First multicam concert video...setup/suggestions please
Hello all- my first post, and it will be a doozie...
I'm slated to do a video of a friend's band for a portfolio DVD and/or website. They play James Taylor-type easy listening music, so it wont be a super-dynamic performance. I thought I'd do a 3-camera setup, but as this evolves, it's looking like I'll be the sole videographer.
What's the most effective way I can do this?
MY GEAR: Canon 60D, Canon 5D Mk III, and Sony HDR CX150.
MY LENSES: 16-35mm f2.8L, 50mm f1.4, 85mm f1.8, 100mm f2.8L, 24-105mm f4L, 70-200mm f4L
I was thinking I'd set up one DSLR for medium-wide angle, and another for super-wide, off to the side so that I can even include some of the crowd. The floating camera, (camcorder) was to be for musician closeups. But as a single operator, I am feeling like I'll be in over my head.
I am not even sure the Sony HDR CX150 will suffice, as it shoots 60i, and I was thinking I'd need 24p out of the DSLRs just to keep the shutter slow enough. Thought of acquiring a Canon VIXIA HF G10, to help with low light, match frame rates, and make color matching easier, later in post.
Should I use the camcorder for the stationary shooting and mess with the DSLR for the closeups, or pre-focus the DSLR as a stationary, then get the closeups with the camcorder?
As a stationary, the DSLR with 16-35mm at 2.8 shouldnt give me DOF issues, but the 50mm and higher might.
The entire performance is about 2 hours, with a 15 minute intermission. There will be logistical issues with me having to start/stop the DSLRs continually, especially if the venue gets annoyed with me floating around.
I welcome any/all suggestions for making this a bit less daunting, even if I need to drop one camera.
I appreciate all your great work. Thanks so much.
Here's a way to make it a bit more interesting and have some flexibility. Any stationary camera you have (such as your front-wide angle shot) shoot it in 1080p. Now what I do is take the 1080p footage and nest it into a 720 comp - now I have plenty of room for zooming in and out without loss of quality because the 1080p footage is huge compared to the 720 comp.
Scale the footage down to fit the 720 comp exactly. In Premiere it's at 67%. Now you can zoom in to the 100% (and actually even beyond that if you want) and even pan back and forth.
I do this all the time with and it works well.
I would leave a little extra room on the right and left sides when framing your wide-angle shot. The reason for this is when you zoom in post - you want to be able to center your subject that may be tight to the side of the shot. If there is no extra room it will be harder to center the subject.
David, Thanks- I had thought of this too, but wasn't sure of the resolution I'd lose. The tip about producing the video in 720 is great. Do you think that if I set the camcorder up at the sound booth, in the back of the theatre, would give me the best angles without being too far? Or should I find a spot off to the side, but closer? Leaving space on the sides is also a great tip. Thanks!
I'll be using FCP X as my editor, on a 2.8GHz Intel Core Duo iMac with 4 GB. If I manage to get good video, that will be my next hurdle! Damn I need more money. Hahaha.
You could do this idea with any stationary camera. I personally would want a straight on stage shot - I think that would work best.
The computer I work on has a 3.0 cpu and 4GB ram.
Let me start off by saying I have NEVER filmed what you propose so these are all just ideas/notes, take what seems useful and disregard the rest! :-)
I would take a different approach in order to make the odds of success much higher when you are challenged by essentially having to film everything yourself. Essentially I'd approach it as a music video/mini documentary....you are not trying to capture every second of every performance. Instead you might start off with an interview with the band shot in a nice location some days beforehand.
Then I would follow the band to the gig and film them loading in, doing audio checks, setting up gear, in the green room etc....this is all great B-roll to have. Get some interviews in too!
During the actual performance (and I would try to film more than one performance by the way) perhaps setting up the 1080p video camera on a tripod and getting a nice wide shot would be a good - the point is that you are going to walk away from that camera once it is rolling - so you will want to think about security and making sure the camera doesn't get jostled or, worse, tipped over by an audience member.
Now I would use the DSLR to film all my beauty shots of the band performing .... maybe rent a slider if you can manage it. I suggest using a monopod so that you can more easily move around...maybe try even getting up on stage if possible. Remember wide, medium and closeups. Don't forget to film the audience too!
After the show, do an interview with the band members, relaxing and talking about what they like best about performing - etc etc. They should still be pretty hyped up from their experience on stage.
