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Old February 6th, 2004, 12:39 AM   #1
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Three Person Shoot Setup

Hi All.

I'm working on a piece that's involved single person, single camera static interviews, among other components.

In the very near future, I'm going to be doing something with two and possibly three people. I've never done a multiple camera shoot before. I know how to handle the audio, and I can borrow two additional cameras - certainly one, and am looking for the voices of experience in how I might do a set up.

It'll be two or three people sitting fairly close together. The person asking questions will be off camera.

I had thought to have at least one camera wide and static the whole time as a fallback option. If I have only one other camera, I figured I'd have it on a tripod and pan it to each person as they speak. If I have two extra cameras, should I just have a static one on each person or should I have one wide, one panning and the other doing reaction shots?

I need advice. Thanks.
One day at a time.
Paul Vlachos is offline   Reply With Quote
Old February 6th, 2004, 08:07 AM   #2
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If at all possible try to keep the panning to a minimum, or you might feel like you're watching a tennis match.

When I do this sort of thing (not too often) I use 3 cameras. 1 set to get both speakers together, one on each speaker at an angle-IOW, the camera on the left is shooting the speaker on the right and the other way around. That is if they are sitting, if they are behind podiums then I shoot straight on. Of course a lot depends on if they are doing this just for the camera or if there is a real audience. If there is an audience I might use 1 camera to get some audience reaction shots or take the 3rd cam with an operator to do that and use the other 2 on the speakers.
Having said all that now, I guess what I'm saying is it depends on the situation, how the speakers are set up, the audience (if any) and of course what the client wants to have.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 08:34 PM   #3
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If you have two cameras, you can keep one locked down on a shot of all three people. Then the second one can vary between closeups of whoever is speaking and a 2-shot. Or you can just stay close on whoever is speaking and move to the next person. If you miss the cue, which you will on occasion, no problem because the wide shot camera will give you something to cut to. A third camera can be a different angle; if you have 2 walls, it could be on an over the shoulder shot. There are lots of ways to do the thing and a lot will depend on the set itself.
As for audio, I like to go to a mixer than then the same audio to all two or three cameras. If you can't do that, you can get good audio on one camera and just use the camera mics on the others for reference; but you'll have to sync up the good audio with the reference audio when you edit. It's easier if you have good audio to all the cameras.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 10:59 PM   #4
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It's nice to do things while you shoot that would make syncing easier. If you are using double system sound (audio recorded onto DAT or something), then try to use a clapboard. To sync just cameras together, use a flash and sync to flash in post. Don't start/stop with any of the cameras so it's easier to sync (you do it once in post).

Try to get all 3 cameras the same model so colors are the same.

Think of the shots you want and then work out a system to get them (one camera does close-ups, the other does 2-shots, etc. as others here have suggested). Plan ahead so it's easy to edit in post. I agree that one camera should be a static shot so you have something to fall back on.
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Old February 6th, 2004, 11:09 PM   #5
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Thanks all.

I've been thinking about this all day and think it's bigger than I'd originally conceived in my head, meaning I feel like I bit off more than I can chew. Luckily, it's my own work, so I'm going to do a bunch of one-on-one interviews, then attempt to do a panel discussion at the end - using many of your suggestions. That way, if it's a collosal failure, I'll have the good stuff in the can already.
One day at a time.
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Old February 10th, 2004, 04:44 PM   #6
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don't forget to get some hand held reaction footage with that 3rd floating camera!
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