One-Person team - Top tips

As someone who is almost always working alone for conference and events, I have learned a whole bunch of things to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

By John Barker • 05 Oct 2017

As someone who is almost always working alone for conference and events, I have learned a whole bunch of things to ensure that everything goes smoothly.

Hopefully these tips can help out an aspiring conference videographer out there.

Pack the right stuff

I travel via train and plane for all of my conferences which means I can’t just throw all my gear into a car - I really have to pack carefully.

With strict baggage allowances and the fact that I can only carry so much stuff by myself, I really need to pack smart.

That’s why I usually call ahead to the venue and see what they have/what i’ll need. This can be great for figuring out if you really need to bring that 50m SDI cable, or will you be fine with a 10m one.

That’s not to say you shouldn’t bring a few extra bits along with you, but sometimes you don’t have to luxury of bringing everything.

Another great tip is to check out images of the venue (on Google or on their website) which will let you paint a picture of where your setup will be and what cables you’ll need.

Fixed cameras

I run a two to three camera setup for live events but I only ever have one moving camera. This allows me to operate that camera while video switching.

Having only one moving camera right beside you will save you running around the building constantly to move things.

PTZ cameras

This is more of a tip for future-me. PTZ cameras are one of the best ways to run a one-person team as you can sit in a central location and move multiple cameras while still switching the show.

It’s something I would love to get my hands on and work into my setup. Camera movement - when done right - can give a great sense of feeling and motivation into a live production, but being a one person team doesn’t always allow for this. I think PTZ is the answer

No time for a break

You’ll be busy, there is no doubt about that. When conference registration begins I am filming that. When someone is speaking on stage, I’m recording them. When there is a lunch break, I’m capturing it. There isn’t a great time to sit down and not work until the day is over, so it’s good to just prepare yourself for that!

Picture-in-picture is your enemy

There was a time that I used PnP for my live productions, however that time has passed. 

I’ve found that having a clean feed of the presenter’s presentation, a close up of them and a wide shot is more than enough - then I just cut between the three.

The beauty of this is that when you have cut to the wide shot you no longer need to move the close shot. It’s a great way to rest your arm for a second or even go for a short walk to get some more footage of the “behind the scenes” vibe (if you’re making a video like that).

I’ll come back to PnP when I have a video crew, but for now, I’m happy with a simple cut between sources.

Don’t over promise

In the early days of my conference recording, I would say yes to everything…

  • Full talks
  • Behind the scenes videos
  • Interviews
  • and more.

This all became too much for one day. There were breaks to capture the BTS and interviews but it was always rushed and that’s why I tend to only do one.

You really have to know your limits - that will come over time - and know that it’s okay to say “No” if it becomes too much work.