Before Recording Begins

After you have set up your equipment and tested it, taped down the cables, white balanced and conferred with any other camera operators, labeled your tapes and tape boxes, you should have time left over before the event starts to introduce yourself to the people running the event and the main speaker or speakers. This is also a good time to make sure the talent release is signed properly (if that is your responsibility) and the person's contact information and title are correct.

Remind the speaker why it's necessary to remain in the lit area (and the necessity of lights in the first place) and to speak into the microphone. Make sure the audiovisual staff has instructed people on the use of the slide or video projector remote, that the laser pointer or computer is working correctly and the presentation has been loaded. If you are expected to obtain presentation materials, discuss the format with the presenter and how they can be obtained (PowerPoint files can be e-mailed, for example).

A strong open and close is important to the final program. Since lectures or discussions are rarely done to adhere to television program lengths, encourage the speaker to put in slight pauses before the lecture begins and between the lecture and the Q&A session. Ask them to finish their lecture, thank the audience for attending, and then allow the applause to die down before starting up the Q&A. Ask the person (or the speaker) who does the introductions to take care of "housekeeping" announcements (turn off cell phones and pagers, notices of upcoming events) before the start of the actual introduction or talk. Inquire about the format of the question and answer session and remind the speaker to repeat the questions for the benefit of the cameras and the rest of the audience.

Remember that you're trying to make the presentation look good, and trying to assure that the people involved will be pleased with the outcome. Most presenters are relieved to find out that their presentation will be edited and tightened up for a television program and are willing to work with you to make the program better.
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