How do TV journalists record Zoom calls for broadcast?
Great advice and tips from JAY HIRST on how he sets up Zoom to get the best he can while recording interviews on Zoom conference conversations.
We go through basic Zoom video setup, with lighting, camera and sound as well as some settings to make the Zoom look good.
How to record Zoom calls for YouTube? HOME STUDIO TOUR Great British YouTubers Podcast Neil Mossey
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0:00 How TV reporters record Zoom interviews for broadcast.
2:00 How to set up your background for a Zoom call.
2:20 How to use an iphone as a webcam for Zoom call - Reincubate Camo: https://reincubate.com/camo
Set color temperature and focus on iphone or ipad.
Set color temperature and focus on iphone or ipad.
3:16 Best microphone windshield to cancel reverb or echo without sound proofing, used on a Yeti X.
5:15 Zoom vs Skype: which is better to record for TV and broadcast?
7:48 How to set up a cutaway shot during your Zoom recording: jump cuts and noddies.
9:55 How to improve your Zoom meeting call picture.
11:00 How to end a broadcast TV news interview.
11:57 The Great British YouTubers Podcast drink break
How to set up Zoom advanced settings: Enable HD video and Optimize for 3rd party video editors
13:30 How to record a 2 way video interview without using Zoom, better HD quality than Zoom.
14:00 How to interview for TV news: tips and advice.
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TRANSCRIPT: (CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO ABOVE)
What's the best way to record a Zoom call if your guest only has Zoom?
This is the monster microphone!
This is the Great British YouTubers podcast with me Neil Mossey, hello!
It's a place where we share advice, experience, and tips with high-achieving creators and performers just like you, and in this episode, broadcast journalist Jay Hirst.
THIS IS THE TRANSCRIPT - CLICK PLAY ON THE VIDEO ABOVE!
Jay is a producer reporter with over 25 years of experience on TV, radio and online.
Now you and I both know the best way of recording a Zoom call is to not rely on the Zoom call.
It's to get your guests to record their side of the conversation, and then put the two halves together in the edit... but what if your guest can't do that?
That's what TV reporters face every day, especially since the whole you know what happened.
This is one big experiment:
Jay is going to show us how he gets the best out of Zoom while conducting the whole interview as an actual Zoom recording, so the quality at the beginning of the recording is deliberately not good, and that's the reason why.
Jay Hirst, you are absolutely the first person I wanted to speak to about conducting interviews with high-profile guests via Zoom for video podcasts so thank you.
That's all right.
But this is odd because we've known each other for decades!
Yeah it's coming up for 30 years in October!
And I feel I need to explain also we're recording on literally the hottest day of the year here in the UK which is why I’m perspiring like Barry White at the moment.
It's not because of your grilling interview technique Jay!
Okay that's good.
See you say I was the first person you wanted to talk to about this, and there may be people looking at my camera and going why did you want to talk to him?!
Because it's not great, I have to say.
It's okay... um I’m working with challenging lighting because it's really light outside.
If I have the blinds open then everything gets done on how light it is at the back of the room.
Now this is my webcam I use for work.
It's not great but we can do better because we talked about difficult light conditions.
Pop some more light on me, so THAT is using an iPhone as the web camera.
I didn't even know you could do that.
There's been all sorts of software put about that has done this to a greater or lesser extent for years.
Every time apple have updated the operating system, it's broken it.
It's always been a bit of a hack but there is a new piece of software called Reincubate Camo.
You download the receiving app for your mac separately - it's not done through - and it's a subscription.
If you don't have the subscription you get things like, you watermark your video but also see what it's allowing me to do:
I’m actually using an iPhone which has got two lenses so this is the telephoto lens.
I can go to the wider lens.
Was that a touch of a button?
Yeah so I’m playing with this now in the mac app.
You can set things like your colour temperature and even adjust your focus.
Probably not something you're going to want to do.
Should I also improve the sound?
This is the monster microphone!
Jay I’ve seen those on Amazon, I did not realize they look like something from “It's A Knockout”.
Yeah they really do!
So if I uh turn the microphone on... set my levels to my yeti.
The sound should be considerably better now.
Yes it is, and that's even on the just the Zoom connection.
So because I use this for recording radio programmes, and this is an echoey room, but the big “uh” on top helps reduce the echo a bit without having to sound proof the room totally.
Would I be right in thinking you have conducted hundreds of interviews via things like Zoom and Skype?
