Sometimes I really miss being fussed over by people, I admit it!
Especially when they have skills that take me an age to try to copy.
Like many of us, I’ve moved my work almost completely online - learning along the way how to make glittering events look smart on your laptop. Learning about live platforms, upload speeds, efficient clip sharing, microphone placing and lighting. All those things that used to be done for me by clever people who knew their jobs inside-out.
It’s been a chance to buy some toys - now that I don’t have to carry them all the way around the world with me. Snug where I am for the foreseeable, I now have lights, mic stands, wireless keyboards and the rest. Even a collapsible green screen…
| || |
You can put up a virtual background for Zoom, MS Teams, Skype etc. Clients love their logo behind you.
A green backdrop helps the technology superimpose that virtual background, and remove whatever’s actually behind you in real life. There’s less blurring if you move around.
The magazine Good Housekeeping even offers a selection of fake backgrounds available for you to download : roaring fire, cat and dog, anyone?
My green screen was perfect for sitting-down work : standard video conferences, interviews, media training and webinars. But what about awards ceremonies, where normally the idea is to be on stage surrounded by a spectacular set, a couple of podiums, a large display showing the nominees and winners - a sense of scale, grandeur, celebration?
Standing-up meant my camera needed to be further away. So the lights needed to be far away not to be in shot. Which meant they weren’t strong enough to reach me. More lights then. But with every light, you make a shadow. More lights to defeat the shadows. Then the weather closes in and you lose daylight. Bah!
I mirrored a Tablet onto a TV, and as my producer and sweetheart scrolled through the script for the hour long show, I was able to read the words from the screen. Phew! There were nearly a hundred company names to get right - I couldn’t have remembered them. I have an app which will automatically scroll through a script for you - listening as you speak. But it doesn’t cope so well with repetition : “the nominees are, the winner is…”
I’ll be honest. I enjoyed solving that particular problem...
It felt like I was playing with a construction set again. And building a den with the tables!
Now, with a tie mic for those distant shots, I feel I’m ready for anything.
And sadly, I might have to be - as we wait for enough of us to be vaccinated to make our governments comfortable with again allowing unfettered travel.
Stay safe. And try to have fun doing things differently.