FORUMS: list search recent posts

32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow

COW Forums : Corporate Video

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
James Richards32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 3:06:57 pm

Hi All,

I have a client that needs to record an intensive training seminar, break it up into segments and create an online archive of the program. The seminar takes four days with 8+ hours of lectures and/or demonstrations per day. Production will use a single cam at the back of the room w/ audio recorded into camera via mixer (wireless from the presenter & two room mics for audience feedback/questions). That footage will be delivered to the client w/ TC burn-in. The client will send back a list of ins and outs (approximately 90) and those segments will be cut out, exported, and posted online. The project is very straight forward in theory, but the amount of footage (approx. 32 hours) makes the execution, in my mind, complex.

But then I come from a primarily commercial background - short form content generally produced in HD (RED, EX1/3, or 5D/7D). In this case, however, I've seen some footage from a similar seminar that the client deemed acceptable and it looked SD at best. I suspect it was captured on a consumer-model handy-cam. So they've made it clear that this project is all about the content of the video - not the image quality.

Does anyone have recommendations or advice on workflow for a media capture of this scope? My principle concerns center on the file size and type captured, as the budget isn’t such that I can afford to spend real-time or greater transcoding and/or compressing the footage in it’s entirety or at multiple stages. At this point, I’ve written off tape-based media and am looking at the EX1 / EX3 vs the HVX. My thought with the EX is to take it through Adobe Premiere natively to limit the job to a single compression at the final upload (I should say here that I’ve not tried this workflow before, just heard people say it works – I edit FCP generally). The HVX route would be to shoot the DV compression in hopes of keeping the file size as small as possible (however from the research I’ve done it looks like the bitrate for the XDCAM EX and the DV compression in the HVX are the same). A third route I’ve looked into and wondered if anyone here had tried is using some sort of handy-cam (consumer model point and shoot) that captures ‘web-ready’ video files – but this opens up a slew of unknowns for me, as I’m not familiar with these cameras, the codecs/compressions they capture, and how those files will act in FCP (or iMovie or Adobe Premiere, if necessary).

So – any advice or recommendations would be much appreciated (whether within the proposed solutions above or completely different – I’m not married to the routes I’ve described). I’ll be checking back on this thread throughout the coming days to respond and continue the discussion. Thank you all who respond in advance.
My Best,

James R.


Return to posts index

Mark SuszkoRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 3:47:04 pm

I am skeptical that a card-based system is going to help your workflow here, beacause of card-management overhead, and you being a lone gunman. A hard-drive-based recording system would make more sense to me personally, as a way of keeping everything together, but saving extra steps in post.

Also consider renting a switcher and live-switching 2 cams, main and cover/slides, which costs money up front, but saves hours of editing later.

Further, I would not think about this as if it was one 4-day documentary, but instead, as if it was 4 days worth of stand-alone, 1-hour documentary shoots. Shooting that kind of thing for so long, single-camera, what I think I would do in this situation is run DV tape for the eventual edit, but also simultaneously feed a DVD recorder, and archive the raw stuff to that. DVD's are fast to dulicate. If you feed a time code overlay to the DVD recorder, your client can then use the DVD's to make selects. The DVD's can also be ingested into your edit system using MPEG Streamclip.

I feel your pain; a project like this, on this scale, is very challenging to make presentable to an audience without some production value. Unless it is the TED lectures, single-camera from the back of the hotel ballroom sounds pretty boring. Hopefuly your content really IS good enough to withstand the limitations.


Return to posts index

James RichardsRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 4:28:36 pm

Thank you Mark,

I agree about the harddrive - I wasn't clear about this in my first post, but I was thinking that a larger drive hooked up to the EX or HVX, like a firestore or similar, would be able to catpure a day's footage at a time, download overnight and go at it again the next day (though I admit I haven't yet researched the sizes of these devices - I assumed a version existed that could handle approx 8hrs in one of the formats mentioned in my first post).

