Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video? at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Open DV Discussion
For topics which don't fit into any of the other categories.


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old September 13th, 2012, 09:08 AM   #1
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 183
Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

SCENARIO: A casual dinner attended by 9 academic experts (in various specialties). The goal is to videotape the dinner conversation, then edit the conversation for the final video, which will be seen (primarily) online.

CHALLENGE: To create a warm, intimate atmosphere for the guests---in other words, the comfort level (and relaxation) of the guests is paramount---NOT the needs of the video production. Consider the image below:

http://i-cdn.apartmenttherapy.com/ui...innerTable.jpg

This is the desired look.

LIMITATIONS: The dinner will be shot with 4 large Panasonic broadcast HD cameras (Varicams). No DSLR's, no film cameras.

-----
Now...in this real-life scenario with the parameters described above, the issue I ran into was that my entire video crew (who are from a primarily broadcast background) wanted to bomb the dinner table with light---so much so that the dinner guests would feel like they're being interrogated. NOT good.

Their reasons were the usual: paranoia about shadows on faces, paranoia about video noise, and more paranoia about shadows on faces.

My position was this: I don't care if there are a few shadows on faces---that's perfectly natural and normal. And I don't even care about a bit of noise in the picture. What I care about is creating a warm, intimate atmosphere for the guests.

-----
My question for anyone interested here is: what would you do? Would you come down on the side of "We MUST bomb the scene with light!" or would you say "Eh, some shadows and noise are fine if that's what it takes to achieve a realistic, warm, intimate look FOR THE GUESTS. (The fact that the scene could be manipulated in post is irrelevant, because the dinner guests aren't conversing during post---they're doing it during the shoot.)

And how would you light this scene? (Or would you light it at all?)

Scott
Scott Wilkinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 09:30 AM   #2
Major Player
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Dallas
Posts: 747
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

You are not going to get a intimate atmosphere and comfort level for the guests if you are using 4 large camera and lights, this situation is perfect for 4 DSLR with fast lens, small camera with no lights will put the guests at ease, fast lens on DSLR will give you the intimate natural feel.
__________________
Khoi Pham
www.proeditproductions.com
Khoi Pham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #3
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jun 2007
Location: Toronto
Posts: 1,414
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott Wilkinson View Post
-----
My question for anyone interested here is: what would you do? Would you come down on the side of "We MUST bomb the scene with light!" or would you say "Eh, some shadows and noise are fine if that's what it takes to achieve a realistic, warm, intimate look FOR THE GUESTS. (The fact that the scene could be manipulated in post is irrelevant, because the dinner guests aren't conversing during post---they're doing it during the shoot.)
And how would you light this scene? (Or would you light it at all?)
to my eye very good example on how to light it is Zacuto's FilmFellas series,
rent 3, or 4 MArk3s , some fast lenses and there won't be any noise even in dimmed light situations
__________________
I love this place!
Buba Kastorski is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 10:42 AM   #4
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

If you want reality, then distant cameras with proper zoom lenses, behind curtains/screens/blinds, and sensitive enough ones to give good images. People running around with DSLRs seem totally the wrong approach. I'd suggest two cameras each side on either dollies on rails, high enough to look down slightly, and do over shoulder shots, that can move left/right as required. I'd give each person a radio and multitrack record them, or give everyone a recorder in their pocket - all lavs. I can't see any issues with this, perhaps apart from colour temp - but that could easily become part of the deal and give a certain look.

Low light recording/available light recording is not a problem for most cameras of the conventional type - some give rather nice images. The key to reality is to keep the technical elements well away so the subjects forget them. Some table lighting that doesn't blind would provide face light that would look quite nice.

I'd rather like a shoot like this. Stick a lens up close and see the concentration and openness vanish. From a distance, nobody even thinks about it after the first half an hour. Discrete and covert camerawork is required, not overt and operator centric.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 12:55 PM   #5
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,772
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

I would make good us of practicals placed strategically to give enough light but not blast the dinners. Then go and rent 4 Sony F3's, placed far enough away to make them unnoticeable to the people at the table. capturing sound will be another issue but that could always be handled by a series of mics hung from the ceiling.

I'd agree that full size broadcast cameras will just kill any chance of maintaining an intimate ambiance.
__________________
Garrett Low
www.GLowMediaProductions.com
Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 01:51 PM   #6
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Keeping the cameras back and using intimate lighting will do the job, especially with modern low heat lights. The zooms on the Varicams can quickly change shot size, picking camera positions that avoid the cameras being too much in the subject's eye line will help them forget. You're not gaining much by using the large sensor cameras because you have to use slower lenses to get the same zoom range.

Careful art direction of the room will help in giving the cameras a lower profile, e.g. by using decorative screens to hide the cameras behind. These could also possibly allow a camera to be hidden from view from other camera positions. Lower lighting levels around the camera positions will also help.

