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Old 09-05-2010, 12:01 PM   #1
bravestar
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Default Kinda tech support, kinda not.

I'm currently experimenting with setups that I can use to record web video for various needs. Mostly, these will be shots of me talking about something interspersed with stock photos/video and graphics. Kind of like a "typical" broadcast video but much less professionally done!

I think I have got a good combination of stuff together to make it happen and help keep it from looking low budget, but I still have one issue I just can't resolve.

I use either my laptop webcam or a digital camera to shoot the part where I am on screen talking, and plan to use a teleprompter type software to scroll my script on the screen. However, in all my tests, it is plainly obvious that I am reading something and not looking at the viewer (the camera). The laptop webcam is right above my monitor and that is also where I have positioned the digital camera (with help of a tripod base). I have tried moving myself farther away from the camera positions so it wouldn't be so obvious, but when I do that the picture quality suffers - not so much the quality of the image itself, but there's too much space in the video around me. I much prefer the type of shot where I am taking up a majority of the top-to-bottom screen space (if that makes sense).

Any other options I could try?
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Old 09-05-2010, 01:10 PM   #2
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Not looking like you're reading while public speaking is largely a matter of practice, however, maybe you need to experiment where to have the webcam vs. the text.

Take a look at a two photos of professional teleprompters, the top one in use.





Note that in each case the camera is directly below or in the middle of the text. When you look at how they set up teleprompters for speeches they are usually close to the dais and on both sides, so the speaker can look to the right and left and still see the speech, and by turning ever so little one way or the other still see the speech.

Perhaps move the webcam directly in front of the screen with enough room above the screen to have several lines of text above the web cam. You want to be "taped" looking up as opposed to looking down, which is why they never put the text below the camera.
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Old 09-05-2010, 02:24 PM   #3
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Ned locked it with having prompter text either above or directly in front of the camera.

However, there are other hints which can reduce the problem. Most obviously, use lots of cut-aways. That is, put yourself on camera as little as possible and have slides or stills or video with you doing a voice over. That voice over can be recorded at a different time from your live shots and mixed in later. Use a bit of music or other "bumper" at the beginning and end of such videos or slide presentations to cover any difference in recorded voice quality from the voice-overs to the live voice.

Keep the live voice pieces short and memorize the text rather than reading. If you are not a professional announcer you will always sound stilted and artificial when reading. It's a completely different skill than public speaking.

If you want you can simulate a live mix: on camera do a short, memorized live intro to some content and then, without hesitating and without looking up, read the narration of a video clip. Later replace the video of the top of your head with the real video while retaining your audio. Try to use video where your narration is not keyed to certain images or events in the video.

Man, it's been a long time since I did this! ... I'm sure there are a lot more hints and will try to remember applicable ones.
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Old 09-05-2010, 09:17 PM   #4
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Thanks for the tips. I'm not sure exactly how I will manage to get the camera in front of the laptop so that I can still read the teleprompter text. But, I'm sure I will figure it out somehow.
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Old 09-06-2010, 10:33 AM   #5
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Set your video camera below your monitor and not on top and have it angles slightly up to you. You will be looking toward (not in) the camera and I bet it works better.
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