Recording meetup talks on a low budget

One thing that we have been doing lately in our meetups with great results is recording the talks. Recording them is useful for multiple reasons:

  • People who couldn’t attend or just want to watch them later can do so
  • Speakers can link them in their CVs
  • Great promotion for the meetup itself as well

Amateur recording of tech talks is not something new and multiple other posts have already covered the topic, but I wanted to share our latest low-budget setup (about to be upgraded) for those who can help. Here is a sample video with this setup:

Item Price
Your own mobile phone
64GB µSD card for phone 13€
Tripod with bag 31€
Tripod phone adapter 8€
Jabra speaker 87€
Total 139€

In the previous recordings we didn’t use a Jabra device to record the speaker voice and used directly the phone microphone, but that sometimes made the sound quite bad and full of noise, especially if the phone was far from the speaker. See some examples.

However if you are on a very short budget you can start like that, spending as low as 52€, or even less if you use a cheaper/smaller tripod.

How to record

Ask the presenter to install some video capturing software in the laptop he/she is gonna use for the presentation. So far Kazam has given us good results, but there are a lot more options.

Connect the Jabra speaker to the presenter laptop and set it as recording device in the system settings. It can also be used as sound output if the presenter has to play some videos, for example.

Mount the mobile phone on the tripod facing the presenter. Place it close to him/her while allowing him/her to move a bit in the stage without getting off the image. Make sure the phone battery is fully charged because recording drains it pretty fast.

For recording with the phone we have used either the app that comes with the phone itself or the Open Camera app. Make sure that the brightness levels of the phone are setup correctly and locked, since usually the changes in brightness of the projection screen confuse the recording software.

Just before starting the presentation, start recording in both the presenter laptop and the phone. A trick I have found useful from this article is to ask the presenter to clap before starting to speak to make sound syncing easier later.

At the end of the presentation ask the presenter to share the captured video with you. In our tests a video of 40 minutes was just over 100MB so it will be fast to transfer.


The Jabra device already does a good job filtering out room noise, but we always use Audacity to remove background noise and amplify the signal if it was recorded too low.

For video editing we have used KDEnlive which is loaded with features, but not too hard to learn. How we use for editing would be a whole post on its own, but as a small hint, to place the presenter body image small and in a corner of the video we use the “Transform” effect.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *