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Old February 26th, 2013, 05:04 PM   #1
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Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Lathrop, CA
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Starting a multi-camera project

Hello everyone,

I just wanted to introduce myself, say hi and ask for a little guidance.

I have been tasked with setting up a multi-camera project for a family business (on a small budget). I have some filming and video-editing experience, although that was ten years ago and never involved anything above a beginner level. I have solid experience in all things computers, programming etc. but I might need some help and guidance on setting up this project the way it is envisioned.

I have some general and specific questions regarding camera selection, implementation and software. I looked through all the forums available here, but I'm not sure where to fit a thread like that. Any suggestions? Thanks
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Old February 26th, 2013, 05:15 PM   #2
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Location: Chicago, IL
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

First, Welcome to DVi the best place around for video.
As to your question, there are a lot of questions that need to be answered before any kind of intelligent answers can be given.
You state it's a multi-cam project so I must ask first, at least in general terms what kind of project is it?
where will it be taking place? (a large auditorium vs. a small room vs. an outdoor stadium can make a big difference as to gear needed to properly do the job) Is the project going to DVD, the web or TV. Is it going for Imag or going straight to record? Will you have a crew to help handle cameras, do you plan to do live switch or edit later? What about audio and lighting?
Ross, the more you can tell us the faster and easier we can answer AND the better information we can give you.
Give it to us, we can take it! lol
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Old February 26th, 2013, 05:52 PM   #3
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

Thanks Don, I wasn't sure if this was the right forum to ask those questions straight out, but I guess a mod could move the thread if they wish, so here goes nothing!

I will be filming drummers in a "studio" which consists of a 3-5k sq/ft shop with walls made of cinder, metal roofing and a roll-up door. read: Industrial. Eventually we will upgrade to a more proper environment but for now, this is what I have to work with.

The idea is to film a musician with 4 to 5 cameras set up at different angles. The primary focus will be sound, the video being supplementary, but they already have all the sound equipment, so the only thing I have to worry about is the video. These videos will ultimately be viewed over the internet, and does not have to be streamed live. I can do all the cuts in post-production. Lighting will be important, but one of the business leaders is a still photographer so they probably have some basic lighting equipment. I will have to talk to them and find out what they could provide there. I will be solely responsible for running the cameras and post-production.

I don't have an exact budget yet. I have to put together a project plan first and then we may have a ball-park figure. All-in-all it will most likely be less than 2k, so I have to get clever.

Their idea was to buy 4 or 5 usb webcams with decent quality; we're probably talking 720p or less. Connect them all to a computer and record all the feeds simultaneously. Then in post, I would have to synchronize each video to the master sound recording that they recorded. Then I would have to cut in and out of different angles and make it interesting to come up with a final cut.

I have some reservations on the use of webcams however. Firstly, I don't even know if my computer would handle that many feeds at once. I have a feeling that one or more feeds might get very choppy at times. That's even assuming everything is configured properly. Then secondly, it's going to be a pain in the you-know-what to sync all those video tracks to the sound track without the help of some auto-analyzing software. I saw one called PluralEyes that looks like a serious time-saver, but I don't know anything about the current state of the art in video editing software, so I might be barking up the wrong tree.

I also wonder if they want better quality than is offered by webcams and just don't know it yet. I think the next step up might be something like the gopro hero3, which I can control all of them simultaneously with some hacking.

I have a lot of "I don't knows" as you can see. Hopefully you can show me the light of day!!
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Old February 26th, 2013, 06:59 PM   #4
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

Ah drummers. I was one a lifetime ago. Started playing back in the late 50s. Anyway,
here's what I would do if I were shooting this. First get some moving pads and use them as sound blankets. Floor, ceiling, walls, or the sound is going to bounce off those surfaces like ping pong balls being smacked by world class ping pong players.
Second forget the webcams, get you some GoPros. they're cheap and shoot 1080. Put one or two overhead (booms would be nice and you don't need big heavy duty expensive ones) put a couple of others around the kit where you think necessary to get the shots you want. One on the snare maybe between the highhat and tom, another by the floor tom shooting it and the snare. Use your imagination. The GoPros record to cards so you can load those in, sync the footage use some sort of NLE with a good multicam (I use Vegas with Excalibur but there are others) an have at it.
BTW, the GoPros are not going to bust the bank. Use the lighting that the photog has and if needed you can actually make some Tungsten or even Halogen lites fairly cheaply. For audio, if the kit is mic'd pull feed from the board back to your own recorder if not then you can get some Sennheiser E604 drum mics fairly reasonable.
That should get you started.
Have Fun!
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Old February 26th, 2013, 08:36 PM   #5
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

That's exactly what I was thinking. IMO, you just can't beat the price of those GoPros, and any money you might save now by buying webcams (if it were to even work correctly), you would lose even faster if you ever decided to upgrade to GoPros or any other cams for that matter. Plus, for the quality that those GoPros put out, the only other option is a $600+ camcorder with a bunch of useless features, or a $3k+ professional camera that nobody would notice once it's on a computer screen.

I love the idea of using moving blankets. I remember what they feel like from last time I moved; exactly the type of material that I would expect to absorb sound. They're less than ten bucks each too, so I will definately suggest those.

I always like to get many different points of view and varying opinions though, nobody be shy now...

Last edited by Ross Radford; February 26th, 2013 at 08:40 PM. Reason: typo
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Old February 26th, 2013, 09:01 PM   #6
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Location: Lathrop, CA
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

Oh also, it would be nice to have the power and flexibility of one of the more professional editing suites like Vegas, but for now I just need the basics; simple cutting, editing and maybe some simple transitions and effects. Besides that, I would like a tool to help me sync the audio and video tracks.

Can you recommend any software with those capabilities maybe in the $50-$100 range?
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Old February 26th, 2013, 09:11 PM   #7
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

I've seen some amazing stuff off of GoPros so they should suit you well.
As for editing, Vegas Studio is a light version of Vegas Pro and can do many of the same things and I *think* the price is in the $100 to $200 range.
Dual eyes is great for audio sync but I don't know if it would work in the lite versions of any NLE. I don't use it so I can't say for sure.
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Old February 26th, 2013, 11:56 PM   #8
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Location: Woodinville, WA USA
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Re: Starting a multi-camera project

I do almost exclusively multicam stuff and Don's right: just go for the GoPros. The question is whether Vegas Movie Studio will let you stack enough video Tracks to sync them all. If it does, great; otherwise you'll need Vegas Pro or another Pro NLE like Premiere.

You don't really need a syncing tool; all you need is a cheap clapboard and you sync using the sound spike; it takes all of about 30 seconds. Easy as pie. Plural Eyes is completely unnecessary and trouble-prone as well.

You should record audio with a good external recorder on Track 1 and then sync all the cams to that using their soundtracks, and then mute their audio for export; you only use their audio for syncing purposes.

Don't even think about trying to feed them all into the PC live; you'll load all the footage in later at your leisure, then sync, then you're off to the races.
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