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Old January 24th, 2005, 12:44 AM   #1
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Shooting one-camera music video

I've never done this before, but a musician friend has asked me to shoot a promotional video of him singing one of his songs. I'd be doing this with just my GL2, and although I understand the concept, I'm still fuzzy on the subtleties.

I'm told there are several basic approaches:

1. Play a CD of the performer, run that output into the GL2 and have the performer lip-synch.

2. Record the performance live, and pull a line out feed from the club's soundboard and pipe it into the GL2.

3. Determine the "sweet spot" and use an external mic on the GL2 to record live.

I can appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of each approach, but what I can't figure out is how to shoot and edit the footage to ensure I can precisely edit cuts. How exactly do I edit this together to ensure that there aren't awkward joins in the footage?

I'm obviously missing some concept here. After all, if this could be accomplsihed in "Flying Down to Rio" in the 1930s, there's no reason why I shouldn't be able to do something similar 72 years later, right?
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Old January 24th, 2005, 06:53 AM   #2
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If I am assuming that you are shooting live performance, then no.2, just make some cutout shots. I would personaly film the talent before the "concert", so he should sing on CD playback, giving you lip sync for post. Then I would film him in front of crowd. Anyway, there are lots of approaches for this, and many other folks would do that in one or another way, but hey, that's why we all like this...
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Old January 24th, 2005, 07:21 AM   #3
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Darko -- thanks for the reply. How do I maintain sync between these various takes, however? Do I shoot the entire 3.5-minute song in, say, three takes (long, medium, close)?
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Old January 24th, 2005, 10:47 AM   #4
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Shoot as many takes/angles as you can get, so you have all kinds of coverage, and can keep the video dynamic.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 10:47 AM   #5
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I've done a few one-cam videos, and synching between performances isnt that difficult... if your talent is reliable enough. just becuase they wrote the song doesnt mean they know it inside and out, and can play it the same way every time :) if the drummer isnt reliable enough between performance i have to sit down and figure out the time difference, and then scale the video to match. yucky.

for a simple "we are really playing the song!" video i use methods #1 and #3. i usually do 3-5 different recording sessions (different angles, venues, etc), and if the drummer has a 'click habit' then using that as a slate works excellently.
from there i just capture each session, and import all into a new premiere project. i'll have 5 different streams going simultaneously (it might be a stretch for you depending on your hardware) and then rough cut between each. after the initial rough is complete i'll present it, and then we can work out ideas from there.

just my 2 cents :)
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Old January 24th, 2005, 11:53 AM   #6
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Have done a number of one-camera videos. All have been of songs that were soon to be released on albums, so we had the mastered album tracks to work with. Just had a big boombox for the talent to lip-synch to. Filmed hours of takes and edited together, putting the production master in as the audio during editing. Toughest part is synching all the clips, but once you nudge them in place, you're good to go.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 02:28 PM   #7
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I usually use the cd played over some sort of stereo system and the artists play with that, then I synch up the mastered recording with their performance. If you're using live performance footage, unless they are dead on with the cd, you can use cut shots, etc. to add some artistic effect and not worry about synching up every word and instrument. I usually only work on concept type videos, no live concert footage, unless I'm doing a live concert dvd shoot.
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Old January 24th, 2005, 05:25 PM   #8
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If you do the CD route, it might help to have 2 pops or some other sound at the beginning and end to help you sync in post. Have something like 400hz tone for 1 second, exactly 1 second silence, the song, exactly 1 second silence, 400hz tone. You should then be able to easily sync each and every take in post. With Vegas, you can have a scratch sequence with every single take of your video all lined up vertically (and then you can run a script that'll put all the videos into one clip as takes).

As others point out, you still need to make sure the performers are in sync with the sound track.
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Old January 26th, 2005, 08:28 AM   #9
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I have found that even with the singer lip synching to a cd it is not close enough to just match it up. If its really bad I end up chopping up the shot into a whole bunch of short clips then run some faster and some slower to match it up perfect.

Of course then you run into some parts are obviously slowed down (little bit of fuzziness) so usually I set the entire video to posterized at 25fps (you could do 24 if it made you happy) then as long as you don't go too much outside 90%-110% of the original clip speed you won't be able to tell at all.

Anyways this is just my experience.

