Archive for : November, 2014

Packaging Super Speeches

Packaging Super Speeches

In this series of blog posts, we discuss using the interactive PDF format to package speeches and presentations for broad distribution.


Imagine someone at a computer or holding an iPad or iPhone with an Internet connection. That person clicks on a link and it brings up an interactive PDF file. The viewer is then able to flip through pages of an eBrochure or eMagazine. Embedded in the publication are links to videos that play in the browser window. That’s the power of interactive PDFs and the Internet.

Our clients come to us with speeches, which either have already been given or are scheduled to be delivered. Our job is to package that speech in the interactive PDF format. This is accomplished by acquiring the video recording of the speech, when one was done. We create a transcript of the speech and edit it to fit the written format. Then, we design a printed version of the speech with text, infographics and links to edited video segments.

Quality of the Video Recording Matters

Quality of a video recording can vary greatly. Ideally, the speech is recorded in high definition and it is much better to use two HD cameras. One is focused on the speaker while the other is capturing a wider shot or audience cut-aways. Recordings of the speech or presentation are made on both cameras and later synced up in the editing process. The final product is greatly enhanced by being able to intercut between two camera angles.

Proper lighting is critical. A poorly lit speaker can look rather sinister. If there isn’t enough light under ambient conditions, then a spotlight needs to be used. Good sound is also critical. The sound is either captured directly out of the sound system or the speaker wears a wireless microphone. The audio must be monitored while it is being recorded. Any problems must be identified and fixed or the video recording will be rendered unusable.

Adding Visuals Afterwards

If the speaker used a PowerPoint or other visual aid, we copy it and along with other graphics, edit it into the final program. The person recording the video should also keep a written time log of the speech, noting when each of the visual aids were used. This serves as a useful guide for the editor later on. Once we acquire the video of the speech, we are then able to design and produce the interactive PDF file that will contain all of the content.

Remain Succinct

When presenting, keep in mind that the video segments in an interactive PDF are purposefully kept brief. Let’s face it, a Vine runs 6 seconds. We try and keep video segments shorter than ten minutes. The attention span of an average viewer is rarely longer than that and they will quickly tune out. That is why a lot of content is produced in a series of short videos. For example, if it is a thirty minute speech, then five six-minute segments, or six five-minute segments.

Snowflake in India

I took this photograph at an orphanage in Biramitrapur, India. Over the years, I’ve shot video locations across its mystical landscape and have volunteered doing relief work in various capacities. My initial trip occurred following the tsunami. During that rather transformative experience, I encountered lots of orphans, and continued to support several homes that care for hundreds of them, by providing safe shelter, nutrition, education and health care.WFSnowflakeBMRP


Prior to one of my recent visits, I was at Wells Fargo bank to acquire the foreign currency I needed and my personal banker gave me a plush pony to share with the youngsters. I decided to capture that when I did so.

I was happy to share this child’s joyous moment with the bank and their customers. A story about this picture appeared in Wells Fargo’s corporate newsletter where the article commented that “Snowflake took a very interesting trip and made a child’s day.” I also got the chance to pitch the bank with my idea for a slogan. It’s an image of a penny with the caption “Where Everyone Counts”.