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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:22 PM   #1
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live video mixer

i am sorry, but could not find the right forum for my questions.

i am a one man, one camera team. most of my shootings are in a theater/ studio setting.

i would like to add some "action" to my live recordings, something like wipes and / or transitions.
the plan is to tape on tape (camera) but also tape direct onto a vcr/ dvd, using a mixer in between.
i guess i will need a second person, but is my idee technically possible? and what do i have to do?
any suggestions about mixers?
what do i need?

thanks for your help.

greetings
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:26 PM   #2
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Hi Karl. I moved your post to our "open DV discussion" forum. You had placed it under "HDV editing". I assume you are shooting regular (standard definition) DV and not high definition? If you're shooting high def then you would be talking about some major bucks for a mixer...
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Old May 26th, 2005, 06:45 PM   #3
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second camera: You don't have to man it, you can get a remote control tripod. I haven't tried this myself.

mixer: cheapest option is to score an old analog input mixer off eBay (ebay is sketchy though). Videonics MX-1, which has a few flaws (i.e. delay before wipe and transition) is about $600. The panasonic analog mixers are a bit better... i.e. mx-50.

New mixers run around $1600, with similar features.

Record to DV camcorder or DV deck probably or Canopus analog-DV converter (typically good quality), or onto DVD recorder and direct duplication from there.

Titles: You could use a computer with S-video out to chromakey titles on possibly. Some cameras have a camera or still store feature and you can hack titles that way. These are cheap options that you'd have to figure out yourself.

Other option is to add titles in post.

If you do lots of live productions, live mixing like this may be the way to go for speed. Another option is to mix in post... i.e. Final Cut 5, Avid?, Vegas with excalibur, etc. Lower capital, may not be as fast (depends on you though), and slightly better quality.
If you use vegas, something cool you can do is to add color correction via media or track FX. Very fast way to add film look to your video (or just shoot with a DVX100 or something). You could also very quickly master your audio with graphic dynamics / compression (live alternative, give the Really Nice Compressor or other budget compressor and use it as a limiter).
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Old May 26th, 2005, 08:03 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glenn Chan
second camera: You don't have to man it, you can get a remote control tripod. I haven't tried this myself.

mixer: cheapest option is to score an old analog input mixer off eBay (ebay is sketchy though). Videonics MX-1, which has a few flaws (i.e. delay before wipe and transition) is about $600. The panasonic analog mixers are a bit better... i.e. mx-50.

New mixers run around $1600, with similar features.

Record to DV camcorder or DV deck probably or Canopus analog-DV converter (typically good quality), or onto DVD recorder and direct duplication from there.

Titles: You could use a computer with S-video out to chromakey titles on possibly. Some cameras have a camera or still store feature and you can hack titles that way. These are cheap options that you'd have to figure out yourself.

Other option is to add titles in post.

If you do lots of live productions, live mixing like this may be the way to go for speed. Another option is to mix in post... i.e. Final Cut 5, Avid?, Vegas with excalibur, etc. Lower capital, may not be as fast (depends on you though), and slightly better quality.
If you use vegas, something cool you can do is to add color correction via media or track FX. Very fast way to add film look to your video (or just shoot with a DVX100 or something). You could also very quickly master your audio with graphic dynamics / compression (live alternative, give the Really Nice Compressor or other budget compressor and use it as a limiter).
hello boyd,

thanks for putting me in the right section, and yes i shoot in standard definition. canon xls-1
all my shootings are live, and i do not edit. did read up about remote camera set ups, but the theaters here in the sfo area do not have secure video spaces to leave any camera alone.! most of them don't even have a spot for a video guy. i tape directly onto a vcr and hand it over at the end of the event.
would a set up look like that:

camera
monitor
mixer
vcr
monitor?

do i need a second person? i have my hands full handeling the shooting. it looks like i soon need a big truck to drive my equipment around.

@glenn,

have no plans at the time to title and / or editing. edithing sounds very boring to me, hours in front of a computer...nope

what are the distance limitation between camera and mixer, if there are any?

greetings
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Old May 27th, 2005, 01:36 AM   #5
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Distance limitation depends on the signals being sent, and the wiring.

For analog signal, you can run it pretty far. Distance will cause a loss in high frequencies, so in pro setups they may have an amp to compensate. I think S-video to BNC or co-axial (RG6? RG11?).

Firewire/IEEE1394 signals will need repeaters or special cabling because there is 15ft limitation.