I'm really hesitant to commit to DV tape for this for a couple reasons, but the main hestation comes from the client's complaint with the previous attempt (the footage I mentioned in my first post), which was that the videographer 'missed moments' of the presentation. I assesed after a few questions that this was from tape changes. I was thinking the larger harddrive would take care of this.

But I really like the idea of feeding the video to a DVD recorder w/ TimeCode burn-in as I capture the content to a Harddrive. Could you point me to some links / recommend some gear options that I could research for this? If I could hand them the raw TC DVDs at the end of the day, that would be fantastic (as long as I can get the same TC attached to the digital files). Is there a way to generate TC from the camera and burn that onto the DVD? Or to send the same TC to both? With this workflow I could just give them the DVDs and reference there edit points in the digital files.

To touch on the switcher set up - I actually pitched the client on a 2cam or 3cam switcher set up (Wide & CU on presenter w/ a reverse angle on the audience) but they shot it down due to costs... unfortunately.

Thanks again Mark - Looking forward to your thoughts.

- James


Return to posts index


Nick GriffinRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 5:30:57 pm

Sorry to be the one to throw the monkey wrench of reality into your planning process, but...

From experience, my guess is the only person thinking that all 32 hours need to be recorded and THEN he (or possibly she, just less likely) will know what the important parts are, is an out-of-control egotist. Someone who has no clue as to what's involved in something like this, hence no clue as to a realistic method of achieving it and what the realistic cost is to accomplish this.

[James Richards] "but they shot it down due to costs... unfortunately."

See what I mean?

And, pray tell, how does one get a day-long continuous take any OTHER way besides going direct to a BIG ASS hard drive? And what's the back-up for that ONE drive? Bet they can't afford that either, even though failures and hiccups DO happen.

Sorry to say it, but if it were me I'd wish them good luck and run -- run like hell -- in the other direction. Too many ways for this to not go well and, with a single camera, be a surprise to them that it's not much better than their previous homemade attempts.

But that's just me and "...no matter how nasty I become, I'm always holding back."


Return to posts index

James RichardsRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 6:36:25 pm

Hey Nick,

I feel you on the cynicism. I don't know anyone in this business that hasn't had to walk away from gigs because the client had an unrealistic view of what it takes to make video happen. I've not had a lot of experience in this style of video, but I've had plenty of experience dealing with client's expectations.

What I'm looking for in posting here is some positive critical feedback - the community's suggestions for techniques and technologies that will help streamline a large content capture to a single camera. I intend to let these threads mature for a few days, do some research on the options available and go back to the client with the best solution for all parties - keeping their price points and my labor fees in mind... it's sort of a 'you get what you pay for' thing, and I'll let them know what that it (but I want my assesment to be based in some solid research - hence our current convo).

I totally agree that taking the entire seminar is excessive - but as best I can surmise, if they're breaking it up into 90 segments at an average of 6 or 7min (as little as 2, up to 15) a pop - that's approx a quarter of the footage captured. A 4:1 ratio isn't extreme.

But let me know specifics if you've captured something like this in the past. What was your workflow? Did you feel it could be achieved in a more efficient manner? What equipment worked best, etc. I'm all ears for that sort of discussion-

James


Return to posts index

Nick GriffinRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 7:11:51 pm

Did I miss the part about "6 or 7min" segments? At least that would give you a chance to change tapes / disks / cards.

When I've covered conferences I've always made sure that I was working from the same script and schedule as the presenters. It's far better to have used just 40 to 50 minutes on a 62 minute tape than it is to find out that the whole world stops at 63.5 minutes and your tape change has lost something important.

Which brings me to another key concept. I don't promise to get everything. Can't be guaranteed with a single camera and single take. It's all a matter of managing client expectations. Are you there to produce a representation of the event or a complete reproduction. I do the former and make sure that's understood beforehand.

Other thoughts that go back to your original post, if they've been happy with homemade, handheld SD, they should be delighted with well shot (and lit) SD. Hell, do it in 16 x 9 and most people will THINK it's HD. The benefit to you is that you will have MUCH less data and many fewer recording tapes / disks / cards. The money you save could also be used to rent a lock-down SD camera which you could aim at different parts of the audience from the front of the room, changing the shot during breaks throughout the day. Stuff to cut with because, to make this thing watchable, you're going to need it.

