© 2015 ellathompson


The much anticipated seminar was held last Friday! It went really well. My lava lamp took a little while to warm up but I’m pretty sure it stole the show. 

The Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas theme really made our seminar stand out from the others. So many of my friends and various uni people were coming up to tell us how incredible the setup was and how fantastic everything looked. People loved the psychedelic projections on the walls and the trippy music and the colourful, whacky lighting, not to mention the impressive array of food (and complimentary sherbet bags upon arrival). 

I was really nervous before the seminar. I don’t know why. I just really wanted it to go well and for everyone to enjoy it. Being responsible for the event was something completely new to me, so that was probably part of it.


Carl was in charge of the shooting setup plan. I was put on the little 600D camera (I’d asked if I should bring my 60D but was told not to bother!) while Carl and Michael were on the video cameras. I was originally under the impression that I’d just be filming the seminar, and we’d have a separate stills photographer covering the event, but that fell through, so I became videographer/photographer for the afternoon. (Which I was happy to do!)

I was a bit rough behind the camera though. After a rocky start of trying to figure out how to adjust the aperture – turns out the camera had a touch screen – the bumps gradually got smoother. Sort of. I’d thought that the viewfinder was damaged, because it was completely blurry and impossible to focus, so for stills I was using the screen, meaning that the shutter sound was slower and louder than if I’d been photographing through the viewfinder. Shelley and Christina kindly enlightened me during the intermission that I could adjust the viewfinder (a feature made for people with glasses), which I’d had no idea was possible. This made things considerably easier. However, I still found that I had to alternate between using the viewfinder and screen when photographing.Perhaps it was too dark? Perhaps it’s my eyesight? I just couldn’t tell for sure what was in focus when looking through the viewfinder. I also like the screen because it gives you an idea of how the exposure is looking, and I like to see what it looks like rather than just going off the exposure meter.  

Just before the seminar, Carl had told Michael and I what his vision was with regards to the camera setup. Michael’s camera would be a wide three-shot. Carl’s camera would be a three-shot from a different angle. My camera was to film the guests closer up and alternate between the speakers, as well as to swivel around and frame up on the audience in the event of someone asking a question.

But as soon as we got started, I realised that where I was sitting wasn’t close enough / the lens wasn’t long enough for me to get those close ups of each guest – the most I could get was a two-shot. During the break, Carl and I reevaluated and he said that he could get the close up single shots of the guests. He also suggested that I spend the start of the second half taking some stills. Which I did. However, both Carl and Michael forgot to press record on their cameras for about ten minutes into the second half… While I was photographing… Not filming. Michael says that we’ll be able to use the footage from the overhead security camera though (is it a security camera?). So, hopefully we’ll be able to salvage that ten minutes. There’s still the audio at least, anyway.


I felt quite awkward when I was wandering about the lecture theatre and taking photos. I tried to not think about how rude I must have seemed, walking around while the guests generously divulged their glorious wisdom, snapping loud photos with a camera with which I was a little unfamiliar. I did manage to get some nice, dirty OTS photos though. I also filmed moments from different angles around the lecture theatre during this brief photo mission. But unfortunately I didn’t get enough photos of the guests.

I’m hoping that they’re OK shots, because I’m not all that confident about the job I did. But I guess that confidence comes with practice, and that was practice. I definitely tried though. My back/neck was aching from craning to watch the screen during filming. 

One thing that we forgot to get was a group photo! It would have looked so fantastic with our uniform of Hawaiian shirts. We were all so focused on running the actual seminar!


In the end, all went quite well. I would have loved to have sat back and enjoyed the seminar and listened to the guests’ advice and anecdotes and discussion, but you can’t have everything! I was very fortunate to be working with such a brilliant group of smart, organised, talented, enthusiastic, passionate people. I think that’s the main factor behind the success of our seminar. We had a really fantastic team.

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