Presenting at HOPE
HOPE 2020 is an entirely online event. All sessions will be scheduled for particular dates and times. This document provides guidance to presenters on how to prepare for your session.
Most speaker sessions (including panels) will be allotted a total of 50 minutes. This will include a pre-recorded presentation of approximately 40 minutes, which will then be followed by a live question and answer period.
Most workshops will be entirely live, with all attendees connecting via a live teleconference. Workshops can incorporate some pre-recorded content, and some workshops may take place across multiple sessions.
Timeline of your Preparation and Presentation
- Immediately: Finalize your abstract and biography for the online program. If you are running a workshop, make sure details are clear about how many people can register and any pre-requisites or supplies.
- Immediately: If you have day/time constraints, make sure you inform HOPE of these. Most speaker sessions and workshops will be scheduled from morning into night (US Eastern time) on the 9 days of HOPE, from July 25 - August 2 2020. Speakers are expected to participate in live Q&A at the end of their pre-recorded talk. Workshops are expected to be mainly done via live teleconference.
- No later than Monday, July 20: Submit anything that is pre-recorded for your talk or workshop. HOPE can follow links you provide to download videos (website, dropbox, and similar). If you instead need a location to upload to, let us know and we will provide some options.
Be sure not to make your material public before HOPE!
- Before your scheduled time slot: Join the live video conference for your session at least 20 minutes before your session is scheduled to start. You will communicate with one of the production staff to ensure your audio and video is working ok.
- During your scheduled time slot:
- You will join the video teleconference, at least 15 minutes before your scheduled presentation time (you will get the specific link etc. in advance).
- At the scheduled presentation time, your emcee will introduce you and your talk
- Your pre-recorded talk will then be streamed live to attendees
- During the talk, you will be able to watch the talk, and may also be able to monitor some of the incoming questions (you don't need to stay in the video teleconference during the whole talk).
- At the conclusion of the recording, the emcee will guide the Q&A session. This may include inviting people with questions into the live video conference, or the emcee or a moderator might ask a question, or you might select questions from those that came in during the talk. You can also give any interesting updates to your talk, but remember you will only have around 10 minutes.
- Your session will end approximately 10 minutes before the top of the hour, to allow time to set up for the next talk.
How to Record
The presentation outcome you will aim for is a video suitable for online viewing by the HOPE audience during your time slot. For most people, this will involve using a regular computer, microphone and webcam to talk, while displaying a slide deck.
Variations are welcome, including videos that are simpler (for example, just you talking, without slides) or more complex (for example, a professionally mixed video).
A relatively simple approach is to set up your slide deck using software like PowerPoint, and then add audio or audio+video to each slide. Then, save the whole presentation as a movie (i.e., MPEG-4 format or MP4). HOPE has made a sample video using this technique. Tech details:
- Good audio is key. Listen to your recording (with headphones) to get the best possible audio. Adjust your setup as needed to ensure the best audio quality
- Landscape mode, not portrait mode
- Widescreen format (i.e., 16:9 or 16:10)
- MPEG-4 (MP4) format; most standard CODECs and other internals should be fine
- If available, use fixed frame rate recording, not variable (see our tip about Handbrake below)
- Resolution should be at least "web quality," i.e., standard definition 1280x720); presentation quality (i.e., 1920x1280 or high definition) is probably a better choice
- Your upload is likely to be several GB for a 40-minute presentation. This is ok. The software HOPE will utilize to stream contents to attendees automatically scales resolution etc. for audience members.
Preparation and recording will probably take you longer than for a regular in-person talk. Plus, you might spend extra time re-recording things until you are satisfied. Make sure you allow plenty of time to test your setup, make your recording, and iterate/improve.
Panel recording will most likely be via either a similar method to a speaker - except with slides/audio/video merged from the different speakers, or by recording a live teleconference. HOPE can provide guidance with this, but the actual production of the video is up to the presenters.
Before starting, spend some time testing your equipment, and preparing your recording environment.
- For your microphone: figure out how close you should be to the microphone, and how loudly you should talk, to get good sound. Use headphones during playback to listen for extraneous sounds and to make your voice as clear as possible.
