With intensive pre-production and tight budgets, you're all set up and ready to shoot. Now the pressure is on to get great footage and capture the event. In this segment, we talk about last minute preparations, shooting techniques, and how to direct a crew. This is where the real fun begins, and all your skills will be put to the test.
With intensive pre-production and tight budgets, you're all set up and ready to shoot. Now the pressure is on to get great footage and capture the event. In this segment, we talk about last minute preparations, shooting techniques, and how to direct a crew. This is where the real fun begins, and all your skills will be put to the test. If you're shooting for post production, your gear is set, but there's one last thing to do shortly before the event begins. You need to provide a sync reference to all your audio and video sources. Traditionally, this is done with a slate. Simply roll on every camera and audio recorder you're using, aim all the cameras toward the slate and clap it. This will save tons of time when you go to sync your audio and video clips in the edit room. If you don't have a slate, simply clapping your hands can serve the same purpose. If you're lucky, you'll have cameras that can actually sync time code. You can do this by using a component cord, and hooking up one camera as a master, and then each remaining camera as a slave. This will encode matching timecode right into your files that can be used to sync in post production. Multicamera productions are more successful if a few shooting techniques are followed. These include following the 180 degree rule, holding good shots, and using controlled movement when changing shots. 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, 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 handheld 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're shooting for post production, you'll want your shooters to hold good shots. The length of time you want them to hold a shot may vary depending on your event. A wedding would probably need longer shots, while a musical performance may allow for shorter shots. You may even want to assign specific subjects or shot types to each shooter, to avoid overlap. If you're shooting for live switching, your crew must always know which camera is live. If a camera is live, the operator should hold the shot and follow the action when necessary, and wait until the director is on another camera before attempting to reframe and refocus your shot. Whenever possible, use controlled, deliberate camera moves to change shots, so that the director or editor is able to take your camera at any time if necessary. Under ideal circumstances, your budget will allow for a full crew and a great headset system that offers seamless communication with the director and shooters. Let's talk about some strategies when you don't have a full crew, or if you don't have the equipment to communicate with camera operators. If you're flying solo, be sure that the cameras that are locked down have a depth of field that will keep the range of action in focus. This may mean closing the iris and raising the iso or gain. A focused shot with a bit of noise is preferable over a blurry shot without noise. If possible, make the camera you are manning the one that is recording the audio. This will allow you to monitor the audio as you shoot, and address any issues in a pinch. If you've got camera ops, but no way to communicate, it's important to give each operator clear shooting instructions. Typically the operator on the Master Shot Camera should shoot as if they are always on. This means any changes in framing or focus should be done as smoothly as possible. For the operator getting the other shots, it's a good idea to give them a shot list that covers the various things they need to get during the event. 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. If you're lucky enough to have a full crew with headsets, be sure you agree on the terminology that will be used over the headsets. Typically, the director will call ready and then the camera identifier such as 1 or A, which indicates to the crew that the called camera is about to go live. Then the director will call take 1 or A as they make the switch. This indicates to the crew that the live camera is going to change, and after waiting a beat for any transition that may be used by the director other cameras will be free to get new shots. It can't be understated how important it is to pay attention and know which cameras are live.These are just basic calls, and the director may also instruct the crew to change a shot, adjust focus, or even iris up or down. Shooting a live event can be exhilarating and stressful, but with good preparation, you're sure to get excellent results. In our next segment, we talk about the post-production process. Labeling, syncing, and using multi-cam functions in your editor is one of the last steps in the process before your event is ready for viewing.