By: Frankie Marquez
One way many interpreters are looking to engage with the public during times of COVID-19 is through virtual programming! The public might not be able to feel your props but they can see and hear more than ever through the magic of online learning! The CBC FU Public Outreach and Education Team wants to show you how to set up your own studio to deliver exciting and engaging virtual programs.
The bare minimum that you need to deliver virtual programming is a laptop with a webcam and a stable internet source. In the Vancouver office we use a magic internet box with an air card - we honestly don’t really know how it works but it basically creates its own Wi-Fi by using cell-tower data. With these two tools you should be able to use platforms such as Zoom, FacebookLive, YouTube, WebEx, and Microsoft Teams.
If you want to take your program to the next level the first thing you should do is find a friend to be your designated tech support. Once you find your friend, you can take your tech to the next level.
The first piece of tech that will bring the “WOW” factor to your programs is a green screen because it allows you to manipulate backgrounds on Zoom and other platforms. You’ll be able to host game shows or take your audience to different sites in a matter of seconds! To ensure the best results, clamp your green screen fabric to the poles and make sure it’s nice and tight!
The other pieces of tech needed would be an external webcam (instead of the one that came with your laptop), a second monitor, and a set of external speakers. We use the Logitech C920 webcam and have it propped on top of our second monitor that faces the presenters. Not only does this improve your video quality, but the second monitor also allows for the presenters to point at the right places on the green screen and respond to participant comments in real time.
Also, if you are planning on using sound for your program such as a bird call, having a set of external speakers will ensure that the sound quality is crisp and clear for audience members.
Finally, to glow bright like the star that you are, use a ring light to bring out your best features for the camera!
Even though we need to keep physical distance from our visitors, that does not mean we have to compromise program quality. Virtual programming is new and exciting with so much potential! What will you deliver? Frankie is a passionate educator who works for Parks Canada’s Learn-To Camp Team and connects various audiences to the outdoors. Her favorite part of the job is teaching newcomers to Canada how to camp safely and dressing up as Parka Parks Canada’s Beaver mascot.