Other cut-aways can be created, with the cooperation of the presenters, before or afterwards my shooting long shot close-ups of parts of their show from alternate side views, from behind, from below looking up, etc. Just frame so the audience wouldn't be seen even if they were there.

But that's just me. And yes I AM cynical and most days would avoid this kind of thing in favor of getting a root canal.


Return to posts index


James RichardsRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 7:28:27 pm

Thank you Nick -

I do appreciate your input on this sort of a production - thank you for taking a moment to go into more detail for my sake. I hope it was clear I didn't mind the cynic's edge in the first response - it was a good hint to me that you have enough experience in this sort of work to know how such productions should play out, which is always a good point of view to read-

my best-

-James


Return to posts index

Mark SuszkoRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 7:43:53 pm

I first have to know if the camcorder you'll use has a monitor-output that will allow superimposition of the time code on it. Many pro-level cameras can do this, fewer semi-pro cameras can.

If you have the monitor-output with Cg time code supers ability, then any of the DVD recorders out there will work... we use the Panasonic models, some of which also contain a hard drive, and *some* of those models can record to DVD-R and internal hard drive at the same time, then fast-dub additional DVD's from the image in the hard drive.

But for your thing, a $99 tunerless DVD-recorder from WalMart should work fine. You can record in 2-hour, 4-hour or in the case of mine at home, 8-hour modes (not great looking at 8 hours, but good enough for tracking time codes... OTOH, 8-hour DVD's sometimes don't play well in all consumer DVD players, so I like to stick to 2-hour or 4-hour mode). You could also just record to DVD for the whole thing, then use streamclip to prepare the mpeg for your editing system. This gets you longer record times, however, changing and finalizing the DVD's takes longer than smashing a new tape in the transport and slapping the loading door shut. With one of the Panasonic DVCPro "shoebox" decks, we can record on larger capacity 126 minute DVCpro25 tapes, and that's what I would use if this was my gig... and I have done gigs like this a time or two. Again, if it were me, I'd do the DVD window-burn live on site, as the tapings progressed, to save the time to make dubs later.

I would also suggest to one of the folks from the conference, that it would save a lot of time and thus cash if one of them just took notes during the presentations of the parts they liked best, and wrote down the time on their wristwatch when that part started and stopped. If you set your time code to free-running time-of-day, you now can go directly to those noted-good sections for digitizing, saving a lot of post production drudgery. This only works though, if the note-taker takes the job deadly serious.


Changing the tape in our DVCPro camcorders takes about 7 seconds, from stop to re-start. I sometimes "waste" blank ends of tapes by changing them before they run out, if I can change them over a clean break like a bathroom or meal break. I maintain that tape is the cheapest thing in our whole business... so long as it doesn't come home blank or unuseable. If I can change a tape during a 5-minute stretch break, and know the next two hours are fully-covered, I will "waste" an un-used 20 minutes on that blank tape. It's not a waste. It is planning the tape change times for the best results. Don't be a slave to the capacity on the shell of the tape; you should have TONS of spare blank stock on hand and you are allowed to leave some magnetic particles unaligned:-)

The longer your tape loads are, and the more you advance-plan tape changes, the fewer chances you'll miss a good bit during the change-overs, but really, except for the Zapruder film, can't most business speech things we shoot survive a 7-second gap? Just change focal length during the tape change, then edit later, should cut together fine. The trick is to be listening closely to what is being said (not all cameramen do) and know when the speaker is done with one idea and about to go to the next. Unless they are really bad speakers, they will give you that chance if you listen for it, by talking for a few seconds worth of repetitive reinforcement of the idea they just uttered. They give you the concept twice, so just make your tape change on the second time they say it, and you really haven't msised any appreciable content.

Now comes the editorial comment.


