What do you need for multicamera production?
Multicamera productions require a lot of planning on your end to make them work. But, if you prepare well, there’s no reason you can’t capture your footage successfully. A multicamera production is what it sounds like—an event capture from multiple angles with multiple cameras. These angles might be edited together in real time or they might be edited together in post-production.
The process depends on what kind of event you’re capturing. Is it a podcast stream? A conference? A lecture? An interview? Think about the way you’d like the final product to look. You should also draw a map of the setup from above and denote where you want all of the cameras ahead of time. Additionally, you’ll need to consider if you’ll be cutting to a slide show or other off-site feed along with your other angles.
What Equipment Do I Need?
For a camera, the easiest route to go is a small-chip fixed lens camera with a long zoom reach. This will allow you to get both wide and tight shots easily. You can use a higher-end camera like a DSLR, but you’ll need to manage the more complicated settings that come with it. When in doubt, camera angles trump camera quality. There are several different ways you can use your cameras during filming.
With a static camera, you put it on your tripod and keep it there throughout the event. Use this for a wide-angle capture. Be sure to leave more room in the shot than you think you need–better to go wider than miss something because you didn’t zoom out enough.
The advantage of a human-operated camera is you can make adjustments to your angle on the fly, but the disadvantage is you need to find a way to communicate with your cameraman through a headset or other transmitter.
This is also known as a PTZ (pan zoom tilt) camera. You can operate the camera through a controller remotely. It’s not as flexible as a handheld camera, but you can preset which camera angles you want to use, which are good for panels or meetings with speakers in specific seats.
There are two types of connectors you can use to connect your cameras to your switchboard– HDMI or SDI. HDMI is more of a consumer-level cable, whereas SDI is more professional-grade. Most generic cables max out at 30 feet, so if you need to cover more distance than that, you’ll want fiber optic cables, which max out at 100 feet. You may also need HDMI repeaters to convert connections along with the cables. Remember, these types of cables are directional, so make sure they’re going the right way! You can also use ethernet cables to transmit signals from the camera to the switchboard. They can even serve both as a power source and as a transmitter. If you are more advanced, you can also use NDI (network device interface) to transmit signals wirelessly. You can go wireless with transmitters from tech companies like Hollyland. If you are transmitting wirelessly, make sure you have a strong internet connection. You can even bring your own router with you to ensure you have the signal strength you need for your capture.
Professional-grade lighting setups can be pretty expensive. No matter what setup you have, you’ll want to get a reflector so that you can bounce/soften the light you do have and gain a little more control over the conditions.
Lighting kits like this one are a good starter pack for those wanting to capture multiple camera angles. It comes with 3 dimmable LED lights, softboxes (which let you soften your light), light stands, a remote control, color inserts, and a carrying case.
Good audio quality is critical in multicamera capture. It’s important NOT to use the sound from your camera. Get other sound capture devices like handheld mics, tabletop mics, or wearable mics. And try to get as close to the sound source as possible. If there is no sound reinforcement, aka feedback that signals to presenters they are on mic, use general capture mics instead of handheld ones so they are less conscious of the sound capture and don’t get anxious that their mic isn’t working.
Note: Don’t feed sound into your switchboard and then back into the room as sound reinforcement–this will create a lag, and even a tiny one will be extremely distracting and frustrating to everyone. Think of your sound system as independent of your video capture system.
If you are using a green screen for any reason, a green sheet (solid color) will do. Pin it in place to make sure it doesn’t move. You don’t need a professional-level green screen to take advantage of the effects.
When it comes to the switcher (where you view your multiple feeds and cut to different angles live) you’ll want both the reliability of hardware and the flexibility of software. A turn-key solution like the NewTek Tricaster is not cheap, but it contains everything you need and comes with great tech support. Something simpler like the Blackmagic ATEM Mini Pro lets you mix up to four feeds, and you’ll also need a monitor on which to view said feeds. As far as software, OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) is free and very efficient. If you need something a little more advanced, vMix is a great application that has different levels depending on your needs.
In terms of post-production editing, any decent quality laptop or desktop will do. The graphics card and the hard drive are the important components. Editing and rendering take up a lot of hard drive space. Saving your videos to an external hard drive while working will ease up the load on your hardwired one.
If you have a decent graphics card on your computer already, you shouldn’t have trouble editing smoothly. But you can always trade yours in for a higher quality one if you need to. In terms of editing software, iMovie (free with any Mac), Da Vinci Resolve, or Final Cut Pro are all good options. They give you a lot of editing power for a decent price.
How Haverford Can Help
If you’re looking for the ability to live stream your events, services, or talks, Haverford can help you create a solution that is tailored to your needs. You can connect to a global audience instantly and in crystal clear fashion with Haverford Systems as your partner.