited single-handedly by yours truly…
- Use two cameras… one unmanned camera shooting wide shot and the other camera controlled by me mainly aimed at the lecturer.
- Convert slides to video… The actual Powerpoint slide file is converted into video and edited on top of the lecture footage, hence maintaining actual slide clarity and colour quality.
- Intercut the three footage… wide shot, mid shot and slides. Intercutting breaks the monotony of your video for the audience.
- The editor is the shooter… If I shoot the video, I know exactly where to cut, because I have already seen through the video.  This saves a HUGE amount of time, compared with letting a producer looking thorough the hour-long video and passing instructions to separate video editor who has to look through the video again!
- Pay the price of ONE manpower… Manpower is expensive, especially the experienced ones.  This method saves time and budget, even if you DIY or outsource.

Which lecture recording method to use?

If you have a big budget, by all means use method 1.
If you have no interest in impressing your viewer, be it internal staff or external customer, then go for method 2.
If you want to save time, save budget and produce a high quality looking video, then use method 3.

Let me know your thoughts… leave a comment below.

Adrian Lee
Independent Videographer | Videography Trainer
Making Video for Business

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