Capture live PowerPoint presentation - solutions?
I am looking to provide event video services to a large conference and need to capture a video of the presenter AND a live capture of the powerpoint presentation. What is the best method is to capture the presentations off a laptop screen?
This screen capture would then be synced to a separate video / audio track of the presenter. Big issue is that there will be up to 5 parallel sessions over a course of a number of days. So we're talking about a LOT of video here - 100+ separate talks / videos - ouch! It’s proposed that all talks are uploaded to dropbox (a Cloud service) ahead of time and the conference provide the laptops. Manually downloading each presentation and syncing up each slide is not an option for 100 plus slides. The companies that have done this job before (and have charges tens of thousands of dollars struggles to get the video edited in a timely manner and it took literally months for them to start trickling out)
OPTION 1 - software?
I’m familiar with programs like Screenflow, Camtasia and QuickTime (latest version can do screen capture) that all are able to capture the screen (even just individual programs). Of course the problem lies in activating the program for each talk and the turning of it off again, and the presenter not remembering to do so renders this method useless. Perhaps just running the program in the background the whole time might be an answer? Also the software could intefere with the presentation. Some type of apple scripting with Quickime X perhaps?
Option 2 - Hardware:?
This wold be best as it would be laptop and OS independent. A hardware solution seems like the most bullet proof such as a black magic capture unit (some need a computer to run ) or one of those fancy pixel sp? units between the laptop and projector (seems overkill and eats up a huge amount of disk space because it's doing 10bit 422) Not that keen to use a no name HDMI capture unit off Amazon. Cost seem prohibitive - rent ???
There are a ton of large conferences who record their speakers and presentations so I wonder what workflow there are using? I know some don’t do the video of the of the speaker just the slides and audio.
The right way would be through a couple of KiPros/BM Hyperdecks/Sound Devices PIX (You can rent the PIX on Borrowlenses.com) .
Have one as backup/overlap recording. None of these guys should need computers to get them going. Do keep in mind that the BM base models don't have analog audio input. If you are recording video the same way, send audio to both or use a TC generator.
Don't go cheap on this, you'll kick yourself later.
This is a full time job for a person on site, use the AJA dataCalc app to calculate storage requirements based on format. Be sure to use USB 3 throughout the chain of transfer.
Stay away from local capture, it's very resource heavy and will cripple the machines when transitions come into play, plus it's unreliable.
Indigo Live | Kaptis Media
San Francisco Bay Area
Yes, the hardware method would be ideal but not sure it's in the budget 5 people to man then another 5 to shoot the video .... and the problem is the HUGE files - I need a very low bit rate 720p stream to be recorded for the slides, 422 10 bit is overkill and having SDI, more converters need ..... I can see this for a TED talk with a mega budget but not sure I can win this bid if I go this route.
I've been playing around with ScreenFlow and iShowU HD and the native quicktime x capture (obviously on a mac) with my wimpy HD4000 graphics card MacBook air 2102. Seem to work just fine as far as CPU usage even with magic moves on Keynote. Need to get a copy of PowerPoint and test.
Was thinking also perhaps someone VNCed into each laptop and just starts the process (sw screen capture) before each presentation - presentation has to do nothing then.
The other issue is that if something goes wrong, you can't monitor it, or fix it without taking the presentation down.
And the frame rate will widely vary on the processing
The next best cheaper option would be to buy a Blackmagic mini recorder and record on a second Mac (That's a cool $150).
You'll be going SDI/HDMI in to Thunderbold and you'll have a choice of codecs plus you'll have a way to monitor the recording.
All you'll need is an HDMI splitter out of the power point laptop.
Indigo Live | Kaptis Media
San Francisco Bay Area
We do the same type of work... the easiest is to get a copy of the powerpoint presentation, open it and save it as a png or other still image and then save as individual slides as the program offers. These will be put into a new folder and can be added it to your editing when ever needed. Make sure you either have good audio cues or a partial view of the projected image to use as your editing cue.... we sometimes even use a second camera just to record the powerpoint for timing purposes
The problem with that method is that you lose all animations and have to manually resync each slide, that could take forever on a multi-day show.
I also find that unless I do a screen capture, the exported slides tend to have jagged edges, they lose the aniti-aliasing PPT provides.
If you have a recorded version with audio, you can easily drop that into a multicam sequence and cut away in no time.
Indigo Live | Kaptis Media
San Francisco Bay Area
60 times! No thanks. I need to have the live video feed from the laptop.
I have tried every approach mentioned and they all have their limitations and issues. The biggest issue is that most clients do not have an appreciation for what it takes to create a faithful retelling of their story. It is critical to understand what the expectations are. This is reflected in budget!
