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Old February 5th, 2008, 06:49 PM   #1
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How do you guys handle a live video feed request?

Hey guys,

I would like to poll you guys on how do you handle a request by B&G to provide a live video feed from the camera to the projector at the reception.

Nowadays more and more banquet halls and convention centres are equipped with integrated state of the art projection system. Which is great, but now more and more B&Gs are asking us whether we would be able to provide a video feed so that the guest could see the event on a big screen.

I have done this in the past a few times but I really don't like it. Hooking up a cable to the back of my camera limits my mobility. Also, I do quick pans and zooms to cover a certain moment better. Those pans and zooms will be removed at the post. But if the live feed is provided, my camera's eye is exposed to hundreds of people. For the guests, these pans and zooms may look amateurish.

So what would be the best way to handle this request? Couple of times in the past, I was able to explain this to B&Gs and convince them to get another camera with an operator (for additional fee) dedicated for this task only. But I doubted that all the B&Gs will understand the situation and will agree to this.

Thanks for your help.
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Old February 5th, 2008, 09:42 PM   #2
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Hi Ram,

The one time we did this, it was tough as you mention. You are unable to move, and worry about people tripping over a cable attached to you camera and hurting themselves, or knocking over your equipment. As well, your lack of mobility hurts the quality of the footage you get, so their video suffers.

I think a second camera is the only way to go. And you have the option of having a two camera shoot for the reception, which actually will improve their video. Just don't offer it if they don't go for the second camera.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 07:59 AM   #3
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:50 AM   #4
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I'm not very familiar w/wireless,

but might something along the lines of this be a possible solution:

http://creativewirelessav.com/produc...=1&productId=1

This is a rather low-priced product, and I'd want to see it in action before using it, but I'm pretty sure I've seen other, similar products on the market.

I agree that a 2nd cam would be necessary, but if it was also recording while sending, you'd have extra footage as B roll. Of course, that would be extra footage to review in post, lengthening the post process.

Not to hijack, but I've heard of one wedding that was actually sent over a webcam so a hospitalized relative could at least watch the event despite being unable to attend.
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Old February 6th, 2008, 08:56 AM   #5
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We provide live video on a screen during the reception from live feeds. We go wireless if we can on the main camera and the second camera is wired back to a switcher which is connected to the projector. Works very well.

Sometimes, you are unable to use wireless due to interference. Out of about 20 events we have only had one time were we couldn't use wireless.

I picked up a wireless feed in the 2.4ghz and 900 mhz ranages. My 2.4ghz setup works great. I will post a link to the one I bought, amazingly enough, it was only $40. It requires 9-12v, I usually split my battery pack between it and my light.
http://cgi.ebay.com/2-4GHz-WIRELESS-...QQcmdZViewItem

We also use a Grizzly pro system that works great for live events. We gaffer tape the rj-45 cable to the ground and it works good as well.

Last edited by Jon Omiatek; February 6th, 2008 at 11:38 AM. Reason: link to wireless
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Old February 6th, 2008, 11:46 AM   #6
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We used 3 cameras, a Datavideo SE-800 switcher to feed 2 projectors in opposite corners of the ballroom for about 1000 guests. It worked great, but setup was a killer and took a long time. I believe we charged close to $1k just to set up the projectors and run the cables inconspicously around the ballroom. We had the hotel set up 2 9x12 foot screens with drapes.

If you use a camera connected to the internet, one concern would be lip sync. It's not good to have a delay of more than a small fraction of a second between what's happening in real time and what's on the screen. It would be very annoying for the guests.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 02:57 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by Warren Kawamoto View Post
We used 3 cameras, a Datavideo SE-800 switcher to feed 2 projectors in opposite corners of the ballroom for about 1000 guests. It worked great, but setup was a killer and took a long time. I believe we charged close to $1k just to set up the projectors and run the cables inconspicously around the ballroom. We had the hotel set up 2 9x12 foot screens with drapes.

If you use a camera connected to the internet, one concern would be lip sync. It's not good to have a delay of more than a small fraction of a second between what's happening in real time and what's on the screen. It would be very annoying for the guests.
Holy crap, that is a lot of gear (especially the super nice Datavideo unit).

