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NAB Wrap Up Webinar

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What happened at NAB? Join me as we review the emerging industry trends in an IBC365 Webinar today with Carolyn Giardina of the Hollywood Reporter,  dock10 CTO Paul Clennell and IHS analyst Przemek Bozek. Join us TODAY APRIL 18 as 4pm UK time (8am PDT / 11am EDT / 5pm CET) Click here for the webinar

On the show floor at NABSHOW 2018

 

Eating Well at #NABShow

This week I’ll be headed out to Las Vegas with 100,000 of my best friends in media, TV and video production for the biggest conference and technology showcase of the year, NAB Show. Many of us who are not on expense-account budgets will need to find good spots for dining, so here are my favorite places to eat well without breaking the piggy bank.  If you have other suggestions, please let me know!  Also, if you are headed to NAB, please check out my workshops during Post|Production World and don’t forget to stop by the always exciting #GalsNGear main event on Tuesday morning–a networking coffee thanks to Adobe and Blackmagic Design followed by a dynamic session with cutting-edge gals in UAV, AI, 360, VR, and post and more than $10,000 in gear and software giveaways. An event not to be missed!

Alright, back to my food picks:

1. Lotus of Siam. Excellent, authentic, and seriously spicy–thai cuisine. Try the spicy prawns or the sea bass in any of the three sauces–I had the ginger sauce with mushrooms on Saturday night and it was divine. For folks who love spicy (me!), beware. The scale at Lotus is the real deal. If you ask for 10, you might need a tableside fire extinguisher.

2. Kaizon Fusion Roll. Asia fusion with interesting (and gigantic) sushi roll combinations in a low-key, hip bar atmosphere. Just across street from Hard Rock Hotel but not nearly as pricey as their famous sushi place.

3. Sen of Japan gets rave reviews and is more authentic Japanese, for purists.

4. Pamplemousse Locals go here for special occasion, reasonably authentic French fare. Haven’t tried it myself, so give me your feedback.

5. Lindo Michoacan A local Mexican 3-restaurant chain well regarded, including by my local friend whose wife hails from Mexico.

6. Echo and Rig Pick out your cut of steak, then have it grilled up at the restaurant next door. Talk about “on-demand” dining!

7. Piero’s A Las Vegas institution and close to the Convention Center where we’re all living for this conference. Dinner only.

8.  Tamba Indian A family owned place with plenty of tables for big groups.

9. The only Vegas eatery on the strip that makes my list is Beijing Noodle No.9 at Caesar’s. Try the soup dumplings (they’re not IN the soup, the soup is IN the dumplings!) and a bowl of Lanzhou noodle soup.

10. Walgreens. No I’m not kidding you. The food trucks at the Convention Center are long, and I speak at multiple sessions with little turnaround time. So I will often grab a yogurt or a decent sandwich in the morning at Walgreens (there are three on the strip) rather than wait in line at lunchtime. And that saves more eating fun for dinnertime.

Alright, you’ve got my picks. I hope to see you soon at NABShow in Vegas!

Amy DeLouise is a writer-producer-author-speaker and foodie who operates out of Washington, DC but travels the world.

#FemaleFilmmaker Friday: Saving Sea Turtles

Filming in the cold Cape Cod sunset.

For #FemaleFilmmaker Friday, I’ve brought you an interview with Seattle filmmaker Michele Gomes, co-founder and Creative Director of InterChange Media who I was lucky enough to meet at an #NABShow several years ago.  I produced an interview for her project Combating Ebola, a series of emergency response videos that aired throughout West Africa. We talked about her new feature length documentary, Saving Sea Turtles, co-directed with her production partner Jennifer Ting. The film won the Green Spark Award at the American Conservation Film Festival.

What got you interested in the plight of the stranded sea turtles?

