Four Camera setup (for a crew of one)…

posted in: Gear, Music, Projects, Technical | 0

As a crew of one, sometimes you can’t control the environment you film in. Gigs and concerts are a perfect example of this as there is bound to be at least one person who will stand in front of your wide shot, or some drunk idiot who won’t leave the hand-held roaming camera alone. But these things are worsened when you are running 4 cameras on your own.

gutterfest

Last night was a perfect example of this, I had 3 mounted cameras and a 4th hand-held roaming. With the exception of an SD card failure it seemed to go alright. I regularly checked the cameras to ensure all were recording and my wide unobstructed, and of course each and every time I checked the wide the same guy was standing directly in front of the camera and every time I asked him to move either to the left or right… But seemingly to no avail (especially since playback).

 

Hoodie
Hoodie wearing $#!* in my shot!

Camera Layout/Positions:

Camera 1 = Kodak Zx5 (Playsport)
Format: PAL 1080p 25f
Angle: Wide
Mount: Tripod
Position: Sound desk
Unmanned

cam1

Camera 2 = GoPro Hero 2
Format: PAL 1080p 25f
Angle: Wide (Fisheye)
Mount: Bicycle GoPro mount
Position: Lighting Stand Stage Right (behind PA)
Unmanned

cam2

Camera 3 = GoPro Hero 960
Format: PAL 720p 25f
Angle: Wide (POV)
Mount: GoPro Headmount
Position: Drummer POV
“Manned”

cam3

Camera 4 = Kodak Zx5 (Playsport)
Format: PAL 1080p 25f
Angle: Wide
Mount: Hand-Held
Position: FOH Roaming
Manned

cam4

 

 

Diagram:
gutterfest

 

There is no footage/audio syncing, these are just random shots from the 4 different cameras (audio from camera – Final audio was recorded from mixing desk but not featured).

When running 4 cameras as a crew of one, where possible, ensure your wide shot is elevated as far above the crowd as possible, in most instances this will be at the mixing desk as this is usually the most elevated position and should ensure extra height for your Tripod (unless of course you have a tripod which is excessively tall). The wide shot will always be your master and fallback.

With the drummer wearing the 3rd camera, it was more for cut away shots, as the excessive movement will irk the viewer and or cause slight motion sickness, so more than anything it was a gimmick to throw in and make the final video a little more interesting and fun.

As the second mounted camera was on stage left, it was often obscured by the Guitarist on that side of the stage, who for the most part wasn’t stationary.

The only other major contributing factor to your final or finished edit is whether or not there is a lighting person and whether or not they are a professional or merely a random drunk punter, sadly for this shoot it was a rather violent and very drunk punter, who for the majority of the time suspended the stage in complete darkness. This does give the feeling of perhaps “being there”, but it’s really not ideal.

There are so many outside influences on your filming which are either out of your control or just out of reach, so you have to do the best with what you have. I decided instead of a full pack in of gear I would simply use an entirely digital kit. Less luggage, less weight, less setup time and most importantly quicker transfer time (as my main camera is a Sony V1P MiniDV – although now with Atomos Ninja Digital by-pass).

 

Small Digital Kit
Small Digital Kit

This is the first time I’ve run 4 cameras on my own as usually I would have one wide shot manned and a roaming hand-held which for this type of filming is more than sufficient.

Good Luck

Leave a Reply