How to Create Successful Skype Productions

How to Create a Successful Skype Production with the Bowie Studio

Pre-planning is key. 

It will take a while for everyone to get good at doing these types of productions. Testing and planning will help identify potential problems and answer questions that you may have. The more testing and planning that can be done in advance, the more smoothly your Skype production session will go. 

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Step 1 - Producer Planning Session

You will need to set up a session with a studio technician to discuss logistics and options for a virtual set that will work with Skype.  

Set Options: 

No virtual set

  • Your production would look like a news show, with side-by-side boxes for interviewer and interviewee. Depending on your preference, the split screen boxes could remain for the entire interview or switch to individual shots at other times. Whatever is behind you and the person you are interviewing will be seen. 

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Virtual set 

  • Requires you to hang a green screen or other solid color backdrop. These are usually lime green in color, but other colors can be used. Just don’t use a color similar to the skin color or clothing color of you or your guest.
  • You will probably be able to use a virtual set you have used for a previous in-studio production. The technician will work with you during the planning session to determine if your existing set will work.
  • If your existing virtual set doesn’t work or you want to change things up, the technician can work with you to create a new virtual set. This will take a little time to nail down and create. 

 Step 2 - Schedule a Pre-production Session with Your Guest 
(studio technician not involved)

Test out Skype with your guest prior to the recording session.

  • You and your guest will both need Skype accounts for the interview. They are free and can be created at www.skype.com. Before you begin the test session, make sure you have your guest’s Skype name.
  • Then, you will need to call your guest using the Skype application to make sure you and your guest are comfortable with the application and to determine what the quality of their connection is.  
  • Start the Skype session and talk to the guest through Skype. Make sure you both can navigate Skype’s features, that you can hear each other, and that you have a good internet connection.  
  • If quality is poor…
    • Consider the time of day. Internet traffic is usually heavier after dinner time
    • Are other people in the house using internet hungry devices, at either house?
    • Be sure that you are testing the connection at the same time of day your production session is scheduled. 

Discuss the production

  • Review the show’s subject matter and what questions you will ask
  • Obtain information for their lower thirds and for the credits

 After the test session

  •  Send an email to studio@cityofbowie.org with the following information:
  • Put the word “Assets” in the subject line
  • Show topic and/or episode name
  • Your Skype name and the guest’s Skype name
  • Lower third information for your guest
  • Details for the credits
  • Be sure to also copy cityofbowie@gmail.com on the email, since that is the production account we will be using to receive forms and files.)

If you have small files to send, just attach them to the email. If there are several files or they are large in size, please use the file submission form. It will allow you to select and submit the files with the form. You will need to log in using a gmail account since we’re using a Google form.

Step 3 - Skype Production Session

Please be respectful of the time you have been allotted. Sessions will start promptly at the time you reserved and will end an hour and a half later, or sooner if you are done. 

In order to accommodate all producers, we will be scheduling sessions back-to-back. If your show requires more than simple edits, you will need to schedule another session to work with the technician to get the edits done. 

Producers can also do their own editing of shows from home if they have Adobe Premiere. (See details about learning and acquiring Premiere.)

On the day of your production:

  • Call your guest just before your scheduled time and let them know they should be ready to begin in about 10-15 minutes.
  • Call the studio and let us know you are ready (301-809-3057) to begin the session.
  • The technician will call your Skype account first and review any last-minute items and confirm what to do with any pre-submitted assets, such as images, videos, and text for the teleprompter, and will explain how to set the timer.
  • The technician will then call the Skype account of your guest and display their lower third so that it can be verified for accuracy.  
  • As the producer, you will be able to see timer and teleprompter overlaid on the video as it is being recorded, but it will not appear on final product.
  • When the interview is completed, we will disconnect from the guest and if there is enough time left in your session, you and the technician can go over what is needed to complete the show. For most of you, it will just be adding the intro and credits and when we get approval to do that, those additions can be made without keeping you on the call.
  • Be sure to get the show number assigned by the technician. You will need to include it on the Show Submission Form
  • After the session, please turn in a Show Submission Form.

Step 4 – Editing Your Show (if needed)

If your show requires more than a few minor edits or the addition of an intro or credits, you will need to schedule another session or two with the technician to complete the production or make the edits at home using Adobe Premiere.

Each producer will be entitled to up to three sessions per month. They can be either Skype or editing sessions, but you must complete one Skype production before beginning the next one. 

Producers can maximize the efficiency of their editing sessions doing some work before the session:

  • Review your video recording and note the edits that are needed
  • Record finished quality voiceovers on your own *
  • Edit off-camera segments at home if you can * 

*Please talk to one of the technicians before doing this to make sure requirements are clear. They may also offer other suggestions to improve the efficiency of your editing sessions.

NOTE:  Technicians will do everything on their end to make a Skype recording session run smoothly; however because these sessions are being done remotely, it is possible that you may encounter problems during a show related to bad connections, heavy internet traffic, equipment issues, etc. If the problems cannot be resolved after a reasonable period of time, it may be necessary to reschedule the session.