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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old January 9th, 2014, 01:00 PM   #1
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Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

Was setting up recently while the previous wedding was finishing up, and the videographers for that wedding were old pros. This was a Macedonian ceremony, which is not an easy thing to cover, but they knew exactly where to stand, and joked around with the priest like they'd known him forever. Both had huge ENG cameras, one shoulder mounted, one tripod mounted; and the tripod had a strap for easy carrying. (A world away from our shooting style... Takes us an hour to set up, and 20 minutes to pack up, fiddling with lenses and sound equipment and multiple camera bodies and support gear. These guys could have bumped in and bumped out in two seconds flat.)

Anyways, among all the accessories on top of their cameras (lights, shotguns, wireless receivers), each had a GoPro camera.

Now, I think that's a pretty interesting idea, assuming you can power the thing all day and that it cuts acceptably with your main cams. Now you have four cameras for the price of two, so to speak.

Anyone had any experience with this sort of technique or similar? I believe Roger uses a dual mount on his tripod, for instance.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 01:46 PM   #2
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

I often do that when there is no better place for a gopro to be placed n.b. I prefer that the gopro has a totally different composition to the nearest cam but thats not always possible. I attach it to the tripod using a Manfrotto super clamp plus one of their flexible arms and a mini ball head on that (to get the height you need as a gopro too low often looks quite wrong).

The gopro is not as good in low light so sometimes it will be unusable but its great when the circumstances are favourable. If you attach it to a cams hotshoe you are likely to have the issue of it capturing onrig equipment because of its ultra wide field of view. You can either set it to shoot medium instead of wide, crop in post, or use a friction arm to get it far enough forward of the cam to miss an onboard shotgun mic etc.

The gopro has a very high quality capture setting called protune (?) which is a bit like shooting with a flat profile with a dSLR. It swallows up a lot more battery and memory and I don't bother with it any more. With normal use you'll get several hours onto a 32gb card and well over an hour per battey. Extra batteries from Wasabi are cheap and reliable.

It can be fiddly to constantly be starting and stopping both cams on the same rig, especially if you are also doing stanfalone audio. The gopro can be worked using a special wristband - that can be much easier than trying to use a smartphone app to control it. Likewise you can start and stop some dSLRs using a trigger such as the Pixel King Pro; to do that you need the transceiver close to the cam and linked using the appropriate short cable into the cams shutter release socket. Then start and stop it using a second transceiver. In recent cams you must first go into the menu and set the video to start recording on half press of the shutter release (in liveview mode). You don't have that menu choice on the 5dii so accomplish it with Magic Lantern instead.

In a nutshell its not as easy as it seems but it can be invaluable. I did a lot of it at a recent kids party and it was great for that as I could have the gopro running whilst i was reframing the main cams composition etc, all atop a monopod.

Mercalli 3 standalone worlks well for stabilising the gopro footage you acquire on run 'n gun.

Pete
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Old January 9th, 2014, 02:19 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

I really would like to try one 4k camera during a church ceremony and edit in a 1080p timeline, that "should" give me 3 camera positions without having to move the camera, I could have the priest at the altar and the reading lectern which is always on the left or right of the altar in one shot and in post switch between a close up from the lectern, back to a close up from the altar or back to showing both. You would not have any issues with image quality or images not matching up either.That would make life much easier.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 04:07 PM   #4
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

@ Adrian - I often use the double camera mount when shooting solo and in fact at the last wedding, I had one of the video cams, a stills camera and the GoPro on the same tripod. My GoPro is a 3+Silver with wifi, so I can monitor the pic and stop and start it from my android phone. It works up to about 30ft away if I need to mount the camera remotely.

@ Noa - I've been thinking along the same lines about a 4k camera, also great for when I am shooting school productions. I could just point the camera at the stage and read a book until it's finished, then crop on the action in post :-)

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Old January 9th, 2014, 06:45 PM   #5
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

It's nice to know that us older style dudes still exist ..I'm much the same with two ENG style cameras ..one on the tripod and one on my shoulder .

