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Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?

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Max Palmer
Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 12:40:33 am

So at work, we're putting together a fun "end of the year" video, and we'll be formatting the entire thing like a mock newscast with some of our employees as the talent. What I want to do, is do all of their takes with multiple cameras, so that I can cut down on the number of takes done due to switching the position of the camera. This way I can combine the footage into multi-camera in Premiere, and switch from three angles: one with both news anchors, and one angle for a closeup with each news anchor.

Problem is, I don't exactly work at a production facility, and I only have access to our one camera right now, a Canon XF100. A guy I know at work is a photographer with two Canon 5d dSLR's, a MKII and a MKIII. Can I reliably use these two cameras as my 2 and 3 cameras, and reliably combine the footage with the XF100?

I can't rent any equipment, because this is a zero budget project.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:11:29 pm

What you describe will work, but there's an easier way.
Shoot all the shots of the newscaster at the desk in a wide shot in HD. Then in post, you can digitally zoom in to get the live-switch look with far fewer complicatinos and no timing issues. You will want to shoot them with a chromakey background, so that when you add the artificial closeup in post, you can also blow up and blur the fake background to sell the illusion of two cameras from one.


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Max Palmer
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 3:57:29 pm

So if I shoot at 1080, put it into a 720 file, you think I'll have enough resolution to play with if I'm shooting both newscasters at once?

Does anyone know offhand how much I can scale a 1080 file up in a 720 project, percentage wise?

Thanks for the suggestion! It certainly would make my life easier if I did it that way.


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Todd Terry
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:22:07 pm

[Max Palmer] "Does anyone know offhand how much I can scale a 1080 file up in a 720 project, percentage wise?"

Well I would say 150%, but the theory is a little fuzzy because you are talking about putting a 1080 clip on a 720 timeline. Unless you do something to it (such as "scale to fit"), it will already appear scaled up.

If you put a 1080 clip on a 1080 timeline and zoom into it 150%, then what you are seeing is exactly the same as 720 resolution, if that helps.

If you are shooting wide or two-shots in 1080 but working in 720 that probably wouldn't give you enough leeway to zoom all the way in to single head shots. In NTSC, yes... but in 720, no.

I personally would just shoot the whole thing single-camera style... having my "anchors" do camera turns (to non-existent cameras, etc.), and all that... then cut it together. We've had success doing mock newscasts like that. The last one we did was all virtual set, because we wanted a 70s-era newscast set (a'la Ron Burgundy). I built a miniature news set out of foamcore and printed pieces, photographed that, and used it for all my foreground and background plates, with the "newscaster" shot on greenscreen.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:34:46 pm

His issue Todd is the talent is inexperienced and inconsistent. Doubly so with two actors inter-acting. He's going to generate much more footage and more post work trying to piece together a lot of takes from multiple cams. If he does it my way, he's done as soon as he gets one good take. Because he's doing the project for laughs, I wouldn't see a problem with mastering to a wide-screen Standard Def image, which I think gives him the room you talk about for using the single camera with the post-production reframing trick.

Yes, he could shoot some turns-to-side-camera but this isn't all that big a deal to fake in the single-cam scam: the actor fakes like they are turning a little, and you cut to the new backdrop and same original but severely re-framed shot on that little fake move, the eye will buy it because the new shot will be different enough to cover it.

I would shoot a wide 2-shot lock-down with one camera, and then do the wide singles locked down on the other, and then apply the virtual focal length changes in post, get the thing done fast and easy, if its a low-stakes project.

look, it's fast and easy to test this with one cam, green screen, two or three different replacement backgrounds and five minutes of footage. Decide for yourself if it will work.

I did this some years back on a virtual set in my Pinnacle Alladin days. the back wall was the same shot, twice, only the one for closeup was magnified and had blur added to suggest a change in depth of field.


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Todd Terry
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 4:59:36 pm

Well Mark my argument for single-camera style would be that your inexperienced and inconsistent "anchors" would have a much easier time banging out short single-camera takes rather than trying to do the show top-to-bottom with one single camera position. Even with the "It's ok if we start and stop" mandate, the "talent" will be nervous and feel pressure to get through it without screwing up.

I wasn't being too concerned about generating a lot of excess footage or post work, I was more thinking of making it look authentic and natural. But if this is just a "bang it out and get it done, movin' on to the next thing" project, then that's another matter.

Either way would work perfectly fine.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Max Palmer
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:11:09 pm

Todd- doing shorter takes, and being able to switch between the takes with cuts would be ideal. I'm hoping I can script it so that this is easy for us to do. Also another reason why I wanted to explore the multiple-camera route, so that we can concentrate on getting good takes recorded, instead of re-shooting just for the purpose of angles. More complicated for sure, but might be better in the end.

Just sort of weighing my options!


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Max Palmer
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:01:44 pm

Mark- do you know of any examples of that sort of setup I could look at?

Are you talking about two cameras, or three? If I could manage it with one cam, that would actually be best, but I wasn't sure how well I'd be able to do it. But yes, all in all, it's a just-for-kicks, low stake piece, and if it's less than stellar, nobody will know or even care. But practice is practice!


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Todd Terry
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:14:54 pm

Well Max the two methods that Mark and I are describing attack it from different ways, but both are doable. His is more the fast-and-easy-get-it-done-quick way, and mine is more make-it-look-like-a-real-newscast way, but is admitadly more production intensive. But neither is too hard.

But BOTH methods use a SINGLE camera only. Neither are multi-camera.

T2

__________________________________
Todd Terry
Creative Director
Fantastic Plastic Entertainment, Inc.
fantasticplastic.com



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Mark Suszko
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:27:07 pm

I've done it Todd's way before as well, he's right that both methods work. I would suggest you go do a quickie test and see for yourself if my approach gives the results you want. You only need to shoot thirty seconds of someone talking at their desk on a wide shot, then bring that into a wide-screen NTSC SD timeline and play with scaling the image and re-positioning it. One of my tricks when re-positioning the shots is to keep the headroom consistent but also to try and keep the eyes on the same imaginary horizontal line. Do all the green screen fx last after the entire show is otherwise finished.

If i was going to shoot it todd's way, I'd physically move the single camera in and out for the wides and closeups. I'd do the entire script first on wide, then with the talent having had that little bit of practice to warm-up, I'd move the camera in closer and do it all again.

Are you going to use a teleprompter with these guys or just dummy cards or memorization, what?


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Max Palmer
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 5:35:25 pm

I will have to go do a dummy test for sure. I'm going to try and script it and have a single screen with prompts, and some ad-libbing of course.. Might not work if they have to turn and look into another camera, and not be able to read the prompts at the same time. Something for me to think about.


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Mark Suszko
Re: Any forseeable issues combining footage like this?
on Nov 21, 2012 at 10:18:38 pm

if you shoot it the way i suggest, they turn half-way in their chairs and look down, then up again as they turn back to face the same camera. You cut tio the magnified shot with the new magnified and blurred background at that spot and it should look as if they are now facing a new camera when in fact they never left the first one.


You know how, on a full green screen stage, you can dolly the camera around the talent in a circle or the talent can just turn in place, and the final shot looks the same? it's like that.


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