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Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???

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Dylan Murphy
Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 6, 2009 at 3:31:00 am

I'm in LA and need to check framing and lighting on a shoot coming up in DC. I'm not directing the talent, just responsible for it not looking terrible (I'll have to edit it).

Anyone have experience with monitoring a location from 3,000 miles away?

Not even sure what my options are.

At first I thought iChat - but they're using a JVC GY-HM100U - so no firewire out from camera

I would like to use something more serious than ichat anyway - but I'm not sure I could squeeze more than a couple of hundred out of them to make this happen.

Any suggestions? Don't need to see 30fps - heck, 1 fps would be great if I could just see what the camera sees.

Thanks in advance

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Bill Davis
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 6, 2009 at 4:03:44 am

You have one choice that will work.

Carefully hire someone who knows how to shoot - then get out of their way and let them do their job.

ANYTHING you could do to monitor real-time work from 3000 miles away will DESTROY the flow of the production and you'll get WORSE results than doing nothing.

The only kind of control anyone really has in enhancing chances of success comes in consistently hiring people who are better than yourself to help you.

Good luck

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Dylan Murphy
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 6, 2009 at 4:53:24 am

I'm asking a technical question. You're answering a philosophical one. I agree with everything you say in principle - but you assume there's a professional crew to be interfered with on the other end of the line - there isn't. It's a weekly corporate web video and they want to be able to do it in house with their people. I shot the first three and they are paying me to talk them thru the next few. It's just part of the gig.

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Bill Davis
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 6, 2009 at 6:27:05 am

OK fair.

However, if you're assessing technical standards of video origination remotely - I think my base opinion that there's no good "real time" way to do that at 3000 miles distant stands. iChat won't do it since the compression and delivery throughput will rob your signal of a lot of the elements I'd want to assess if it was me.

You could conceivably have them capture, process and ftp stills, but again, I think that will screw up the workflow unacceptably.

So unless you want to book some satellite time or have a T1 line at both locations, everything I can figure requires so much delay it would be problematic for checking full-frame video of a real-time event.

Maybe someone else here does this kind of thing more regularly - and knows a way - but outside of buying satellite uplink time - I don't.

My 2 cents, anyway.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 6, 2009 at 2:17:27 pm

From the user manual

"Still Picture Capture
The GY-HM100U doubles as a very capable 2-Megapixel stillpicture
camera. You can capture pictures live or from video that is
already recorded, and store them to either of the on-board memory
card. What’s more, because the CCDs are progressive, every frame
is sharp and clear, even when there is movement in the scene."

The cam has a USB2 output, and records to SDHC cards. So what I would advise (besides never getting into this kind of deal again) is to have them set a shot, shoot a still thru the JVC, hook a laptop to it or sneakernet the stills into a card reader in the laptop, then use local wi-fi and a net connection to email or FTP you the still. You then make your suggestions as to framing and lighting via the phone, set to speakerphone, I guess.

(I'm imagining the scene from "Tropic Thunder" when the angry Producer, played by Tom Cruise, talking to the screw-up remote crew via 2-way satellite linkup, orders the Key Grip on location to walk over to the director, and punch him in the face... and, after a brief apology, the Grip does it.)

This setup using the stills for confirming framing and lighting composition would only cost the internet access costs, if they already have the USBcable and a properly outfitted laptop or netbook. If they have a phone with a camera built in, they could also show you a wide shot from the side, encompassing the entire room, so you can see where the lights and stuff are generally placed.

Good luck with it, though I think you're crazy for agreeing to this, but that's for another discussion.

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Alan Lloyd
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:09:09 pm

I had a client once, a few years ago, who insisted on sending me not only a reference diagram for a three-point lighting setup, but also a 50MB video file - where one good frame grab would have served. (It was a shoot of someone demoing software at a computer - they did not move during the demo.) And badgering me on shoot day several times as well, interrupting the flow of the project. Easily one of the least professional clients ever.

His best bet is to send a frame grab, diagram the plot as used beforehand, and ask for a photo to be emailed beforehand (with a "stand-in" if possible) so it could be done on setup rather than delaying the shoot.

Real-time monitoring is clearly not an option.

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Steve Kownacki
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 16, 2009 at 12:19:59 pm

Why not just send you a few stills or rehearsal video from a cell phone? It's quick, requires nothing special as far as computers or internet and in my opinion would provide more than enough detail for your review. No need to complicate things.

Oh and about iChat not being serious enough... We haven't tried it yet but with SnowLeopard and FCP, you can share the HD edit window in realtime for online instant collaboration. For years the best way to convert sequential still files to video was with Quicktime or iMovie. We still use iDVD for a bunch of stuff that is far faster and easier than DVDSP. Our profession (video in general) has more to do with capable, talented people utilizing the right resource than with specific tools that might impress a client. (Don't read that statement wrong, I'm not saying an HDV camera compares to RED.)


Jump to the FFP Website

View Steve Kownacki's profile on LinkedIn

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Dylan Murphy
Re: Internet Monitoring of Remote Shoot ???
on Oct 31, 2009 at 7:47:53 am

So here was the low cost solution (in case anyone finds themselves in a similar spot)

The tapeless JVC had no firewire out - so I used the A/V analog out (RCA)

plugged into the 80 dollar elgato video capture

which plugged into the USB port of the macbook pro in DC

The software that came with it had a decent preview image capability (never used it to capture)

then from LA, I connected via ichat and asked to share the macbook pro screen

I could watch the compressed preview screen and when I needed to see more clearly

I used a nice freeware utility called SnapNdrag (on the macbook) which allowed me to capture a still of just the preview window and drag it to my desktop 3,000 miles away

It was a bigger, cleaner image than you got from the camera's flip out LCD

it worked!

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