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Sync two cameras

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Daniel Sepulveda
Sync two cameras
on Mar 28, 2011 at 5:44:47 pm

Hi, hope someone can help me. I’m producing a TV show for South America, I am not a very experienced producer in the technical stuff. I bought two Sony PMW-EX1R, which I use to record interviews for the show. I am having a lot of trouble trying to get the same colors and exposure on both cameras. I balance whites with the same target, and set the cameras both with the same settings, but the image is still very different. Is there any way (maybe with a cable) that I can sync the cameras to obtain near the same image? And maybe it possible start recording at the same time so editing is easier?

Thank you and sorry for my ignorance

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john sharaf
Re: Sync two cameras
on Mar 28, 2011 at 6:01:28 pm

First off, let's use the proper terminology; syncing the cameras refers to locking them in timing, usually so they can be used on a switcher ithout glitching. Another reason to sync cameras is to assure complete frame accurate time code in multicam environment, which you'll want in addition to matching thew cameras which is really the basis of your query.

Syncing the two cameras is accomlished by taking the composit or y signal from the first and inputing that to the genlock (in) connector on the second and setting the seconds' menu to external sync. Both cameras needto be set to the same frame rate and drop frame status.

Matching the two pictures as you've already discovered is not such a simple recipe; the only real good solution is to engineer the two cameras in a lab setting with controlled light, a proper chart (like a Dsc chroma du monde), a wwaveform/vectorscope and the skills of an experience enginner/ camera shader. On set touchup uing all of the above also helps.

Once cameras are setu this way, by white balancing on location you will be in the ballpark for the minor color correction that is normally done in post. In addition proper exposure maximizes you match and cc possibilities as does constructing the elements of the two shots to match, such as similar colors in the backgroun d, lighting, etc.

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