Multicam Shooting

I just finished reading the multicam story by Robert G. Nulph, Ph.D. [July 2007]. I don’t remember reading anything in the article about using the same cameras. Did I miss that?

John Roth

Salina, KS

Good catch, John. Yes, we did omit that tidbit. John is referring to the suggested policy of using the same camcorder model for each multi-cam setup. If you can’t use the same model, try to at least stay within the same camcorder family and format. This is to keep your colors, filters, chroma and other elements that might be unique to one format or camcorder company as similar as possible. For this same reason, you might also want to consider the same mics and mic types if you’re shooting several people conversing in the same scene.

-The Editors


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VM Reader: Beginner? Or Pro?

I recently received the current copy of Videomaker. I wonder which type of reader you are aiming for? It would seem that most articles are well over the heads of a simple soul, who has just been presented with a camcorder by his nice “Uncle Ned.”

I like the magazine.

Mr. Hilary W. Szymanowski

(Member A.S.M.P.T.E. )

Funny you should ask… we get this same question… in reverse, many times, Hilary. People might say the article was too simple, and they wanted more complex questions answered. The answer is, some of the articles we write are focused to the beginner users who are just starting out and want to “up” their videos to make them more enjoyable and more watchable for their family and friends. Other articles are focused for the intermediate user who has been making videos for some time and is interested in stepping up to a higher skill level with some special techniques. Still other articles are for the advanced users who might want to learn some tricks to streamline their workflow or advanced ways to make special effects, and to reinforce what they know with refresher techniques.

Everyone is interested in the gear, from beginner to pro, and while some stories might fit one reader, other stories might be too advanced or too basic for them. Our Basic Training column is always geared towards the beginner, but other columns and features vary on their skill level and user’s understanding.

– The Editors

I Want My HD DVD!

What’s up with High Definition DVD Authoring? Note I didn’t say “HD DVD,” because, as I gather, there’s a shootout underway between the HD DVD consortium versus the Blu-ray consortium.

I’ve avidly followed articles in your magazine as I try to step from years of audio engineering/production into video engineering/production. Overwhelming. But I’m driven: I want that kick-butt 1920×1080 video!

I’ve been following cameras (HDV vs DVCPro, etc.) and editing software/systems; have been using Adobe Premiere for some time. So now I’m committed. I’m going to second mortgage my house and get myself equipped to produce HD video. First I spent days learning about cameras, their various formats, features, etc. Then I surfed capture and editing options. Finally, I wanted to know how I actually get a high definition DVD written, i.e., one that I can drop into a player attached to a 52″ 1080i screen.

Here’s where I’ve gotten a little stumped: how in the world do I write out that 1080 timeline to a DVD that will actually tickle all of my pixels? I’m learning there are HD DVD “writers,” as well as Blu-ray “burners”.

  • Which should I choose, and why?
  • Which ones will be compatible with which editing software?
  • Does the choice of player (at the end of the process) affect the choice of cameras and formats used at the beginning of the process?

Man, I’d really like to see you guys do an in-depth tutorial on the whole authoring process, including surveys of top cameras, capture options, editing suites, rendering (including hardware acceleration options), and finally writing to (some kind of) (high definition) DVD. Thanks for considering this.

Tom Ballister

Via email

Trust us, Tom, we’re just as frustrated as you are. For the early adopters like you, where price (almost) is no limit, the technology is out there, but just barely. Like that famous quote by George Santayana, “Those who cannot learn from history are condemned to repeat it,” too many manufacturer leaders remember the VHS vs. Beta Wars and are afraid of going out on a limb just yet. It seems everyone is really waiting for the Format Wars to show a clear winner before they sock a lot of R&D, money and their own necks into the technology yet. Then add the fact that prices are still out-of-the-world for many. Here at Videomaker, we’ve tried to get the devices in for review and have ourselves met with great resistance from some companies. We’d love to be able to review an HD DVD burner and a Blu-ray Disc burner side-by-side and are holding our collective breath, while waiting for this opportunity.

