It's hard to believe it's been a year since I last observed the creaking of my main video drive as I dumped upwards of a hundred gigs of data from TEDxBGU. This year we upped the ante to twelve speakers instead of a modest nine and in true Israeli fashion, nearly all of them brazenly went over the TED-imposed 18-minute time limit. As I sat down to start the editing process, I remembered posting about this same job a year ago and decided to compare notes between now and then. If I was truly bright I would have read the post before this year's TEDx but such a logical thought to me did not occur. I was glad to see that many of the hangups experienced last year had been remedied in the planning of this event. I used all my own camera operators and all my own equipment so that at the end of the event, I dumped all the data on my media drive and was ready to go. In a similar vein coached my camera operators on the single shot I wanted from their angle and ensured they had plenty of battery life and storage space so that their job would be as boring and detail free as possible. After editing the first talk from the event, I am so glad I did so because in the multi-cam editing process I never had to worry if one of those two camera were about to do some crazy zoom or change the shot in some way. I had my camera on a shoulder rig and handheld and doing all manner of artistic things but in the editing station I know that the other angles will be rock solid.
What I did not remedy from last year was a certain level of over-commitment on my part. I was responsible for compiling the speaker Powerpoints into a master file, ensuring the video projection system functioned properly, devising a solution for displaying a timer on-stage to tell speakers how long they had been yapping, recording the audio from the event, managing my camera operators and finally pointing my own camera. Those tasks should ideally be divided between at least three people and as a result, I feel as though each element suffered a bit on the day of the event. My post last year mentioned that my hesitancy regarding including other people in the creative process, while justified in terms of the amount of work it involves, is usually counterbalanced by the genuinely surprising increase in the quality of the final product. I suppose this year I learned the same lesson again. As much as I want to believe that the world will run better if I do it all myself, there is a limit after which my attempts to control everything result in my inability to effectively control anything.
So my message to next-year me when it comes to TEDxBGU time and to anyone in charge of tech or filming for a long, complicated event like a TEDx conference is this:
-Estimate how much battery life you'll need...then prepare for double.
-Estimate how much drive space or memory card space you'll need...then double it.
-Pick your tech crew in advance and do at least one rehearsal with them so you can review your shots together to see what works.
-The most important questions to ask about a venue are (a) What are the specific video connections available? (b) How can I tap into the sound system and record the feed? (c) Are the A/V capabilities I see today going to be available on the day? (d) Who do I call when (not if) this shit doesn't work the way it's supposed to?
So far I have one talk finished and eleven more to go. Wish me luck.