If the client wants the best quality in the shortest time frame possible then the best option is to switch it live. We use a Blackmagic TVS switcher and record it on a Panasonic HMR10 (recently discontinued be Panasonic). You must use a PC or Mac that can output at television resolution and thus is recognized by the switcher. We normally split the HDMI from the computer and route one feed to the switcher and one to the projector. Caution here as some projectors will confirm an EDID with a resolution that is not supported by the switcher. We prefer to convert the HDMI to SDI and send to switcher and convert back to HDMI at the projector if it does not accept SDI. In other words make certain the source determines video resolution and not the display device.
The HMR10 is ideally suited for such an exercise in that it records AVCHD and yields 3 1/4 hours of high definition video on a single 32 GB SD card. You can still rent these from VER. We also use the Blackmagic recorders, but they record extremely high quality modes only and thus consume media at such a rate that they are unacceptable for long form projects.
The biggest drawbacks to this approach are it requires someone to switch the video sources and thus watch all of those boring powerpoint slides as well as finding a client who will pay for a quality product. Most clients seriously underestimate what is required. The biggest benefit is the material is available at the conclusion of the event. Oh, and if there is a missed que these can be addressed in post much easier that inserting all the material in post.
M&M Productions USA
Something I did not see mentioned was - will the laptop be the same one for the whole show? That is key. If presenters are plugging in their own laptops, then it would be difficult to have any consistent results regardless of capture method, hardware or software, too many variables.
I have an idea - Newtek came out with a new video over IP protocol called NDI. It is free to develop for, so many vendors are now using it in their products. vMix is one of them. They have a free app for Desktop Capture, which would run on the PC laptop and output the screen as NDI video over the network. Then if you have a copy of vMix running on another computer, you select the NDI video source from laptop as an Input and choose to record it, and you'll be able to select various recording codecs including H.264. vMix HD is just $60 and should do the trick.
vMix offers a fully-functional 60-day free trial, so no reason not to test the workflow at least and see if it is viable.
Note that the two computers do not need to be on the internet, or even the local network at the venue - they can be direct connected to one another with just those two machines talking to one another. Quick and easy to set that up.
This sounds interesting but we don't need the presentation to be available right away and we'd need to do this for all 4 simultaneous sessions! But I can see how using a switcher would work great. I was also wondering about using something like lumberjack. Some sits there with their iOS device and logs the timing. You then use the recorded talking head and slides with XML and it would spit out the video on FCPX timeline.
I looked at the Atmos blade and recording at ProRes LT can get 45gb per hour and with a 900gb Ssd that's a lot of video, sure big size though. Of course the Atmos puts out HDMI and who knows what the projector will do. No idea what brand is used or specs right now.
In past conferences someone manually logged the slide transitions, pen and paper??? and some poor bugger had to edit the in post all 60 videos, no wonder they paid a ton of money in the past and it took months for the videos to trickle out.
There is a product that addresses this need perfectly. I don't know if it is still available somewhere. I used back in the FCP7 days and it really worked great. It was called Presto by Red Giant (Plural Eyes) software. In it you would make a video of the presenter, a separate video of the PPT screen (only for transition reference. Can be low quality). You then lay down a track of your speaker video and your PPT video. The software then takes the XML of the project and combines it with the original PPT slides to create a great looking high quality video. It also employs recognition software to track the speaker and keep them in frame. Here is an old tutorial that describes the process.
Don't know the current status of the software. I could not find a reference on their web page. Might be worth a call to them.
We went to live switching as I previously indicated.
A couple of other cautions. You stated you do not know about projector interfaces and that people may want to use their own PPT computer. Two big red flags. You can get interfaces from laptops from VGA to DVI to HDMI. Switching computer interfaces in real time can be problematic. You will need as assortment of adapters and cables to accommodate all of them. And from experience, presenters show up 5 minutes before they go on stage to give you their laptop. And they want to play embedded audio from a video clip embedded in their presentation. ....and their video cards output a low resolution or older video resolution and aspect ratio. Nothing worse than a speaker providing a laptop with a 4:3 video and then complaining when it letterboxes on the screen. ...or vice versa. We insist on providing the PPT computers for these reasons. We can match displays (cable interface, resolution, aspect ratios, and audio requirements. These contribute to professional, seamless, and successful conferences. It greatly assists the post event processing, also.
M&M Productions USA
Does anyone know how can I get a copy of Presto software for Premiere. It is just the perfect solution for my problem but I can't find a legal or illegal way to use it. Really frustrating. There is just a Vegas version on Red Giant's website. Please help.
Richard, when you say "someone manually logged the slide transitions", what exactly do you mean?
BTW, I'm just starting editing of a 2.5 day event with PPTs and video of the presenters. Been around this block a few times...