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With cameras, mics, and lights, you've got all the essential gear you need, but there's a few more choices left to make before shoot day.
In this segment, we talk about choosing a multi-cam production workflow, ensuring good communication, and setting up on the day of the event.
Choosing the right workflow and setting up properly will ensure that you're ready to roll when the event begins.
So now we've come to the fork in the multi-cam road. This is the point where you'll need to decide between
3 different types of multi-cam workflows. Shooting for post production, switching live and recording the line feed, or switching and broadcasting live over the internet.
For many, the decision may be an economic one. If you've spent your whole budget on gear already, then you'll need to shoot for post-production.
Essentially, this means you'll shoot and record each camera angle and audio feed independently on the day of the event. Then, you'll load up all the footage into an editing program, and piece it together in post production. The downside to this approach is a considerable increase in post-production time, the potential need for some additional equipment, and an increase in turnaround time.
If you've got the budget to purchase a live switching unit, there are definitely some advantages.
It can reduce or eliminate the need for post production, You can monitor all your sources on one central interface. Plus it may have the ability to add live titles, and stream the event live over the internet.
Let's start by talking about Shooting for post-production. If you plan to have a director call out camera shots, you'll need to run monitors to a central location from your cameras. If you place your director with a view of the central camera, you can cut down on the number of monitors and cables you'll need. Keep in mind that some cameras may not support an external monitor while also displaying on the internal camera monitor.
If you are using a live switching unit, you'll need to verify what type of inputs it takes. In many cases, you may need converters to get the video and audio signals into the unit.
If your switching unit is capable of broadcasting a live stream, you'll need to make sure the event venue has the right connections and enough bandwidth to do it.
Regardless of which workflow you choose, there are a couple of additional details to think about.
First, if you're going to run HDMI cable longer than 50 feet, you'll need a signal booster to ensure that the signal stays strong.
And finally, if a director will be calling shots, you'll need a headset communication system.
This will allow the director and crew to communicate discreetly, without disturbing the performance. If the budget is tight, you can use hands free bluetooth headsets and do a conference call with cell phones.
Okay, you've chosen your workflow, you've acquired every piece of gear you need, and shoot day has arrived. Setting up properly for a live event is crucial, because you may not be able to solve issues once the event begins. Let's start with some basic safety precautions.
Be sure to use gaffers tape to secure all your cords, and use sand bags to weigh down light stands. You may even want to use carpet runners to cover up cords in order to reduce tripping hazards.
Clear communication is crucial during the event, and labeling your cameras is a great way to ensure that there's no confusion between the director and camera operators.
Check each cameras frame rate and resolution to ensure that they all match. If you're recording for post-production, you may be able to change the file name setting to match the label on the camera, which will save time when you import your footage.
If you're lucky enough to have 3 of the same cameras, make sure to match the
internal settings such as sharpness, contrast, saturation and color tone,
and set each camera's white balance, exposure, ISO or Gain, and ND filters to match as well.
If you have a mixed set of cameras and you're using a live switcher, you can compare the shots side by side on the switcher monitor.
Otherwise, you can put the cameras side by side with similar framing, and match the colors and exposures as closely as possible.
When it comes to the audio, make sure that any cables you're running over a distance are balanced XLR cables.
This will prevent hum and other interference from being picked up in your audio signal. Once you have your mics hooked up, verify that wireless mic transmitters and receivers are set to the same frequency.
Also, if there are other wireless units being used by a professional audio technician, be sure that you're not broadcasting on the same frequency.
Once you have the units paired, test each signal and make adjustments to the input levels until they're peaking around -12db. This leaves a little room for those loud spikes of volume. If you're running off battery power, be sure to put fresh batteries in to prevent the units from shutting down in the middle of the event.
The director's monitoring station should be placed where they won't be distracting to the audience, but also so that they have a clear view of the action and other cameras.
Well, you've got the cameras looking good, the mics are ready to go, the lights are all fired up, and you're ready to shoot.
In our next segment we talk about shooting tips for the event. Using good techniques and avoiding a few pitfalls will ensure you capture great footage as it unfolds.
You've probably already planned out the location for each camera, but you should double check to ensure that your camera placement isn't breaking the 180 degree rule. Let's use a wedding as an example. If the bride and groom are facing each other, you would draw an imaginary axis passing through them. If your Master shot camera placement is on this side of the axis, you're free to shoot anywhere within the 180 degree arc on the same side of the axis. If a hand-held camera op goes beyond the axis, or if you place a camera on the other side it will change the position of the bride and groom on screen and be confusing to the viewer. Obeying the 180 degree rule gives the viewer a constant perspective of the action.
If you plan to use live graphics from a switcher, be sure to create your titles beforehand, so you're able to focus when directing the event.