While dealing with recordings from a recent event (the second edition of OpenSaturday, some pics here), I had a sudden flashback to when I put some time into recording things that were going on.
These are a few points to take into account, to maximize usable footage:
Don’t move the camera
No matter what you do, avoid moving the camera. Before the event starts, look for a good place. Take into account where people are going to be, and make sure that no one will be in the way. Make it point to the interesting place (ie: the stage) and cover as much of the interesting space as possible. If it’s a talk, coordinate with the speaker – make sure their movement range is covered by the camera.
Use more than one camera
The preference is that they overlap. Because something will be wrong with the first camera, and remember you can’t move it. A second camera pointed at the area of interest from another angle should do the trick. Because someone will walk over the range of view of the first camera, or one of the cameras will fall, or the speaker will walk outside of the foreseen territory.
A third one, pointing at a possibly interesting place, like the audience, may be moved from time to time. When you point at a place, count at least three minutes before touching it again. Not in your head. Use a clock.
Those angles should be good enough to provide material for transitions and capturing reactions or otherwise editing the material.
Edition can shorten a long talk or event, but it can’t make it longer. What’s lost is lost.
Run a test drive
Set the cameras to record, simulate some talking from different places, move around, get the recordings and play them. If it’s all good, then it’s all good.
Get the audio
If possible, use an independent audio recording device in addition to the camera’s.
Have Fun Editing
Now you’ll have a lot of material to choose from, and will be able to get good angles and good sound on most of what is going on in the talk or event. The picture will be steady and clear. This is already a lot better that what is usually managed by amateurs.
Avoid an excess of transitions, and look for a narrative. I like to watch stand up comedy videos and take cues from the cuts to the public and angle changes. If we stick to this, and improve upon it, the communities will all be better off, because sharing talks will be less awkward.