What I don't think your client realizes, and the previous post touched upon this, is that not every second of their speaker's presentation is pure gold, and nobody is going to want to passively sit thru more than a handful of minutes of anything unless it is entertaining.


They think they are economizing by having you tape the big lecture at the hotel, which was going on already anyway. This is common thinking to bean-counters but really, from an instructional design aspect, from a writer or teachers' aspect, from the aspect of the poor SOB who eventually will be commanded to watch this stuff, if they wanted to do the job RIGHT, and get real value for their training dollar, they would instead forget the hotel group presentation, and instead, do a separate, purpose-driven version in an intimate studio setup just for the web audience. It might even need to be (GASP!) SCRIPTED!

The group presentation is a very different dynamic from a one-on-one training. You can shorten things up, collapse the structure quite a bit in one-to-one studio versions of a group presentation. You have the opportunity to pare things down to their core, and sequence the material so each little chunk is truly self-standing, and not an incomplete cliffhanger that you must then scramble to find the next part of, just to complete a thought.

I know what you're thinking. At least, I know what they usually say to me when I propose this very thing.

"But, our guy/gal is used to presenting to groups this way; the whole presentation is structured and locked in stone from doing it so often."

That still doesn't mean it makes good training television.

The early movie makers plunked down a camera in the third row center aisle of a theater, and let it roll, untouched, on a wide shot, as the actors performed a play. It was a recording of a play, but it wasn't until they caught on to the idea of changing focal lengths, changing camera positions, and editing, that recording a stage play turned into making an effective MOVIE.

So it is with making training films.


Return to posts index

Martin CurtisRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 11:17:00 pm

I find recording straight to DVD is a great way to do this. Realistically speaking, if you recorded to 2 or 4 hour DVDs, the quality would be fine for you to use, too. Client delivers a list of I and O points and a disc name, you have the VOB files on your HDD, open a VOB in MPEG Streamclip, export to DV. Using the Batch function will get it done even faster.

Daisy chain two DVD recorders so there's no possibility of a foul up. As for the TC, almost all DVD players have a little display on them that shows elapsed time.

I love DVD recorders so much, I got the little Sony one so I can hook it up to the camera on the spot, record, finalise and hand over the disc.

Just make sure he's OK with not having burned in TC if you decide to do it this way.

If they think the end product is only so-so (because of the live nature of the presentation) you may be able to talk them into using the presentations recorded as a jumping off point for some purpose made material.


Return to posts index


James RichardsRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 2:40:54 am

Thank you Mark - some really great notes here. I've stepped away from my desk for dinner and some family time, so I'm working my way through the replies (I was happy to see so many), but at the moment I'm still planning on shooting the EX1 or EX3 - which could fall into the semi-pro gamut easily enough. I'll check to see if they have the TC function you mentioned.

I also think there's a nice note to your studio shoot idea. It's probably a long shot, but there's a fair argument that sorting through all the raw footage would take as much if not considerably more time than shooting a scripted lecture in a controled environment.

Thank you for your time today -

-James


Return to posts index

Alan LloydRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 5, 2010 at 11:07:14 pm

Adobe OnLocation might be your friend here. (It's a part of the PPro bundle.)

You get a scope too! Bonus!

Seriously - record to a file - you don't want to have to capture the recordings over again.

Either that or hire a TriCaster - which will also record to a file and gives you scopes and a few other niceties in the bargain.

Drives are your friends...


Return to posts index

Steve KownackiRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:15:02 am

I really like Mark's ideas. Tape is cheap and reliable (and stressless!) as a backup. I re-read your post and it looks like all you need to ultimately do is chop out segments and get them online* - no editing, no inserting of slides after the fact, etc. Here's what I'd do:

16x9 DVcam camera running iso tape backup, split audio presenter ch1, audience ch 2 (3 hour tapes are your friend, if you run a 2hr session and the next is 2 hours you start fresh on a 2nd tape and not think you are going to switch midway; that's about 5-6 per day) this is simply backup.

Balanced audio feeds camera directly from mixer.

