There's two main reasons for putting video cameras into a conference, and we can do both of them: Recording of the event, and producing a signal to be seen at the event (close-up points of view on your big screen, producing a standard video feed to be piped around to other screens, et cetera).
We can provide coverage with just a single camera, but that only really works well if you have just one person talking, they don't move around that much, and don't interact with the audience. With single camera coverage, you have a video where the camera has to drift from one thing to the next, past everything in between, and can find its point of view being blocked. But with a multi-camera shoot, two or more cameras can be used to cover the speaker, whatever they're talking about, and whoever they're talking with.
Sound coverage depends on your event. One person speaking at a podium is a simple task. But someone who roves around, interacts with a panel of people, or the audience, or plays some pre-recorded video, will probably require multiple microphones and a mixer. And, possibly, someone holding a roving microphone on a boom pole above the audience (so questions from the audience can be recorded, too).
Recording an event then editing it afterwards takes a lot of time, will be expensive, and means that you won't get your finished video for quite some time. Though very minor editing, such as simply neatly trimming off the start and end, can be done very quickly.
Multi-camera coverage will be mixed and switched live, at the venue. The equipment is all cabled together, and a headset intercom system is used to direct all the crew in a co-ordinated fashion. The finished production can be immediately available.
We produce videos as standard DVDs, which can easily be copied (you can get us to produce multiple copies, you can get someone else to do them, and you can do them yourself). With appropriate software, the video recording can be converted and uploaded to the internet. Though I've always found most on-line video playback to be even more painful than most DVD players, and you may find that lots of people cannot play video over the internet.
If cost is an issue, you can provide some of the people to operate our equipment, though we'll need to train them before the event. But you may find that you have problems finding volunteers, or you're having to pay them as much as we'd have to pay crew, and we'd have much more experienced operators.
We dislike making people change what they're doing to suit the camera, but there are some things that you can do to improve how your video turns out.
We need to get in to the venue ahead of time to set up. Not just to bring the gear in and put it together, but also to adjust sound and lighting. If there's someone in the same room immediately before your event, then we'll have to get in before them. You could, also, ask them if they want to be videoed; then you could halve the production costs between you.
We frequently find that sound and lighting is not quite good enough for video, or even the guests. With things like room lighting glaring off video projector screens and white boards, and loudspeaker systems that are set up far too loud. So we may need to turn off some lights, turn on others, bring in video lighting, adjust the venue's sound system, place our own microphones on or near your speakers (the people, and/or the loudspeaker equipment), and mike the room. It may be best if we handle your loudspeaker sound as well as the recording sound; or at least liase with your sound people, prior to the recording session, to make sure it's operated in a manner conducent to filming.
Sound re-inforcement is best done where it only adds enough volume to the speaker so that everyone can hear clearly. You don't need it to sound like you're addressing an outdoor rally. And final adjustment of sound, for loudspeakers and recording, is only really possible when the room has filled with people, though this will only take a few moments. Therefore, it's handy to have a brief bit of some speaking that we can set levels by, that doesn't need to be included in the video. This is an ideal time to give a brief explanation to your guests about what the video cameras are for, if and how they can get a copy, explaining whether they'll be questions and answers, asking people to turn their mobile phones off, any notices about the use of the venue, et cetera. Then look at us to check that we're ready, pause for a moment, then proceed with your conference. We'll have already started recording during that, and the brief pause gives us a good edit point to cleanly remove the preamble from the recording.
Visual re-inforcement (i.e. showing a live video feed of someone speaking on a large screen behind them, as they're speaking to their audience), is not usually a good idea, unless it's actually needed for people to lip-read the speaker from a distance. It is highly distracting to the audience, and quite disconcerting to the speaker when most of the audience is not looking at them.
If you have visual aids (DVDs, computer presentations, et cetera), then test that they work, on the equipment in the venue, before starting the conference. If you need us to bring equipment in for that, then make sure that you arrange it with us before the day. If you want to use DVD playback, during your presentation, on a local screen as well as being directly used in the recording, then it really needs to be played through our equippment.
If you want us to show close-ups of something you're demonstrating, we'll need to arrange how to do that beforehand. We'll need to have a camera in a suitable position, and you'll need to do your demonstration in a suitable position.
If you have a question and answer session, it'll need organising so that the cameras and microphones can see and hear the questions. While a moderator could repeat short questions, that gets difficult with long or complex questions. If you're expecting long questions, then you might set up a microphone stand for people to come up to. If you're expecting a lot of questions, you might have a couple of roving microphones, so that there isn't a long wait as one microphone has to be moved from one person to the next.
If you have titles that you want inserting, then supply them to us ahead of the filming day. You can just give us the details as text, or as prepared graphics (740 by 576 pixels, PNG, JPEG, TIFF, or GIF). We can insert text over the camera images, or switch between cameras and whole-screen graphics, during the live production.