I did a 2 cam "switched" reception to dual projectors with third roving cam (me). The two "switched" cams completely messed with my ability to get a good wedding movie in post because they were relegated to being next to the switcher and could not move. That was my big April wedding (I have video samples up too).

I would COMPLETELY recommend a real switcher (we had a "selector" not a video switcher which means the input selections jumped to black between each switch) AND a dedicated wide angle camera. Don't plan on using it in the post process for the final movie, but use it as an unmaned static wide shot. Then mix between it and a close up for the live.

I would also (should I do this type gig again) adding the static Wide cam on top of what you want for the movie production. So if you are shooting a 3 camera wedding package and the client wants live projection, tell them they need a 4th cam to be dedicated for the projectors (if not switched live) or a dedicated wide angle cam & a video switcher if they want more than static wide shots on the projection system.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 03:44 PM   #8
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If there was enough demand for this, I think it would be neat to do it. Of course I would want a video switcher and someone dedicated to switching. In addition to the 2 manned cameras, I would want another wide angle cam fed to the switcher. The challenge would be to forget that some of what you are shooting is ending up on the big screen. I'd have to unhook the cam whenever I needed to rove though. Leave it up to the switcher to clean up the mess ;)
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Old September 30th, 2008, 07:19 PM   #9
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I haven't done this myself, other than assisting Jason with the wedding he mentioned. HOWEVER, from that experience I would definitely do the following:

#1. Add 2 extra cameras to whatever your package includes. In other words, if your packages includes 3 cameras then you will need 5 cameras that day. The first extra camera is for providing a "safe" wide shot, and the 2nd is for "close up" shots .. which may not be as close as you'd like depending on where you get stationed. The reason for adding these cameras is that you don't want to count on them for your post-production needs.

#2. Hire an operator for BOTH of the extra cameras. You may think you can leave the wide shot on wide all night, but invariably it will need to be adjusted. I specifically remember a moment during Jason's wedding where I needed to adjust the wide angle shot, and left my camera for a moment to do so. The shot I left was a close up shot of the bride and groom sitting at the head table during toasts. Sure enough, as soon as I moved they decided to stand up and it took me a second to realize that my "close up" shot was now a close up of their chests. Not a good thing to throw up on some big screens. With 2 operators that would not have happened.

#3. That leads me to the fact it's also REALLY important that you have clear communication set up between the cameramen and the switch operator. In that previous situation I was trying to get the switch operator to switch back to the wide shot and get that "chest shot" off the screens, but it was really hard to hear eachother over our com headsets.

#4. The switch operator needs to have a good view of the screens and some way to see what the two cameras are seeing. Nothing like having the operator switch to your camera while you're in the middle of setting up a shot.

#5. If you're setting up on a portable stage, make sure people know to stay off it (including vendors). The simple act of someone walking around on these small stages can cause vibration through the tripod.


There's probably a lot more, but those are the things I specifically remember.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 08:03 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
#1. Add 2 extra cameras to whatever your package includes. In other words, if your packages includes 3 cameras then you will need 5 cameras that day. The first extra camera is for providing a "safe" wide shot, and the 2nd is for "close up" shots .. which may not be as close as you'd like depending on where you get stationed. The reason for adding these cameras is that you don't want to count on them for your post-production needs.
Absolutely. Don't count on your live switching cameras being useful for post production needs for a wedding movie. They are entirely different beasts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
#2. Hire an operator for BOTH of the extra cameras......Not a good thing to throw up on some big screens. With 2 operators that would not have happened.
Bingo. It also would have helped if I had been told that we had a real switcher, and not a video selector.... aka a selector does not sync sources and provide the switcher with previews from each cam to know when to switch between the two. Travis and my wife (switch op) did an amazing job with what we were asked to do. Lots of lessons learned from that gig (including to actually charge for the ability to do the live switching... somewhere near $1K might have covered the needed ops & a real switcher... not that pos we had to deal with). Also coms are very hard to get to work properly. Eartec is increasingly worth it in my opinion.