Good Luck with the Music Video. They are a blast to put together!
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Old January 27th, 2005, 04:01 PM   #10
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I agree with taking a feed from the board, doing as many takes as is possible with a live audience...and the main thing, capture cutaways later to bring it together smoothly. Even a quick cutaway to the drums can usually be synced up to look as if it was done at the time of the original recording. Your master shot would obviously be the singer. This method comes down to how patient the audience is for several takes.
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Old January 27th, 2005, 06:57 PM   #11
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Solo performer would be different than a band. The sync on the mid and wide shots is less critical, so you could take the audio from the close-up take to use as your master audio. You should probably record into a better quality device than a DV camera though, mini-HD, card (ala iRiver) or even direct to your computer. If you use a board feed, be sure to have a mic going also to to capture some room ambience in case you want it later. And make sure everything is going thru the soundboard for a board feed. If there are separate amps/speakers (or none) for guitar, bass, drums, keyboard, etc, you will have to mic the room.
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Old January 28th, 2005, 04:53 PM   #12
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When taking a feed from the board (in a live situation) you are basically trusting the sound guy to give you a good mix. If the room is particularly odd, then the sound guy has to mix for the room. You may end up w/ overbearing or non-existand bass, vocals might be way too low in the mix, etc.

If you can, try to avoid that.

I would do the CD/lipsynch. I have been on a couple of video shoots for videos that were on MTV (not part of the crew, just happened to be there for the U2 one, and was an aquaintance at the time of the guys in MrBig so I was invited to the other).

1 was for a song by MrBig. It was a "traditional" concert video, and it was all done with lipsynching. Over and over again.

The other was for U2, it was filmed live, outside in the streets in front of Manns Chinese Theater, and the mixing was done later. IOW, they had everything on tape, seperated into tracks, so they could mix it all up later. Doesn't look like you will have that luxury.

You can do the 2 mics in a sweet spot at a live show, but are there going to be fans there? Might be difficult to move around to get shots, you'll have to worry about people knocking over the mics, etc.

Might want to combine the 2. Do lots and lots of takes w/ the artist doing lipsynching to a CD like a standard video. Then go film the artist live.

In the final product you can intermix the live shots with the lip synch shots. There will be NO audio on the live shots, otherwise you are looking at a REAL mixing nightmare. The whole thing will be over the CD track. Get all of your lip synch takes lined up with the audio. Then load up the live video. Try to get it as close to synched as possible. If the song was played too fast or slow, maybe pick scenes where you don't really notice it that much, and only add in "live" scenes where the performance and audio are either matched, or closely enough matched, coupled with obscured vision or something so that the viewer doesn't notice.

Anytyhing that is too far off in the live shoot you'll just throw out unless you really want to get into adjusting the timing of the video by dropping frames to match, etc. As someone else so eloquently stated... yuck! :-)

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Old January 28th, 2005, 05:29 PM   #13
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Thanks to everyone for your input -- I clearly have a lot to think about.

I still don't understand how movies in the 1930s did this. I gather that the tracks were already recorded and were played back for performers to lip-sync.

What I can't figure out is how they maintained sync in the editing stage. This was all optical sound and mechanical interlocks, right?

Couldn't the old approach be used with modern DV technology and made easier?

Or is this a case of apples vs. oranges?
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Old November 26th, 2005, 09:20 PM   #14
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interesting read

So basically what you guys are saying is if you shoot out side where you have no access to power just take a boombox with you play the CD get them to sing along with it then dub it over in post?

Correct?
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Old November 26th, 2005, 11:12 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Rog
interesting read

So basically what you guys are saying is if you shoot out side where you have no access to power just take a boombox with you play the CD get them to sing along with it then dub it over in post?

Correct?
This thread is almost a year old.

Yes, to me what you said is how I've always done it inside or outside and it's worked perfectly. I think it's the easiest way to do it. When doing it outside and with a small playback device, you just have to make sure that the playback is not too far away from the performers because there will be a lag in sync because of the small but evident delay from when they hear it/sing it as the camera records the image. This is only necessary if you are using the playback audio recorded by the camera mic to sync to the audio master in post. If it's a loud playback system this shouldn't be an issue as with a smaller portable CD player. I experienced this issue when playing back from a portable player down an alley. All I had to do to fix it was to slide the track but at first I couldn't figure out why that scene was the only one that slipped out of sync. What made it even more interesting was the move started out of sync but literally came into sync as they got closer to the playback device. That's how I eventually figured out what the problem was. As far as post, I just load all of the takes, find a common beat in the master pre-recorded audio track and match that beat with the same beat recorded by the camera mic on location. I guess the most efficient way to prevent any sync issue would be to record the playback audio directly to the camera but that is yet another cable to wrangle if you're already providing a non-wireless video feed to the director's monitor.
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