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Old June 5th, 2014, 04:01 PM   #1
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Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Hi,

I have a project coming up next week that I need some advice on. I am going to be shooting / editing a short (1-2 minute) promotional video for a local tree company. They are producing the video specifcally to use on Angie's List, but will also post it on their website, Facebook page, YouTube channel, ect.. There is also the possibility of using a shorter version as a paid ad on the local cable channel.

The guys are going to a property and doing a day & a half's work in 1 long day to try and get as much footage captured as possible. They will be cutting down 2 large trees, bucking logs, chipping branches, doing a lot of pruning, stump grinding, and cutting mulch beds & laying down mulch. They asked for before and after shots of their work. In addition to all of the "action" shots of them cutting and felling, I will need some detail shots and maybe some interaction with the homeowner. I don't think we will be using much if any production audio at all. The plan is to edit to a music bed, with some possible VO.

I wanted to use multiple cameras to try and get a few angles of a lot of the setups. This company does not use a bucket truck and the owner actually climbs to the top of the tree & works his way down. I need to get shots of the man in the trees doing the work. Since I only have 1 shot at getting all of this, my plan was to set up more cameras than really needed. Here is the gear I have to work with:

-Canon HV30. I think this will be the main camera used for the majority of the shots. I was planning on shooting 1080 24fps w/ CINE mode to get a bit of a flat image that I can better control the contrast / color in post. I also thought that I would avoid any rolling shutter issues that I may get with the DSLR's while panning & getting any moving shots.

-GoPro Hero3 White. This will be used mainly on the helmet of the tree climber to get shots of him climbing & cutting, as well as some shots attached to the handle of the chainsaw. This camera will shoot 1080p at 25 or 30fps, and 720p up to 60fps.

-Pentax K-5ii. This camera isn't the most controllable DSLR for video but I have a lot of high quality fast primes and zooms. This camera shoots 1080p at 25fps, or 720p at 30fps. I was thinking about using this camera for some tight shots of the climber in the tree, and as the main 2nd camera in general.

-Pentax K-x. Same as above. This camera only shoots 720p at 24fps. Can use all of my lenses.

-iPad2. This iPad will only shoot 720p, but using Filmic Pro I can get just about any frame rate. I thought I would use this for more medium to wide shots of parts of the work where there was a lot going on at once.

-iPod Touch 4th Generation. In my testing I haven't got the camera using Filmic Pro to capture much without dropping frames or looking "stuttery" but I have it as another option. I was going to wipe all of the audio & nonessential stuff off of it, and then see if the video gets any better.

I have stable tripods for all of the above cameras. I plan on getting a custom white balance for every shot on every camera, and I have a Color Checker Passport I can also shoot to help with matching the color of all of the shots from the different cameras.

I will be editing in Premiere Pro CS6. Other than the possible TV spot, I think the final format for everything else will be 720p. I have loaded footage from all of the above cameras (except the GoPro which the tree guy is bringing to the shoot) in a 720p sequecne in Premiere, and everything seemed to be playing back ok. The file formats for every camera are different as well. I will be dealing with HDV (from tape), .avi, .mov, and ,mp4, at different frame rates all on the same timeline.

My main question is about mixing a few different frame rates for my edits. I was thinking I should shoot in 1080p with all the cameras that would, and then scale the footage down to my 720p timeline for editing. The Pentax K-5 & the GoPro are the only 2 cameras that will do actual 1080p. The HV30's footage is a little smaller, and will have to be scaled up a little to be a true 1080p (as is with all HDV cameras I understand). If I mix 24, 25, and 30 fps in the same edit, will there be a problem with that? If I don't have to match the pitch of any audio, and only am dealing with video will the difference in frame rates be ok? In the little bit of testing I did, I think it all looked ok, but I was having my 6 year old son run back and forth in front of the cameras as a test subject :)

Does everything I have planned to accomplish seem doable, or I have I missed some important points in thinking about the process.

I really appreciate any advice and / or opinions that will help me pull this off & have a nice package at the end. I will be running all of the gear myself, so I need to be on my game while saws are running & branches & trees are falling!

Thanks very much, and sorry about the long winded post…….

George
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Old June 5th, 2014, 07:39 PM   #2
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

While certainly you need multiple cameras running for some of the activities that can't be done over, you have to avoid spreading your attention so thin that all of your shots suffer. Is there no way to have someone who can simply watch what your extra cameras are capturing and help move tripods? I think that would give you some assurance and peace of mind and free you up to do the best job with your main camera.
The quality of your shots will be paramount, the variety second, with quantity being a very distant third.

In addition, I would try to do the best job at capturing the natural sound that you can. Even with a music bed and VO, not having the nat sound under visuals of very noisy work will seem sterile.

In that vein, it will be important to talk with the workers about "staying in character". Not doing or saying anything they wouldn't do or say if a TV news crew was shooting them while working at a serious event.
Give any visual directing commands in short bursts, so you have the most time in shots with pure natural sound.

Also record some wild sound to cover any problem spots.

Good luck and hopefully there will be no remakes of the infamous Richard Jaeckel scene from "Sometimes a Great Notion"!
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Old June 5th, 2014, 08:22 PM   #3
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Jay,

Thanks for the excellent advice. I will be sure to get as much nat sound as I can. I know the owner will be instructing his crew about the cameras, and the video process in general.