Run video monitor out of cam w/TC burn to DA to 2 DVD recorders (1 is backup) in 4 hr mode. Run RCA audio out to DA to recorders. DVDs are client reference.

Now for your actual online footage * you need to eventually export
idea 1) Firewire out of cam to FCP (or whatever) capturing in your final upload format. Since you are not editing, just capturing, save as final desired output. Your TC will be identical & files will be way smaller. If you have to recapture a certain segment from tape at least its minimal.

idea 2) pickup an old MediaPress capture board and stick it in an old MAC. You can take s-video (component if your cam has it) and capture direct to your output format like above. You'll need to feed the TC out of the cam to the MediaPress for timecode.

idea 3) I suppose you could capture straight to QTPro or iMovie, but I don't think they support timecode in this fashion.

Either way, files captured can be opened in QTPro, set in & out points, save with mono audio, done. No rendering. Upload.

This is a lot of coordination to make sure you break at pre-determined times so you don't miss anything. Take copious notes of what's on what media. You'll need to ride the audio on the mixer as no post audio will be done. NEVER loop anything, always DAs; if you daisy chain and something fails, everything behind it is lost. This is really one of those jobs where you should have a backup camera and mics.

I personally LOVE these challenging jobs! If you layout to the client how complex it really is, they'll justify the budget. If they shortchange the gear list too much, put a clause in your contract that they rejected it and you are not liable for lost material and you still get paid. I'd put an overhead line item too with a guestimate of what'll need to be re-captured for whatever reason. Then give them a discount in the end if it all goes perfectly.

Steve






Return to posts index


Bill DavisRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 12:47:23 am

I'm going to chime in here since I spent quite a few years as the primary videographer for the National Speakers Association - as well as having shot more "conventions" than you can shake a stick at.

If you have little experience in this particular form of torture, good luck.

Observations from time in the trenches: NO presentation will EVER proceed flawlessly as the presenter intended. NO camera operator - even the most skilled and competent - can approach anywhere close to 100% quality camera work in an typical hotel ballroom environment. (if the ceiling can lighting inconsistencies don't get you - the room RF, the speaker who decides it's more PERSONAL to walk out halfway into the audience where there's NO LIGHT and hold a LONG conversation bending over a participant who's positioned right behind a team of service personnel who totally block your shot of the speaker for five full minutes in the middle of the most critical content.)

I could spend HOURS telling you stories of shoot after shoot where even after 5 YEARS of experience and ALL the technical skills and equipment I needed, I STILL managed to find myself in situations where I got marginal results.

And don't get me started on the clients. They'll tell you that they'll be there to help answer questions, and to review the raw footage and make the paper edit decisions, and they'll promise you to work with the hotel AV people to secure better lighting/sound/scheduling/fixed table setup/power access/no large shot blocking centerpieces on the tables/ AD NAUSEUM. But you'll STILL face problems in ALL of theses areas and more. And it will be TOTALLY up to you to notice and react to these in order to TRY and get good quality audio and video.

Look, seminar shooting (which is essentially what you're doing) is reasonably specialized work.

My simple advice is thus:

ALWAYS have a totally dependable tape based camera - digital or analog - shoot the master shot. (My fave was a DSR-series DVCAM camera since you had the option to use 180 min tapes. NOBODY can hold their bladder longer than that and speak without needing a break!!!)

Establish not one, not two, but THREE audio feeds to that camera. A direct wireless - a board feed - AND a backup mic placed at a ceiling speaker with a quality XLR cable run to the camera position that you can swap for either the primary or secondary if one of them fails. If you don't have two quality feeds to the camera at ALL TIMES - consider yourself in BIG trouble.

NEVER promise "final tapes before the conference is done." ALL your clients will want that. And you may very well be able to deliver that - particularly if you know EXACTLY what you're doing and have the right equipment and crew needed to deliver. - but STILL don't promise it. There are just WAY too many things that can delay a tape - and most of these things will be TOTALLY out of your control.

I could go on for pages - but it's dinner time.

