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-   -   shooting a 'round' table discussion (http://www.dvinfo.net/forum/documentary-techniques/146589-shooting-round-table-discussion.html)

Arun Marsh March 25th, 2009 10:19 AM

shooting a 'round' table discussion
Hi guys,

I have a project coming up the filming of a round table discussion of 10-12 people at our offices. we wont be able to interrupt/reshoot the discussion, but can pck up on certain point in post event interviews

We will have two camera operators (me and a freelance), two shotgun mics and no extra lighting to what is in the room (but we have a 250 budget for additional equip).

I have a few questions

how is best to set up the room? at the minute i'm thinking horse shoe with me and the other camera shooting across each other from the gap.

how should we set up the mics?

what should we spend the cash on?

Peter Ralph March 25th, 2009 03:00 PM

For 250 pounds could you hire a sound person with equipment? The audio from yr shotguns will be unusable for most purposes.

Peter Ralph March 25th, 2009 03:01 PM

For 250 pounds could you hire a sound person with equipment? The audio from yr shotguns will be unusable for most purposes.

Vasco Dones March 26th, 2009 03:30 PM

Round table discussion with 10-12 people? It's hell...
I second Peter's opinion: a sound person operating a boom is probably the only way to go.
As a backup, you can add a PZM...



Sean Walsh March 28th, 2009 09:00 AM

Helping hand

I produce a lot of roundtable disco shows in London...send me an email...I might be able to help you out for your specific requirements.

As the others have already said, seeing is one thing - hearing is another - and you need both!


Richard Gooderick March 28th, 2009 09:08 AM

Hey Sean
Any chance of sharing with us too - or is it a trade secret?

Sandeep Sajeev March 28th, 2009 12:00 PM

Hi there,

It might help to spend a bit of your budget on a couple of LitePanels 1x1. They're
slick and heat free lights which are very unobtrusive.

One boom might not be enough, depending on the size of the room. Your sound guy
if equipped with a portable mixer, can take in 2 inputs, so you still have one free. If
there's a sound console then you can take a line in into your mixer as well.

Also syncing your camera's will make things easier for your editors - if you can't use a
slate, then use free-run as opposed to preset TC.

Hope this helps,


Sean Walsh March 28th, 2009 12:54 PM

Thanks Richard,

No great secrets - just loads of common sense!

To be honest, each set-up is different - the programme format changes, the host, the interviewees, the editorial objectives, the target audience, the lighting, the facilities available, the time-frame, whether you have control over the sound of the air-con in the building etc etc.

Often I find it pays to ask the relevant questions up front of those who are organising such a programme....their answers might reveal they haven't even thought about some of the key technical aspects - and what they are trying to achieve is beyond the budget and resources.

It's a question of managing expectations...and making them aware of what can, and cannot, be achieved at a particular resource level. For example, if they are 'happy' with sound being recorded by camera mikes, then make them aware that it will be very poor - and perhaps encourage them to think again about the resources they're putting in, or the quality they want to achieve.

None of the above is anything revolutionary, it's all common sense - but not everyone knows what questions to ask - and sometimes people fall into the trap of letting the project run them, rather than running the project.

Arun Marsh April 27th, 2009 10:19 AM

Thanks for all the help folks - it seems that we need to manage the expectations of the client sponsoring the video.

Normally the shotguns get a decent enough sound when operated on a boom pole - but then we are only producing medium quality web videos - these guys have specifically requested 'high production values'.

I of course will also be editing the footage myself - can we sync two different make cameras? was thinking of using a clap or clapper board to make syncing easier.

Thanks again for the responses

Arun Marsh April 27th, 2009 10:31 AM

Sean - your website looks great, how many people work at your firm and how are they split - ie how many cameramen, editors, animators etc??

thanks for your advice

Sean Walsh April 27th, 2009 06:07 PM

Hi Arun,

Feel free to drop me an email or give me a call and I'll give you the rundown...

Gabor Maly May 14th, 2009 01:53 PM

Arun, How did your round table shooting go?

Arun Marsh May 18th, 2009 09:23 AM

hi all,

shooting all done on this one - it went ok, although i think I should have been more bossy about things like aircon and curtains.

Consequently there are some sound issues - I used someone from work to operate a boom, going straight into my camera which i monitored, generally its ok, but its not great throughout.

I have also used a couple of good quality digital dictaphones on the table so i'm hoping these might serve to fill in any gaps - although that could cause continuity problems obviously. I have listened back to them and the sound quality is lovely, but there are a lot more bangs, chinking glasses etc

there is also some serious silhouetting going on on one side of the table because of windows behind people. I think this was unavoidable because of the size of the room plus the need to make sure it was suitably lit. and was wondering if it is possible to remove in post?

another issue has been syncing the video from the second camera with my audio - we did a clap at the end and dragged all the audio and video so they are all synced on that clap. but some reason at the beginning of the footage the video from camera 2 is out from the audio by a couple of seconds at least - another time consuming job to fix!

thanks for all your help - i'll upload the finished video and send a link.

Nicholas de Kock May 25th, 2009 09:33 AM

Have a look at these for ideas.
FilmFellas - webisode 10 on Vimeo

Arun Marsh May 27th, 2009 08:30 AM

thanks that vimeo vid is great - the problem i had is that i was turning a hour long conversation into a 5 min vid so continuity/flow was a problem.

anyway here it is - go easy! but all criticism welcome.

the sound is crap even with a boom and some shots are too dark.


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