Video prep + production

Creating well-produced video and audio should be one of your biggest priorities. After all, this is primarily how your event’s ideas will be spread to the world.

You’ll find detailed instructions on how to shoot and record video, light and audio needs in our Production Guide, but here’s a rundown of the basics.

Create a budget

There’s a good chance that the majority of your event budget will go to production. Between equipment rentals and possibly hiring a production crew, the costs will add up quickly.

Working on a tight budget?

If you have a small budget and are concerned about production costs, check out the tips outlined on page 13 of our Production Guide.

Also be mindful that some people will work for an in-kind contribution. Just choose your hires vs. volunteers carefully — a professional will be more inclined to deliver a good product.

Playing TED Talks

When you show TED Talks on your projection screen, here are a few things to keep in mind:

Don't stream talks from the web - Download, don't stream the talks. You don’t want to take the risk of having Internet problems in the middle of your event. Rather, you should download the video from our website in MP4 format. (Click the button underneath the video player that says “Download.” A pop-up box with options will appear.) This high-res MP4 option is better than DVD quality, and suitable for projection onto a large screen.

Burn a TED Talk on DVD - After you download the high-res MP4 version of a TED Talk, you can use software like iMovie or Windows Movie Maker to convert the file to a DVD-friendly format.

Build a custom TED Talk DVD - With TED DVD on Demand, you can create a DVD that includes up to six TED Talks from our archive, each which includes subtitles in up to 32 languages.

Slides and visual aids

A few technical considerations when it comes to running speakers’ slideshows:

Collecting presentation materials - It's best to run all presentations off of a house computer (just make sure to back them up somewhere!). If the speaker wants to run their presentation from their own computer, they should test the computer at the venue in advance of the show.

Capturing slides on video - If possible, try to capture a direct video feed of the slides and presentation materials as they appear on the screen. If that cannot be done, keep at least a corner of the screen in your wide shot so that you’ll know when to advance the slides in post-production.

Stage design considerations

Stage design plays a part in the video production of your event. Things to note:

  • You’ll want to frame your shot so there is a clean background.
  • Make sure to capture your TEDx event's logo, or part of your TEDx event's logo, in the frame.
  • Also make sure to be aware of stage design setup and needs.

Lighting needs

Remember that you are lighting for a video production. Creating an image that works for the camera is very different from your standard stage lighting. So if you can, consult with a Lighting Director who is familiar with video production. A few important things to keep in mind:

  • Don’t use a spotlight — use three-point lighting on your speakers.
  • Light enough of the stage so that your speakers can move around.
  • Position lights behind and/or from the side of the speaker. This light should create a hair-light and sharp edge that separates the speaker from the background.
  • Do everything you can to prevent light from spilling onto the screen. It could create a huge problem for both the live and recorded experiences.

Audio needs

Audio is far more important than you think. If your video happens to turn out badly, editing can always help. But if your audio sounds bad, it’s a hard thing to salvage. A few essentials:

  • Capture a live feed from your speakers' mics. Note that this is a requirement!
  • If you’re looking for what kind of microphone to use, we’ve found that DPA headset mics work best.
  • Be sure to mic the speakers, hosts, and audience. It’s important to get a feel for the room and the crowd’s reactions.
  • Be sure to test your microphones before the show. You may need to adjust the volume levels depending on the speaker. Remember to ask the speaker to remove noisy jewelry, such as dangly earrings or necklaces that click against the mic.

Cameras

Every space is different and will require unique camera placement. But there are a few essentials you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Since this will be a multi-camera event (you should have at least 2 cameras), each camera is responsible for a unique angle and range of shot sizes. It’s important that at any given time, each camera covers a different shot size, for ease of editing.
  • The footage from each camera that is recorded will later be edited and posted on the TEDx YouTube channel. So be mindful that each frame of your footage has a life in post-production. Operate the camera as if it’s always live.
  • In addition to our Production Guide, your cameraperson or crew is also required to use our TED Camera Playbook when shooting your TEDx event.

TEDx Tips 

  • If the speakers have slides or visual aids, make sure to collect copies of them to keep for editing the talks later on. Add items ...
  • Avoid refocusing the camera during a speaker's presentation. If you need to, focus right when the speaker takes the stage, but make sure that at least one camera is holding a good shot while the other(s) are focusing.
  • Don't set a camera and then leave it. The camera crew should use the camera at all times, so that there is as much usable footage as possible.
  • Never shut off your camera(s) while a speaker is on stage. Plan your tape changes ahead so you never run out of tape at the wrong time.

Resources

Check out our TED Camera Playbook