I thought it would be fun to share some lessons learnt while covering We Cycle UK’s WACC2016 (Women & Cycling Conference 2016). I was charged with capturing the day using Periscope, a live streaming mobile video app, by filming some of the speakers and delegates. I must admit video is not my day job but it was fun to do and I’ve learnt a lot.
Get up close and personal
When framing the shot before broadcasting Periscope only shows the top half of the video with the bottom obscured by the keyboard and broadcast button. I always felt I had framed the shot well at first but when broadcasting and seeing the full video it the interviewee looked too far away. Getting closer will also help the built-in mic pick-up their voice more clearly.
Time it right
Allow for a few seconds delay before speaking after you start broadcasting and when you finish leave a few seconds silence so that your words don’t get cut off. I constantly mis-timed this with the resulting video having the name of the person I was speaking to trimmed off, not ideal.
Periscope defaults to using the front facing camera (on my iPhone at least). So if you are going to record yourself while looking at the screen start the broadcast focused on something interesting for a five seconds or so before switching to the rear facing camera to start talking. It’s worth practicing this to get the timing right.
Tripod or not?
I used a tripod for almost all of my Periscope interviews. This worked really well to record my monologues or when I didn’t need to move the camera but given the conversation style of my interviews and occasionally filming 2 or more people moving between people speaking was slower than it would have been handheld. If I did the interviews again I would most likely hold the iPhone in my hand for almost all the footage.
Light them up
Bring a small LED light to brighten faces when interviewing. I was in a very dark space backstage for some of the interviews and didn’t leave enough time to organise better lighting. I thought I could use the iPhones flashlight but when you start a broadcast the LED get’s turned off. Eek.
Buy a battery pack
Using the camera with wifi or 4G radios going all day will burn through your battery. I used a large power pack from Anker with was permanently plugged into the iPhone but even having even a small power brick can help you relax into each interview without worrying that you phone will turn off.
Save to Camera Roll
If you have the space on your phone I recommend turning on the ‘Auto-Save to Camera Roll’ option in settings as Periscope videos currently only last 24 hours online before they are deleted.
If you have any other tips and ideas on Periscope please let me know on Twitter @BenKinnaird
Masthead photo credit: Anna-Therese McGivern