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If you’ve got your camera on a tripod, as I recommend, filming is going to be a cinch. When the event is about to begin, just hit record and monitor the video through the viewfinder or the LCD screen, adjusting as necessary. Here are some suggestions to help ensure you leave with a great video:

  • Be quiet — This is less important if you are using an external mic that is set up near the speaker (and not you) but if you’re using the built-in microphone or the mini-zoom microphone you’ll want to keep yourself quiet.
  • Move the camera as little as possible — Try not to do a lot of zooming in and out, or moving of the camera. It may seem very “boring” but it will look better. During a Q&A session, use your own judgment as to whether you want to spin the camera back and forth between the questioners in the audience and the candidate–but in my opinion it’s best to keep the camera on the candidate.
  • Take notes — If you can take notes on a small notepad while you’re filming, you’ll save time when you want to find that great line, pointed question, and/or grand-slam answer on your tape later. If the candidate says something that you want to be sure is included in your edited video, just write down the approximate time that it occurred in the video (your viewfinder should have a time display) and a brief description of what was said. Also, if there are introductory speakers whose names you didn’t get from the organizer beforehand, you can write down their names down on your notepad as well.
  • Monitor Audio — Surely you tested your microphone and camera setup before you hit the record button, but it’s always a good idea to monitor your audio. The easiest way to do this is to plug a set of cheap earbuds into the yellow video output jack, and to put the LEFT earbud into one of your ears. Do not put the right earbud in! The yellow output jack on your camera is for the Red, White, Yellow RCA cable that came with your camcorder to plug it into your TV, and so the audio that you can monitor will only come through in the LEFT channel, while the right earbud will have some loud static. This should not affect your filming, but test this setup with your camcorder before you get to an event.