January 01, 2000
Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio January 2000 Current Issue
January 2000 Tech filesPLANNER'S PORTFOLIO:




The ease of cutting and pasting comes to the video-editing arena

Starting a meeting with a short opening film can make a big impression, but putting one together can be very time-consuming and expensive. Capturing meeting highlights and showing them at the closing session can be a great treat, but it can keep the meeting planner and an A/V staff up the entire night. Good news: The digital age is coming to the world of video, and we soon will be producing these meeting elements as easily as we now assemble a PowerPoint presentation.

The world of desktop video editing has taken major leaps forward in the past several months. New cameras and editing tools are coming within the budgets and skill levels of meeting planners. And the results will blow attendees’ minds.

Using one of the new digital video cameras from Canon or Sony, which cost around $3,000, just about anyone can produce professional-quality video.

We recently interviewed 40 of the faculty members at a conference about their sessions. Using a Canon XL1, we filmed five-minute interviews, and the playback quality was crisp and terrific. The camera operator spent about an hour beforehand learning to use the camera. The interviews were captured on small digital tapes and simultaneously transferred to a PC using a digital connector called Firewire for desktop video editing.

We were using the latest desktop video-editing system from Avid. It had all the capabilities of the multiple machines and monitors one would find in a TV station’s control room. In no time, we were able to select the best pieces of each interview, insert interesting transitions, subtitle the segments and add music to liven it up.

Although it took more than an hour to learn to use the the Avid Xpress DV software, once we got the hang of it, we were able to rapidly put together a video segment on this system. When we were done, the output could be transferred back to tape, streamed from our Web site or projected right from a laptop. The taping and editing all happened right on the main conference floor in a space less than 8 by 10 feet.

The Avid system costs less than $10,000, and several other systems are coming to market in this range or below. Having this video-editing capability at our fingertips during the meeting was astonishing.

At one point, one of our presenters did not have enough time to finish her presentation. No problem. We sent her to the camera area and taped another 15 minutes. Within minutes, the segment was on our Web site for participants to view when they got home.

A wide range of digital video capabilities soon will be coming to the meetings world.

  • Marketing segments promoting the meeting, destination activities and specific sessions
  • Daily video news programs highlighting events and promoting the day’s options
  • Easy-to-use templates that will enable planners to blend off-the-shelf video segments with clips and shots from their own organization for example, interlacing shots of their group into a motivational video by a national “guru”
  • Remember when putting together a slide show required five weeks and a graphic artist? Now we take for granted the ease of using a presentation package like PowerPoint and reserve the graphic artist for the high-end projects. Desktop video-editing hardware and software will have the same effect on video production. We will use style sheets and templates to produce great, affordable videos for our meetings.

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