Now in editing you have great material for a featurette - sound is going to be a whole other issue that will be very important and I suggest you spend a great deal of time figuring that out - for the performance you MIGHT be able to use the songs from their CD instead of the performance sound of them playing - I guess it depends upon how close the two are timing wise and if they improvise on stage, that won't work well at all. See if you can get the venues sound guy to connect a digital audio recorder (yours) to their soundboard.
Crow Digital Media
Steve- AWESOME ADVICE. Thank you so much. I think you just took a whole lot of stress out of my shoot with those ideas! I will have a monopod for the DSLR. Between that and the stationary camera I should have the ability to make some nice cuts. The pre/post interviews will be fantastic. I'll have a RODE mic for that, and as for concert sound, they are taking a feed off the mixing board.
As for DSLR lens to use, my fastest zoom is the 16-35mm f2.8. I'm wondering if that is too wide to leave on for the performance? Otherwise its gotta be a fast 50, 80, or 100mm prime. Would you make the same suggestion as David did, that I zoom/pan in post? Or keep a fast prime on there? I would love to be able to use my 24-105 or 70-200, but they are both f4. I may have to test that out with the lighting, prior to showtime if I can.
Anyone care to comment on video quality using an f4 zoom with my 5D Mark III under concert lighting?
I was planning on leaving white balance and ISO on auto, and controlling shutter speed to be 1/50. Is this a good/bad idea?
Thank you all for your patience and great help. Keep it coming.
I wouldn't be hesitant to use the F4 because the Canon has great low light performance and an awesome ISO range. That said, I always film on manual and so would not recommend auto ISO - you want to remain in complete control of the image. Sometimes I use auto functions just to see what the camera suggests and then I go back into Manual and adjust from there. Keeping shutter speed at 1/50 is the correct approach and actually it's one less thing you have to worry about it - as the famous Ron Popeil infomercial said "Just set it and forget it!"
Crow Digital Media
DO NOT put your WB and ISO on auto. With color concert lighting, your Auto White Balance would be going crazy. Set all cameras to the same color temperature at the beginning of the show and then don't touch it. You want your purple concert lighting to look purple. You don't want your camera trying to make your purple lighting look like standard white light. Bad idea.
I have shot music in clubs with an f/4 and it works fine. It looks solid on my 7D at ISO 800 (with a little bit of NR), so your 5DMIII with its great high ISO performance should be fine.
I wouldn't necessarily worry too much about how wide your lens is, I would put more focus on how much variety of focal length you can get, especially since you are doing this all by yourself. If you don't have much variety in focal length and you have two set cameras. You are going to end up cutting between the same three shots over and over. I think the audience may get bored. I would try and get a 70-200 or 24-105. Those give you great coverage and for music I find ECUs on the long end of those lenses to be really engaging.
As far as start & stopping your DSLR's: I would put my camcorder in the back as your wide shot. Keep that rolling the entire time and plug your audio feed to it. Then start and stop your DSLRs at will and sync in post (I use Plural Eyes but I think FCPX might do it for you).
Oh, and I agree with Steve. Don't try to achieve a full 2 hour video of the entire show. Doing that right would require much more than 1 guy and 2 cameras, and NOT doing it right means that nobody is going to sit through through the full 2 hours, not even the band. Don't waste your time.
Instead, pick out a four or five songs. Shoot them and a bunch of b-roll and a bunch of interview footage. Pull the best parts of a one or two songs and intercut with the interview footage, using the b-roll as transitions, to cover your mistakes, and to make the piece more engaging in general.
Here are about a million good examples - http://pitchfork.com/tv/
Steve and John-
I feel much better knowing I can get away with the f4 lenses. Your advice about two hrs of concert video becoming stale with the same cuts is exactly what I began to worry about. I'd always be alternating between the b-roll and a wide shot. The additional interview cuts will make things much more dynamic and easier. By using the camcorder as a continuous reel, I'm thinking I can put my 60D w/ 16-35 on the stage, almost 90 deg to the band, getting band and crowd as an extra angle. I can start it, let it run to its max 12min file, and restart it again when the opportunity allows. In the meantime, I can use the 5D w/70-200 on a monopod and float around (assuming the venue doesn't get annoyed at me moving around in front of the stage & paying public).
Manual control- check. I've seen FCPX do a nice job w/ multicam syncs, so I should have that covered.
I must say thanks once again. You all are making me feel very welcome here and I'm learning tons in each post.
