i am preparing to shoot a short film which has two families battling in an online quiz. I need to create footage of the families and quiz master interacting online at the same time. I will need to be able to capture footage of the two families and the quiz master live so that I can edit them together in post to create a composite of a screen with the players and quiz master to make it look like a Skype or Teams call.
So I was thinking of using 3 cameras in one studio so that I can sync the audio from all three camera positions easily. I am thinking of syncing the audio to the footage using Premiere Pro and Plural Eyes. Then take the synced footage from the three cameras and create a composite of a Skype/Teams call.
What do you guys think, any common stumbling blocks I should look out for?
You may not need plural eyes if you use Final Cut or Premiere for your editing: they can automatically synch multicam projects by the audio, makes it super-convenient to then play the show in real-time and use the 1,2,3,4 keys like a live switcher.
(“1, 2 ,3…..4? But Mark, I only have -three- cameras!” Well, Keith, your full-screen graphics of the quiz questions or the scoreboard would be *camera four*, if you recorded an iso of that with something like a screen recording app that has audio. This will make the edit go by super-fast, almost in real-time)
If your cameras are at 2k or better resolution, you can center one camera each on a family for full-family shots, then re-frame the shot in post, tightening it artificially with the scale controls, to simulate cutting to close-ups. That makes your three cameras seem like five, and it adds more visual interest to the show than just banging from one wide shot to another.
I’m confused by the “online” part you mentioned. Is this two families in your studio, competing, or two families, each in their own homes, competing thru a webcam interface, online?
Or, is the “online” part just your distribution of the show, once it’s been built?
Addendum: Even without synch tools, as long as the recordings are uninterrupted, synching them up manually by ear is no big deal at all, especially if you have some kind of clap or synch flash or anything like that before the actual start. Even without those, if there’s a quiet pause before the first person speaks, you can easily see the waveform in the audio track and start getting a close alignment by lining up the waveforms of two tracks. Then, you play the pair of tracks and listen to the echo or reverb that tells you they are close, but not perfect.
Highlight one of the two source tracks. Play. Use the comma and period keys, (or whatever the keys are on your system that bumps your track a frame ahead or behind…) play the tracks and just bump that key as you go, and listen to hear if the echo is getting shorter or longer. Go in the direction that shortens the echo, two or three taps at a time, until the echo is very short, then go one key at a time. and you’ll know you’re in synch by ear, when the reverb stops and you are hearing a bit of phase cancellation. That means you are one frame out, forwards or back; fix that, now you’re synched. Repeat this with each track you add. With practice, you can do it in about ten seconds per track. Once all the tracks are synched, I tend to mute most tracks and get my audio from the one “best” source in the stack.
Mark, first of all let me apologise for the late reply here.
Thank you very much for such a great message, I never thought of using a laptop for the fourth camera.
To answer your question the two families are supposed to be in separate houses also the compere in his own house. They would be using Skype or Teams to connect in a fictional online quiz. So I am going to be simulating that when we film.
We will also have footage of the families and the compere getting ready in their houses so I need this footage to be the best quality but for the images supposedly captured during the quiz I was hoping to get away with lower quality, perhaps shoot on camera phones and connect them to a pc to record the footage.
We have a budget of £1000 to get this made. This is why I am thinking of lower quality cameras for the quiz footage and hiring a nice camera for the ‘behind the scenes’ type of footage.
Thanks again the the great reply Mark my gratitude for the idea of linking cameras to a pc.
Add a very inexpensive camera control app to the phones, and you’d be surprised how well they will work out. I suggest filmic Pro for this. You don’t necessarily want to do a “crummy” initial capture, just to seem authentic: rather, you want to capture really good quality, then degrade it to taste in post with filters and plug-ins.
It’s much simpler to coordinate authentic-looking game play if the two family teams are actually in the same space where they can overhear each other, but if you don’t have the wherewithal to create two living room sets, on your budget I have two ideas. One is to “rent” an hour of time at a furniture showroom, where they already have demonstration “rooms” or sets standing right next to each other. Tight camera framing hides that fact. Pick two displays close enough so you can hear each other clearly, set your cameras and lighting, get busy recording. You’ll want to pay the furniture place something for the time, of course, and maybe give them screen credit for promo purposes.
Low budget idea 2 is, they are actually in two different houses, you set up the scenes and they just play along in real time to an actual audio-only Skype call or hardline three-way call on speakerphone. You match everything up by audio later. While that “seems” cheap and easy, you risk the Skype call audio bleeding into the mic’ed audio on the player’s mics. So if it were me, I’d really first try to get the furniture store showroom, or “build” two cheap sets in one studio for this.