Using 2 cameras

8 replies [Last post]
Roger Maytum
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

I need to take some film using 2 cameras. I want to record a choir from 2 viewpoints. Does anyone have any experience and can offer advice? Do I have to make a connection between the 2 DV cameras? Thanks!

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Roger Maytum

Roger Maytum

Unicorn
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Joined: Apr 12 1999

Main advice: use the same model of camera in both locations with the exposure and white balance locked to the same settings. Otherwise you may have big problems cutting between them.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Christian Lett
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Joined: Apr 26 1999

Roger,

I assume you're concerned about synchronising the two clips together when editing. I don't know whether purchasing a long LANC connector would do the trick but here's what I would do:

Find a method of providing a sharp or quick sound that can be recorded onto both cameras at the same time, like a clapperboard (normally used for syncing picture and sound).

For sound, either:

1) record good quality sound onto one of the cameras (this will be your live soundtrack when editing) and leave the second camera recording wild sound, or
2) record the live soundtrack to an external recorder (minidisc is a good idea) and leave both cameras recoding wild sound.

Use a good quality stereo mike if you can.

When you edit, move the video clips and final soundtrack around, until the clapperboard in both pictures claps at the same time as it does on the soundtrack.
As long as the clapperboard is in both cameras' frames, it should be easy to synchronise the two during editing. If not, listen to the wild soundtrack(s) associated with the picture(s) along side the final soundtrack and move them about until there are no echoes of the clapperboard.

If using a clapper is not feasable, you could use one camera's remote control to start both cameras at the same time but this will probably only work if both cameras are of the same manufacturer.

Hope that helps,

Christian.

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Christian J. Lett
[email=clett@nationalexpress.co.uk]clett@nationalexpress.co.uk[/email]

Christian Lett After Effects and Maya Artist www.quarterlightpictures.com

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I endorse Unicorn's comments 100%. If you're going to use 2 cameras on the same shoot, make sure they're the same model and colour balance them to the same test signal before you start, and get the exposures the same

The problem isn't one of sync, but of colour matching. When you cut between cmareas you want the colour performance not to change. It's fairly common for manufacturers to tweak the colour responsivities of the sensor to maximise sensitivity, givng a characterisc colour performance that's unique to that model. In broadcast environments, you'll never find a micture of cameras on a shoot if the colour performance is important. A studio will always have a number of identical cameras to use together.

I could go into the maths of this but I suspect you don't want to know

Tunni
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Joined: Aug 9 1999

Roger

The advice so far is spot on. I have been doing this for years. A clapper board would definitely help but isn't absolutely necessary. Get one really good sound track to use as your master, it doesn't matter whether it's recorded on DAT, CD, Minidisc or Camera.

It's relatively easy to sync up with an NLE system. Expand your timeline to view every frame and check the audio waveform, simply match the 'patterns' and move the visuals or audio 'till it's in sync, (this is where a clapper board makes it a cinch, otherwise look for an obvious audio/visual clue.)

IF you have two good camera operators who can provide almost continuous usable footage, (Focus, framing and content etc) then you will have more 'good stuff' to edit than say a locked off wide shot from one position and some MCUs CUs etc etc from the other. It can look a bit tedious seeing the same wide shot over and over!

What ever way you do it, be sure to shoot some interesting cutaways...The organist? Stained glass windows, a page three model etc etc. Oh and don't forget to record 30 secs or so of wild track!

Allan, your comment about broadcast environments isn't strictly true. I regularly work on live broadcast events with 10 cameras or so and the Director his PA or VT op are always moaning about cammera such and such looks a bit dark/light redder greenish etc etc!! and could engineering please fix it NOW! But I know what you mean!

Regards
Tunni

Roger Maytum
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

Some really excellent and helpful advice Guys. I'm really grateful. I printed off your replies last night and studied very carefully. I learned a great deal. Thanks. You are ALLL on my Christmas card list!

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Roger Maytum

Roger Maytum

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

Tunni, yes I know what you mean. But the problem is usually that the lighting is slight different from some angles, so the "standard" line up of the camera gives slightly different colouring. It's a big problem of continually adjusting white and black balances, and often tweaking gamma as well. By the time you're having to use knee to cope with high contrast as well, the racking engineers are going barmy trying to eastablich which camera is right, and get the others to match.

I have similar experience to yours, spread over 30 years, and alhtough I've done racking from time to time, I wouldn't want to do it for a living on a live shoot.

My point was more that cameras from different manufacturers can usually be expected to give different colour performance because the spectral responsivities are different, gamma equations are slightly diferent, knees work in slightly different ways, etc. So if you want to use multi-cameras on a shoot, don't mix makes and models, stick with one line. The last shoot I did as an amateur rather than as a professional, I used Sony VX1000 and VX700 mixed, it worked because the responsivities are the same.

Tunni
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Joined: Aug 9 1999

Alan

I bow in deference to your vastly superior technical knowledge, also I couldn't agree more with the points you raise about using the same make of camera.

Just imagine the problems though, if we still had to line tubes up!!! The kids of today just don't know how lucky they are!!!

Regards
Tunni

Alan Roberts at work
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Joined: May 6 1999

I was still lining up tubed cameras only 3 years ago, BTS HDTV 1" format. Lovely beasts, smashing pictures, but just a bit big (33kg camera 36kg lens). CCD cameras are lovely