Multi-Cam Shooting for Short Films

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    • #37853
      Daniel HartDaniel Hart

      I have been using a Vixia HF S10 for about 2 years now to shoot all of my films. In my house there is also Nikon D3100, and I recently bought a Panasonic HMC40. I also have final cut pro X.

      Until now, we always shoot our films one shot at a time. Meaning, we’ll film a scene from this angle, (showing me) then we’ll film again from the other angle, (showing my sister.) Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with doing it this way, and it’s been serving us fine for several years.

      However, because there is now 3 camcorders in my house that shoot really nice video. And with the great new multi-cam interface in final cut pro x, I’m wondering if I should start shooting multiple shots at the same time with different cameras.

      The only reason I wouldn’t, is that I’m the only one involved who knows anything about the cameras, and I’m also usually in front of it. So, it’s hard enough to keep up with one camera at a time, I can only imagine keeping up with three. Meaning that, if something goes wrong with one of the shots, it’s less likely I’d know about it.

      Also, I love the unique look that I can get with the D3100, but I’m not sure if the DSLR feel will look good if it’s being cut with the other cameras.

      Just wanted to get a little advice on the situation. If there are any other problems or advantages you know if with shooting multi-cam, I’d love to hear about them.

      To seem some examples of my films check out my Youtube, (/smackwhitz)

    • #167655

      The MORE cameras and angles utilized, the more work and time it takes. There are GOOD, actually GREAT, things about multi-cam but there’s also, as you noted, having to match up footage, color correction/matching, syncing and other issues that will come up as a result of using more than one camera, model and/or brand and format. Creatively, it can be fun and can result in some awesome stuff. Editing-wise, it’s MORE work and not ALWAYS an improvement over the finished project.

    • #167656


      using multiple cam’s on a shoot has the benefit of cutting down on the number of takes needed on a specific setup. Also, you have better coverage which makes your editor’s life easier in the edit bay.

      Tough part is as you mentioned you need to have competent camera operators who can follow your direction without concern. You can set up unmanned rigs but then you have to work out how to turn them on and off efficiently. Another concern is how you block your scene will determine how your cameras will need to be arranged so they won’t get in the way of each other. That’s really important if the cameras must move via dolly’s, steady rigs or hand-held.

      No matter which method you use for a multi-camera shoot, plan your shots out at the storyboard stage to get a good idea what you’ll be looking for. Use rehearsal time to hammer out details and catch any potential issues before shooting. One issue will certainly be what focal length lenses will be required and how their coverage will be best put to use. So multi-cam work is obviously not impossible, you’ll just have to plan more thoroughly before hand.

    • #167657

      One of the first lessons I remember in videography, if you use a multicam system, make sure each and every one is the exact same make, and model. This will cut down on color issues as well as many others when making the switch. Of course these can be worked out.

      All we can do is offer advice based upon our own experiences. Yesterday my son reminded me that when I give advice i give it in a matter of fact this is the only option to do way. I disregarded that, up until the completion of this day. i attended an Assembly in which I heard a discourse about giving advice, so this will be my first attempt to give advice without forcing advice.

      I use 3 cameras at weddings, but have never on other times. When I shot this advert (first ad)

      I used a single camera and moved it. (This becomes apparent in the kitchen scene. I had the actors repeat their entire lines off camera for the lead to the actor being shot, this saved the kitchen scene as the boy at the table kept looking at the camera, so I cut to the Know it all guy and used the boys lead in line)

      Some problems I can foresee, but again I have never did a multicam shoot other than weddings, is lighting. I have a dickens of a time with lighting all the time. I would feel in total horror with a multicam system. Also if I did a multicam setup with me being the only editor I foresee a nightmare. compsite1 mentioned too much footage. I have nearly 100GB of Stock/B-Roll footage that I still need to sort. So you might end up with more then you may have time.

    • #167658
      Daniel HartDaniel Hart

      Thanks for all the advice and experience guys. We’ll probably mess around with using 2 cams on our next couple projects, and see how it goes. I’m not to concerned about post-production, cause FCPX makes all that stuff pretty easy. (Syncing, Color Balance) Plus, I’m a geek when it comes to editing so I’ll enjoy the work anyways.

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