I grew up in Rhode Island and spent my summers swimming in the Atlantic and I’d never heard of sea turtles swimming off the shores of New England. Then, during a visit to the Massachusetts Audubon Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary in Cape Cod, we met a naturalist who told us that the rarest sea turtle in the world was washing up cold-stunned (hypothermic) annually every November and December and dozens of people were volunteering to go on patrols to save them.  So we decided to rent a place for 5 weeks in order to capture this phenomena.

Did you set out to make a full-length feature doc or did the project evolve?

The project definitely evolved. I was interested in filming the conservation efforts and finding out what was going on with the sea turtles. Jenny wanted to make a film about the naturalist, who she thought could even make a good host for a television series.  We both agreed we needed to capture what a “sea turtle stranding season” was like. After being on the ground, witnessing an environmental crisis—the largest sea turtle stranding in Massachusetts history–and seeing how the local community came together to try and save 1200 sea turtles, we knew we had to tell the whole story. The species is Kemp’s Ridley sea turtle, and marine wildlife specialists and volunteers are working hard to prevent them from

Filming hatchlings on the beach, helped by volunteers.

going extinct.

What were some technical challenges that you and Jenny faced with production and what were your solutions?

​While we brought a lot of equipment, we were not prepared for the weather conditions during the winter on the Cape. The patrols happen after every high tide, day and night. The first time we went on a night sea turtle patrol, we had plans to shadow a retired private school teacher named Nancy Rabke.  The wind was so intense that when she came over to our car I could barely get the door open and she had to fight to wedge herself into the car and said, “I don’t think you should come out with us tonight.  The wind is just too strong!”  We completely agreed. Cape Cod is an enormous sand bar that sticks out 60 miles into the ocean and the sand gets wiped around by the wind and it can be painful.  If we had tried to film that evening, our lens would have been destroyed and we wouldn’t have captured the rest of the events as they unfolded.  So we had to adjust and be patient and practical.

Because of the wind storms and the volume of sea turtles that got pushed ashore, everyone around us was overwhelmed and dealing with the unexpected.  So we had to think and move fast, be resourceful and ask lots of questions without getting in the way.

We also lost the main character because he ended up having a major health problem just when the mass stranding was taking place.  So we shifted our focus a bit and found another lead. Luckily, this story didn’t rest on one man’s shoulders. The film reveals a community network that involves thousands of people from states all along the eastern seaboard and the Gulf of Mexico, as well as from across the US and Mexico.   

Michele with a 50 lb juvenile loggerhead sea turtle that she had just carried off the beach. It survived and was later released. The 275 lb female sadly did not survive.

Every documentary hits financial challenges. How did you approach the funding?

This was a passion project of ours, so we mainly ended up funding it ourselves.  We tried a Kickstarter campaign, but didn’t reach our goal.  We applied for grants but didn’t receive any.  Getting funding for a film about conservation is notoriously difficult.  It is not typically a flashy subject.  Women ​Make Movies in NYC became our fiscal sponsors so anyone who wanted to donate money towards the film could do so through them.  ​

Are there any tools–camera rigs, workflow management tools, etc.–that you used that made the process easier?

Go-Pros helped us to capture the underwater footage we needed as well as helping us to put the viewer into the footsteps of a volunteer (think pre-VR).  We discovered that the shoulder rigs we rented were too heavy and didn’t fit our bod​ies, so we went with hand-held except for sit-down interviews. ​

Not only do you have to be technically prepared, but you also have to be mentally prepared.  I’ll never forget the moment about a week before the production began that I realized that we will not only be shooting live sea turtles, but dead ones as well.​  Being prepared to expose yourself to some potentially traumatic content/experiences can be helpful.

What is your top piece of advice for any first-time long-form documentary makers?

​Be sure you are focusing on a subject that is meaningful and inspiring. If it is a meaningful subject, you’ll get it done no matter what obstacles you face (financial, time, technical, etc.)  Witnessing the dedication of the sea turtle patrol volunteers going out at 3 AM in 20 degree weather in harsh conditions inspired us every step along the way. We finished the film to honor their work and to help out with the plight of species. So in the end, we felt good about all the work we put into the film and we are so grateful that we get to share it with others.  Also, Jenny and I put down our cameras to help save sea turtles and that was a transformative life experience.

