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Old April 11th, 2005, 12:46 PM   #1
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How many cameras are enough?

When shooting a movie to get quick changes in point of view? Can this be done with only one camera?

When shooting an event such as a wedding to get enough variety in angle to keep viewer interested?

Thanks for your opinions!
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Old April 13th, 2005, 07:42 AM   #2
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:24 AM   #3
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For a movie or other project that is staged/acted for the camera and edited in post production, only one physical camera is needed. You just re-position the camera for each angle having the performers re-enact the scene for each camera setup.

Live events like weddings or sports need multi-camera coverage though, since you generally can't re-do the event. (Some things can be staged later, like getting a closeup of the ring getting placed on a finger). For live events, at least two or three cameras are generally used, so you have something to cut to if the primary camera needs to be moved for get obstructed breifly.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 10:44 AM   #4
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I would strongly urge you to reconsider using multiple cameras for anything but the live events that Nick metioned. For the minor continuity advantage you may gain with multiple cameras, there are way more downsides. The usual reason given for wanting to go this route is to save time, but in fact it takes way longer to set up the cameras, light the scene, and match white balance, not to mention the headache of editing the footage later. The fastest way to shoot is with well thought out story boards and cut in the camera. Also, having multiple cameras greatly limits the angles of your shots, and makes booming the scene extraordinarily difficult. The one genuine reason to use multiple cameras on a movie shoot is if you have a scene involving a stunt you can't risk missing and wouldn't want to reshoot.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 02:18 PM   #5
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To be fair, I often read about multiple cameras being used in less dramatic ways than you think.

Rather than doing what seems obvious, for example, shooting a dialogue scene with the two cameras, one on one person's CU/OTS, the other camera on the other's, what they often do is have one camera shoot a CU of one person while the other camera gets an OTS of same person. This gets you the efficiency factor without having to worry about boom, lighting, etc.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 05:53 PM   #6
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I like to use just one but thats becuse I'm a control freak and I donít have a DP or a cinematographer (thatís me).
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Old April 13th, 2005, 06:32 PM   #7
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Yes, there's that, of course.

But assuming you had another operator who's judgment you trusted, I think that system would work pretty well. I would think the more. . .um. . .hmmm. . .perpendicular the cameras got to each other, the more problems you would have.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:20 PM   #8
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"... with the two cameras, one on one person's CU/OTS, the other camera on the other's, what they often do is have one camera shoot a CU of one person while the other camera gets an OTS of same person."

In the behind the scenes footage of "Mean Girls" there appears to be a setup like you're describing. Still doesn't make much sense to me, but I guess they do it.

Over the weekend we had a shoot (described in another post) that used three cameras. In that case the point was to try emulate the look of a cheap cable access show that was shot with static cameras, and I think it was a valid artistic decision. So, it's not like there's any hard fast rules.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:26 PM   #9
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Why doesn't it make sense? By the way, I remember this method being used to shoot the DVX100(or a) movie "November".

Let's say you know you want a CU, as well as an OTS of a particular character. Instead of shooting one, then the other, simply shoot at the same time. That's all.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 09:35 PM   #10
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I just think it's easier to run the scene twice than deal with two cameras, but hey, different strokes. I'm certainly not saying that multiple cameras aren't a workable setup.
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Old April 13th, 2005, 11:36 PM   #11
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Theoretically, that's where the power of being able to lash 2 XL-2 cameras together by firewire and tranfer the settings from one to the other would come in handy. Could save you a lot of time in post trying to color correct mismatched footage.

Just a thought.

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