In your case you are dealing with very short cable lengths?

2- I'm guessing you may want a helping hand to operate a camera, mix audio, and/or switch. I suppose it's possible (and nerve racking!) to do all three, but that might be more fun.

3- Sample setup would be:

1-man band:
2 cameras on remote control tripod heads (possibly LANC control to control camera).
A monitor for each camera.
Mixer... with its own monitor
VCR, possibly with its own monitor or LCD screen + audio meters.

Audio:
microphones
into mixer (recommend: Behringer UB-series unit with FX, because it has 2 buses)
out of aux 3/4 into compressor (i.e. Really Nice Compressor)
back into mixer into main mix
to VCR
Monitor on headphones or speakers, whatever's appropriate.

I'm thinking about this and it would be pretty crazy for one person to do all this. Audio at least should have its own person, and that person can help you setup and strike (lots of gear and wiring).
Maybe a third person on camera would help, so shots don't look so static because you'd have to cut between static shots from both cams (I don't think those remote heads pan smoothly?).
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Old May 27th, 2005, 03:48 AM   #6
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If you want to mix live, how would you genlock DV cameras? Or am I missing something?
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Old May 27th, 2005, 06:18 AM   #7
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Realtime live mixing during a shoot doesn't seem like sucha good idea and I don't know howe you can do it as a one-man band. Even if your second camera is a robotic remote you still need one person on the primary camera and one to man the VTR and video switcher. Getting good shots requires care and attention at the camera. Getting smooth cutting from one camera to the other in real time requires care and attention at the switcher. That means you require a person on each devoting their full attention to their respective jobs. Equipment costs go up dramatically because now you need the switcher, monitors for each camera for the video mixer operator to see the signal coming in plus a program monitor so he can see the output to the recorder, the VTR itself, genlock to synchronise the whole package properly, and new cameras that accept external synch (something your current camera doesn't offer AFAIK). Compare the costs and agravation of that approach to capturing the entire event on separe tapes, one in each camera, and editing the lot together in post. Each camera rolls for the full event. You load A roll and B roll (and C, D, etc if you have that many cameras) into your editing software, line 'em up, and cut between them where you like. Even if you don't have a capable computer and editing software, the costs of acquiring it should be far less than the costs of the gear to properly do a multi-cam shoot with real-time switching. Even the networks don't do it that real time approach much anymore except for events being actually broadcast live.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 06:47 AM   #8
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Almost forgot - for a live mix you need at least *2* VTR's at the output end as well as 2 cameras on the input side. One captures program, the other is an insurance recorder capturing the outtakes or B-roll. When Camera 1 is up, its signal goes to the program recorder while Camera 2 feeds the B-roll. When you cut to Camera 2, its output goes to the program recorder and Camera 1 feeds B-roll. The end result is two rolls that are mirror images of each other's takes. Taking B-roll gives you a second chance if a technical glitch screws up something on your main program reel and also a chance to revisit cut decisions in post to tighten and refine the final program.
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Old May 27th, 2005, 02:26 PM   #9
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I believe some soaps are edited live-to-tape just for the speed factor. This is easy if the director knows what shots he/she wants. The cutting is really easy when they have huge pauses in between their lines- in real life it'd be weird with the pausing and their blocking (often they aren't facing the person they are talking to).

2- Genlock: This isn't required with a mixer like the Videonics MX-1. They have a frame store thingamabobber which lets the mixer store a full frame of video and deal with unsynced/un-genlocked video.

3- As far as insurance goes, it probably makes sense to go without it. If you really want insurance, you could put tapes in the cameras and record on them simultaneously. *Caveat: a camera will shut off in 5 minutes if there is a tape inside and it has been idling.
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Old May 28th, 2005, 11:28 AM   #10
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Live mixing is definitely possible and easy to do. You might want to look at a company called Edirol. They have affordable mixers in different ranges with built in TBCs. Also I would recommend, like others, to always record the mixed feed and seperate cameras for a back up.
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Old May 30th, 2005, 07:22 AM   #11
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Hi Karl,

I may be misunderstanding you here, but as I read it you wish to "liven" up your pieces by adding transitions between sources? I hope thats what you mean.

Excuse me if I'm teaching Grandma to suck eggs (not a pleasant image in my mind), but here are your options.

Firstly, to do this you need more than one source. You need a source to make a transition from, and another to make one to. You will need at least two "live" sources.

Secondly, you will need a method to record the resulting program output.

