Recording a conference presentation

In the last week, I recorded my presentation for the upcoming Joint MMM-Intermag conference. I was invited to give a talk in the symposium Frontiers of Orbital Physics: Statics, Dynamics, and Transport of Orbital Angular Momentum, and my presentation is supposed to cover theoretical aspects of the orbital current, which is my main research expertise.

In the beginning of virtual conferences due to travel restriction with the surge of COVID, I clearly remember that I struggled for more than 5 hours to record a 30 min presentation. There were many reasons.

First, most importantly, it felt very strange to talk in front of my camera with no audience. This is something I am not completely used yet. Even in live online seminars, I do not see people’s faces anymore as the slide show starts unless I have a second monitor. I think I just got used to it by time although I’m not sure if my presentation improved or not. As usual, in every presentation, I try to apply the two simple rules: (1) Connect with audience first before I strat my story, (2) Be myself such that I truely enjoy developing scientific thoguths. Well, at the end, we do what we can.

The second difficulty was more about technical side. I wasn’t used to using any software for the screen recording. In the beginning of the pandemic, I also somehow noticed that conference organizers were also a bit lost and were not sure which option is the best. After 2 years, most conferences now provide a very clear guideline and tips for recording. For me, I do not use any fancy software. I simply use OBS, which is a free and open-source software. Importantly, it supports all different kinds of platforms, including linux. Then, I use QuicktimePlayer to trim the video.

Even after I successfully record my presentation, what I am not sure is how people would react to my presentation. Some conferences provide a comment section to make it more interactive, but it didn’t seem to work quite well. Most people, including myself, seem to be less active. In offline conferences, one can easily talk to the speaker after the presentation even if one misses a chance to ask a question at the end of the talk. In many previous conerences, I found it super nice to have a long conversation with colleagues in the coridoor after the session.

It’s not easy. Recording a presentation takes more time than preparing for a live presentation, and it is much less effective when it comes to exchanging knowledges and having networks. But we do what we can for now until we overcome the difficult time.

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