Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Flash Frame Visuals Academy, Bangalore, India

Friday, 9 March 2012

Multicamera Setup - Tips & Techniques

Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India

Twitter : @flshfrms

Multicamera Setup - Tips & Techniques

First when I saw the hustle and bustle in the FFVA studio floor, it looked nothing less than the actual television talk show. With eyes engrossed on multiple screens and rest of the bunch standing right behind the cameras, all one needed was ‘action’ to begin the show…and lo! It began.

FFVA students in Multi-camera Setup

Though it was meant to be a multi camera practical session, for Television Production students, it turned out to be a learning experience for all young professionals present there at the scene of shoot.
Multi camera, as name suggests is usage of more than a single camera to capture different possible aspects of a single shot. But does that mean that one can take camera angles as the substitute to prior planning for the shoot? 

We, at  FFVA beg to differ. Instead for the students, the planning was as rigorous or rather more in the case of multi-cam setup. When it comes to this kind of setup, there is no ‘fix it in t he post’ possibility. If you don’t plan your coverage right, you’ll have nothing to cut away to. Getting a multicamera edit to work is as much about pre-production and accuracy in the field as it is about what happens in post.

Get the paper work right

Students taking notes and checking the paperwork
Irrespective of whether you are in production or postproduction, when it comes to multi cam, get the paper work right. By paper work what I mean is set diagram. You have to have a floor plan for the shoot that identifies talent (read actors) and camera positions. Details such as number of cameras, shot selection, lighting, should not just be clear in the mind of the director, but on your papers too.

Right crew

No matter how good one is technology wise, you team does matter. The crew should be well versed with the technicalities, and members should be all well coordinated and well in sync. After all Dexterity is a must quality is media.

Sight Survey

In Single camera, you always have a chance to reshoot or keep changing the location of camera and talent both. But this is not the case with multi-camera. You have to be very sure of each and every take and the angle being captured. All this is possible only if you are very well versed with the shooting site and you are completely planned about the positions of the camera and that of your subject. Better the groundwork, simpler would be the shoot.

Tapeless acquisition

Choosing to record direct to disk or cards makes it easy to record for long periods without interruption. make sure you have enough recording capacity to avoid having to stop for a “tape change.”

Multi-Camera setup in FFVA campus

Time code method

Be sure to examine your options, which may include time of day or synced time code. These professional options make syncing cameras easy.

Multicamera-Setup in FFVA campus

You might have learned quite a bit from the above stated points. Now there are few tricks of the trade that I am going to mention below. These have been jotted down, post student the project; keeping in mind the kind of mistakes they did while filming. It would surely be an add on to your knowledge

·       Extra audio
 Run audio on all the cameras, even if you plan to only use audio from one source. This will give you ambient noise and help ensure that you have usable audio if something is hard to isolate/edit out of the master. Once recorded, these things cannot be panned latter.  

·       Cable placement
Audio and power cables should be placed apart from or perpendicular to one another (not parallel) to avoid humming. Place audio mixers and power supplies at opposite ends of the camera when possible. Be sure to avoid placing cameras on the same circuits that power light dimmers, which may also affect audio. Just a small observation, but would surely yield bigger results.

·       Cutaway shots
Get some establishing/cutaway shots before the shoot in case there’s a problem with any of the scenes/transitions where none of the video is usable. If you’re doing an interview or similar type of shot, be sure to get some reaction shots (nodding, listening, interested, thinking, and so on) from each person separate from the live/real ones. You never know when the need arises for such shots. Be prepared.

So hopefully this read would surely be an add on to your multicamera knowledge. Above all, practice is the best teacher. And am sure FFVA students know it best. More Cinematography tips coming soon. Happy reading.

Reference : dcfcpug.com

Article by
Aditi KK
Flash Frame Visuals Academy of Film & Television
Bangalore, India