Good luck.



Return to posts index

Mark SuszkoRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 1:01:44 am

NEVER promise "final tapes before the conference is done." ALL your clients will want that. And you may very well be able to deliver that - particularly if you know EXACTLY what you're doing and have the right equipment and crew needed to deliver. - but STILL don't promise it. There are just WAY too many things that can delay a tape - and most of these things will be TOTALLY out of your control.
.



Well, that's just not good business, either, unless you're getting paid in advance or on delivery. If they are grinding you on the expenses of making the thing in the first place, you don't have to be Kreskin to foresee a large chance of them stalling payment if you give away your leverage and deliver final product before getting paid.


Return to posts index

James RichardsRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 3:03:55 am

Bill -
I think that backup audio feed from the ceiling speaker is a great idea. It's a nice heads up, too, hearing how applicable murphy's law seems to be in the corporate video / seminar world. Thank you for sharing your experience w/ this thread -


Return to posts index


Steve KownackiRe: 32 hours of footage in 4days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 11:18:39 am

More things that came to mind on your job:

I see 2 full days of pre-production/scouting/gear list making. While some you could chalk up as education, it'll take time to coordinate. Plus you'll want to do a dry run in your office to finalize workflow.
This is easily a 4 hour setup even when you are familiar with what you need to do. (The first day tends to be 16-20 hours)
Can you leave the gear in the room each night or do you have to move it to a secure area or completely tear down? More setup each day. Your budget may not allow for an assistant there the whole time, but maybe get one at that start and end of each day.

Steve






Return to posts index

Alan LloydRe: 32 hours of footage in 4 days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 7:23:02 pm

[Bill Davis] "the speaker who decides it's more PERSONAL to walk out halfway into the audience where there's NO LIGHT and hold a LONG conversation"

Or (personal experience here) you're the handheld guy at the front of the room when the magician performing (???) decides to find the one spot on the stage where he's lit from his neck to his knees only and stay there as though his shoes were nailed to the floor, and the director is howling in the comms to get the guy to move.

Short of getting up there and moving him physically, which I was not about to do, nothing would have worked.


Return to posts index

Mark SuszkoRe: 32 hours of footage in 4 days - workflow
by on Aug 6, 2010 at 8:31:59 pm

Oh, ok, this is turning into a hotel venue horror story swap meet
:-) Training session for new court judges, the panel is at a long table with mics set for both the house PA and feeding my cameras. One of the judges taps on the mics near him, hears that only one of them is coming thru the speakers, and decides my direct-to-camera mic is unnecessary, so he puts it under the table.

Not having an MC or assistant is a common problem source. You pass a wireless mic into the audience, and every person who handles it decides they have to fumble with the power or mute switches on it. Then they either stick it down their throats to talk, or they plant it in their crotch while they remain seated, so you can't hear or see them. Better, the times when half the guys in the audience won't wait for the mic to pass to them, they will just try to talk without it. There is only one position for switches on wireless stick mics: permanently welded into the "on" position, and taped over, and glued to a stand that itself is super-glued to the height adjustment. And nobody in the seats is allowed to talk until the mic-holding person comes over to them, or they walk up to the pre-lit mic stand. :-)


Return to posts index

Richard CrowleyRe: 32 hours of footage in 4 days - workflow
by on Aug 8, 2010 at 1:49:13 pm

"Training session for new court judges, the panel is at a long table with mics set for both the house PA and feeding my cameras. One of the judges taps on the mics near him, hears that only one of them is coming thru the speakers, and decides my direct-to-camera mic is unnecessary, so he puts it under the table."

Perhaps because I'm old enough that I can get away with it (or I just don't care what they think of me), I have yelled out from the camera position: "PLEASE DON'T MOVE THE MICROPHONES!" I don't care if they are the king of the world, it isn't THEIR job description to position the equipment.


Return to posts index

<< PREVIOUS   •   VIEW ALL   •   PRINT   •   NEXT >>
© 2017 CreativeCOW.net All Rights Reserved
[TOP]