Any final thoughts?

Be sure to bring your post-production partners into the project early.  We’re so happy that we had meetings with an animator well before the film was in picture lock.  The more you can prepare your post-production team the better.  Talk to everyone about your film because you never know who is going to make a great suggestion.  It was our roommate who recommended our narrator and we were blown away by our experience working with a living legend, Dr. Sylvia Earle.  Creating a feature length documentary is a time- and energy consuming commitment. Our film took 2.5 years + and was demanding work.  Not only are you a filmmaker, but you have to be a social media expert, distributor, promoter, web designer and endless advocate.

Amy DeLouise is a Director-Producer-Filmmaker. She will be giving production workshops and hosting the #GALSNGEAR livestreamed discussion at NABShow in Las Vegas in April.

 

 

 

 

#NABSHOW Survival Guide

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Levi Sim-10

In just a few days I’ll be at NABShow, the Superbowl of my industry. Or as I like to call it, 110,000 of my best friends in content production.  If you want to catch up with me there, here are my 7 (yes, seven) sessions and 2 panels during Post|Production World. Plus, I’ll be hosting an amazing group of women in UAV, VR, 3D, VFX, Editing and more during a multi-camera, livestreamed show called #GALSNGEAR on Tuesday, April 25th.  Come for the coffee and donuts at 8:30, stay for the show at 9AM!

Here are a few things I’ve learned in my years at NABShow. See you in Vegas!

  1. Have a Shoe Strategy – Bring several pairs, and plan to swap out at least once per 15-hour day! While this is especially true for women, it applies to men too. A few years ago I shared a cab with an attendee who confessed he only had brought one pair of shoes. Big mistake. You will walk many miles a day across the 1 Million square feet of show floor (!), not to mention the miles of sidewalk on the strip.
  2. Have a Transportation Strategy – The monorail is great if your hotel is right on it. If not, there’s actually a decent Express bus that runs up the strip and over to the Convention Center. You can buy a multi-day pass for much less than the monorail. Thank goodness Uber has come to Las Vegas, which cuts down the cost of other rides. And of course once the show is in full swing, there are free buses that go to most convention hotels. If you’re in a hurry, however, these can take quite a while.
  3. Bring Business Cards – I’m always amazed at how many people don’t bring them, or don’t bring enough. It’s a show with more than 100,000 people! You can’t remember everyone to tag them on LinkedIn when you get home, so share cards. A strong visual and a simple declaration of what you do is important. I hate getting back with cards to scan that feature only a name. If you’re not Oprah or Cher, include details!
  4. Have a Daytime Food Strategy – Lines at the convention center food trucks and stations can be long. On days when I’m presenting, I bring a sandwich and a yogurt from the Walgreen’s on the strip (there are three). This will save you time and frustration on peak days of the show.walgreens on strip4. Have an Evening Food Strategy – Are you sensing a theme here? Since I’m feeding myself on my own dime during NABShow, I try to skip the overpriced strip restaurants for many meals.  These are some of my all time favorites as well as places I still want to explore.  Let me know if you want to grab a bite!

Lotus of Siam. Excellent, authentic, and seriously spicy Northern Thai cuisine. Try the spicy prawns or the sea bass in any of the three sauces–I’ve had the ginger sauce with mushrooms and it was divine. Kaizon Fusion Roll. Asia fusion with interesting (and gigantic) sushi roll combinations in a low-key, hip bar atmosphere. Just across street from Hard Rock Casino, but not nearly as pricey as their famous sushi spot. Tamba Indian I plan to give this place a try this year based on a recommendation of an Indian friend. Lindo Michoacan. A local Mexican 3-restaurant chain well regarded, including by my local friend whose wife hails from Mexico. Sen of Japan gets rave reviews and is more authentic Japanese, for purists. Pamplemousse. Locals go here for special occasion, reasonably authentic French fare. Pricing more on par with the strip restaurants, but reviews are rave. Echo and Rig Pick out your cut of steak, then have it grilled up at the restaurant next door. Talk about “on-demand” dining! Piero’s. A Las Vegas institution and close to the Convention Center where we’re all living for this conference. Dinner only. The only Vegas eatery on the strip that makes my list is Beijing Noodle No.9 at Caesar’s. Try the Soup Dumplings–the soup is actually IN the dumplings, not the other way around!–and a bowl of Lanzhou noodle soup.

