Convention Videos

Convention Videos

Catering to egos can be profitable for videographers with SIV’s in mind. And documenting conventions certainly qualify!

Conventioneers are usually hell bent on having a good time attending their favorite annual or semi-annual get-to-gethers (conventions.) Generally such events are unencumbered by pressures, serious decisions and time restraints. Spending time with friends and fellow professionals is generally what they’re all about.

For many, the convention is a highlight event and one they’ll want to remember. Having a video documentary is one sure way of doing so.

The convention atmosphere is usually relaxed and carefree. Unlike the positioning restraints of shooting weddings, the convention videographer generally has a free run of shooting locations with few exceptions.

If at all possible try to obtain accomodations in the convention site hotel or resort. The reasons are obvious. Oftentimes, convention sponsors will arrange accomodations for little or no cost just for the assurance of having their affairs documented. A little negotiating here might be necessary. If daily costs at the site facility are unreasonable, smaller hotels or motels nearby are viable obtions.

Be on hand to candidly shoot (tape) incoming guests and convention dignitaries. And do so with “live” sound. It lends authenticity to your production.

Most conventions feature “happy hours.” And mingling with the crowds with a video camera and mike virtually guarantees interviews and conversations with those present. With drinks in hand and friends nearby, they’re usually eager to share their identities and their comments. Don’t try to record their comments through the camera microphone. Use a mike that plugs directly into your camcorder. The sound is always better.

Hand the mike to the person and have them give their identity, their professional status, where they’re from, and any comments they may wish to give. Usually they’re in a happy mood and willing subjects. I seldom edit what they say unless propriety is a factor. Usually it’s not. And keep your on-camera interviews (post production) moving one to the other through fast transitions (wipes, fades, etc.) And get as many as possible.

Conventions always feature business meetings of some sort. Unless you are contracted to video tape their entire meeting (extra income) it’s seldom necessary to capture little more than the moods of what’s taking place. Candidly taping the before and after meeting movements of conventioneers filing in and out lends to the events continuity.

Placing a remote mike at or near the speaker’s podium can capture opening and closing remarks, introductions of principal guests, guest speakers and dignitaries. What can’t be recorded for whatever reason (sometimes introductions and comments can ramble on for painful periods of time) can be supplimented in your narrative scripts supported by appropriate background music and close-up shots (telephoto if necessary) of selected individuals. And don’t overlookost meeting inputs from delegates and/or guests.

Most conventions end with a banquet. Capturing candid banquet activities can lend much to your production. Include as much of the banquet formalities as possible. Just don’t get carried away. What you can’t capture on video can be supplimented by supportive narration.

Be sure and get the diners at their tables. I try and shoot every table from two angles to assure getting as many good shots of individuals as possible. As banquet settings are usually on the dark side, supplimental lighting helps. Using live sounds supplimented by corporate theme music, if possible, puts a nice finishing touch to any convention banquet.

Throughout the convention, include vignet shots of special entertainment venues, leisure activities around the pool, etc. They serve as great transitions between major events. And don’t forget to feature interviews with convention big wigs (company officers, organizers, etc.) They can easily be edited into your final production.

The best conventions are the ones in which you may have a strong interest or identity. As a retired airline pilot, I always fit in well at our company reunions. And I know what to expect. But any convention can work to your advantage with just a little research.

Marketing your convention videos should include pre-convention information as to what you’ll be doing. Have someone on hand taking orders. And follow up by sending order forms by mail to all who attend, especially those you interview or feature in any way. As most companies or organizations have in-house publications, arrange for them to include either ads or editorial coverage of what you’ve done.

Convention sponsors can generate added sales by offering them small financial cuts in return for promotion. But be careful. This can limit your editorial flexability and create post production headaches. Negotiate in advance what you can and cannot do. Tacking on an extra $5.00 to your videos and having them marketed through the convention sponsors might make it worthwhile. And again, it might not. You get the picture?

I seldom shoot more than two hours of video for the average convention of two to three days. The reason is because so much of it is useable. Just takes a little editing imagination to lend continuity. As most organizations have themes (songs, mottos, etc.) use them in post production. Take notes for material you may wish to incorporate into your narrations. And keep your final productions down to an hour or less.

Unless you’re blessed with large crews, stay with the smaller conventions (150-200 people.) And don’t overlook potential returns from company picnics, parties and the like. Overall they’re informal, receptive, easy to shoot and easy to edit.

Your best customers will be those you interview or feature on camera for they have a special interest. It’s called EGO and can be a great sales tool!