Capturing a live event can be a formidable task. Whether it's a wedding, concert, or presentation, using a multiple camera setup can help ensure you get complete coverage, without missing important moments.
In this segment, we talk about the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-cam setup, as well gathering the information you need about the event.
Knowing when a multi-cam production is the best option, and how to plan for it can help make sure your next project covers all the action.
The choice to shoot with one camera, or multiple cameras is very much dependent on what you're shooting. A multi-cam shoot has some distinct advantages.
The most obvious is that it allows you to shoot multiple angles at the same time. This allows you to capture live events in a dynamic way, and capture the natural interactions of your subjects without the need for repeat performances. It also eliminates the need for multiple lighting setups.
A multi-cam project saves you time in the post production process as well. Whether you're shooting footage and editing in post-production, switching your event on the fly and recording the line-cut, or broadcasting live on the internet,
A multi-cam setup significantly reduces or eliminates your time in the edit room, prevents continuity issues between shots, and gives the viewer the feeling of being "in the room" at the event.
Of course, those advantages do come with some trade offs. The downside to shooting with multiple cameras is that
Your lighting scheme options may be limited, because it has to work for all your camera angles. And your options for placement are far more restricted than a single camera setup, because your lights will have be outside the field of view of all your cameras. This means that you'll often have to compromise.
So, you've weighed the advantages and disadvantages of a multi-cam project, and you've decided to go for it. We all know planning is a critical element to any successful video shoot, and multiple camera shoots require extensive pre-production to ensure a good final product.
You'll need to get a lot of information from your client in order to determine what equipment and personnel you'll need, and form a solid game plan to pull off the shoot.
There are four primary questions you need to ask in the planning stage: What is the schedule and layout for the event, what video coverage is needed, what audio coverage is needed, and what will the lighting be like on the day of the event. Let's go over these questions one at a time.
Gathering information about the event is crucial in determining your equipment and personnel needs.
Be sure to find out how long the event runs and if there will be scheduled breaks in the action.
This will help determine whether the maximum record length of the camera you choose might be an issue
You should also get a comprehensive tour of the event venue and find out where all the action takes place. If there's going to be an audience, you'll want to determine where they will enter, view, and exit the event.
This will allow you to place your cameras where they won't get obstructed views of the action, and place your equipment where it won't be in the way. Remember to look around for power outlets, and have a tape measurer handy so you can determine the number and length of power, video, and audio cables you'll need.
If there's a rehearsal, you should definitely plan on attending so you don't get any unexpected surprises on shoot day
When it comes to video coverage, you'll need to make sure the client is clear about what they expect to see in the final product.
For example, If you're shooting a band performance, they may expect closeups and medium shots of the performers,
or they may expect a sweeping boom shot of the entire band.
Knowing what the client has in mind will ultimately determine how many cameras and camera operators you'll need, as well as what types of camera support equipment will be required.
You should also determine if any source material from the client will need to be included in your final project, such as a powerpoint presentation or video. In some cases you may need to record a feed from a laptop, or get a copy of the video or music. For audio coverage, you should determine if you can tap into the house-sound, if available.
In some venues, you'll have the luxury of a professional audio technician that is happy to let you take the feed from the audio board straight into your audio recording device.
If you're not so lucky, you'll need to determine what audio will need to be captured by your equipment. For a wedding, they may expect pristine sound from the bride, groom, and official, and you'll need to know if they'll be stationary, or if they'll be in multiple locations to assess how many mics you'll need, and if you need a dedicated sound operator.
Finally, you'll need to assess what the lighting will be like on the day of the event. While you may see a well lit room when you scout your location, the lighting will often be completely different on the day of the event.
This can be a real challenge if you don't have the right cameras and lenses in your arsenal on shoot day. If you think you'll need to supplement the lighting,
you'll want to be sure that the client is willing to have additional lights set up for the event. Musicians, brides, or speakers may not want your lights changing the mood of the venue.
Good pre-production is the foundation for complex multi-cam setups, so be thorough, consider every detail, and then you can begin to form a plan. In our next segment, we discuss choosing your gear for the project. From cameras to mics, tripods to switchers, it's one of the most important steps in the process. Having the right gear for the job is essential when you've only got one chance to get it right.