Live Concert Rig

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    • #43597

      Greetings all – first post here. I’ve been doing several live shoots for various local bands (rock and jazz) with a single camera for a while, and decided to upgrade to a multicamera setup to improve the final product. Taking a look at my options, getting multiple timecode-capable cameras looks like it’s too expensive for my budget (let’s say I’ve got $8-10K to spend – this is really only a hobby thing!). Other than the clapboard / flash synchronization technique, a couple of possibilities occurred to me – the first being using cameras with an Edirol V-4, just recording to another camcorder, or using a Newtek Tricaster, and recording to the local hard drive. The Tricaster looks like a neat solution, but as it’s based on a Windows computer, the thought of a random blue screen of death isn’t far from my mind (I’m an IT guy in my day gig). Obviously going with a live switched solution is a different paradigm than capturing all of the footage and just doing a multicamera edit, but assuming the video switchers provide genlocked video from the cameras (I’ve got several high-end consumer cameras), what’s your take on the preferred way of doing this on a budget?

      BTW – audio isn’t an issue, as the sound guys at the amplified shows will provide a sound board feed, and I have a Rode NT-4 stereo mic for straight acoustic playing.

      Thanks for your input!

    • #182834

      This is dead serious truth. We were at our local A/V supplier this last summer, and he had a Tricaster set up in his studio. Of course, being the inquisitive lad that I am, I asked if we could monkey around on it, to which he agreed (Apparently spending 10k a year in his shop has some benefits! LOL)

      Anyway, 5 minutes into the Tricaster demo, she completely locks up on us, BSoD style. I was amused. He was embarassed.

      But in NewTek’s defense, it turned out that it was the fault of the folks who had rented it the weekend before. They left the hard drives full to capacity, and apparently something about the proprietary hardware didn’t sit too well with Windows when there’s no room to put all this information it insists on streaming someplace. Ah well, such is life.

      As to your problem, the question is, do you need to produce the video live, or can you do it in post? If you need to burn DVD’s as soon as the band stops playing, then you had better stick with an application like the Tricaster. If the bands will let you have a week or so after the concert to get the video together, honestly you could probably get away with just rolling tape of the event, and mashing everything together when you get home to your editing suite. Just because you can’t buy a bunch of genlock cameras doesn’t mean you can’t sync footage later. Music can be especially easy to sync up in post, because the wave forms of music is very distinct.

      Just my thoughts. Hope that gives you something to go on.

    • #182835

      On semi-pro cameras is there a way you can rig something up so both cameras start recording at the same exact time?

    • #182836

      Well, for example, the XH-A1 has a "timecode in" port. This would allow you to connect it either to a camera or a studio timer with a "timecode out" function and sync them later in post. But aside from that, there’s really no way to get exactly the same start time on two cameras.

      If you want to sync up two or more cameras without timecode syncing capabilities (i.e. about every camera out there under $3000), then your best bet is to sync them using an audio/visual reference. In a studio setting, or for most business and theatrical productions, I have a clapboard that I use. In your NLE, it’s very easy to line up the audio spike from the clap on each track to get precisely synced video. In more formal settings (i.e. Weddings and special events) I usually ue what’s around me. A very popular one is flash photography. Since a camera flash is so rapid that it only takes up at most a couple frames, it’s easy to line up your video by finding a flash in one clip, and then finding that same flash in the next, and dragging them to the same point on the timeline.

      There are other tricks I use, but for those, you need to send me $39.95 plus shipping and handling! 😀

    • #182837

      Jim – thanks for your comments, much appreciated. It’s not critical that I get the video back to the bands quickly, so synching up multiple clips in post is a possibility, but I’d probably want to go tapeless (e.g. Focus Enhancements) to avoid resynching at tape changes. My basic cheapness cringes at the cost of those tapeless systems though – if you can buy a terabyte at Best Buy for $350 springing for $1200+ for a measly 40 or 60 gigs for each drive seems like a poor buy – surely the enclosure and the electronics could be made available at a more reasonable price!

    • #182838

      Ah yes, the amazingly high cost of a HD recorder. I will say one thing though, if you go that route, roll tape anyway as a backup. One good thump can kill a hard drive, and then your day (not to mention your reputation) will be totally crapped upon.

      I personally didn’t want to spend that sort of money on a tapeless unit myself. My solution is whenever I need to do a recording like that, I bring along a cheap laptop I got for $350 and plug it into the camera. The upside is that it does exactly what the firestore does: record the footage into an instantly editable file. The downside is that even with the extended life battery and turning off every background program I don’t need, I still only get about two and a half hours before the battery is dead, meaning I plug in or die, essentially. Also, you need a place to set the laptop, and rapid movement can be cumbersome.

      Anyway, I like the plans. I think you’ve got a lot of potential here.

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