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Old December 19th, 2009, 02:42 PM   #1
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Advice re three camera shoot

I'm going to be doing a three camera shoot in a "slightly" free-form environment -- namely an artist's collaborative event held outdoors, so it's not quite the ideal "keep the talent in one place" environment. I'll probably have to use lavs and a Senn 416 on a boom (with appropriate Rycote S300 dead cat). I'll be recording four lavs on two of the XLH1's I'll be using and the Senn 416 on the third XLH1. With luck and a following wind, I'll have a boom driver too rather than having to hang it on a C-stand.

I've read the 15, no, 10 Commandments, ordered up the "Location Audio Simplified" book, but I'm still left with this nagging question.

I'd like all three camera ops (one of which is me) to be able to monitor their respective audio, but, because of the "fluid" situation (aka "chaotic") it would be nice to communicate with the other two camera ops and the boom op so that we can agree amongst ourselves what shots we need to get as they present.

What would be really nice would be headphones to monitor audio and a wireless intercom with a boom mic and some wireless means of communicating quietly amongst the crew at audio levels that will not be recorded.

Does anyone make such kit, or is this a Really Bad Thing to be wanting to do? Would vigorous semaphore work better?

Thanks in advance for any wisdom you can offer.
Regards
Andy
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Old December 19th, 2009, 03:07 PM   #2
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Without spending megabucks on a Clearcom or Telex RTS system.

http://www.eartec.com
I believe the 900 series supports external audio monitoring.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 03:19 PM   #3
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Wow. Thanks for the rapid response!

Yeah, this system looks like it might be ideal!
TD902VS

Thanks again!
Andy
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:39 PM   #4
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Andy,

I have 3 stations of TD900 here in PDX, but only one of them with the special headset that allows dual-monitoring of com and cam. Others can have a lightweight walkman-style headset in one ear, and the com in the other? Maybe.

Couple things:
Some might say that 3 cams of coordinated shots means a director should be calling the show. Which almost always means wires... as it takes a lot of wireless to provide monitoring for the director.

Of course that director can be one of the cam ops, and the other cams can be saying what they're shooting - but not if they have a camera-mounted mic.

The TD900 is not quite full-duplex. Yes, two people can be full duplex for talking and listening, but the third has to be mic-off. Then, when someone else turns their mic off, the 3rd can mic-on. Again, all 3 can always listen, but only 2 can talk.

Dealing with com, recording levels, recording quality, framing, focus is a lot! Nothing against com supplementing all your cam ops will be doing, but, you'd do well to walk in with a plan that steers the cams away from matching shots. This would help minimize com chatter, which is a good thing!
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:52 PM   #5
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Another concern: how loud is it going to be?

I could see those units being overwhelmed by ambient noise easily.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:54 PM   #6
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IMO asking the ops to shoot, monitor their audio, talk wireless with each other is asking a lot. A shoot like that requires a lot improv on everyones part, especially if the weather's sour.

If it's all day delegate the least experienced shooter for master shots, or swap that job around for each sequence to get a break.

If you have to communicate every so often, use cells or those cheap 3 unit walkie talkies at Radio Shack. Syncing the cams will be a big priority, single hand claps comes to mind and some rehearsal will help a lot.

Cheers.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 05:58 PM   #7
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Hi Seth: Thanks for responding -- and some good advice regarding the limitations of the TD900. I was wondering how much bandwidth would be taken up by the setup, so your comments regarding that aspect are very much on-point.

I'd wondered about the walkman-style headset and the com approach you outlined. The physical equivalent of an audio mixer, eh?

None of the cams would be using their nose mics, so I'd only have to worry about crew whispers loud enough to be picked up on the boom or the lavs.

Your comment about workload is also well taken. I was planning to have one cam doing a wide shot, and then coordinating between the other two cameras doing MCU or XCU's of the artist's hands or MCU's of their faces. Most of the traffic would be me to the other crew members, but with the option for back talk if required ("You want me to get what shot?!!!?").

I sync the cams up before the shoot using preset TC, free run (controlling them all with one remote), then put the A/V on three separate Vn/An channels in FCP, run sequenceLiner to line everything up, export three separate QT movies, re-import, and make a multiclip out of them and then cut/switch between the cams in FCP/post.

We plan on doing a fair amount of rehearsal with the crew before we go on location so that everyone will have developed some basic instincts for what shots they should go for. In a pinch, I could get away with me just talking to them and no talk back (they'd hate that, but, heh, heh), but I would need them to monitor their own cam's audio.

Thanks for the thoughtful (and thought provoking) response, Seth.
Regards
Andy
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Old December 19th, 2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy Tejral View Post
Another concern: how loud is it going to be?

I could see those units being overwhelmed by ambient noise easily.
I'm a bit concerned about that too....not sure, but the theme of this event is "Unplugged" so there will not be any power tools to contend with. No electricity for the artists -- just us folks with the cams and mics.

Regards
Andy
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Old December 19th, 2009, 06:14 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
IMO asking the ops to shoot, monitor their audio, talk wireless with each other is asking a lot. A shoot like that requires a lot improv on everyones part, especially if the weather's sour.
G'day Allan: (Sorry -- as a Pommie I know the correct response)

Thanks for the response. I agree. As Seth pointed out it is going to be a bit challenging.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
If it's all day delegate the least experienced shooter for master shots, or swap that job around for each sequence to get a break.
I agree. Make that Master Wide Shots, too, so that focus will be less critical -- and then make sure they're ready to pay attention to framing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
If you have to communicate every so often, use cells or those cheap 3 unit walkie talkies at Radio Shack.
I'd wondered about cells or W/T with earphones so that the W/T doesn't beep!
That might be the budget conscious way to go. One earphone for cam audio and one for crew comms.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Allan Black View Post
Syncing the cams will be a big priority, single hand claps comes to mind and some rehearsal will help a lot.
Cheers.
I use Chris Hurd's technique -- before the shoot point one remote controler at all three XLH1 and then lead them all into the Menu, TC, Freerun, Preset, change one digit to 0, and all three cams are frame accurate for several hours. Must remember to buy Chris H. a beer or three if I ever meet him face to face. That technique's a life saver. You can then start/stop the cams as you wish (I record to FS-CV's so I've got about 550+ minutes of run time in each) and use sequenceLiner in FCP (as I mentioned in another post) to get all the A/V on FCP timeline according to the TC. Magic!

That said, handclaps and/or point & shoot cameras that make a shutter noise and flash are good backups!

Cheers,
Andy.
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Old December 19th, 2009, 06:53 PM   #10
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G'day again Andy :) We've used the 3 unit walkie talkie thing without ear pieces.

They were good when we were all well apart. We only spoke between takes then turned each unit off to stop RF interference.

Cheers.
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