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[email protected] -- Jason Wishnow: How to shoot a TEDTalk

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I am gonna stand here, because the lighting is better, and it will look much better on camera. So, I am going to show you how we shoot TED talks, And this is really an extension of what June and Bruno were just talking about. Obviously, the most important thing to think about is, you know, knowing your audience. And, the great thing about TEDx is at every conference, you have these like drastically different sized of the audiences and these drastically different types of audiences So you know, whether it is, you know, the small school room or the auditorium that's potentially even bigger the the play house here in Oxford. What I am going to talk to you about now is something that will hold true for all of them. So, all the principles I am really going to hit on in turns of shooting, you know are relevant whether you've got like a huge venue or a small venue. Not only should you know your audience you need to know your medium. TED talks play on the web. They play on iPhones. They used to play on iPods. Well, they still do. And they play on TV now. They are in all sorts of platforms. They are gonna play at other TEDx events. You know, so, one thing that is very important to think about is the small screen, because at the end of the day the small screen is where TED talks are mostly viewed. And, so when you are shooting for like this, you know, like, you know, two, three inch screen, what you really want to do is keep in mind like what types of shots work really well for that. like, a close-up, works incredibly well in a tiny screen, because it is its very kind of intermit shot. It's, you know, you have this one on one relationship with the person whom you are watching. You know, you can kind of look into their eyes and see they look back at you. It's, it's, it's a dynamic angle. In film, it is a very powerful shot. It is not a videotaped school play. like I always joke about, how, you know, at other conferences, you know, they will stick a camera at the back of the room like a high school stage play. At TED, we treat it like cinema. Because, it is a TED talk. And the people who come to TED reach out to you. And you all know this. They reach out to you on both intellectual and emotional level. And, so, all I want to do is capture that as effectively as possible. So that we can share that with the rest of the world. This is what TED talks looks like in 1984. This is Nicholas Negroponte on stage, talking about kids, using computers in Africa, in 1984, which is very exciting. And it kind of looks like the snuff film parity of a TED talk. (laugh) This is 2005, where production value had increases (increased). This is right before I got involved and right before we launched TED talks. And this is James Watson one is the co-discovers of the genetic code of DNA and he, en probably could have been filmed with some more dynamic angles for a manifest posture. This is now. Now we have six cameras on the main stage in long beach. And the purpose of this it isn't for the point of having a lot of cameras. It's because we have so many speakers over this short window. And you don't know what to expect from all of them. Right? Like, we didn't know Bill Gates is going to open up a container and release the mosquitoes onto the audience and attempted to talk about malaria, but we happened to have a carmera right behind him. And that guy jumped forward got the shot. The other camera operatives, in fact, none of us knew he was going to do that. It is a surprise. And if it wasn't for that one operator, we would have missed it. And it was a really powerful part of his talk. So the point of all of this is what we really want to do is, give the subsequent viewing audience the very best scene in the house. Now, all of you will have great seats in the house because you are at TED. And TED is, is a phenomenal experience when you are, when you are there, when you are in this environment. And you know, just so much fun to be here. But we want to share that with a person on the other side You know. Again, if you are watching this lecture, you know, the notion of a taped lecture, the notion of a conference really can, (you) know (be) something kind of boring. And that's not what we are all about. You know in TED we always kind of talk about how speakers are rock stars here. And in their field, they are. And this is one of the keynotes that I want you to share with all of our camera crews, is the camera should always be on. Even, if, you know you are doing a live cut while it's happening, which we do here, even if you are going to edit them subsequently, and especially because there will be editing after the fact you want all the camera operators to think as if what they are doing, you know is very deliberate,is very exact. So camera moves, like a zoom in, should happen slowly, deliberately. The other thing, goes back to the close-up shot, you want to make a personal connection between the speaker and the viewer. So again, the close-up, is just so dynamic. Whether it is on a large screen, or on a small screen. So the first camera you want to think about is, what is that camera that will get the close-ups. Where are you gonna put that camera in the room, like in this room, for example, I am standing over here, on this side of the stage, Most of the audience, most of you, are kind of spread out this way. This a a camera back over there, That camera, is the camera that is getting the close-ups of me, and, all of other speakers. Just because by default, this is where I am looking. The second most important camera you use, is wide shot. And the great thing about that is you can juggle back and forth between the two. You know, often, presenters will have, en, have slides up, like this, and especially when they are really graphic you don't even have to cut away to the slide when you are working in post (-production). You've got it, right there. This most important two cameras, again, are the close-up and the wide. And the other