How to setup for a multi camera shoot

Author: Fusion Studios |

We recently did a blog talking about what you need for a multi-camera shoot. We also recently did an actual multi-camera shoot, and we decided to make a break down to highlight some of the key points and problems we faced.

The shoot was at a comedy improv club and our client is the headliner comedian. Regardless of when the talent goes on stage, we need to be there before the doors open to the public in order to set up all the cameras and audio. In a pre-production meeting at the venue, we already discussed the details and what the client wanted. We will have a four camera setup and the audio will be coming from the main the venue’s PA system.

One camera will be located next to the stage looking at the audience as well as filming the talent from a side angle.

The other two cameras are located right in front of the stage, right in the back of the venue, one of them being our master and the other one will be filming a medium shot and a close-up.

The last camera is on a glide cam, also known as a steady cam. This camera is going to go to around the audience and venue gathering various angles of the performance.

Since this project was low budget, we only had three cameras operators; one for each camera filming the stage and one with the GlideCam. The audience camera was static and since that camera will constantly be recording the audience and won’t move, we compromised not having an operator.

We also plugged an external monitor into our close up camera to safely monitor our frame and focus since we knew, that the comedians were going to be moving on stage a lot.

As for audio, we have a Sennheiser transmitter plugged into the soundboard’s master channel. The receiving end of the Sennheiser pack is on the master camera. We also brought a back up which is a Zoom H6 also recording audio in case something goes wrong with the Sennheiser kit. Three of the cameras are going to have camera operators and the crowd camera next to the stage will be by itself.

When the set up was completed inside and we had check lighting and audio, we took one of the cameras to get some b-roll of the event (outside the venue as well as in the lobby of the building). One of the shots specifically requested by the client is a shot of the line outside the venue. Another unique shot was when the talent is announced and introduced, the glide cam follows him to capture him going up the stage. This is why a steady camera works in this situation. Also, having a small light to attach to the steady is a big plus considering we are in a dark venue or nightclub-like.

As you can see, there are quite a number steps that need to be taking in order to have a successful multi-camera shoot. Always communicate with your client on what is available in their budget. We were able to have 4 cameras and a backup audio device included in the budget to make the final product look bigger and hopefully, the edit will look more dynamic.