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New to event video production & need advice

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prairiestormNew to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 10, 2007 at 5:15:41 pm


I have been taking photos and some video highlights of many of our local high school and community events for the last few years (my wife is a teacher and former coach). I have recently been asked to videotape a local showchoir competition and make the video available for competition review (immediately following each performance) as well as possible purchase by interested parents. I am new to this so I need some help...

I just purchased my second Panasonic AGDVX 100A via ebay for multi-camera captures such as this last fall, now I need to figure out the best way to record/switch live. In the past I've recorded all video on each camera and editing later. However, this can become quite tedious in post production (I use FCP).

Would any of you have ideas/suggestions on a two or three camera setup to record a live events such show choir and high school plays? I am good on camera's and tripods, just need to know where to go from there and don't have the luxury of a very large budget.

Thanks much!

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ThaxRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 11, 2007 at 7:32:33 pm


Focus Enhancements/Videonics:

And the best of the bunch ($$$), DataVideo:

Google "video switcher" or "Video mixer" for more.

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Doug GrahamRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 12, 2007 at 6:49:36 pm

One of my colleagues makes a very good living by using multiple camera live switching to make videos of recitals, plays, and other events. His biggest selling point is that DVDs are available right after the performance. He brings a duplication tower to the event, and is all set up to dub the master tape (which is recorded from the output of the switcher) to DVDs.

Doug Graham

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P. J.  in HollywoodRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 13, 2007 at 5:00:36 am

You'll need a video switcher with camera, preview and program monitors. Thats five monitors for a three camera shoot. You'll need a deck and a back-up deck to record to. You'll also need a means of communicating to your camera operators on shots you need and to tell the camera operators when he's "on" and not. You are now the director.

Recording live to a lap top with DV rack is also nice for keeping levels below 100 IRE and not blowing out your whites. It saves capturing later.

Most live venues do not light for cameras, so your operators need to constantly monitor and adjust their irises. When they pull out, the need to open their irises. When they zoom in, they need to close the iris down, all so that the viewer does not see it. This is quite a skill, made more difficult by pro sumer cameras that have amateur lenses (no iris ring on the lens). Auto iris goes nuts when light levels drop. It is a distraction to the viewer and is not a professional product.

There are many commercial equipment houses that can advise you on this as well as different levels of equipment. If you only do it once in a while, you may want to check into renting a package. With the rapid changing of technology, that may be a good way to go. Imagine investing thousands of dollars in SD equipment only to have to replace it with HD equipment a few years later.

You need to do your homework, but in any case, it gets really expensive when you do a live to tape mix of an event with multi-cameras.

Best to hook up with someone who already does this and tag along for some experience. The gear can start out at under $10,000 (for the video mixer, monitors and decks and quickly go up from there. Mistakes, however, are expensive.

Next comes audio. Most venue PA systems cannot be depended on for a quite audio feed, but its worth checking it out. The PA volumes, however, may not be suitable for your video levels. Even if you can get a feed from the PA board, you'll need to monitor your levels so that you don't distort your sound or have it so soft that its not usable.

You'll need your own mics, an audio mixer with personnel to mix the feeds, to feed into your decks. Thats a whole other subject. If this is not possible, take an audio feed off of the PA board. Do not use your camera mics, or your audience will be louder than the talent on the stage.

Again, best to start out with someone who is already a pro at this; watch and learn.

Good luck,

P. J. in Hollywood.

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tomRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 14, 2007 at 6:49:53 pm

Are you going to invest in a switcher, a record deck ? and run cables from the camers to the deck, tape them and protect them so no one trips and sues you for everything you own, get good camera operators that can give you the shots and follow directions quickly, can you call the shots fast and correctly ? So you still have to run tape in camera because someone will mess up at least once. And you will need someone running sound and sound only.

Live shoots are hard work good luck


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prairiestormRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 15, 2007 at 1:45:32 pm

Thanks all for the advice, links and tips. Unfortunately I may not be able to get all I need to do this as professionaly as I'd like due to budget and finding the right people to help, but in "small town" South Dakota if I don't pick up the ball and run with it, it will get dropped. Thanks for heading me down the right path.


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mark raudonisRe: New to event video production & need advice
by on Feb 25, 2007 at 2:11:23 am


So far, everyone has given you the best "professional" advice for a multicamera shoot. It's good advice and well intended. It seems however, that you're trying to do this with a "no budget" approach. Worse, the fine line between doing it or not doing it is the cost... right?

So, here's a suggestion that is clearly NOT the best professional way to approach it... but will enable you to live switch a multicam shoot live to tape (or file) and then immediately review or distribute.

Check out this product called "Wirecast".

It takes a firewire feed from a camera and allows you to live switch, add FX, titles, and best of all, go out directly to a webstream for live broadcast. It's surprisingly cheap... only $450 bucks.

Look, there's a right way to do this, and an "anyway" to do it. Three firewire cameras, a PC (or Mac) with multiple firewire ports and you're in business, for pennies. Good luck.


PS, We use this program tied to a three camera setup to regularly create direct to the web programming. I can tell you that it works as promised, but in a "live" environment, may not be the easiest set up to deal with. However, weigh this against not doing it all due to cost.

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