Amy DeLouise is a director-producer specializing in nonfiction, short form videos for large live events. When she’s not in production, Amy is also a frequent speaker and workshop leader. She has courses on #LinkedInLearning and will be presenting at #NABShow. 

 

Focus on #GALSNGEAR at #NABSHOW

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If you’ve been following the #GalsNGear hashtag on Twitter, then you know I’ve been working behind the scenes with many colleages–women and men across production and post–to put the focus on women in the technical fields of our industry during NABShow this year.   On our program, we’ll be featuring 14 top pro’s talking about VR, UAV, VFX, CC, 3D, and more. Plus we’ll be giving away thousaGnG_IG-Post1nds of dollars worth of cool stuff! We want to be sure these professionals get the limelight they deserve, and inspire the next generation of women working behind the lens in our industry.

NABShow in Las Vegas is an incredible annual smorgasboard in our sprawling industry of content creators and distributors in TV, video, cable, OTT, satellite and more. Or as I like to call it, 100,000 of my best friends in media. Special thanks to NAB and Women in Film & Video, and our partners Broadcast Beat Magazine, sponsors Black Magic Design, Snell Advanced Media, and Vitec, as well as supporting partners Adobe, iZotope, Zacuto, Ott House Audio, Rampant Design, Sundance Media Group, and Radiant Images.
If you’re coming to NAB, then we’ll see you at the show! (8:30AM is free coffee/donuts and networking, the show goes live at 9AM). If not, join us live online at 9AM. Broadcast Beat, our streaming partners, will be carrying us to more than 2M viewers in 180 countries! Details here.

Luisa Winters on GalsNGear NABSHOW Live 2016

Check out these amazing women joining us on stage to demo and discuss gear and content production and post-production this year:

Participating women:

Jennifer Pidgen, COO, Sundance Media Group; UAV Pilot

Céline Tricart, Cinematographer & VR Filmmaker

Nina Page, Head of Business Development, Radiant Images

Amanda Shelby, Head of Production, Radiant Images

Csilla Kozma, Head of Content, Nokia Technology

Cheryl Ottenritter, Senior Mixer/Founder, Ott House Audio

Mae Manning, Editor

Sue Lawson, Editor

Megan McGough Christian, Production Manager, “Frontline”, WGBH Boston

Stefanie Mullen, CEO, Rampant Design, Visual Effects

Sophia Kyriacou, Broadcast Designer/3D Artist

E Samantha Cheng, Executive Producer, Heritage Series, LLC

Co-Hosts:

Adryenn Ashley, CEO, Crowded TV

Amy DeLouise, Producer/Director, Author of The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera

 

Using VR to Free Local Space from its Boundaries

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Who isn’t intrigued by the storytelling capabilities of Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR)? My friend and colleague Danilda Martinez shares some of her experiences exploring this new frontier of media-making. Check out her post!

VR and The Quest to Free Local Space from its Boundaries

By Danilda Martinez, guest blogger

Danilda shooting 3D tour-web

My partners and I founded Immersive Spaces earlier this year with the goal of bringing a seamless VR offering to our local community and businesses. West Palm Beach, Florida has both a warm local vibe and a swank international appeal all at once. We knew that whatever we brought to market here had to feel world-class, not clunky, and accessible.  Immersive Spaces started mainly with real estate tours, and we’ve organically evolved into other spaces like galleries, and entertainment.