It's not 100’s but it's-- it's certainly in the plenty of dozens, and you know the first few times I did them I was in a television studio.
If I was not doing it to run as a full interview if I was just interviewing for a... for a clip, they wouldn't be able to see me but I’d be able to see them...
and I’d be sat a little talkback box giving them the questions.
Since lockdown started I mean this is this has become my life.
As a television and radio journalist working from home I’m doing interviews over Zoom, Skype whatever, all the time.
And you interview some really high profile people.
They’re leaders of organizations, they are people quite high up in the government.
Yeah I mean I’ve not interviewed a prime minister over Zoom.
I’ve interviewed some of them in person, yeah I mean I’ve interviewed senior members of the armed forces... I’ve certainly interviewed MP’s over Zoom and Skype.
I don't know if I’ve done any ministerials over this but, but yeah absolutely.
And does that put a pressure on you to have some kind of plan... but we'll go through plan A in a moment, but does that generally put a pressure on you to have some kind of fallback plan in case something goes wrong with the equipment at your end or their end?
Yes touch wood I have not yet had an interview totally fail because of technical problems.
I... I have had several - especially actually in the early days where I have problems getting it started.
Actually I found Zoom a lot easier to do this with than skype but yeah you've... you've got to have fallbacks.
And can I ask why do you find it better on Zoom?
Why is it better to have two-way interviews on Zoom rather than Skype?
When you're using Skype’s own recording you get the two of you side by side.
It's, it's a pair of vertical video.
From my perspective for putting that on television it means I could - yeah I can do that - but like, I have to box them vertically.
When you say to someone I want to do something on Skype, it depends whether it's going to be Skype, or Skype for business.
I found that when it is Skype for business, their setup doesn't allow me to record.
This is how I’ve had to develop these fallback techniques to work with and... and the the biggest and simplest fallback technique is screen recording.
That is where you literally just record what's coming out of your computer rather than relying on the Zoom inbuilt recording.
So by doing that screen recording, and only having them in view, so I’ve got them full screen on my mac... QuickTime will do a screen recording.
But what it won't do is it won't record the sound at the same time but providing I’ve got my Zoom recording that's fine I can use the sound from my Zoom recording and then just synchronize it up in the edit.
So if I go to the camera on the laptop...
This is great!
So what you can see there I’ve got my video camera that I use for filming stories, I’ve got it filming me because I can then use that for a high quality shot of me when I’m asking questions.
It generally looks better than the webcam there.
You can also do that with the iPad, and sometimes I’ll do that with the iPad.
Shall I show you what the shot from that camera is?
If you're able to, that's amazing Jay.
I think I can.
I recognize that logo!
Yeah so what I’ve started doing is using the laptop screen for a bit of branding.
I either have some work branding on there...
Something relevant to the story.
I’d be working like this and so the whole thing would be on full screen and in fact if I... if I take it out of speaker view, so it's like that.
For a lot of people I don't know that this is exactly what they'd want to do because this is... what I’m doing here is a... is a classic television thing but it might be what you want to do.
But this is the interesting thing, this is why I wanted to make this episode.
For me it's all in the edit.
One of the things that camera over there enables me to do is do the jump cut.
Tell us about the jump cut!
Tell us all about the jump cut Jay.
So if I want to take a sub clause out of here, out of the middle of something that's long and wordy, I’m making pieces that are sometimes a minute 45.
Equally I can be interviewing for 20 minutes and I want to get that down to a 5 minute interview.
So to be able to - without editorially twisting what they're saying - shorten what they're doing, you want to make the jump cut.
Now if I just cut them, you see the cut.
In traditional television you don't do that, so in traditional television what you'll do to get that in an interview is you'll suddenly get a shot of the reporter looking at the camera going...
Which, which you can entirely fake, or if you're if... or if you're doing it from a two camera shoot, you use a cut from the... from, jump to the second camera at the start of the new bit, but I’ve still got you on screen so you know it's again it feels like a traditional interview.
You don't lose the subject.
It's a more elegant cutaway because - yeah - it's the reaction of two people.
For us with... with doing that particularly in the whole working from home thing, journalists want presence in their piece.
So it's become a way of, when we can't go outside and do a piece to camera or when - certainly when we couldn't - but there is... there is a time when you want to show yourself asking that awkward question as well.
Frankly that, that that shot even though it's not of your face, ends up better quality because I’m recording it separately.