Thirdly, you need someone to operate the mixer, if, as I assume it, you are operating the camera yourself, and may have a locked-off master shot somewhere.

So, a second camera, possibly a second camera operator, a vision mixer, someone to operate the mixer, and a VCR to record all this onto.

Pretty expensive way of adding wipes, mixes and DVEs if you ask me.

In my opinion, if you are going to spend a bit of cash you would be better off going non-linear. Use two cameras, two ops, sync the timecode if possible, script your shots so you know you're not both coming back with the same footage, and spend the money you would have spent on crew and mixer on a decent NLE package and VCR. You can then do your basic wipes/mixes/DVEs and expand this post production using visual effects software if cash allows. I can assure you there are very few reasons to use soft edge pink heart wipes, or page curls really, but if this is your want, then go ahead.

Your base option is always to shoot your footage so that it can be edited well, using tempo, pace, rhythm, watch your composition, script sequences you know you'll need, do you recce, and choose your shooting positions carefully. Never lose signt of the story you're telling, and use those cuts and dissolves to move the story forward, not just because you can.

In my humble opinion this will "liven" up your finished product far more than any star-wipe with rainbow trails will ever do.

Have fun.

Shaun
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Old May 30th, 2005, 10:25 PM   #12
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hello glenn, shaun, david, and steve,

thanks you very much for all your very informative postings. well, i learned that i am fare away, money, crew, and knowledge wise, from doing live switching, but i do know now what to go for.

last friday i did a opera shooting and suprise suprise, the theater had a videographer booth. 5x5, outlets, door, fan, good distance to stage, but under the overhang of the balcony. not used to such workroom, i did not bring any mics, cables etc. and the audio was very terrible, but lighting was superb.

guys, thanks again for your advice

greetings

karl
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Old May 31st, 2005, 05:08 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Karl Heiner
hello glenn, shaun, david, and steve,

thanks you very much for all your very informative postings. well, i learned that i am fare away, money, crew, and knowledge wise, from doing live switching, but i do know now what to go for.

last friday i did a opera shooting and suprise suprise, the theater had a videographer booth. 5x5, outlets, door, fan, good distance to stage, but under the overhang of the balcony. not used to such workroom, i did not bring any mics, cables etc. and the audio was very terrible, but lighting was superb.

guys, thanks again for your advice

greetings

karl
Shaun's last couple of paragrpahs is good advice IMHO. You had mentioned before that you didn't edit your shoots. Unless you're shooting strictly for a record, such as if you were taping a legal deposition for example, you might want to reconsider that approach. (Actually when you asked about going multi-camera that's what you're doing, just that you wanted to do the editing on the fly.) Your theatre video is also telling the story that is being performed on the stage. But what tells the story most effectively, what best communicates the story to the viewer, when seen on a video or film screen is far different from what tells it most effectively when viewed as a live production on a stage. When you video the production, it seems to me that part of the job you have taken on is to translate what works well in one medium into what works well in the other. And that means editing....
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Old May 31st, 2005, 06:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve House
Shaun's last couple of paragrpahs is good advice IMHO. You had mentioned before that you didn't edit your shoots. Unless you're shooting strictly for a record, such as if you were taping a legal deposition for example, you might want to reconsider that approach. (Actually when you asked about going multi-camera that's what you're doing, just that you wanted to do the editing on the fly.) Your theatre video is also telling the story that is being performed on the stage. But what tells the story most effectively, what best communicates the story to the viewer, when seen on a video or film screen is far different from what tells it most effectively when viewed as a live production on a stage. When you video the production, it seems to me that part of the job you have taken on is to translate what works well in one medium into what works well in the other. And that means editing....
hello steve,

my understanding of editing is the work on a computer, i have done some of my shootings, may be it is the software i use what scares me away, may be the time to spend, but you are right, i start editing as soon as a pan and/ or zoom in, do closs up shoots, as soon as i try with the way i capture the sences, to bring something special to the later audiences, i edit.
i think my video are terriable, but the clients come back, so somewhere down the line something must be right.
it is a great feeling to wqatch some of the tapes with the dancers/ singers etc and hear their ah..and ohs....when they see themself.

well, just keep going, and time will tell...i need to learn so much...(i need more money too!)

thanks again

greetings
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Old June 1st, 2005, 06:41 AM   #15
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Get one of these bad boys :

http://www.elman.it/eng/video/obboxd/
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Because im that...damn...good.
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