VR Challenges

The challenge was that producing 360-video through a traditional production approach is time-consuming and expensive. Not many local businesses have this kind of budget for marketing and content creation, especially for something as new as new virtual reality. So we had to find acquisition and editing technology that would work for our budget. We also had to consider lighting, and tried to take advantage of the best possible ambient lighting since moving lighting fixtures in and out of shots can affect the ability to “stitch” them together efficiently in post.

Exploring VR Tools

With that in mind, we approached the whole process from the end-user and client’s perspectives, which lead us to focus on acquiring technology that would produce fluid intuitive feeling tours for the end-user, and speedy turnaround for our clients. After researching options for gear and services we chose to work with Matterport, a turn-key solution which has proven to be the most effective solution for our start-up, offering affordability and quick turnarounds for us and our clients.  Rather than shoot everything with a traditional 3D set up, using production cameras or Go-Pro rigs, and Cinema 4D or Kolor for stitching, we purchased Matterport’s camera and use their cloud service to stitch and manage the 3D scans. The “Dollhouse” is a feature our clients and their audiences love, and it is essentially a 3D birdseye view of the space that can be interacted with so you select where to go next in the space.

Dollhouse-web

the “Dollhouse” view

While we wouldn’t use Matterport for producing traditional 360 video narratives because of its limited options for shooting flexibility and post-production, for now we can get VR projects going while we take our time exploring other in-house options.  At the heart of it all, we’re just having fun with new VR technology while connecting our community to the world both virtually and literally. We have an exciting year ahead of us as we constantly look to push the limits of how our local community uses VR in telling its stories through exploring space.

Danilda Martinez is the Chief Space Agent for Immersive Spaces in West Palm Beach, FL Her work can be found at www.ImmersiveSpaces.com and at facebook.com/immersivespaces.

 

 

3 Ways to Minimize Budget Impact of Using Real People on Video

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AmyDirectsTalentSo-called “real people” can add power to a video story. For testimonials, someone who actually uses the product can be compelling. If the story focuses on a charity, someone who has lived the day-to-day impact can help raise funds more effectively than an on-camera professional host. A person who works in an organization might be the very best at explaining a new process or tool.

But here’s the catch.

Using real people as opposed to actors affects the bottom line costs of your video, in both production and post. Often executive producers focus on the cost-savings of not having to hire actors–no actor fees, no casting fees, no pension and welfare payments (for union actors). However, pro’s bring their ability to hit their marks every time, to become characters convincingly, and to deliver a particular line the same way in the wide shot, the closeup and the shot that gets done after a lunch break.

So if you are using real people, you need to focus on 3 areas to minimize the budget negatives:

  1. Casting. While you may use an informal process, you’ll still need to “cast” people to be sure they can work with you, they have an interesting story, and to build a relationship prior to the day of taping. While actors can step onto a set filled with strangers and go, most regular folks can’t. Always avoid using someone solely on the recommendation on another person. If you will be the day-of-production interviewer, producer or director, you’ll need to talk to them yourself to be sure you have a good rapport.
  2. Scheduling. Build extra time into your shoot schedule. Not just for each angle or shot, but also breaks for your “talent.” Unlike pro’s, who can muscle through a long day, most regular folks need some time out of the lights. Plus they will likely need to make calls, check on the kids being picked up from soccer, etc. I’m always surprised how often I’ve got someone telling me they’ve “blocked out” the whole day for our shoot, and then when we arrive, they’ve actually got several hours of phone calls, errands or other work scheduled. No one outside of production understands that what we do is a really focused, full day or more type of job.
  3. Post Workflow. Your post-production workflow will also need to be adjusted. If you are conducting interviews, be sure you get transcripts made (from mp3 or wav files of the interviews) so that you can make a preliminary set of selects and then choose from those for your final edits.  This will save massive amounts of time slogging through footage to find soundbites.  If you are creating a re-enactment or a direct-to-camera video, you’ll need excellent field notes via Adobe Live Logger, Google docs, Lumberjack, etc. that allows you to correct for the usual mistakes and changed dialogue or non-matching action that commonly occur when  using non-actors. Again, this will save massive amounts of time and frustration during editing.