The other lovely thing about that shot is that you can get station branding in on the laptop in the background. That's a really nice touch.
Yeah and actually if you, if you look... see what you also see here is a pop-up where I have carefully hidden my work logo.
This message is not endorsed by whichever television company.
See that would be the kind of thing that I would jump cut an edit of!
Jay you’ve very generously walked us through the setup at your end, but obviously you're dealing with who knows who on the other end, with who knows what equipment.
If you're working with someone and you've got time, actually give them a checklist to start with.
Those laptops with the low cameras that look up your nose?
No, not one of those please.
Elevate your laptop.
Try not to have a bright light source behind you because that's going to blast everything out.
I’m not a fan of people working with headphones in their ears.
Although it depends, I mean it... I guess you - you try and have a bit of a chat with them when you first get the connection up.
You don't want to crash straight in with... with the questions you know, “why didn't you do this!” or “Are we all going to die?!”
You know they're a human being as well.
Obviously it depends on the interview but... but it's a conversation isn't it?
It's such an extra push to have to do that on a conference call rather than just having that rapport for a few minutes in in real life.
And the other thing I would say is, when I get to the end of a recording... and again this is not just a not just a Zoom thing...
I usually say “That was great. Is there anything you think I’ve missed?”
And sometimes they'll go that's all fine, sometimes they'll go well yeah actually - and I normally do this while I’m still recording, because sometimes what they'll do is they'll go:
“No I think you know we covered the basic points, it’s der-der-der-der der.”
And they've just summed up the entire conversation and you've, you've got the bite!
And that's the really succinct, everything you wanted.
Sometimes that is how it goes, yeah.
That's a really great tip Jay that... that at the end of the interview to ask your guest is there anything I’ve missed.
That, that's not something I’ve thought to do.
I mean I say, it depends on the kind of interview but they're the subject matter expert.
For me as a journalist, there are times when I have crushingly missed the point.
It seems better to find that out before you put the piece to air?
And you have segued us to a format point on the Great British YouTubers podcast: should we have a little drink?
I’ve not bothered with a glass, I’m just drinking straight from the bottle.
Is that just a giant bottle of gin and tonic?
It is in my head.
And you too, why don't you have a drink too?
That was so patronising!
Do you have any advice for what settings to adjust actually in Zoom itself?
Oh now this is one of the things that you can mention on your checklist to your guests:
Enable HD video.
That's really interesting.
For me there's also a setting I use in the Zoom recording so that when it records it... it then exports it in a format that is better for external editing programs.
Right I think there's actually a tick box isn't there in the advanced settings.
It says something like “Optimize for third-party editor”
Yeah exactly. This has been the bane of my life.
I find Zoom doesn't record at a fixed frame rate.
Try and have as many things as possible in the same frame rate.
The one thing we've not done here... this is just the two of us sat here... the other thing that works really well, and does well on YouTube videos is movement.
I mean yeah, it's hard to set up the cameras to film two of you out and about having a conversation walking around, but also if the two of you are moving you start to forget, and you will just talk to each other.
Maybe we could demonstrate that right now!
So with this setup, it kind of works against the whole idea of this episode, but with this method, you have both sides of the conversation, your guest or your co-host each recording on a camera... and you communicate with each other just over the phone, and that way you're out and about and performing the show together.
Look Jay, I’m in a field in the middle of Hampshire!
Yeah I’m just, you know, hanging by the River Thames at sunset, you know.
Yeah get out and about.
What the hell, movement makes it!
We've sat here for how long, with that idea?!
Jay this has been so useful, but I can now ask... is there anything I’ve forgotten?
The biggest thing with an interview is... know why you're doing it, and know what you want to achieve from it.
If you know why you're doing it, so why are you talking to this person and what do you want to get from them... that's the basic strategy.
If you know why you're doing the interview, why you're talking to this person, what you want to get from them, then you're on... on I think a pretty good track.
Jay thank you so much for being so generous with your time.
What we tend to do at the end of the interview is pose for thumbnails.
I wonder if we should maybe just get a thumbnail?
This might be new to you because it's not really something that-- [LAUGHS]
It feels like you're going to start a round of “Gladiators” any moment!
And thanks for doing this on the hottest day.
And please hit the subscribe button below if you want to see more Great British YouTubers.
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I'm Neil Mossey and I'll see you on the very next Great British YouTubers.
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