When we do have the chance to look these babies over, we’ll bring the details to you. Rest assured that we are pushing to get some products in for review, and each month we eagerly await the arrival of an announcement that one is on the way for review. When we get it, you’ll hear about it!

Meanwhile, we have a tutorial planned in the works using our new mag and web tutorial format, watch for that soon.

– The Editors

Finding Good Videos on YouTube

Matt York’s recent Viewfinder columns talk about his desire to see online movies that have a good story. One terrific movie is George Lucas in Love ( While it is primarily a Star Wars fan film, and you may need to have at least watched the films for a greater appreciation, I think it is terrific. I just have to say that it is expertly done, and it was obviously not a small, quickly made project.

Now a question: Most of your articles that offer assistance with filming events are very much focused on preparation. Now, that’s all well and good, if you have time for it. I don’t know about everybody out there, but I cannot be the only one out there to have had this happen to me:

I am relaxing during a perfect summer afternoon, watching a good movie. It’s around 4:00 PM when the phone rings:
“Hello. Is this Luke?”
“Good. I’m so-and-so, and I hear/know that you film things for other people, right?”
“Yes, that’s correct. Do you have need of my services?”
“Ahh…yeees, I do, that’s what I was calling about.”
“OK, I’ll need to ask you some questions about the event, but first I need to start recording this conversation so that I’ll be able to remember everything. Is that okay?”
“Okay: What is the event?”
“A [Insert Event].”
“When is it?”
“In two hours.”

Could you help us out? What are your tips for the rushful surveillance of the building? How do you go about payment, and the asking of other particulars for the DVD? Usually you cannot do it before the event, because he/she that wants the DVD is the head organizer of the event, and they are as busy as a beaver. How do you go about discussing with them what they want on their video after the event has taken place? An article on this would be extremely helpful.

Luke Letellier

via email

Use the Force, Luke. Follow your feelings. (Sorry, just had to throw that in!) Actually, the answer, Luke, is be prepared. If you take on spur-of-the-moment clients, then always have your gear at the ready: batteries charged, lens cleaned, lights working and everything neatly packed and ready to go.

Besides having your gear ready to run, you might think about creating a pre-made contract that states price differences for such an event, with blank spaces to hand-write notes in the Who, What, When, Where style while you’re on the phone or when you arrive. Have them sign it and agree to trust you to capture the best of the moment.

You might also advise them that acceptance of the assignment is contigent on you checking out the venue upon arrival, in case you might not own the proper lighting, for instance, for a dark concert hall.

Above all, know when to say no, that there’s no time to prepare or that you can’t do it due to time constraints, prior commitments or funding. That’s the hardest part for most video producers to be able to do!

Look for helpful articles coming up this year on Time Management and Production Planning on a Budget.

– The Editors

Videomaker Saved my Bacon

I am a new subscriber to Videomaker. My first issue (November 2007) has saved me. (ed. note: Articles included Marketing and Distributing Your Video, by Mark Bosko and The Reel Deal, by Morgan Paar) I had just prepared a DVD containing all the best videos I have made at all studios and production companies in order to find work. But thanks to your issue, I realized how great of a mistake I would have made. Thank you so much for teaching me something very important. Now I feel even more hopeful.


via email


Our special winter Videomaker Video Gear issue that came out in mid-September inadvertantly swapped the names of two products with their photos. In the Unsung Heroes Camcorder Support System Buyer’s Guide, we identifed the photo of Tiffen’s Steadicam Merlin as Jony Jib’s Jonyjib2, and the Jonnyjib 2 as the Merlin. We apoligize to both companies for the error.

– The Editors


The December 2007 issue’s review of Tiffen Dfx inadvertently contained the same information for the system requirements for both Windows and Mac OS in the Tech Specs. You can find the corrected stats on our Web site.

We also pasted information from a different review into this review in error, under the weaknesses section, “Range may be exaggerated” has nothing to do with this review. We apologize to Tiffen for the misinformation and inconvenience that may have occurred.

– The Editors

The Videomaker Editors are dedicated to bringing you the information you need to produce and share better video.