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Old January 26th, 2018, 07:35 PM   #1
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Advice for reliable "on the road" setup

Apologies if this isn't the right subforum, this post relates to bigger picture productions questions as well as tech in various areas, including cameras, lights, etc.

I host The David Pakman Show, it's a daily multicamera talk show. Our main studio runs a three-camera setup into a tricaster with a tricaster operator. Graphics, camera cutting, live calls, everything is done live in the tricaster other than intro/outro music. In post, we use premiere pro CC and chop the show up into different versions, export audio/video for radio/podcast/youtube/tv, all that.

I am looking for a better setup for when I'm not physically in the studio. Currently, i skype into the tricaster and skypetx and my producer records me, meaning, my audio is degraded and it isn't HD, since it's a skype video call quality.

My idea is to create a total setup that includes camera, capture, lighting, and prompter that I can take with me. I've done some initial research, and the following general ideas, and I have questions on each that I'd love help with. The gist being that I'd record LOCALLY in HD and then use a file sharing service like dropbox or sharefile to get my raw files to my producer, and he'd do some of the stuff the tricaster does now (quote boxes, etc) in post.

1. Something like a Panasonic GH4 into a capture card into a laptop for recording. Is this the way to go in terms of efficiency? What capture cards are ideal? Would a newer Dell XPS laptop be appropriate and reliable for synced audio/video recording?

2. For audio, should I be going from my mic into the camera, should I get a capture card that has audio inputs, do I go audio directly into the laptop via an XLR to USB converter? What's best in terms of both quality and ensuring A/V sync?

3. What software should I be using to capture? I think I CAN capture directly into premiere, but if I want to do some composite shots, for example to be switching between me full screen, a guest on skype full screen, and a split of the guest and I with a graphical 2-box background, would I use something as cheap/free as OBS, or is there proper more professional software I can buy to achieve this?

4. If I'm recording 75 minutes per day and need to be uploading them to my producer in another location, are there workflows that will give me a finished file when I'm done that ISN'T huge and can reasonably be uploaded and download within, say 60 minutes total, given a typical high speed connection?

5. Would looking at a Tricaster mini be a way to resolve some/lots of the issues from the above setup?

6. Lighting...it seems the simplest idea might me one of those round light rings on a table top stand, combined with a small LED hair light, and depending on the background I'm shooting in front of, I might be able to skip the hair light? Thoughts on the lighting setup that might work considering I want as small/light a setup overall?

7. What am I missing that I should be considering?
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Old January 26th, 2018, 08:52 PM   #2
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Re: Advice for reliable "on the road" setup

Lots of questions here - Iíll tackle a couple.

Why not a GH4 - it makes a good image, small, lightweight, good for the road.

I donít know what your video podcast looks like now, but a tabletop tripod will tend to shoot up at people from below. An ďup the noseĒ, low-angle shot. Conventionally, a shot from a camera near eyeline is considered neutral.

If youíve run into three-point lighting, you may have the concepts of key, fill, back, and background lights, and hard and soft lights. Were it me, Iíd want some sort of softbox, or, at least a 1x1 LED panel as a soft key. And, a backlight for some situations. Itís hard to light yourself looking at the image on the camera, but with some trial and error youíll get it.

Iím not sure what advantage youíre considering if you capture to a laptop. Itís not necessary, but may be helpful in some cases. What is it that has you thinking of on-the-fly capture? Why not copy over the contents of a card? It removes a lot of complication and potential points of failure from your workflow.

If you did settle on live capture for some reason, Wirecast is a significant step up from OBS. Iíd go Mac laptop and a Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini HDMI/SDI to Thunderbolt converter. Wirecast gives you various layouts, file playback, keying, titles, etc. Sort of a software version of Tricaster, but, youíre more limited in the number of cameras you can capture.

You canít have raw files, finished files, and fast upload via dropbox. If you can finish on-site you can upload smaller files. If you need to upload raw files youíll need FAST connectivity to get it done in an hour.

Audio should typically be fed into a camera for best sync when using HDMI into capture.

There are many more considerations, but thatís my two cents. It may be helpful for you to narrow in on your questions, and post specific qs in the subforums...
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Old January 26th, 2018, 09:04 PM   #3
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Re: Advice for reliable "on the road" setup

Quote:
Originally Posted by Seth Bloombaum View Post
Lots of questions here - Iíll tackle a couple.

Why not a GH4 - it makes a good image, small, lightweight, good for the road.

I donít know what your video podcast looks like now, but a tabletop tripod will tend to shoot up at people from below. An ďup the noseĒ, low-angle shot. Conventionally, a shot from a camera near eyeline is considered neutral.

If youíve run into three-point lighting, you may have the concepts of key, fill, back, and background lights, and hard and soft lights. Were it me, Iíd want some sort of softbox, or, at least a 1x1 LED panel as a soft key. And, a backlight for some situations. Itís hard to light yourself looking at the image on the camera, but with some trial and error youíll get it.

Iím not sure what advantage youíre considering if you capture to a laptop. Itís not necessary, but may be helpful in some cases. What is it that has you thinking of on-the-fly capture? Why not copy over the contents of a card? It removes a lot of complication and potential points of failure from your workflow.

If you did settle on live capture for some reason, Wirecast is a significant step up from OBS. Iíd go Mac laptop and a Blackmagic Ultrastudio Mini HDMI/SDI to Thunderbolt converter. Wirecast gives you various layouts, file playback, keying, titles, etc. Sort of a software version of Tricaster, but, youíre more limited in the number of cameras you can capture.

You canít have raw files, finished files, and fast upload via dropbox. If you can finish on-site you can upload smaller files. If you need to upload raw files youíll need FAST connectivity to get it done in an hour.

Audio should typically be fed into a camera for best sync when using HDMI into capture.

There are many more considerations, but thatís my two cents. It may be helpful for you to narrow in on your questions, and post specific qs in the subforums...

Thanks for these answers! This is the current look: www.youtube.com/thedavidpakmanshow

By raw, I used the wrong term. By raw I mean they will just be me on camera, and my producer in post would be adding graphics, music, etc, but it can be a compressed format, sort of like the .MP4's the tricaster producers for us which we pull into premiere after the fact.

If we are on PC systems and want to keep it that way, is there a wirecast & hardware setup you'd recommend?

In terms of WHY not just record onto the camera, the real reason would be if I am live switching an interview via skype, for example, I'd need some kind of software switcher, or something.

Since I posted this I checked out tricaster mini demos and it could do everything I want, but it seems like TOO MUCH in reality given that I want my producer continuing to do as much of this stuff as possible.
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Old January 27th, 2018, 01:40 AM   #4
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Re: Advice for reliable "on the road" setup

Hereís more on wirecast:
https://www.telestream.net/wirecast/overview.htm

Iím afraid Iíve not kept up with capture solutions for PC. Iíve heard talk of the Magewell USB3 interface.

There is compatibility info on Telestreamís site though. Definitely check out Rendezvous, the integrated peer-to-peer remote guest call (like Skype).

One camera capture plus Rendezvous plus graphics would seem to be within Wirecastís capabilities. There are a couple Wirecast users who post to the streaming subforum.
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