How to record your talks?

Based on our experience you’ve five options for recording your talks:

Level 5 – Audio only

This is the simplest way to record a talk, just place a digital audio recording device (for example your iPhone using the Voice Memos app) close to the speaker or have a wired or wireless microphone and record the signal. You can create an audio (mp3 or m4a) track in the Parleys Publisher and start post-processing very fast.

You can watch our Publisher tutorial on: How to post-process an audio only talk?


  • Not expensive
  • Not much can go wrong during recording
  • Audio conversion to mp3 is easy
  • Publisher even support m4a audio file from iPhone


  • More work during post-processing
  • No idea when slide changes
  • Demo’s are of course not included

Audio Only Example

Level 4 – Speaker video

If you’ve a (digital) camera you can consider to record the speaker (including audio or even use your audio recording device as backup). Very important is that you place the camera in an angle where you can also see the projected slides, this way you know when the speaker goes to the next slide.


  • You’ve video of speaker
  • You’ve a cue of the slide changes
  • More professional result


  • Still a lot of work to find the slide changes
  • Does not include demo’s
  • Encoding to FLV or MPEG4 needed

Speaker video example

Level 3 – Local Screen Recording

If you control the computer of the speaker you can consider installing screen recording software.

If the speaker uses a Mac then you should consider using QuickTime.  This application allows you to record both the screen (including demo’s) and the audio.  You can watch our Publisher tutorial on how to: Mix video and audio in one talk.

Camtasia Studio and many others allows you to do screen recording but make sure you’ve a powerful enough machine and disk space to record a talk locally.


  • Fast post-processing
  • Automatic slide changes detections by Publisher
  • Demo’s can be included
  • QuickTime files can be used as-is, no extra encoding needed!


  • Software needs to be installed on speakers computer
  • Hope for the best when recording starts
  • Powerful computer needed

Local QuickTime screen recording example

Level 2 – Remote Screen Recording

Remotely recording the speakers computer signal using a VGA signal grabber is less intrusive and gives you more control over the process. Is a great solution if speaker has many demo’s but more preparation work is required and can come with some extra stress during recording.

FYI – BeJUG recently bought an Epiphan Lecture recorder for our evening sessions and this works very well (I agree it’s not cheap).  It uses a solid state drive and an embedded frame grabber and audio-in recorder to do the job and it can also stream the presentation to the internet (we’ve not yet used the streaming feature).


  • Non-intrusive solution
  • Fast post-processing
  • Automatic slide changes detections by Publisher
  • Demo’s can be included


  • Extra hardware is needed
  • Recording software can crash during talk
  • Additional audio recording sometimes needed

Note: You can now also extract the audio from the slide video.  First sync your slides based on the screen recorded video and then extract the audio (Mp3) from the screen recorded video.  Now you can publish your talk as an audio-only presentation!  For this to work you need to include the audio in your original screen recorded video.

Level 1 – Remote Screen & Video Recording

In addition to Level 2 you can also consider to record the video of the speaker, this is what we do for Devoxx. We record the computer signal WITH audio but also record the video of the speaker WITH audio. The Parleys publisher supports multiple tracks, so you can add one video track with the slides and another track with the video of the speaker. The Publisher can auto-detect the slides based on the imported PDF and keep the high resolution demo parts when done.


  • Non-intrusive solution and great best result
  • Fast post-processing
  • Automatic slide changes detections by Publisher
  • Demo’s can be included
  • Video of speaker included


  • Most expensive solution (extra camera man needed)
  • Recording software can still crash, so backup system is recommended
  • Resulting video file can be big depending on number of demo’s
  • RAW media needs to be encoded afterwards

Remote Video & Screen Examples

So hopefully the above information can help you decide how to address your recording strategies!?
If you’re seeking assistance for your own conference then please consider as a potential partner, based on our in-the-trenches experience we can make a difference and make it happen!

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2 Responses to How to record your talks?

  1. For my talk “Examination timetabling with Drools Planner” I used this setup:
    - Install on Ubuntu these packages:, gtk-recordmydesktop, ffmpeg and Parleys Publisher of course.
    - Open and export to PDF
    - Plugin microphone, start gtk-recordmydesktop, open slides and start talking.
    - I turned the ogv into flv first, but I couldn’t get slides&audio in the Publisher like I wanted to. Using an mp3 turned out to be easier.
    - ffmpeg -i rawVideoDevoxx09.ogv rawVideoDevoxx09.mp3
    - Open Publisher, import PDF & mp3 and start syncing the slides with the talk.

    The good thing about doing the talk for real, is the pauzes between slides transitions, allowing you to sync easily.
    Overall, the Publisher was a good experience :)

    Here is the result:

  2. Pingback: Steve On Java » Hinkmond’s JavaFX Mobile Dojo

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