Imagine being hired by a foreign government to produce their local news. You’d have to learn a little of the country’s language and quickly assess what’s interesting and new to the locals. What’s common knowledge? What are their concerns and priorities? How do they communicate? Put another way, how do you capture issues important to an audience you’ve just met? This is Veronica Vaquer’s specialty. She was the senior producer of Biophysical Society TV at this year’s Annual Meeting, and, working for WebsEdge, she has produced television programs and web clips for diverse conferences- for medical and scientific societies and for police chiefs and fire chiefs. “We become a news channel for the conference attendees,” wrote Vaquer, “Often news or video production is trying to reach John Q. Public – but that’s not our goal — we want to have a more elevated discussion … about the topics at the Meeting.”
To produce BPS TV, Veronica worked with a small crew- editor, cameraman, logistics person, and a former L.A. TV reporter who conducted the interviews during the meeting. Six weeks to 2 months before the conference, they traveled to universities to shoot footage highlighting relevant research centers and technology. The clips produced from these trips were broadcast on TVs around the Moscone Center during the meeting. After the meeting, the clips become tools for the universities to advertise their strengths to funding agencies and prospective students. Once at the meeting, Vaquer and her team produced interviews with scientists and, each day, a one-hour newscast covering interesting events at the conference. You might have seen the interviews happening by the entrance of the exhibition hall.
For Vaquer, producing Conference TV is an opportunity to help people and professional societies get exposure for their work and tell their stories. Before working for WebsEdge, Vaquer worked for 10 years in local news, where reporting is intended to be disinterested. Here, Vaquer enjoys being able to help attendees articulate their thoughts in compelling videos. That can mean, in our case, creating videos that celebrate crystallography or highlight a symposium. At many conferences, there is also a big concern simmering under the surface of the main business. Making a video with Professor Steven Block of Stanford revealed the depth of the research funding crisis to Vaquer. So she drew out the theme from different perspectives over the rest of the conference in videos now available to everyone online.
Next time you’re at a conference make sure to look your best, you never know when you might be on TV!