"(Out of) Office Hours" The Finale: Remote Video Kits and COVID Compliance

Chris Lavigne

Creative

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

On the season finale of (Out of) Office Hours, Chris takes it around the horn one last time rocking a slightly new setup. Since the last episode, Chris has seen camera manufacturers innovating their technology and production companies adapting during the pandemic.

For the final live stream, Chris spoke with producer Rick Stone of Elm City Communications about remote video kits he built to help clients look good, sound good, and communicate their messages from home.

He also chatted with Natalie Zurawin, COVID Compliance Officer, about how her role became necessary for keeping the camera rolling in the world of production.

Here’s a recap of what went down and some helpful links for you to dig deeper!

Pro-Tip
Re-watch all of the other (Out of) Office Hours with Chris Lavigne all in one place!

People are catching up!

During COVID, camera manufacturers are listening to folks who want a better webcam at home. Chris explained how Canon now has a Mac and a PC webcam utility. You don’t need an HDMI to USB adapter anymore for a lot of their newer cameras, and the same goes for Sony and Fujifilm. Nikon, on the other hand, is a sinking ship.

OBS is also listening — they now have a virtual camera so you can easily pipe your feed from OBS into any streaming platform, even Zoom.

Zoom has made some pretty big improvements as well — you can record multiple tracks for different participants on a call. This is really helpful if you’re recording a podcast, an interview show, or a remote interview. On the higher-tier plans, you can get higher than 720p quality for your videos.

However, Apple is still giving us 720p Facetime cameras in their computer models. What’s up with that? Alas, Chris is stoked for the M1 Chip.

Additionally, new apps have been created. An app called mmhmm has turned everything we do with OBS into a more user-friendly version.

Leveled-up desk setup

Inspired by his video hero and DSLR Video Shooter, Caleb Pike, Chris finally leveled up his desk setup and tweaked his kit. Parting ways with an Apple box, he built out a VESA mount to handle a light, camera, and microphone, which made for a way cleaner setup. He built five more of these kits and sent them to Wistians who were using video to do remote interviews.

Action Item
Chris had some required viewing for everyone. Head over to Caleb Pike’s YouTube channel and check out one of his latest videos “Ultimate Video Studio Desk Setup!” You may not use all of the stuff he talks about, but if you’re like Chris, you can take bits and pieces and adapt them for your own use case.

Production companies are innovating

Moving on to production companies, Chris is super impressed with the quality of presentation videos over at Apple. Granted, they have the resources of nearly a $2 trillion company, but they’re taking their in-person events and adapting them to be an incredibly high production quality viewing experience.

Smaller production companies are also innovating. Chris got one of his good friends and mentors, Rick Stone, on the line. Rick runs a production company called Elm City Communications in New Jersey. Even during COVID, he’s making kits to help clients look good, sound good, and communicate their message. He’s sending them out to doctors, pharmaceutical reps, and more to help them get a nice, high-quality video recording his team can also direct.

What’s the shelf life for these things, Chris wonders? Rick says many people still like the idea of not having to leave their house and believes kits like these have some legs beyond the end of COVID. For production companies like Elm City Communications, even though you aren’t setting up lights or stepping foot in someone’s door, people can still see the value you provide knowing how to produce and create content.

Check out the full clip below:

COVID compliance

At Wistia, we’ve been complying with COVID safety guidelines to be able to get back on set and shoot videos with our team. Chris shows some shots from behind the scenes of Adam Day and Stephen Petto shooting at the Wistia office.

Next, Chris chatted with Natalie Zurawin, COVID Compliance Officer, to learn more about her role and how it became necessary for keeping the camera rolling in the world of production. Based in Los Angeles, CA, she discusses how folks were freaking out at the beginning of the pandemic. When has Hollywood ever shut down? To get back to work, the industry formulated a new set of rules for how to be as safe as possible.

“To get back to work, the industry formulated a new set of rules for how to be as safe as possible.”

Natalie set the scene for Chris of what it looks like to walk on set with a Covid Compliance Officer. They’re the first person you see when you walk in. Ideally, they’ll have a rapid test at the site. On top of that, you would ideally have done a PCR test ahead of time. After you take the test and are clear, you go to the CCO who takes your temperature, does a symptom check, goes over the rules, and gives you a personal PPE kit for you to have throughout the day. They also have a sanitation station setup with them where you can grab wipes and whatever else you need. Natalie likes to have people sanitize their phones when they walk on set as well.

Once you’re on the set, the CCO makes sure you’re in your special zone to limit interactions as much as possible. When people are done with their specific jobs for the day, they’re encouraged to walk off the set. Lastly, the CCO will walk around and make sure everyone’s wearing their mask and ensure everyone feels comfortable, encouraging them to speak up when they feel uncomfortable so they can address the situation.

To put it simply, the COVID Compliance Officer gives the final say on what the regulations are and what rules people should follow. Whether or not you’re in production, everyone will go back to the office at some point, and someone should be designated to make sure people feel safe. Natalie is just an example in the film industry.

Watch their full conversation below:

Q&A

In this final installment of (Out of) Office Hours, viewers had a handful of great questions for Chris. Scrub to these timestamps to hear his answers:

38:56 — You mention that you’ll have presentations and Zoom calls on a separate laptop, and bring it into OBS by HDMI through the ATEM mini. How do you bring over the Zoom conference sound?

40:10 — What mic are you using? Rode or Yeti mic?

40:34 — What is the best value webcam?

41:25 — What has your video output looked like this year compared to regular years? Are you guys going back to in-office once the pandemic is behind us?

43:15 — Do you have a favorite episode or guest from OOOH?

44:21 — What do you recommend to get folks better stage/camera presence? Any videos/tutorials?

45:44 — What’s been the biggest surprises, challenges positive or negative when starting out with your live streaming program?

The end of an era

That about wraps up this finale recap! Thank you so much for enjoying the show and be sure to keep an eye out for more things to come from Wistia Studios. You can subscribe on the (Out of) Office Hours Channel for updates! Have more questions for Chris? Hit him up on Twitter @crlvideo or email him at crl@wistia.com. You can also reach out to Wistia directly on Twitter @wistia. This is (Out of) Office Hours signing off!

Chris Lavigne

Creative

Lisa Marinelli

Creative

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