Thanks again,

George
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Old June 6th, 2014, 08:08 AM   #4
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

You might want to stay as close to the same resolution and frame rate as possible. I'm not sure if 1080p will really help you. Thinking remember all TV is either 1080i or 720p, depending on the channel. If everything other than TV will be 720p, why not stay 720p 30p? It will look good on a 1080i broadcast and everywhere else. The Canon doesn't record a true progressive frame from my understanding. It's HDV which is 1440x1080. So you would have up to 3 different resolutions working. You should get a better picture shooting normal 1080i with the Canon and going down to 720p, In the end it should be sharper. Rolling shutter shouldn't be an issue if you are not doing any whip pans In the end you may have less headaches and better overall compatibility with the cameras. Good luck!
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Old June 6th, 2014, 08:37 AM   #5
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

For the GoPro, you might also want to think about using a "chesty" mount for some of the video for a hands POV kind of shot.

Also agree that too many cameras and too few ops means your attention will be very scattered.
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Old June 6th, 2014, 10:58 AM   #6
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

+1 on the "minimum number of cameras that will do the job" point

I use several cameras for classical orchestra concerts, which are pretty static, and even with most of them locked off it gets confusing. I find myself worrying about whether my wife really started the on-stage cameras on time or not. Or whether I'd remembered to plug in the backup battery, etc etc.With people running all over the place it will be worse..

Getting someone to help will be a great idea, even if their only job is to carry stuff and manage your checklist. (You do have a checklist, right???)

Going out on a job with the crew and one or two cameras as a rehearsal of sorts would be a good idea too. I always go to rehearsals and have a copy of the score marked up with what shots I want.at what time and it helps a LOT. Again, your case is more dynamic, but I think having at least a rough shot list prepared in advance would be a good idea.
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Old June 6th, 2014, 02:43 PM   #7
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

David thanks for the advice.

So you are saying that if I shot everything at 720p @ 30fps, that would be suitable for broadcast on modern HDTV's? I wasn't sure how that worked & was another point of confusion for me.

I also thought that if I shot at 1080 I would be able to zoom & pan some shots in post if I needed to. The Pentax K-5ii will only do 1080p @ 25fps for some odd reason.

So basically you are suggesting to shoot the Canon at it's native 1080 (60i), and the Pentax at 1080p 25fps, or 720p @ 30fps?

Thanks again,

George
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Old June 6th, 2014, 02:46 PM   #8
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Bill, I think the guy already has the helmet & pole mounts for the GoPro. I will suggest the chest mount, although I'm afraid it might get in the way of his climbing & cutting?

Jim, I am trying to get an assistant, but I may be on my own for this one. I will be going over the script with the guy this weekend, and I will be making a shotlist from that to use on the day of the shoot.

Thanks again for the great advice.

George
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Old June 6th, 2014, 03:52 PM   #9
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Hi George

I know how it works in reality! Good luck.

(I usually draft my wife to work the clapper board and act as guard dog for the mic stand while I work from the balcony, but that's about all she's willing to do!
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Old June 6th, 2014, 07:00 PM   #10
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Just make sure the business owner is aware that all his workers will be on camera and that it is imperative they are wearing all safety gear required under your local laws. Nothing worse than having to loose the money shot of the tree being felled because a worker in frame wasn't properly attired.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 08:01 AM   #11
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

If you haven't already visited the worksite, that would be helpful too so the travel of the sun across the sky can be judged. Since you will be doing a lot of shooting upwards to the sky during the course of the day, knowing where the sun will be ahead of time is important.

Don't forget to look for interesting cutaway shots that will help greatly with editing. Workers holding tension on lines, closeups of hands working and equipment being prepared, etc.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 04:53 PM   #12
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Spatta View Post
David thanks for the advice.

So you are saying that if I shot everything at 720p @ 30fps, that would be suitable for broadcast on modern HDTV's? I wasn't sure how that worked & was another point of confusion for me.

I also thought that if I shot at 1080 I would be able to zoom & pan some shots in post if I needed to. The Pentax K-5ii will only do 1080p @ 25fps for some odd reason.

So basically you are suggesting to shoot the Canon at it's native 1080 (60i), and the Pentax at 1080p 25fps, or 720p @ 30fps?

Thanks again,

George
720p is fine for broadcast here is a link to all the formats from all the stations
High-definition television in the United States - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Broadcast ABC, Fox broadcast in 720p and CBS, NBC, CW in 1080i
The Canon won't give you any better results in the 24p mode. Basically it's a fake 24p, it's not true progressive. I would set up all the cameras to closest setting possible. You should get better results in editing. Looks like 1080 is your default because of the Pentax, I just wouldn't do a lot of different resolutions or framerates.
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Old June 7th, 2014, 08:06 PM   #13
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Re: Advice needed for busy multi camera shoot

Excellent advice guys. I appreciate all of the help. I think I will try to keep it to 3 cameras for the most part; the HV30 @ 1080i 60 for medium & all of the detail sots, Pentax K-5ii 1080p 25 for the telephoto shots, and the GoPro 1080p 30 for the helmet / saw shots. I may also throw the other Pentax on a tripod with an UWA just to have, although it only does 720p @ 24fps.

I have a meeting with the guy tomorrow to hopefully go through the "script" and build the shot list.

Thanks again,

George
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