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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
#4. The switch operator needs to have a good view of the screens and some way to see what the two cameras are seeing.
Actual switchers (as mentioned above) would have solved this issue. So much for trusting the venue rep regarding what the equipment can do). Always check with someone that has actually used the equipment (even then, they thought it was a real video switcher).

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Originally Posted by Travis Cossel View Post
#5. If you're setting up on a portable stage, make sure people know to stay off it (including vendors). The simple act of someone walking around on these small stages can cause vibration through the tripod.
This was entirely unexpected for me. Guess those GL2s when at the far end of their zoom are incredibly touchy. Also the risers (absolutely critical in such a large reception hall with the cams at the back) was not quite the level of sturdiness I expected.

I'm still working on the post-mortem for that gig and learning new things each time I go back to review the footage for my highlight reel.
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Old September 30th, 2008, 08:09 PM   #11
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Yeah, we did fine considering it was a first for both of us and given the challenges. Definitely some lessons learned.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 12:39 AM   #12
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I guess it depends on what is the bride and groom's priority ... projecting live at the reception or the final DVD.

Projecting live at the reception would totally affect the quality of the final DVD unless you have separate teams to take care of each task - as has already been suggested here.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 08:38 AM   #13
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I have done many IMAG weddings and the first thing I tell the B&G is our first priority is getting good footage for the wedding video NOT the live projector feed. The only way to do this properly is to have a seperate crew for each task, and at that point, cost is prohibitive for all but the largest of weddings. I have also done weddings where they didn't want a wedding video, just the live feed to projectors. Usually this was a side request for a live webcast wedding. My set up is as follows:

1. 3 Sony Z1's with 150' snakes caring component video and 4 audio channels. One audio channel would be used for the Com system
2. Custom built Newtek VT system with SX 8 breakout box
3. Mackie 12 channel mixer
4. 2 Extron scalers out to projectors
5. Multichannel Com system
6. Sony DSR 11 deck
7. Standalone DVD recorder
8. 3 cam ops and 1 director
9. Backup analog switcher

Everything was housed in a custom road case that could be set up in less than an hour.

The great thing about the VT is that it is built for doing webcasts as well as live event IMAG. If the hall has high speed access, doing a webcast is pretty easy. As you can see, this is not for the faint of heart and isn't something I recommend the average wedding videographer do. This is a whole new ball game that requires a completely different set of skills, gear and technical know how. If you want to get in to this, may I suggest interning with a company that specializes in IMAG. You can really make yourself look bad if this isn't done right.


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Old October 1st, 2008, 08:50 AM   #14
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If you are doing a live feed and the b & g can afford the it, this would be the ideal set-up:

3- Cameras ( wide, close-up, eng)
1- Switcher
4- Video Monitors
1- Clearcom with 5 headsets
2- Mini-DV Recorders

You have one guy doing the switch and calling the shots. It is very important that a Clearcom is set-up, that way the guy can tell Camera 1 or 2 or 3 that his shot will be on screen. Aside from the IMAG, make sure that you record everything that comes out of the switcher, you'll have an edited footage at the end of the night. You can go extreme and do an ISO record on all 3 cameras as well.
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Old October 1st, 2008, 12:52 PM   #15
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If you are doing a live feed and the b & g can afford the it, this would be the ideal set-up:

3- Cameras ( wide, close-up, eng)
1- Switcher
4- Video Monitors
1- Clearcom with 5 headsets
2- Mini-DV Recorders

You have one guy doing the switch and calling the shots. It is very important that a Clearcom is set-up, that way the guy can tell Camera 1 or 2 or 3 that his shot will be on screen. Aside from the IMAG, make sure that you record everything that comes out of the switcher, you'll have an edited footage at the end of the night. You can go extreme and do an ISO record on all 3 cameras as well.
What do you mean by the "eng" camera. Is that a roving camera, or one pointed to the audience instead of the head table?

Also, why the two MiniDV recorders? Are these stand alone decks as opposed to using the MiniDV tapes in the cameras? I suppose a PC recording the DV feed (either upconverted from s-video switcher or straight DV from the switcher) would also work, though there would not be a tape archive.
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