The GoPro (I always run at least one at every wedding) normally sits on a light stand high above my tripod so I have at least one FOV that the photog cannot ever block!

My mate Philip used to snap a GoPro onto both of his Sony EX1R's at weddings and keep the EX1's shots tight so that way each camera would produce a tight shot and a wide shot.

Adrian, I certainly couldn't see you trying to mount a GoPro on top of your 5DIII's DSLR's are tough enough on their own to shoot with without being made top heavy. I already admire how you guys manage to shoot with them without any extras ..My DSLR's stay still cameras as I'm not that talented!!

My attitude towards extra cameras is "go for it" Shucks I have shot weddings where the GoPro footage was awful simply due to the lighting at the venue so I just don't use it!! For the price of a GoPro it would be silly not to use it for an extra angle. Just cos you use it doesn't mean you are obliged to use it.
My GoPros go into cars, limos and even golf carts at weddings ... and the results can be really amazing !

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Old January 9th, 2014, 06:54 PM   #6
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

I've used a couple Sony DSC TX100's - small, light and decent 1080 60p, as well as cheap to acquire... so-so battery life and 29 minute clip limit, but you can cover for that!

Using a second cam for a wide safety shot while the other is on tight is a decent way to give yourself an emergency cutaway should every other "deliberate" angle become blocked at a crucial moment. There are advantages to having a couple cams "linked" in the same location (easier to monitor), and then there are disadvantages (like if one is blocked, you probably lose the second unless it's on a high mounting).
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Old January 9th, 2014, 07:37 PM   #7
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

Those pros that had the 2 huge ENG cameras, did you notice if they used the DV cam tape format or the DVD XD cam type ? I have done only 2 Macedonian weddings in my lifetime and those required continuous taping/capturing of all the reception dances NON-STOP, and I mean NON-STOP without any gap in the music breaks and time off, not even to change tapes/media, batteries. I imagine the Go Pro cameras were there just to offer continuous capture if and when the media had to be changed. Trust me, they are the toughest weddings that go on all day/night, relentless. No time for coffe breaks, bathroom, cigartette...
The first one I did, I missed just 2 minutes of a dance and I was ushered back in the dance floor before as soon as I finished at the john.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 08:09 PM   #8
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

Hi Arthur, that's an interesting thought. I think they were tape-based Sony cameras (and big chunky ones -- larger than an EA50), but I wasn't familiar with the model. Not sure what sort of media, but probably not mini-DV.

My wedding that day was a Macedonian one as well. Half-Macedonian anyway. The dancing part is stressing me out a bit, but I've clarified with the couple in advance what their expectations are, so hopefully it'll be OK.
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Old January 9th, 2014, 08:29 PM   #9
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

Remind me not to do Macedonian weddings then!! I exclude all middle Eastern weddings from weddings I accept because they also require everything filming non-stop which is not practical on your own!

I cannot imagine who would be able to sit thru 6 hours of footage of a wedding reception!! First dance and about 3 songs after that is my limit.

Big ENG cams usually still use DVCAM format that AFAIK is still analogue unless they were using DigiBeta must be pretty boring doing CCTV style footage all night which is all that amounts to.

So Adrian? are we going to see a 5D with a flash style bracket under the camera with a little GoPro mounted on each side now?? If they expect a huge amount of footage I would tend to hoist a couple of GoPro's high up in each corner and just let them run. I did a Congolese wedding and they expected me to have filmed the guests and band while they were in another room filming the signing of documents. Luckily the GoPro in the Church kept running so they got their footage!

Chris
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Old January 9th, 2014, 10:49 PM   #10
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Re: Shooting with two cameras simultaneously all day

You can still find DV/DVCAM large shell tapes that will get you 3.5 hours of continuous run and with the right battery you can cover that power wise. If they used DSR250s with a 90W battery they 're good for about 7.5 hours. Put the camera on a tripod and go for it. Like was said, it's almost CCTV type coverage but sometimes that's all you can do.
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