Like all good nerd snipes it starts with a tweet:
Would anyone be interested in an "OBS for technical presenters session, where we look at tools to improve the experience of online presentations in interesting ways?— Aaron Powell (@slace) October 21, 2020
But the thing is, you’re not meant to do it to yourself… but here we are, 145 likes and 41 comments later, I guess people are interested in this content, so it’s time I tackle it.
Starting with a problem
Over the past year I’ve been spending a lot of time looking into how to make the most engaging online presentation experience that I can, as no one knows when we’ll be back to doing in-person events in the way we use to. As someone who does a lot of talks and tried to be very energetic in their presentations, regardless of what happens, I wanted to bring that same experience online.
I haven’t come from a video production background so it was quite confusing as to how one gets started. I saw people talking about tools like Open Broadcaster Software (OBS) and NDI, setting up green screens and using sound boards. But everything I found was for the person who was streaming video games to Twitch, and while Twitch can be a useful platform for technical content (case in point, I have a Twitch stream), the experience streaming is very different to the experience of presenting at a conference.
Talking with my friends and colleagues, we all had similar experiences. We’d worked some of this stuff out, but it was pieced together through experiments, trial and error, and calling each other making the other person a guinea pig (and hopefully not blowing out their ear drums).
Bridging the content gap
So, I nerd sniped myself, what am I going to do about it? In the new year I’ll start putting together some video and written tutorials covering some of the key topics that I feel are important for people when they are doing online presentations, such as OBS, and how to get the most value out of them.
I’m also contemplating doing some online “workshops”, where we can jump in together and see some of this stuff in action as a more “giving a talk” experience, in addition to pre-recorded content, so if that sounds interesting, let me know through any of the variety of comms channels I’m on.
What this content isn’t
The goal of this content will be around the technical tools to make an online present successful, but that’s only part of it. For speaker tips I’d encourage everyone to check out this great post by Sonia Cuff and video from pyconline AU 2020, which cover off a number of great tips about your physical space, and how to engage with a virtual audience. After all, you can have the most amazing technical setup, but if you can’t be seen or more importantly, heard, it’s all for nothing.
With the end of the year virtually (ha!) upon us, I’m going to start this in 2021, so keep an eye out for the content as it starts coming out, and if there’s something specific you’d like to learn about, do get in contact.