Having time code will assist in the editing.

Given good conversation people usually forget the cameras are there, or just ignore them, after a few minutes. Given the nature of the people involved this shouldn't be an issue, unless you're wanting them to reveal intimate secrets during the conversation.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 13th, 2012, 04:26 PM   #7
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Sydney.
Posts: 2,569
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

The number of guests is important here, that table shown has 12 chairs. Big difference between 6 and 12 guests in terms of the intimate feel
and their speech level and how you record it, especially when they speak over each other.

Will these academics know each other or have met beforehand?

What about the food, do you plan on having it catered? A butler in tails will raise the tone and give it some class.

Check the guest list for vegetarians, allergies to nuts, gluten free, diets, the lactose intolerants etc.

And I won't start with the alcohol, but be careful, if that goes south the project will follow it. Plenty of water and limit the drinks. Cheers :)
__________________
30+ years with our own audio and visual production company and studios.
Allan Black is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2012, 08:03 AM   #8
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Eugene, OR
Posts: 183
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Interesting comments all, thanks! This event was last night, and by most standards would be considered a success...but I still think it could have been executed better.

My initial post probably didn't convey my main intent---which was more of a philosophical question: when do the needs of the production outweigh the needs of the dinner guests (and vice-versa)? While planning this shoot, I felt like my team was all but ignoring the needs of the dinner guests and assuming that video needs outweighed everything else. I adopted the role of "dinner guest advocate" and kept reminding people that we don't want our guests to feel as though they're being interrogated.

For example, I wanted to use wireless lavs on the guests so they'd be free to get up if necessary. The audio guys resisted this, saying they wanted to eliminate the possibility of any RF interference. So the guests were hardwired in their chairs...which I didn't like at all. As it turned out, nobody ever needed to get up from the dinner---9 guests sat there for almost 2 hours and talked nonstop. (It's possible someone's teeth were floating, but who knows? They all looked happy.)

And our camera operators insisted they needed to be close (which was partly dictated by the room, which offered only about 3-5' of space beyond the table and guests on most sides of the table). So the 4 cameras (on tripods) were no more than 2 feet behind the guests at the table. The setup was each camera at a "corner" of the round table, with each covering 2 guests (and everyone getting the 9th guest who was a moderator of sorts).

As I mentioned earlier, I felt the room was FAR too bombed out with light. In addition to the large chandelier light over the table, the crew suspended 4 Chinaballs for additional fill lighting (to satisfy their concern about shadows).

We originally wanted wine with dinner, but it was vetoed (just not appropriate for a university-related event with one underage student present). But---in spite of the potential for someone to imbibe a bit too freely, I'm convinced the conversation would have been more lively (and more interesting) with wine---not in an "out of control" way...but as it was, I'd say it took almost til dessert for the guests to really relax and the dialogue to start bouncing around more between guests. For the first hour, the general feel was definitely on the stiff and formal side (with the guests being exceedingly polite and nobody interrupting anyone).

Whether this was due to the lack of wine...or the overwhelming lighting...or the cameras 2 feet behind everyone, I don't know (likely a combination of them all). But I am certain that it took the guests a long time to warm up.

If we ever do this again, I fully intend to make it a much smaller production...using only DSLR's with fast lenses and much lower, more intimate lighting.

It'll probably be a few weeks before we have the final video done, but I'll post a link here when we do!

Scott
Scott Wilkinson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2012, 11:41 AM   #9
Major Player
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
Location: Chicago, Illinois USA
Posts: 660
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Just curious on how you "synced" the four cameras? Thanks
Jonathan Levin is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2012, 02:08 PM   #10
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Ideally I'd find a larger room, 3 to 5 feet isn't that much and you'd be surprised how little light you can use those cameras at. They're usually around 320 ASA without any gain and with the lenses at f 2.5 to f2.8 (to improve optical quality) you shouldn't need huge amounts of light.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 14th, 2012, 03:18 PM   #11
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: LOWESTOFT - UK
Posts: 2,125
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

So it's was a sort of hypothetical how would we do it to see if what you'd already done made sense? You've already answered most of your own original questions.

I don't quite get your role? The people who ran it, ignored all your advice, and did it their way. If the results look good, then they were right? I'd still question DSLRs as image sources. Low light levels, lots of table items, loads of obstacles - not an easy one for DSLRs to manage. When you put the results up - it may make more sense.
Paul R Johnson is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 15th, 2012, 02:31 AM   #12
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Belfast, UK
Posts: 4,121
Re: Would/Could you shoot this dinner on video?

Not forgetting the 12 min clip limit that many DSLRs have, which could be an issue if the conversations are sustained, although there's always a point where new recording media is needed.
Brian Drysdale is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > The Tools of DV and HD Production > Open DV Discussion

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:48 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network