Frank, I think all this advice is good but there are a couple of things you might want to consider. First off, your FCPX setup is a little weak. If you can swing it before you do this shoot, try to max out the ram on your machine. It will make a lot of difference when you're trying to chug through all those long clips.
The second thing is, Google up a few tutorials on using multi-cam in FCPX. It is a miraculous bit of magic but it can be kind of a bear to work through. No need for PluralEyes as FCPX has excellent synching but you might want to consider doing a strictly audio, high quality recording of the concert as a reference track to sync all the video clips too. You'll get different sound from each of the cameras and it's unlikely any of it will be of the quality you'll want.
I don't envy the task you have ahead of you with this project but that which does not kill us only makes us stronger!!
My iMac is a 2008 Intel Core 2 Duo, with 4 GB, maxed out. I hope the editing isn't too painfully slow. I've been watching many FCPX tutorials on multicam, and there are some great tips out there. I will keep you all posted as to my progress. Many thanks!
We shot four cameras last April. Live concert in Santa Barbara.
The advice is correct so far, do not use auto settings for WB, it will be a nightmare if someone moves across the frame with a darker or lighter jacket etc.
Best practice, ask for a stage/set run through with show lighting, do not be shy.
We shot 2 D7K's, a T2i and a MK2 and although we agreed before hand on the ISO's for each.
The lens with obvious issues was a zoom that had variable f3.5-5.6 build. When opened up, pushed or pulled it had considerable effect on exposure. The Canons, hued greatly in a red over cast (70-200) and 400. While the Nikon hand held (on stage) D7k was a 24-70 and had the best DR given the results, because it was on the stage.
What we did not benefit from was a show lights run through, that, is my fault and I should have demanded (asked firmly) from the amenable house crew and MD, but shy took over.
What the crew could have gained from (the four operators) was a test drive of short clips from each setting in show lights by song, and that should have been run back to the DIT table and put into Premiere for a scope evaluation.
Had we done that, the post production tasking for color balancing, over and under exposed clips, would have taken hours and days off of the editing that I did myself.
The project advanced so I built an anthology of the label (15 year anniversary concert) from their archives, stills and CD cover, tunes, JPEGs, and added several of my stock shots and video where fill was appropriate. Also, a trailer for their fan base, and then the 12 song concert.
Missing elements even though we had a Grammy winning engineer running his (48 track) Pro Tools rig was consensus on 48k versus 44.1 (I up converted the mastered mix in post) and that a house mic should have been running for the banter and MC walk up, stories and so on.
As it was, I had to pull that from the various cameras because the MD and engineer didn't consider tracking the between set banter or walk up intros etc. which I did not know until the CD was released.
I then paid my own mastering engineer to make sense of the disparate audio sources when we went to DVD. The in between takes, fleshed out the documentary nature of the release.
Upon final review, the footage all passed muster (I gave them option for outside color correction, they passed) some things could be tighter but, I refused to comp any footage with one short five second exception, to the dismay of an outside editor who was consulting. His suggestion, while valid, simply demanded additional time and expense so we went with the organic look, because it worked and it is my edit in the end.
The project was released in December with a delay of a few weeks over a dead C drive (that was fun!) and allowing (against my written proposal, because I am a musician duh!) for the singers to review their takes (a complete waste of three weeks as everyone was fine).
It was my gig to shoot stills (D3S) and I talked them into filming on spec. Four people jumped on it for film credit.
The second run will be manufactured and managed by a third party distributor, and the label will eventually settle up in full so I will recoup which I found out today.
Oh, buy Plural Eyes or equal, hand synching 2 1/2 hours of cameras for walk up audio, to CD tracks is a (chore)but I did hand synch when one of the Prima Donna players decided to cut a song and a half in the studio after the fact, talk about looking for cymbal and conga hits and guitar riffs from hell. It's a good thing I play and knew when to cut away and fill with another angle.
So get a board feed, one other thing I did not demand.
PS: I credit Rich Harrington and his cohorts for the guidance their excellent training has provided, seminars, books: From Still to Motion, An Editors Guide to Premiere Pro and the plethora of video available here in Cow Land and on Video Cop since embarking on this imagery journey back in 2010.
Rob- BIG help, thanks! I do have an audio feed from the mixing board that I will use as my main track. I've got a RODE Pro on my 5D Mk III for interviews etc. You've got me pegged with the shyness thing, as I do not want to be that "annoying guy." But I WILL remember your post as I politely demand to have the show lighting turned on prior to go-time.
