TEDxUQ

About TEDx

In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised. (Subject to certain rules and regulations.)

 

The short & sweet

Asked to build a website; built it over a week. Kept coming to meetings, launched a Facebook Live on a <$200 budget. Stayed around as the Production Coordinator for years to come. Fun times. Also made a really nice Livestream hold video.

 

2016: Future Frontiers and Livestream Nightmares

My involvement in TEDxUQ is an interesting story to say the least. At the time I was working with this guy called Monty at eezirent, and I was just finishing up my internship as their resident marketing nerd.

Out for lunch that day, Monty had said that TEDxUQ had been having trouble seeking a website developer they trusted to revitalise the website for their 2016 theme – Future Thinkers. Initially sceptical, I accepted Monty’s offer to join the team and build their website. I found myself later that week back at UQ in a team meeting. Not just building a website, but also doing a livestream among much else.

Monty is the kind of person who has the capability to sell ice to an eskimo, and no less I found myself in a pickle when I brought the idea to stream the day to Facebook Live. Let’s not forget that Facebook Live was only officially launched to the likes of you and me in August 2016, a mere three weeks before the TEDxUQ event. Oh dear.

The idea was that we wouldn’t advertise the livestream until I had a working prototype. Not having access to a switcher at such short notice, I rigged up one of the Panasonic AF-100s via a AverMedia LGP Portable capture card. Success! For audio, I had my trusty Behringer Xyenx 502 which allowed for seperate audio mixing, and brought the feed into Wirecast using my Zoom H5. I’m not saying this wasn’t a hack, but I would be lying if I didn’t say I was proud of what we pulled together on such a tight budget.

Whilst we were plagued by audio issues as a result of a faulty XLR cable at front of house, the livestream didn’t miss a beat all day. You’d imagine the issue with the audio would come from my cable spaghetti, but alas, it was not.

 

2017: Taking the reigns

I had no intentions of returning to TEDxUQ in 2017 due to my long overdue holiday/study tour. A quick Facebook message later and I found that the team was once more reaching out for me to help out with production requirements. On return to Australia after three months abroad I sat down with some of our speakers and produced a short promotional video.

I shot the video using my Sony A6300 with my favourite vintage lens, the Helios 44M-4 50mm. I also grabbed my 80cm Godox Octobox, and set the audio to come through on my Zoom H5. It was a pretty good setup. Unfortunately we didn’t have anyone on the team doing marketing, and so I had very little creative direction as to the composition of the video. Quick, simple, dirt easy to film. Had a great time.

Come event day, I set myself up with the same audio rig as last year, although this time bypassed the Xyenx 502 all together, instead opting to do all the mixing on my Zoom H5. We used a Roland V800HD for switching. I turned down the Blackmagic switcher on the thought that I’d need the scalers built in, and boy did I… I had three cameras going, one Panasonic AF100, a Panasonic GH4, and a GH3 as well as a PC input for stream pause, and a direct feed from the projector. Applied a luminance key for the classic TED titles, and we were set.

Not a single issue. Didn’t miss a beat. Not surprising considering Facebook Live was now in maturity, and there was multiple redundancy layers in place (including two VidiU by Teradek on seperate VLANs just in case). The goal for 2018 is to scale it up, introduce an introductory teaser video as per TEDx’s production guidelines, and advertise the livestream to increase those sweet, sweet views.