Presentation Instructions

To find the time of your talk, please see the program. The format of presentations is the same as that last year. Video recordings of last year's presentations are available here for your reference.

If you have questions after reading the instructions below, please contact Dmitry Berenson (Short Talks Chair) for issues regarding short talks, David Hsu (Program Chair) for issues regarding long talks, and Daniele Nardi (Local Arrangement Co-Chair) for issues regarding posters.

Long Talks

A long talk is maximum 20 minutes, with 5 additional minutes for questions and transition to the next speaker. You will use your own laptop. You may use any presentation software and do not need to prepare a video to accompany the talk. You will also prepare a poster for the interactive session. See below for poster preparation information.

Short Talks

A short talk is maximum 5 minutes, aided by a pre-prepared video. You will also prepare a poster for the interactive session. See below for poster preparation information.

A short talk session will consist of 4-7 short talk presentations. After the presentations in a session are complete there will be 5-10 minutes of questions for all papers presented in that session. Presenters should approach the podium at least 5 minutes before their scheduled talk time. All presenters in a session should stay until the end of the question period.

5-Minute Video for Short Talks

You will have a 5-minute slot to give an overview of your paper. You must provide, in advance, a 300 second MP4 video which will play on the conference laptop during your short talk. You cannot use your own laptop and will have no control over the playback of this video. The session chair will hit "start", and you will be coaxed off the stage 5 minutes later!

Please submit your video here. The submission website will open on June 15, 2015 and close on July 8, 2015. This is a strict deadline, and there will be no extension or exception, as we need time to verify video compatibility, resolve any potential problems, and download to the conference laptop.

You can prepare your 300 second MP4 file in any manner you want. For example, you can generate a conventional powerpoint or keynote talk and export (if your software supports it) directly to MP4. Or you can use video-editing software. Target 1920x1080p at 30fps. We do not recommend relying on audio, since there will be no opportunity to check volume levels. You will also be asked if RSS can record your presentation for future distribution; we encourage you to agree!

For convenience, we have developed a website that will convert a PDF file to an MP4 for you* (available June 15th, 2015). This is intended to make it easy for users to generate a compliant MP4 file with little additional effort. The basic process is:

  1. Use keynote/powerpoint/beamer to generate your slides as usual.
  2. Export your slides to PDF.
  3. Upload your PDF to (website becomes available June 15th, 2015)
  4. Adjust the timing of each slide such that total time is 300 seconds.
  5. Click "Preview" to quickly generate a low-resolution, low frame-rate version of your talk. This is suitable for practicing your talk (note: won't play in VLC due to a bug in VLC's handling of low-frame-rate videos).
  6. Click "Final" to render a high-resolution version suitable for submitting to Note that this can take a half hour or more.

Note that the PDF2MP4 website will overlay "progress bars" on each slide, allowing you to anticipate when the next slide will appear. This should address the "awkward waiting" that occurred during previous year's talks. You can also insert short videos into your talk, but note that any audio data is discarded. The RSS organizers believe that the functionality offered by this site is more than adequate for producing a great talk for RSS. It is recommended that authors try the site early to understand its capabilities and decide whether they will use the site or resort to their own video editing.

If you do not use the PDF2MP4 website, consider adding some sort of visual cue that will help you anticipate when the next slide will change... e.g., a red dot that appears five seconds before the next slide. (The PDF2MP4 site that is provided will add a progress bar to the bottom of each slide automatically).

If you have a video that you'd like to use that is not in MP4 format, we recommend using the free software Handbrake to convert it. The "AppleTV3" preset should work well.

Posters for Interactive Sessions

This year you will prepare a hardcopy (and not electronic) poster. The poster stand measures 1.8 meter in full height and 0.7 meter in width. The boarded area is smaller. The recommended poster size is A1 (841mm x 594 mm).

Additional Suggestions

The RSS Foundation posted a letter to the RSS community in November of 2013. One part of this letter contained helpful tips for short talks:

Presentation Tips

  1. Avoid high-density slides. The point of slides is not to remind you, the speaker, of what you wanted to say. Slides are a visual aid for you to facilitate making an argument. A simple heuristic: only put on your slides what you would write or draw on a board if you were giving the talk without slides.
  2. Practice. Almost everyone will benefit from multiple practice sessions (some of which ideally with an audience). Your goal in practicing is to be comfortable with what you plan to say on every slide without attempting to memorize a rigid script.
  3. When time is up, stop. No one wants to cut you off in mid-sentence, but the schedule does not allow for "grace periods". Be done when the timer hits zero, and remember that no one will be upset if your talk ends 30 seconds early.
  4. Let your enthusiasm come through. Help everyone understand why you are excited about your work.

Adding to the above, it is critical to remember that RSS is comprised of researchers from widely different fields. Your talk should make sense to the full audience, not only the subset in your specialized area.

We look forward to seeing you in Rome!

* Special thanks to Edwin Olson for creating the pdf2mp4 software and related instructions.