camera is you bring to, en, into the space, are really meant to just, provide additional coverage. So that someone is a pacer, you know maybe you can, maybe you can, en, catch that as they are, as they are changing directions all the time. The other thing to think about is unexpected angles can really work too. This is actually that same angle to cut Bill Gates, from the back, and here is Hans Rosling, the Swedish statistician, and real health expert. who's approaching the stage, with a giant stick. This is solidified, laser pointer. The great thing is often, you know, you want speakers to look to the audience,but if they do turn around, for a reason, like in this case, you know, you have, we have a camera for it. The thing about TED is, when we film it, it's not so much about, just kind of, again, filming a taped lecture at the back of the room It's the fact that we want the presenter to be shown, as elegantly as possible. And their message, more important than the presenter, is the message, that must go out to the audience as clearly, as lucidly, and impactfully as possible. One final thing you should do when you think about cameras, is show us where you are. The great thing about TEDx, is they happen in so many different vibrant arenas. And it's great to just get a little touch of that at some point in the talk. It's something we've started doing more and more of in part because of TEDx. Now when you watch TED talks, like early on, I want to just throw a little clip of an audience shot to just, just give a sense of the room, and give a sense of "who is this crowd?" "why are these people here?" "How many people are here?" It's, it makes, the experience feel a little bit more clear to the on-line viewer. And I don't do too much of it, because I also don't want to take you away from the speaker. But the great thing about it is when you do it, and when you have this kind of shot, audience response is contagious. And laughter is contagious, applause is contagious. At the end the talk, you know TED is a great form because you always got this, en, standing ovations. The other thing that you want to think about is adding drama, like cinematic lighting to emphasize the speaker. Thinking about with Tech Demos, how you will rehearse and how you might set up a camera so you can really just capture some of the nuances. and the toys, and the tools that the presenters bring to the stage. Again, with more cameras, especially for music, you can balance out a lot of vibrant shots, like shots on instruments shots on singer's faces And you can play around with different angles than you might normally do when that is a standard presenter. Here is a tip for interviews if you ever have them, There is a very simple basic three camera setup that you can use. One on each person being interviewed, and one on the duo. And you can cut back and forth. You've seen this in news, magazines before. And the other thing that is important when you are doing something like that, is each camera has to trust the other camera will get the appropriate shot. I am gonna just super quickly run through what not to do. En, because this is very key and I am known around the office for being a little cynical. So avoid awkward frame composition. Shoot the speaker. Again it is all about the presenter. We don't need to see the screen if you are gonna cut away to the screen. And especially we don't need to decapitate the presenter. I mean they've come all the way up to a TED event. Avoid awkward screen cropping -- Again like, this is a great slide by Lorn Slezak (?) with like two words on it, And if it was just a wider shot we can actually read it. Avoid kind of obstructing the camera. You want to keep the speaker in focus. You want to make sure that the lighting is set so you can see the speaker. We want to see the speaker. We want to have that connection with the speaker. When you've got multiple cameras, you don't want them all shooting the same shot it is really easy for camera operators to default to doing the exactly same shot. This is the a comfortable shot to film. Because they can get my body movement, And that is why everyone has to trust they are all getting the respective wide, close, you know, different type of shots. Avoid shots that kind of feel static, you want to have a little dynamism to it, avoid background that are too dark, so that the speakers drift into them, Often, the speakers in TED wear black. This is what we do. Avoid background that are too close. Because you can't really light them. Like even when you look behind me, this is a really close background, And, en, there is a spotlight on me. That's why this is, this is wider, than, the background over there, which is red. Avoid backgrounds that only look good in the room. That's self-explanatory. And, avoid uncomfortable, awkward looking speakers. This is also kind of self-explanatory. En you want the speakers to look and feel comfortable. Also, avoid acute angles that might not cut in well with your other cameras. And again talk with your tech crews about this. You want all the cameras to cut well together. Because a shot like this actually does look good, but it doesn't fit with the other types of shots that I've shown you. So it kind of get lost. A final note, People notice bad audio before they notice bad video. Please, make sure you've got a good sound system. And when you are going to do a TEDx event, look on our website, feel free to contact me, feel free to contact any of us, at TED. Use the video settings that we recommend, because if there are 700 TEDx events, And tons of video tapes and tons of, you know, digitized video files are coming in, it will be great if they all are, kind of matched in a similar format, And that will increase the opportunities for us to look at them faster, and potentially get them on the site sooner. So, thank you all. And, en, enjoy your upcoming TEDx events. (applause)

Video Details

Duration: 11 minutes and 25 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: TEDx
Director: TEDx
Views: 364
Posted by: tedtalks on Apr 11, 2011


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