Practice Practice Pointer

How to webcast lectures and conferences

BMJ 2009; 338 doi: (Published 30 January 2009) Cite this as: BMJ 2009;338:b31
  1. Mark A Westwood, consultant cardiologist1,
  2. Andrew S Flett, clinical research fellow2,
  3. Phil Riding, e-learning advisor3,
  4. James C Moon, consultant cardiologist134
  1. 1Department of Cardiology, Heart Hospital, University College London Hospitals NHS Trust, London W1G 8PH.
  2. 2London Chest Hospital, London E2 9JX
  3. 3University College London, London WC1E 6BT
  4. 4Society for Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, Mount Royal, NJ 08061, USA
  1. Correspondence to: J C Moon, Department of Cardiology, Heart Hospital, London W1G 8PH james.moon{at}
  • Accepted 17 June 2008

This article describes how doctors with little previous experience have approached the recording and online broadcasting of talks and conferences

Being unable to attend a key talk or conference can be frustrating. But it is now technically straightforward, with computer software, for anyone to record presentations as a movie for permanent access on the internet. Such recordings can act as an invaluable library and learning resource long after the event is over. They greatly increase the potential reach of a message, aiding medical education, research, and the originators—think YouTube for medicine—as well as potentially reducing the relative carbon footprint and cost of medical education.

The software required is widely available and cheap—even free—and the only additional kit needed is a digital dictaphone with a microphone. Distribution of the recorded talks on the internet is also cheap and increasingly simple, and may be supported by the local hospital or university’s information technology department. In this article, we share our experience of recording 10 conferences in our field—cardiovascular magnetic resonance—ranging from a single local lecture to a large international conference with 1000 delegates, and resulting in an online library of 100 lectures. Although technically straightforward, the process still requires thought and consideration, and a cautious approach for the initial rollout. This guide should point individuals and organisations considering web casting in the right direction to get started.


We prepare for webcasting (broadcasting on the internet) in four stages: planning, recording, producing, and uploading (figure). Webcasting has two forms: a live video feed broadcast in real time from the conference, or video on demand. Sometimes entire conferences are webcast live. The on demand approach is most beneficial, because it is easiest and creates a permanently available lecture.

Webcasting—the process


What to record

“Screencapture” software unobtrusively records the speaker’s computer screen and speech. The audio and …

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