Pre-Recording – The importance of pre-recording and how to do it right.
A home office is not a professional studio
Virtual conferences and congresses have become the new normal and forced organisers to prepare them within a short time. But what is the best way to produce lectures for a virtual event? All faculty members have different settings at the place they participate from, in terms of background, lighting, hardware and internet connection. Congress organisers as well as participants are well aware of that. As organisers like to be on the safe side and not exposed to too many technical challenges and hazards during events, the solution of choice is pre-recording. But how can this be done when speakers hold presentations from their home in COVID-19 times?
In order to optimise the quality of speaker videos, we have prepared guidelines for virtual presentations. We give advice how video and sound can be improved with minimal effort, e.g. by keeping the background neutral, having the face lit from the front, recording in a quiet room, preferably by oneself, speaking straight towards the microphone and looking into the camera as often as possible. If criteria like the above are met, a consistent quality of the stream is ensured, which makes it smoother for participants to follow the content.
Appointment scheduling software
For large numbers of speakers we use a dedicated appointment scheduling software for the recordings, through which speakers can select time slots. For international events, it is helpful to use a software in which speakers can choose their own time zone before selecting an appointment. Typically, with an easy-to-use software, a lot of appointments are made right after invitations for scheduling are sent out (put “first come, first served” in the invitation).
Realization of Pre-Recording
About a week before the recording, speakers receive an e-mail with a link to upload their slides, as well as the meeting ID for the recording. During the recording, technical staff gives recommendations on the settings and guides the speakers through the procedure. We calculate one hour per presentation – which ensures that even with “second takes” and speakers who are running late, there are no time issues.
There are always no-shows or speakers cancelling appointments at the very last minute. If such cancellations are dealt with quickly, scheduling time frames do not get out of hand. If a speaker cancels on one day, we try to find an alternative slot on the next day in order to not have too many speaking to take care of at the very end of the recording period. Reminding speakers from different time zones about appointments ahead of time (confirming their local appointment time) saves resources as well.
For the respective sessions during the event, all chairs and speakers are invited to join. Recorded talks are shown, briefly announced by the chairs and at the end of each session, there is a 20-30-minute live Q&A.