Videotaping Live Demonstrations

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    • #37458

      For the past few years I have been running the video equipment at meetings for a local woodturning group. We have 1 camcorder and 2 mini-cams wired through a switch box to an lcd projector which projects it onto a portable video screen. This allows the members to see close in details on tool control, texture, etc.

      I had never done anything like this before but as a new member wanted to give back to the members for all they were teaching me about turning. When I started the members expectations were minimal and my skills advanced faster than their expectations. About a year ago I reached the point where expectations exceeded my abilities with the equipment we are using. It’s time to move to the next level in equipment but I don’t know what the right equipment would be.

      Here is some information on the environment, problems needing a solution, etc:

      • Meetings are in the cafeteria at a private school

        • 20 foot ceilings

        • flourescent lights

        • large windows, pop machines, etc in the background

      • Equipment

        • Sony Hi-8 camcorder with tripod

        • Two 420 line mini-cameras on mic booms modified with flex whips to adjust positions on the fly

        • A rotary switch box with separate aucio and video switching capabilities (6 input1 output)

        • Epson 2000 lumen projector

        • Portable screen approx 7 foot horizontal

        • Separate sound system with wireless mics, amplifier, and audio out

      • Problems

        • Reflections

        • White balance

        • keeping minicams in focus

        • background lights (pop machines during the winter, sun through windows in the Spring and Summer)

        • switching to a mis-aligned camera

        • all equipment has to be setup before meeting in 30 min or less and torndown in 10-15 minutes.

      • Primary Goals

        • Put demonstrations on DVD for club library

        • Ability to preview camera before switching to it

        • Keep cost under $1500-2000 (ebayusedetc ok)

        • Not intimidating or I’ll be ‘stuck’ with the job forever

      • Stretch Goals in order

        • Wireless

        • Stream video to computer to master DVDs after the fact

        • PanTiltZoom

        • Picture-in-Picture andor 2 cameras displaying side by side on occassion

      I’ve got a computer set aside but no capture card(s). The technology, learning curve, and software are not a concern. My background is computer technical support for back-end processing supporting web sites.

      This site has been a great resource but most of the equipment discussed is too expensive or beyond our clubs needs.This is a huge segment of videography that appears to have very little attention. I’ve talked to peers at other clubs and we all have the same questions. My wife’s quilting club has contacted me because they have a similar need. If you can help me come up with a solution you would also be helping many other local hobby related clubs.

      Thank You

    • #166021

      Doing “live” easily (not really) and affordable, especially for the degree of production sophistication you and your group desires is probably not going to happen. The various production problems you pose are the very ones making a fast and easy to set up/break down system that offers quality imaging and audio via a multi-cam system quite an expensive venture – especially the preview, split-screen, PNP and/or SxS elements.

      If you want to automate all these, that will increase your budget; and if you want to use additional operators for the camera(s), Director/TD at the mixer, etc. more logistics to overcome in a “live” environment.

      I have a client who used my services for a relatively “simple” setup with two cameras and auxiliary audio/mic feeds going into a old but trustworthy Panasonic MX12 mixer, using S-video and feeding to a hard drive recorder. He originally wanted to produce “live” the musicians during single/group tutoring sessions but “things” quickly got out of hand for the price, simplicity and production values he wanted or was willing to pay for. Especially difficult were the necessary pauses while manually setting up for split-screen shots.

      So, we went with “controlled” productions, rather than LIVE, with multiple takes within reason, with lighting, audio, video and multiple setups/POVs – repeat as needed, to get the stuff he wanted the way he wanted it. If there had been a big enough budget, and his commercial endeavors produced better income, we could certainly have brought in the equipment AND CREW necessary to do this live, but not without significant disruption to the events themselves.

      Sorry no definitive answers, especially within the budget restraints, but it might simply not be doable for the investment of money, time and technology, calling for a compromise between expectations, effort and costs.

    • #166022

      Why do you think so

    • #166023

      You’ll need to be a bit more definitive with your question xiao – it’s not really clear what or who you are addressing, or for that matter, why.

      If you are asking me well, “especially within the budget restraints” might be my response. Anything is do-able if there are no budget/time restraints.

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