Recording PowerPoint Presentations

By Tech Notes

So, you have a presenter who is giving a talk, using PowerPoint Slides and/or video, and you want to record the  presentation for live streaming and later playback.   What’s the best way to do it?

You will Need:

Video of the Presenter Speaking

At very least, you’ll need one or more cameras getting a good medium shot (waist up, or chest up) recording of the speaker.   If there’s only one speaker, who will be always behind the podium, one camera will usually suffice; if there are more speakers, or if they will be pacing across the stage or into the crowd as they talk, you’ll need more cameras.


If you plan on lowering the house lights so that your audience can see the projector screens more clearly, you’ll also need some sort of good, focused lighting that puts a pool of light on the speaker but doesn’t put light on the screen.


You’ll need to get good audio.  A wired gooseneck podium mic is a good start, but we also prefer to back it up with wireless lavalier mics.  Why?  1) Many speakers will turn towards the projection screen to gesture or use a laser pointer; when they do, they turn away from the podium mic.  A lavalier mic will continue to get good audio.   2) as often as you tell presenters to not leave the podium during the presentation, many of the still will wander across the stage when they’re speaking, and that’s no problem if they’re wearing a lavalier mic.

Our One-Camera Conference Video Package and Conference Audio package will give you everything to get this good video and audio.

The next question is, how do you capture the PowerPoint presentation and integrate it into your video?

That depends on a few things:

– Are you live streaming?

– Are all of the presentations being given on one laptop, or might presenters be showing up and using their laptops?

– How will you be delivering the presentation?  Via a single video stream, such as youtube, or will it be on your own webpage that can handle more complex flash displays?

Live Streaming Options

If you’ll be live streaming the event,  there are a few options:

Wirecast Presenter

Install Wirecast Presenter software on each presenter’s laptop (Mac or PC)  and the screen on the laptop (or a portion thereof) will become a virtual camera for a wirecast encoder.   The presentation can then be switched into a live stream.

Pros: Does not require additional hardware.   Does not require any changes to the projector setup.   Provides a high quality image.

Cons: May not be practical if presenters will be bringing their own laptops and may not have time to  install the Wirecast Presenter Software.

Route the projector feed to the switcher

Using a VGA splitter, we can take the VGA feed from the laptop and split off a copy of this signal, route it through a scan converter which will then convert it to standard def or high definition video.  This video signal is then switched into the live stream.

Pros: Allows presenters to bring their own laptops, and requires no software installation on the laptop.   Provides a very high quality image of the presentation.

Cons: requires hardware and cabling.   Splitter should be installed during AV setup to allow for plenty of time to test and hide the cables.  This setup is usually done many hours before the presentation, and in some cases, the night before.

Point a Camera at the Projection Screen

Pros: This is quick and easy, and does not require modifying the existing projector setup.   If the presenter uses a laser pointer, the activity of the laser pointer will be recorded.  This may be the preferred method if you are filming an event that someone else is producing, and you don’t feel comfortable asking to make changes to the projector setup.

Cons: If the house lights are left up during the presentation, the contrast may be reduced, and the image may be harder to read.

Additional Options for Presentations that are not Live Streamed

Obtain a copy of the presentation from the presenter and insert the slides during editing

If you think you’ll be able to figure out where the slide transitions are, then you may be able to get by with our one camera conference package.  Most of the time,  you’ll want our two-camera conference package or three-camera package so that one camera is getting a continuous recording of the screen so that the editor can easily know which slide was bring projected at any moment during the presentation.