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Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit

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Marina WahbaSetting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 12:13:09 am


I'm trying to set an on-site editing unit.
We film talks and conferences and I was looking to do a quick editing of the talk while filming and be able to make it available for sale on DVD on the same day.
What kind of equipment do I need?

It's multicam (2-3 cameras). I use Final Cut Pro. I have a Macbook Pro and an iMac equipped with Final Cut Pro, AE, iMovie, ...

what kind of connectors, cables, screens, softwares and presets would make this operation esaier and quicker for me?

Marina W.

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JK VideoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:38:18 pm

I would not be using FCP for this. I would get a video switcher, audio mixer, a good stand alone DVD recorder and a DVD duplicator. This would be the fastest way to produce a quality DVD for sale right after the meeting takes place. FCP will only add time and headache to this type of production. B&H would be the best place to start looking for the video switcher.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:45:49 pm

Well, you don't want to edit this at all, what you want is to live-switch the cameras using a video switcher, into a master recording, then mass-dub that recording on-site using a DVD replicating tower and printer setup.

You might be able to use the mac as your switcher, there are some software packages out there that can do this, if you add some special video cards or I/O hardware, but I think you are much better off using an inexpensive purpose-built switcher, and sending it's output direct to a Stand-Alone DVD recorder. Then pop the finalized DVD-r into a replicator tower, bam, make ten dubs of it every three minutes or so. The printer to label the disks will be slower, if you know how many dubs you'll need, you can pre-print the blank media in advance and save some time at the event.

The switcher can be bought or rented, if there's an A/V rental place near you. A Newtek Tricaster would be good for this job, if available to rent. If buying, an SD switcher from Edirol, for example, can be bought new for right around a grand. HD Switchers will cost more, then again, if your final product is a standard def DVD-R, HD is likely overkill, right?

You'll need an intercom system to talk to your cameramen to coordinate who shoots what and when to change shots. A throw-away kind of way to do this on a one-shot basis could be to use your cel phones with bluetooth earpieces and just make it a 4-way conference call, or you can use cheap FRS walkie-talkie radios on a shared channel with ear pieces to communicate with your camera operators one-way. They don't really need to answer back. You're all in the same room, or maybe you're just outside it in the hallway, the range limits won't be a problem.

Have the cameras roll tape/cards in each camera as a backup in case you need to re-edit something later.

The cameras will send you video over coaxial cable. You'll have to bring in the audio separately from the mics to a mixer and from that mixer into your recorder. Some of the small video switchers have a rudimentary audio mixing board built-in as well, which is convenient.

Monitor-wise, many of the new swichers have a "multi-view" display output. This is nice because you only need one good flatscreen monitor to see everything: the switcher puts all the sources up in little boxes on the one display. You'll want to bring one more small video monitor or TV, to check the DVD recorder's output and controls.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 3:48:15 pm

One other option is to just rent all this stuff from an AV place in what's called a "fly-away" package: Everything from the cameras to mixer to switcher is already wired up and tested and you just open the shipping cases, plug the stuff together, and do your thing.

Do you have any experience using a switcher?

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Brent DunnRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 7:27:20 pm

Dido: Tricaster direct to DVD recorder.

Pre-print your case and DVD labels and have them ready to go.
On-site duplicator, or 2, or 3 depending on how many you think you'll need to replicate. Over 100 for same day may be tight. If you have a day for replication, then you can set up the machine in a hotel room and let it run all night.

Brent Dunn
Owner / Director / Editor
DunnRight Films
Video Marketing

Sony EX-1,
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 7D
Mac Pro Tower, Quad Core,
with Final Cut Studio

HP i7 Quad laptop
Adobe CS-5 Production Suite

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Marina WahbaRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 18, 2011 at 12:16:29 am

Thanks Mark, That's very helpful indeed!

But just wondering is there a name for these "coaxial cables"?

Marina W.

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Thomas McIntoshRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 18, 2011 at 9:24:19 am

You want a coaxial cable with BNC connectors - try searching for BNC video cable.

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Lee HopperRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 10, 2011 at 9:44:45 pm

feel free to email me your phone number, I do something very similiar, my email is

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Richard CardonnaRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 11, 2011 at 10:37:22 pm

Since you got a mac thecheapest would be wirecast software
This is a webcast but it can record in mpeg then you can do a dvd.
But you got to check the system req.

Also you can try vidblaster its pc but if yoou dual boot you can use it, this is better than wirecast and better resolution.

There is also but you would need a firewire connecition for each camera.

Other than this try renting a tricaster,

The first 2 options should be much cheaper but they depend on the capabilities of your system.

good luck


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Mark SuszkoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 11, 2011 at 10:55:56 pm

No, I disagree: the wirecast and etc are adding unnecessary complication, forcing you to bring all your editing hardware out to a location where it can get damaged or stolen, where it will need a lot of cabling, etc. and most critically, delay to getting to the end result, which is to be kicking out DVD dubs as fast as the dubbing tower can handle it.

Your customers are not going to stand around the hotel ballroom or lobby for hours waiting. They had better have the dub ready by the time they check out of the hotel, or sooner, if you're going to sell any significant amount. Selling after the show gets harder and harder, the longer the time between the show and the delivery gets.

A PC or mac with one DVD drive in it is not gonna cut it for dubs. You NEED a dubbing tower from a place like Microboards, that can do ten at a time, burning 2 hour disks in less than five minutes.

I strongly recommend renting either a Tricaster or renting a dedicated switcher/camera package, and you can buy a DVD real-time recorder at Walmart for under $100 without a TV tuner in it.

Where to get the DVD tower is another question. A good AV rental place would probably know. it would be better to rent for the day than to have to buy, unless you were going to be doing this kind of thing frequently. The dubbing towers are stand-alone units that don;t require a PC connection.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 11, 2011 at 11:01:10 pm

And a computer-based solution depends heavily on what investment you make in video cards and I/O interface units. While initially it may look cheaper to make the computer into a switcher, often by the time you add the necessary accessories, you've blown any profit margin on the job. The penny-pincher often pays twice, because the too-cheap way of doing things fails and then he has to do everything over with the right gear anyhow.

Not saying it is impossible to use the laptop or tower computer in the field as a switcher, but that often it is more trouble and expense than it is worth, for the kind of results you get.

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Kenneth WilliamsRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 14, 2011 at 7:52:24 am

If you are planning to buy, you will not do badly with Sony BRC-300 or BRCZ-330 and RMBR300 controller. A three camera rig will be ~$13,000. Set them on tripods that support well, no need for pan/tilt. Mix with any of many switchers like the Tricaster or VideoTek. Record into stand alone DVDR Pan makes best ones.
Microboards DVD dupper or a Bravo printer/dubber. but 100 DVDs is going to take a few hours either way. Pre-printing then 10X1 microboards will do 10 copies in 10 minutes.

There are thousand of other choices for equip but the idea is the same.
The Robotic cameras above could be operated by the TD [video switching] from the controller. take a look at one that I set up
This is a one man operation. see that I'm recording to DVD and stream and operating all three cameras, all the while operating the audio mix. Actually, we train students to do this in about 30 min.

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Mark SuszkoRe: Setting an on-site Multicam Editing Unit
by on Feb 18, 2011 at 5:09:19 pm

Marina, have you ever done one of these before? Or run a live Tv switcher?

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