- For your camera: experiment with how far away from the camera you should be, and how much of yourself and your background should be in the frame. Your video should be in landscape mode, not portrait mode (unless you will insert to your slides and prefer portrait mode)
- Adjust lighting: some supplemental lighting might help greatly with the quality of your video.
- Consider the background: What will people see when they are watching your video? If the background is cluttered, moving, highly colorful, etc., it might detract from your ability to communicate. Also, you don't want an outdoor background that might change from shot to shot while you are recording, since that may confuse or distract your viewers.
- Minimize ambient noise: Quiet your surroundings as much as possible to avoid distracting your audience. In addition to quieting your surroundings, be careful with mouse clicks, moving your chair, and other things that your microphone might pick up.
Basic steps to making your movie may include:
- Make an outline of your presentation, to identify the points you want to make during your allotted time.
- Start to make slides. As you make slides, work on the script or notes you will follow -- these may be added to the Notes of the slides, or kept in a separate document.
- Practice speaking over the slides. Adjust the slides so they don't overwhelm the audience with too much to read, and so the arc of your presentation will clear to HOPE attendees.
- Start making the recording, a slide at a time. Be prepared to re-record several times, to get the best sound, clarity of speech, pacing, etc. Repeat for every slide. For audio, you can simply add the audio to your slide so that it will play when that slide is displayed. For video of you talking, you will have choices to make: perhaps video of you will be the only thing on the screen. Alternatively, you could put the video in a corner of the slide.
- Watch and listen to the whole presentation. Get other people to watch, also, if possible. Iterate until you are satisfied: this might require re-recording, adjusting slides, re-ordering, or trimming to ensure you are done within 40 minutes.
Please be sure to only use material you have permission to use, or that falls under "fair use." Do not use background music, graphics, videos, etc. that you did not author without permission. This is particularly important for your presentation to remain available after HOPE, because complaints about copyrighted content can result in your talk being taken offline.
The Live Teleconference
If you already use web-based audio/video teleconferencing, you should have no problem being part of the live interaction for your session.
HOPE is still assessing the different available platforms for live audio/video teleconferencing. Multiple platforms may be selected, based on their different characteristics such as scalability and quality. We are focusing on browser-based solutions, so there will be minimal needs for downloading and installing software.
The expectation is for presenters to be at a networked computer with a modern operating system, connected to a microphone and camera. Phones and tablets are not guaranteed to work well with the platforms being considered.
Workshop presenters need to think carefully about how the workshop will happen via teleconference, and are encouraged to practice with friends and colleagues before finalizing choices. Consider having movable external cameras, or multiple cameras, so that they can be pointed where they are needed.
More sophisticated workshops might require multiple presenters, or switching between live and pre-recorded content. This should be practiced in advance, using standard videoconferencing software such as Jitsi, Zoom, Skype or Google Meet.
Remember also that workshop participants may have questions, or your workshop might require lots of interaction with participants. By practicing in advance, you will be able to ensure your workshop at HOPE goes smoothly. Get in touch if you would like to discuss your plans with HOPE staff.
Getting in Touch
Submitters/presenters for sessions will receive email confirmation with details of your session. Please respond by email if you have questions or concerns.
In the days leading up to your talk, you will receive details of the online teleconference and everything else you need to know. This will be sent by email.
You will also be informed of how to get in touch during HOPE. In addition to email, there will be producers, emcees, moderators, and others who are keeping an eye on things. If you have a last-minute issue or question, get in touch using one of these methods or contact the general InfoDesk.
Tips, Tricks and Suggestions
If you have something to share here, please get in touch with the speaker committee by email.
- Official HOPE logos, graphics, themes, etc. are available! Visit HOPE.net and select the "Graphics" menu item.
- Audio/video synchronization problems? Many cameras and recording software uses variable frame rate (VFR), which can have synchronization problems when imported into other software. If you have an option for fixed frame rate (such as 60 frames per second or FPS), use that. If you need to fix synchronization, we've had reports that HandBrake is quite effective free software for this. Download Handbrake here.
- We have also heard of good success with OpenShot, a free multi-platform video editing tool.