I’ve built some handy templates and other prep, shoot and post resources into my new book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera. Use code FLR40 at checkout for 20% off (not available on Amazon). Let me know any other tools you think I should add here on the website.

Eating Well at #NABShow

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Every April, 103,000 of my colleagues in media and I descend on Las Vegas for the National Association of Broadcasters Convention. Here are some of the out of the way eateries I’ve discovered over the years. Please add more! See you in Vegas!

1. Lotus oCaesars Palace ADf Siam. Excellent, authentic, and seriously spicy–Thai cuisine. Try the spicy prawns or the sea bass in any of the three sauces–I’ve had the ginger sauce with mushrooms and it was divine.

2. Kaizon Fusion Roll. Asia fusion with interesting (and gigantic) sushi roll combinations in a low-key, hip bar atmosphere. Just across street from Hard Rock Casino, but not nearly as pricey as their famous sushi spot.

3. Lindo Michoacan. A local Mexican 3-restaurant chain well regarded, including by my local friend whose wife hails from Mexico.

4. Sen of Japan gets rave reviews and is more authentic Japanese, for purists.

5. Pamplemousse. Locals go here for special occasion, reasonably authentic French fare. Haven’t tried it myself, so give me your feedback.

6. Echo and Rig Pick out your cut of steak, then have it grilled up at the restaurant next door. Talk about “on-demand” dining!

7. Piero’s. A Las Vegas institution and close to the Convention Center where we’re all living for this conference. Dinner only.

8. The only Vegas eatery on the strip that makes my list is Beijing Noodle No.9 at Caesar’s. Try the Soup Dumplings–the soup is actually IN the dumplings, not the other way around!–and a bowl of Lanzhou noodle soup.

Amy DeLouise is a writer/producer/author speaking all week at NABShow–the National Association of Broadcasters convention–in Las Vegas. Her Post/Production World classes are listed here  http://bit.ly/ADatNAB16. Please stop by!

Where’s Amy DeLouise at #NABShow16 ?

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DeLouise teaching at NAB

I love speaking at NAB Show!

I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting loads of interesting people at #NABShow in Las Vegas this year! If you’re trying to track me down, here are a few of my plans:

Saturday, April 16th

After a business breakfast, I’ll be off to get my credentials, to see how our #GalsNGear event buttons turned out (12,000 of them at registration desks!) and be sure our T-shirts got delivered to the store. Yes, guys are invited, too. See details under Tuesday below. Then for the afternoon I’m speaking at Post|Production World on Knocking it Out of the Park as a #SetPA an In-Depth Session on Essential Business Skills for the Freelancer. Then it’s off to an annual get-together convened by the ever-amazing editor Nicole Haddock.

Sunday, April 17th

I’ve got an early launch to speak at 8:30AM on Stress-Free Productions: Managing Clients and Executive Producers.   Then I’ve got a little gap, so if you want to grab coffee or an early lunch (love the little Indian place in South Hall) that would be great! Then it’s off to speak all afternoon at PPW: Career Transitions for CreativesSo You Want to Produce. Then it’s off to some private parties and one of my favorite Vegas shows, Jersey Boys.

Monday, April 18th

This day is gonna be fun but tiring. I’ll be speaking with @Adryenn and @RodHarlan in an All-Day Social Media Symposium ! Then it’s off to moderate a panel on a subject that’s important to me Creating Inclusive Work Environments with Douglas Spotted Eagle, Gayle Hurd of the National Association of Black Journalists, Sarah Serrano of Veterans in Film and Television.  Then it’s off to Media Motion Ball!

