A Guide to Pre-recorded Presentations for Digital Conferences
The emergence of COVID-19 has thrown the professional world into a state of uncertainty.
Companies have been left scrambling for ways to adapt new technologies and processes into their daily lives and workflows.
Many companies have transitioned from the office to a work-from-home setup; many in-person conferences were moved online, forcing presenters to navigate new tools like Zoom and Google Meets to maintain the flow of communication and reach clients in a timely manner.
Whether you are a professional designer, marketer, event planner, or one of the many other roles that require you to adapt to the world of digital conferencing, this article will give you a breakdown of what—and who—you will need so that you can continue delivering quality virtual presentations to large audiences even after the pandemic is over.
Depending on the resources available to you, you can either create these conference videos in house, or you can outsource and bring on a team of creative professionals. Here are a few ways you can approach your pre-recorded video so that it is ready to go when conference time comes.
Hosting virtual conferences using a studio set
If you have attended virtual conferences held by big names like Apple or Microsoft, you are likely familiar with the concept of filming on a studio set. Microsoft recently held their Ignite conference where they utilized a studio set with an ambient screen to create high quality visuals and text overlays that made for a clean and engaging presentation.
A studio set is a great way to pre-record a speaker presentation which will then be uploaded to the web for viewers to access during the virtual conference. If you have the resources to do so, making use of studio sets will provide you with a space dedicated to you and your team for producing your video with few interruptions.
Who you will need to produce a professional digital conference
To get the highest quality visuals, consider who you will need to enlist to help with the creation of your video presentation.
First you will need to bring on a PowerPoint presentation designer. The presentation designer will be responsible for what appears on the screen as you record, as well as the text overlays that are added in post-production (i.e., after the speaker delivering the presentation is filmed). The process will start with a storyboarding session, during which you and the designer sit down and discuss the content of your presentation. The designer will then use your data to develop a story that is comprehensive yet digestible to the audience. They will also start creating the visual assets that will be incorporated into your presentation.
To record and edit your video, you will need a production team. The production team will be responsible for finding the most efficient ways to record and develop your video that are within budget and ensure the highest possible quality.
Finally, you may need an animator. The animator creates multiple images, known as frames, that are fashioned together to create a moving image (i.e., an animation). Your animator and presentation designer will work together to incorporate text overlays and moving images into your presentation. Where the presentation designer is involved with the content of your presentation from the very beginning, an animator will create animations that are incorporated after your video has been recorded.
Digital presentations using a studio set and ambient screen
An ambient screen allows you to create a high-quality virtual background as well as incorporate visual effects into your presentation during post-production. The primary function of an ambient screen is to create an interactive experience that responds to the needs of the user, which means you will have room to get creative and customize your presentation in a way that is far more engaging than solely displaying notes on PowerPoint. Ambient screens give you a chance to bring your presentation to life by allowing you more control and flexibility with what you can incorporate into your video. Using an ambient screen will elevate the quality of your video while allowing you to easily adapt your presentation as needed.
When creating a digital presentation with a studio set and ambient screen, you will need a PowerPoint presentation designer, production team, and animator to assist.
If an ambient screen is not available to you but you have access to a studio set, you have a few other options you can use.
Digital presentations using a studio set with alternating screen views
Creating a pre-recorded video with alternating screen views will allow you to control when your video switches between the view of the speaker and the view of your PowerPoint presentation. You will require many of the same team members as you would for a video recorded with an ambient screen, though you may not need an animator in this case.
The role of an animator is to add animations and transitions that often require the use of applications outside of PowerPoint, such as After Effects. The work they do is more intricate than what is needed here and a PowerPoint designer will be able to manage the creation of any visual assets for you. You will still use the studio and a production team to record your content, however, instead of having an ambient screen that displays a virtual background, your screen will display your PowerPoint presentation.
In post-production, your production team will be able to time when the video shifts from a view of the presenter to the view of your PowerPoint slides. See the video below for an example of a presentation filmed on a studio set with alternating screen views.
The production team will be able to edit which parts of the video transition at which times. This is a great option if you have the resources for a studio set but don’t have access to an ambient screen.
Digital presentations using a studio set with a green screen
Using a green screen is another option you may have if ambient screens are not available to you. Like the alternating screen option, you will not need an animator for this type of project. Again, the visual work can be managed by a PowerPoint designer. The more intricate work of an animator won’t be necessary.
Since green screens can be manipulated to fit your specific needs, your production team can create a virtual set that suits your company vision and branding. One thing to note is that the quality of this virtual background may not be quite as high as the quality of an ambient screen. However, it will still allow you to customize your display.