To help with knowing what to record/when to change shots, I've been attending their rehearsals and I have a copy of their last videoed performance... which, shows me, by the way, why they want me to shoot them again. Without being too critical of someone else's work, I saw no attempt at color correction when cutting between different cameras, and all very shaky footage, with very little thought put into making deliberate cuts. My feeling is that those are the biggest reasons why the band did not like the first video.
I am somewhat concerned about using my Sony HDR CX150 camcorder (from 2010)... while it does have manual WB, it only shoots 60i, and matching both color and frame rate might prove to be nightmarish. It might be time for a Canon VIXIA HF G10, for the 24p to match my DSLRs.
Everyone's help here is contributing to what I hope will be something they'll love. Thanks.
That Rode VideoMic isn't going to be all that great for interviews - what it IS good for is giving you better in-camera sound and something that is easier to sync with. With that mic alone you'll have to remain close to your subjects in order for the mic to pick up a relatively decent signal and that's assuming you are conducting interviews in a quiet environment which I don't think you can count on. Also, you won't be able to monitor the sound quality while recording which is risky.
Search this forum for "dual audio" for a much preferred technique - great visuals with poor sound is not a good combination. Audio is a costly aspect of video production but makes a HUGE impact on the results.
Crow Digital Media
OK! I will search it! Thanks Steve.
We also had a 5th camera, a slightly older HD video cam.
The shots were more video like but did not have the low light DR of the Nikons or Canons so we did not use that footage. (It would have worked in post, just a different look that's all)
If you have a friend, intern pal, younger relative etc. see if you can have them tag along for line credit or dinner, and use a boom pole with an appropriate shotgun.
Even a Zoom H4N on a pole will do a better job close in than the Rode as mentioned in the last post. The Rode might do well also, on a pole don't know the field/range/SPL of that model.
Perhaps you can stage an area where the interviews are taking place with a static placement of a good overhead drum mic or shotgun, also to better control the interview lighting.
If you can scrounge up a DAR for live interviews, just watch the gain at each stage of the process and check levels before the down beat for the spoken bits.
Mics are either dynamic (magnet on board) or Condenser (48v Phantom or battery) so check with your friends, or even the band.
Even though this all may seem like the performers are being put upon, encourage them to meet your suggestions over the fact that getting the best possible product from the moment, allows the HD content to be wrung out later (SD versus HD) onto DVD, and these steps allow for the best quality going forward or for h.264/Flash/html5 uploads.
Sounds like you have it under control, have fun.
Ok! Well it's show day and I am super-nervous... Here's my plan, and a few last questions... Suggestions welcomed!
-Sony HDR CX150, in sound booth center, for super-wide;
-Canon Vixia HF G10, left side of auditorium for medium- wide left shot;
-Canon 60D on edge of stage- right, where I can reach it to start/stop it every two songs.
-Canon 5D III on monopod in my hands, as I float in front for close ups.
I plan to start the 2 camcorders and walk away from them. QUESTION: is it still best to try to set manual exposure/focus on those two, since I really have no one monitoring them? The lighs shouldn't be varying too much, but I really won't have much chance to check/adjust them.
I have all cameras set to tungsten WB and 24p (Sony handycam is 60i and set to indoor). DSLRs are set on Neutral Style, with sharpness & contrast dialed all down, saturation 2 clicks down. (I can't change the Sony)
The show is two sets of a bit over an hour each set. I am following the great advice you all gave about doing a featurette, but they also want the full video when all is said and done. I think I'm running out to buy a few more higher capacity memory cards now too just to be sure.
Any other lat minute advice about settings, camera placement/function, etc?
Thank you all for your wonderful help. I will report back with the outcome.
I would definitely set the unmanned cameras to manual. If there is an opening band, use that time to check how they look and adjust accordingly. You don't want a camera on auto. If a camera is on 'Auto', the camera tries to adjust itself, and they usually don't do a very good job.
Next time you do this I would highly recommend getting some people to man those cameras. I have a feeling that when you edit this you will want more variation in your shots. Maybe you can get some camera ops to shoot for you as long as you buy them a beer or two.
Shoot this one and see what happens. Learn from your mistakes for the next time.
If it helps, I just released the first in a music series that I am producing. This three camera ops on three DSLRs and a Zoom H4N picking up audio from the sound board. We shot 5 or 6 songs and an interview, then condensed it down to this.