Hello, I am a wedding videographer and was asked by one of the clients if I can create a video booth to record messages from the guests. Has anyone done this before? How did you build it, software, camera, etc? Any advise would be appreciated! Thanks.
A "booth" wouldn't strictly be necessary except for sound isolation reasons; you could set up in any little corner with lights and a tripod. If you WANT an actual "booth" with more intimacy and sound Isolation, you can buy booths pre-made in kit form from places like Markertek, Full Compass, TecNec Specialties or B&H photo-Video.
Make a lens hole into the booth and poke the camera in from the outside.
If those are too expensive, you could use a "pipe-and-drape" kit to create a 4-sided lightweight pipe frame, and hang sound blankets from the pipes, with some kind of roof made of the same sound blanket, suspended on an x-shaped support grid. Might look a little homely if done DIY...
You will have to light this inside, 2 ways I can think of:
Vertical fluorescent tubes in the two inside corners on the camera side, with some diffusion, will make a soft base light. Or you could do a ring light around the lens.
Another way you could go, is put up a laptop or tablet or flatscreen monitor with webcam on it, and use any of several apps to record people sitting in front of the screen. The risk here is people messing with the rig to check their facebook or whatever... or people stealing/vandalizing the rig when it is unattended. Best to isolate the computer and keyboard/mouse so they only have the screen and webcam to see.
Long ago, when puppies were the oldest animal, I did this kind of thing at a couple of wedding receptions. How I did that was to put a stand-alone VHS camcorder on a tripod, continuously rolling for 2 hours, with a monitor that showed the framing and a mic stand and hardwired mic, and a sign that said: "Come leave a special message or story for the happy couple here". No booth or anything, but set in an area off to the side, with maybe a little view of the event in the background, but not close to the noise. I got a few good bites that way, but you can also tell how the time was passing and how drunk people were getting, as the tape went on:-)
I've seen these before. They are like passport photo booths but they record video messages of up to 5 minutes in length. They have a touchscreen interface and a computer controlled camera with a locked off shot. You can probably purchase one directly from a uk supplier, but if you have to build your own and program it, it won't be cheap.
Without actually building the booth, you need a fast PC, a camera, a touchscreen monitor and an external monitor for other guests to look at. You then need a good director/flash programmer who can control outbound and inbound USB or rs232 ports inside a nice looking UI. This will start and stop the camera at the users command and save to a specified directory for you.
Doing this in the UK and starting from fresh I would budget £4.9k for hardware, £1.5k for the booth and £3-4k for programming. They do receive around £800 for each hire so recouping costs from one wedding season would be possible, especially if you are billing more for editing the clips and delivering on DVD.
Photo Booth won't record unless it is the foreground app. Other things that might be contributing if this is your problem:
You could try using RightBooth software from http://www.rightbooth.com.
It works on any Windows computer with a webcam attached and let's you create your own video and photo recording booth experience at your wedding or other social event. The software is fully customizable, for example you can add your own text and background images and it can be controlled by keyboard, mouse or touchscreen.
It's great value for money and there are no restrictions on how you use it.