During post-production, the presentation designer will incorporate your PowerPoint deck into your virtual set so that the video alternates between views at the appropriate times. See the video for an example of a virtual set that incorporates a PowerPoint presentation.
Hosting digital conferences using a home or office setup
There is no cause for concern if you do not have access to a studio set and a full production team—you can still create a quality video presentation! You will need a good camera and audio setup, an appropriate background, and a presentation designer.
As a presentation design agency, our best advice to clients using a home or office setup is to create a PowerPoint presentation that you will later embed your camera footage into. One challenge with this setup is that the video will need to be broken up into segments, which can make for less refined transitions.
It is also important to note that PowerPoint cannot export videos in true HD. Additionally, the quality of the final video may decrease if the presentation is shown on larger screens, such as in large conference spaces; however, for viewing on a computer screen or monitor—which is most likely the new standard of digital conferencing—these types of videos should perform just fine.
When developing a presentation at home, you want to make sure you have the optimal setup for creating a high-quality video. Here are some considerations on how to set yourself up to deliver a successful digital conference presentation.
Evaluate your space
Test out your recording space before you start to record your final video. You want to make sure you have a setup that allows for the highest quality visuals.
Find a room with optimal lighting—natural light is best if space permits. If you can, position yourself and the camera across from a window or your primary light source so that the light faces you and your image is clear and well-lit on camera.
It is best to sit against an empty wall so that there is nothing in the background that can distract the viewer—you want to make sure you remain the focal point of your video.
No matter where you set up, be sure your space is clean and decluttered to maintain a level of professionalism. The camera will pick up more of the background than you may expect, so pay attention to what is visible to your camera so you can clear out any unwanted items or distractions.
Do your best to eliminate or minimize background noise to help maintain the clarity and integrity of your recorded audio. Keep the television turned off and your phone on silent. Close any windows so you can eliminate any outside noise as much as possible.
Invest in quality tech and resources
If you are often presenting virtually, you should consider investing in proper equipment to add to your remote setup—especially if you expect to continue these new practices of video conferencing after the pandemic.
Having quality hardware will make a noticeable difference in the quality of your video, whether it is for a live virtual meeting or a pre-recorded segment for a virtual conference. Try to avoid using the default webcam and microphone that come built-in with your computer or laptop. If you have the resources, consider what elements of your current setup need to be updated and invest in the equipment that will elevate the audio-visual components of your presentation.
Here are some ideas on what you may need to upgrade.
External webcam or video camera
Choose products that are well suited to your needs. If you are holding smaller conferences or one-on-one internal meetings, you may want to opt for a smaller camera upgrade such as an external webcam. External webcams will give you a higher resolution image than your built-in webcam and will take in more light so that you have a clean image.
If you are presenting to larger audiences, you may feel more comfortable investing in a higher-end video camera that can deliver professional results. Dedicated cameras will capture the clearest videos and images for digital setups.
Additional light source
Having an additional light source, such as a ring light, can elevate your video quality even if you are using a simpler camera model. Often used for online content creation, ring lights are a great option for enhancing the quality of your visuals. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of being able to capture a high-quality image, so you want to make sure you have a portable light with you, especially if your space doesn’t get a lot of natural light.
An external microphone is a great investment for ensuring you have quality audio for your video. The microphone built into your laptop is often not equipped to cancel out background noise. External microphones will sharpen the sound of your voice while also blocking out echoes and background noise so that your audience can hear you clearly without any distractions.
Create a quality visual presentation
If you have the skills to create high quality presentation designs and edit videos, you will be able to create this presentation on your own. However, you always have the option of hiring a PowerPoint design company which will further elevate your presentation. Our blog also has plenty of tips that can guide you through the process of creating a great PowerPoint presentation.
As we all continue to learn and adapt to a new way of life and work, we are using technology more and more to maintain communication. Planning and hosting a digital conference can be stressful and confusing, especially if you are thrown into it unprepared.
If you can invest in a few high-quality resources for your home or office setup, you can significantly elevate the tangible production value of your videos and your ability to deliver a professional presentation, even if you do not have access to a high-tech studio set and large team.
If you need help creating high-quality visuals for your upcoming digital conference, our team of PowerPoint presentation designers are at the ready. We are well versed in the world of virtual presentations and are happy to help you get started.
We hope these tips will give you a strong starting point and a better understanding of what—and who—you will need to deliver a successful digital conference.