Tuesday, April 19th

This is gonna be quite a day. I hope you can join me in the morning for some coffee and donuts provided by Black Magic Design at the first #GalsNGear pop-up event, livestreamed by Broadcast Beat. Then I’m off to speak at PPW again: Budgeting Basics for Video, Putting Real People on Camera — a topic so dear to my heart I wrote a book about it! I’ll head over to the NAB Bookstore for a book-signing (please stop by! invite friends!) for The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera. Folks in my classes will get special DISCOUNT passes during NAB Show! Then I’ll head back to North Hall to moderate a panel on Breaking Into the Industry with Christine Steele, Katrina Deleon of Production HUB, Ashley Kennedy of Lynda, Paul Murphy and DP Joseph DiBlasi. Boy will that be an interesting conversation!  If I haven’t lost my voice yet, then I’ll see you over at Supermeet or maybe the Killer Tracks party.

Wednesday, April 20th

My day starts with being a guest on NAB Show Live! with host Janet West tackling gender balance and #womeninfilm with some terrific colleagues I’m looking forward to meeting. Then, hmmm, should I head over to the show floor or take some chill time at the pool? Perhaps a bit of both. I’ll catch up with some Lynda.com friends and colleagues Wednesday for cocktails, then I’ll be headed to dinner. (Any great ideas? I do promise to repost my off-strip Vegas restaurant favs blog post, but always looking for more out of the mainstream rec’s.) I don’t head out until late morning Thursday, so it could be a late night!

I look forward to connecting with you in Las Vegas or at another content event this year!

 

Amy DeLouise is a Director/Producer/Author and Speaker at NAB Show among other industry events. Her new book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera is out tjhis week from Focal Press.

 

 

Video: Direct-to-Camera with “Real People”

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AmydirectsIt happens more often than we’d all like to admit that inexperienced speakers are selected to deliver important information directly to the camera. Whether they are the head of a department, the leader of an initiative, an enthusiastic volunteer, or the child of the executive producer, this person might not be all that comfortable with a teleprompter, or might not work with cameras and crews every day the way professionals do. That doesn’t mean you can’t direct a confident delivery.  But your approach will need to differ from how you’d work with an actor or an experienced on-camera speaker.

I Need to Direct My Boss on Camera, Now What?!

One strategy for encouraging a natural delivery from your speaker is to do a quick Q&A with them off-camera first. I often stand farther away than is truly necessary, and lean forward. This is to encourage a slightly louder speaking voice from the talent. It forces us both to connect on purpose, not simply by default.  It’s surprising how often this Q&A approach works quite nicely, and feels natural.

Another strategy is to suggest in advance of your shoot day that the “host” practices a bit by recording themselves with their phone. Even though I have spoken before rooms with hundreds of people, before I taped my first Lynda.com course, I did the same thing. Speaking to a lens is vastly different than talking to people who react in real time. The first thing that struck me about my pre-recording was I didn’t smile enough. Even thinking about smiling helps the delivery seem more natural and congenial.

What About a Teleprompter?

Most folks aren’t aware of how much skill goes into reading from a teleprompter. Some people also do better with bullet points, rather than full copy. If you intend to use a prompter, you will need to add 30 minutes to your recording time for several rehearsals, to let the person get used to reading the words naturally. Most people trip up on one major issue: that the prompter follows them, not the other way around. They will get progressively slower as they read, waiting for the prompter to “catch up” when the prompter is actually following their speed. You’ll also need to add some big gaps to force people to slow down their read.

How to Work with Kids for Direct-to-Camera Videos

Kids are naturals. Don’t over-coach them. Do give them examples in advance from kids’ shows they like to watch.   Remember that audition pre-interview? Ask a few questions about shows they like, so you can reference them just before and during the shoot. Encourage kids to practice with their i-things at home. But the best thing you can do with kids is be a supportive cheerleader.  Use the same tools for keeping parents out of sightlines that you use with other gatekeepers: give them their own monitor, preferably out of the room. But check in periodically to be sure they’re happy.  Because a happy parent will be a great ally for you as you create a positive experience with your production team

This blog post is excerpted from my new book The Producer’s Playbook: Real People on Camera (Focal Press/Routledge). Purchase the book here Buy Real People on Camera. Or if you are coming to #NAB16 please stop by my Post|Production World session on getting the best with real people on camera – info Amy at NABShow on Real People.