Join James Ball for an in-depth discussion in this video Essential camera settings and equipment, part of Multi-Camera Video Production and Post.
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- With a multicamera production, it's pretty important that you pay attention to the multiple cameras. Now we're going to talk about camera settings a bit later, the specific technical settings, but even before we get into the menus and lighting things up like frame rate. It becomes important to match the cameras together. Right Jim? Like you can't just go in your closet and grab five random cameras that you have and say, "Oh, I've got a multicamera shoot." - Well you can but there are trade offs to that right? I mean, that could mean more work, more time, more money on the long end if things aren't uniform, matching.
The goal is to make it seem as if everything was shot with one camera and it was the same specs, same settings, same color, same everything, but we didn't have time for that so we're trying to make it look like one camera with a bunch of cameras. - Yeah, and the challenge there, you really hit it. Like if I say, "Oh I'm going to take my Olympus "and then I'm going to cut to my Panasonic GH4, "and then I mixed in a Blackmagic Pocket camera." Even though those might all be recording the same frame rate and frame size, those can be totally different images.
Right? Cameras have a bit of a characteristic, you probably have some of your own favorites too. - Yeah, I think these days there are choices you can make that make different cameras seem very similar, like a log format. But each camera's manufacture and each lens manufacture all have their own special sauces whether it be coatings, or sensors or whatever that interpret color, dynamic range, brightness in a different way. So all the stuff is somewhat correctable depending on the choices you make.
The easiest way right, is to start from the same palette. The same camera, if you can do the same brand. You know, whatever way you can do to narrow down the discrepancies is a good thing if you don't have a lot of resources down the line. - For example, one of the things that I often do is have a multicamera field kit. In my case, I've got three Blackmagic pocket cinema cameras. Not great low light performance, but very small, easy enough to fit with a handful of lens into a single carryon. I also own two GH4s, so if I need to do a 4K production, I've got two identical cameras, makes it really easy to match.
Plus that GH4 is a very popular camera, so if I needed to go to a rental house in almost any city, no problem finding extra bodies. - I'm like Rich, I have my own default kit that I know when the pinch comes and I don't have time to deal with any kind of extraneous discrepancies with rental houses or other people's gear that I have a standard, but I can't own all of it and the client might not want what I have as my default system, so rental houses afford you the method of getting uniform equipment generally kept to a good standard because they're in the business of renting gear in good working order.
So it's a good way to also not travel with a bunch of stuff and this day and age the way the airlines charge you for excess baggage and stuff. If you can get the stuff locally, rental houses are the way to go. Some markets, everybody owns their own gear and then you might just borrow your or rent your buddy's camera. There's lots of ways to do it. However, you're going to get it. It allows you to pick from a larger inventory, which make it easier for you to get more uniform gear, which is what you want to do on a multicamera camera shoot.
- Now for today's shoot, we're going to be using mostly Blackmagic cameras. We are in the studios of Media Factory and we're going to be using two different types of Blackmagic cameras. First off, we have some of the Blackmagic Studio cameras and those are going to be our principal cameras for the host, but then smaller and lighter, we're going to use those pocket cameras. Jim I think we can actually get creative with this. Use one for a chase and maybe put one overhead. We're going to be doing cooking show, so why's it important sometimes to have smaller cameras that are lighter or more portable? I mean I just wouldn't feel comfortable, although I'm sure you've done it.
Hanging a 5K red from the ceiling here. - Well it's all about time and resources. And working with what you have. I mean, certain things, though they may be smaller and easier to mount, actually might be good enough. If you look at some of these smaller cameras these days, they're not compromising a whole lot in some ways on the imagery and a lot of it depends on what the venue is for display. I mean if it's the internet, you know, who cares, it all evens out after a while. If you're going onto a big 40 foot movie screen at some convention, maybe not so much.
Also that dictates the choice between the resolutions, 4K, HD. So sometimes you can't, you don't really need to do any better than some of the cameras that you have in your kit. And other times you got to go, "Oh no, it's got to be, it's go to be "something one step up." Now the cameras are of course, probably the most important aspect of your gear needs, but there's all these other peripheral things that have a lot to do with how you're going to execute the coverage of your multicamera shoot. Lens, pedestals, tripods, and support, zoom control, monitoring all these things have a lot to do with how you're going to be able execute these shots in a timely fashion, in a professional and precise way.
So you want to go through your camera package when you're assessing the set and the project as a whole, and you want to make those evaluations because sometimes the lower end cameras will not be able to support a lot of the executions that you need to do. So things like zoom lenses with servo zoom controls, really convenient focusing devices that allow you to precisely and quickly focus. Monitoring that has really good peaking control. Camera tripods and pedestals that allow you to correct on the fly. If not on camera will allow you to correct for a block shot or a better camera angle in between the tally light being on your camera.
So there's all these other things that you want to consider. Batteries, AC supplies, lots of things that you want to consider when you're putting together your package that have everything to do with actually executing the shot and less about the resolution where it's going to be played later and matching cameras is just that nuts and bolts stuff that you want to consider as well. - Do keep in mind that a lot of times you're going to be shooting from more of the back of the room or further away when you're doing a multicamera production you have to be wary that one camera doesn't end up in front of another camera.
So having a little bit more reach, with more zoom could become a big issue. So evaluate that you have enough coverage needs in that lens kit and if you don't, turn to a rental house. - And the other thing about having an affordable multicamera option, is that if you don't have the budget and resources for fancy cameras and all the treats that go with it. Throwing a number of inexpensive cameras in the mix with maybe limited lens choices and limited accessories can cover or hide the fact that you can't execute these things precisely because you just have a lot of cuts.
I mean, that can be just as good. So it's a choice about weighing your options, what's available, what's the best choice. I mean, it could be either way. - Well now that you have an idea on some of the issues that you have to think through. Let's what you through some of the actual specifics of working with the camera equipment.
You'll learn essential preproduction strategies to get the right gear and place it in the right position. You'll also learn techniques for syncing the visuals and audio captured from each camera. Rich and James offer advice for directors running shoots in the field, as well as strategies for crew members who are building sets and logging footage. Finally, in chapters 7 and 8, they share techniques for multicamera postproduction with Final Cut Pro X and Premiere Pro. In these chapters, you'll learn how to create multicam clips, apply color correction, color match angles, switch between angles, and refine and master your edit. By the end of the course, you'll have a thorough start-to-finish understanding of the multicamera production process.
- Planning the multicamera production
- Evaluating the location
- Creating camera diagrams
- Selecting the right equipment
- Communicating with crew
- Lighting multicam productions
- Matching and syncing cameras
- Directing a multicamera shoot
- Editing multicamera video