Notes for Video Presenters

Mt Tam Astronomy Program

We really appreciate your presentation!
It makes Mt Tam Astronomy possible!

Production Notes

For finished examples of our format, see our YouTube Channel or recent programs.

Ideally, you record a talking head video of your presentation with a good camera (webcam, smartphone) and mic, just you, without presentation aids,* preferably 720p (or 1080p) resolution, and upload it to a shared Google Drive folder along with any presentation aids (slides, animations, video clips), ideally in PowerPoint format. Then if you give us a spreadsheet of time points for your aids (e.g., 01:30 slide 1, 02:15 slide 2, etc), we can easily merge and sync them to your video in post-production. You'll be able to review a draft for approval before it's finalized.

Smartphone selfie camera can be a good (if not better) alternative to a webcam. (Recent iPhones, Google Pixel phones, and Samsung Galaxy S-series phones are particularly good at this.) Use an inexpensive tripod/stand to hold it steady. It can even display your script and/or presentation aids while you are recording.

Good audio is even more important than good video!

Even a cheap lavalier microphone can be helpful, or microphone-equipped headset or headphones.

Video Notes

  • If your camera has auto brightness, focus, etc, try to turn auto off, because it can "hunt" and be distracting.

  • We can usually correct color balance and contrast in post-production.

To get started, please submit a short sample video clip as soon as possible (so we can check for video or audio issues).

  • Please see additional Notes below.

  • We target completion for no later than 2 weeks (14 days) in advance of release.

  • If you have any questions or issues, please let us know, and we'll do our best to help!

Thank you!

Easy lighting setup for good modeling, single light with bounce fill-in on the opposite side.

Classic headshot showing good lighting and positioning (although we prefer a neutral background).

Presentation Notes

  1. Presentation aids (slides, animations, etc) work best in standard 4:3 aspect ratio rather than wide 16:9 ratio, because that gives us room to show you beside your presentation without shrinking them, but we can shrink if need be.

  2. Please be sure that all content (pictures, video, sound, etc) is public domain or properly licensed. (Since we are making a public video, educational fair use probably does not apply.)

    • Should we get a copyright complaint, we'll need to provide proof of permission.

    • We like to include acknowledgements (like the NASA logo on the images in our intro) in captions and in text in the video trailer.

    • Music can be the most problematic due to automated matching tools and copyright trolls, but video clips are getting increased attention.

    • Recognizable people (faces) generally need model releases.

    • Quotations should have attribution.

Speaking Notes

  1. Please pause briefly (a full second or so) when starting and stopping, to give us time for transitions.

  2. If you make a mistake, you can simply pause (to give us time for edit), say something like "do over", and restart wherever appropriate. That way we usually can smoothly edit out any mistakes.

  3. Try to keep your eyes on the camera. Viewers appreciate eye contact. If you look away too much, it can seem shifty-eyed.

  4. Doesn't hurt to smile and crack a joke from time to time. 😊

Last but not least, "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good." 😉

Revised: October 4, 2020