BSP Annual Conference 2020 Online – guidance for recording your paper

This guide will tell you what you need to know about recording a presentation to participate in our online conference as a speaker. It will list some recommended formats, explain the minimum level of quality needed for your recording to be accepted, and offer some tips on hardware and software you can use.

First off, something to inspire us! We asked one of the presenters from last year’s conference to follow the guide below to create a demo video. Hannah Berry, a Ph.D student from Liverpool University, here presents her paper from the BSP Annual Conference 2019, ‘‘Empathy: the border between narratives’’. The results are excellent! Click the image below to go to this unlisted YouTube hosted video (we will not be using YouTube for the conference, but rather a private password protected space on another platform).

Image from Hannah's slidepack - click to view video

Decide on your format
Your recording should be about 20 minutes and absolutely no longer than 25 minutes (and must be representative of your accepted abstract). However, we are flexible about the format you choose. You can make it as simple or innovative as you want. We expect most submissions to be in the following format:
> Vlog: Speaker talking directly to camera
> Screencast: Speaker talking over a screencast of a PowerPoint presentation
> Screencast with webcam: Speaker talking over a screencast of a PowerPoint that also shows the speaker talking to the camera
While we do not have a preference, we do feel that using even a minimal PowerPoint presentation will greatly aid your audience’s ability to follow your paper. We will accept audio-only submissions, but we ask that you consider doing a screencast instead.

The minimum level of recording quality that we are looking for
We are not expecting speakers to produce recordings at a professional standard. However, what we want to ensure is that your audience will have a comfortable experience and be able to follow everything that you say. The most important part of this is audio quality. We don’t want people to have to strain to hear you. This means:
> The recording should be made in a quiet room with the window closed. There should be no noises in the background interrupting the speaker
> The speaker’s voice should be heard clearly, without distortion or gaps in the audio
> The speaker should not talk too quickly and should take care to articulate clearly.
> There should be no long pauses or gaps in content
We advise you to ask a friend or colleague to give feedback on your recording and get a second opinion on whether it meets these four requirements.

Check your hardware
> Microphone: This is the most important thing that will determine the quality of your audio and your ability to meet the requirements listed above. In almost all cases, the built-in microphone on a laptop will not be enough. We ask that you use an external microphone. If you do not already have one, an inexpensive USB headset microphone will do the job and will continue to be of use to you after this project.
> Webcam: If you are recording yourself, most webcams built into devices should be sufficient. If you are buying a USB webcam, a frame rate of around 30fps will ensure that movement is smooth. Anything below around 24fps should be avoided.
> Computer: Most modern and healthy computers that run Windows, Mac, and Linux will do the job for you. Some Chromebooks may also work, but it will depend on the power of their hardware, and you may be limited in the software that you can use. If in doubt, you can look at the requirements of the software you have chosen to use and compare them to your device. It is not impossible to record using a phone or tablet, but unless the device is high end, the microphone is unlikely to be good enough quality, and it can be more difficult to record from your screen.

Recommended software
There are several free pieces of software available for capturing your screen while recording. However, you will find that many have severe limitations unless you buy the paid version. As such, we have provided some recommendations. If you are an academic or a student, you may wish to contact your institution’s IT department to see what software they recommend and support.
> Windows: BB Flashback Express. (You do not need the free trial of the Pro edition.)
> Mac: QuickTime Player. Our sample video (top of page) was recorded using this method. Although, this does not allow for webcam recording alongside the screen capture.
> Browser based: Apowersoft Free Online Screen Recorder.

We are committed to making the online conference as accessible as possible. If you have accessibility considerations or concerns about the video presentations, please get in touch ([email protected]) and we will do our best to either accommodate or advise.

Submitting your video
Submission of pre-recorded presentations deadline: Sunday 2 August 2020

Go to the BSP AC2020 Online homepage