How To Shoot A Multicam Live Event (With Checklist)

Shooting multicam video of a live event is easy when you have a crew—less so when you’re shooting solo. These tips and complete checklist will help you deliver the best possible project the next time you need to shoot a live event, from the school play to a corporate presentation. Tips include preparing your hardware and your packing list, what gear to rent and how to manage multiple cameras and keep track of their progress, even when shooting all by yourself.

In other videos this week, we had pre-WWDC banter:

…and post-WWDC banter:

as well as a long #AMA (ask me anything) where topics included shooting HDR on GH5, the Behringer X Air XR16, RAW Editor on iOS and more! 

Here’s the checklist, which is also in the YouTube video. Feel free to include this on your page, or just tell people to get it from the YouTube description:

PRE-PRODUCTION

•    What’s your camera layout; wide / medium / tight?

•    What is delivery requirement? If 1080p, can you shoot 4K for punch-in “extra camera angles”?

•    Get layout of the house

•    Ensure you know audio config of location. Tapping into house audio? Do you need M-M XLR joiners? Can you get an audio recording from the house? If so, can you get ISOs?

•    Rent gear far in advance. If traveling, rent any big, heavy, cumbersome gear. Tripods and cables! Rent backups of anything critical or fragile. (borrowlenses.com will ship to UPS Stores!)

PACKING LIST

•    As many bodies as you need, plus backup if possible

•    Pack a variety of lenses assuming you don’t know what the environment will be. Pack a long lens for sure!

•    More camera batteries than you need

•    At least one battery charger per camera

•    Backup AA batteries (not just rechargeable)

•    AC adapters if you know you’ll have access to power

•    Extension cords and power strips if using AC

•    Memory cards

•    Tripods (or rent)

•    Audio cables and accessories (or rent)

•    Mics for each camera — facilitates syncing, AND gets you house sound (audience reactions) to mix in

•    XLR camera input

•    Audio recorder

•    Wired headphones for audio monitoring

•    Head lamp / mouth-grip flash light — it’s hard to hold a light and make hardware adjustments with one hand

NIGHT BEFORE

•    Batteries charged

•    Cards formatted

•    Ensure cameras have the same settings; consider saving settings and transferring them from camera camera

•    If using rental gear, check it all completely before using. i.e.; make sure tripod heads are tight. Make sure you know how to use the gear. You may be in the dark trying to make adjustments.

•    Be packed and ready to run!

BEFORE ROLLING

•    Try to position cameras where people won’t walk in front — people always come late, leave early

•    Start at 180d angle, but it’s ok to adjust… minimal movement

•    Manual WB

•    If possible, get exposure/WB card from grey card on stage and match all cameras

•    If using waveform monitor — make sure it’s is on before hitting record (can’t turn on once recording)

•    Set Zebras to acceptable skin tone level and to 95% — can’t adjust once rolling

•    Microphones on all cameras; check and balance all levels (by meters)

•    Make sure volume is up on camera output so you can monitor — can’t adjust once recording if it’s not on the back wheel

•    Have extra memory cards ready (leave at the camera?) if possibility of running long

•    Start recording several minutes apart so there’s time to swap cards and all cameras don’t stop at the same time

•    Use relay record, not backup, if any possibility of going over max record duration

WHILE ROLLING

•    Know when your cards will fill or batteries will die so you can be there ready, and try to make the swap at a non-critical moment — USE TIMERS!

•    Check cameras regularly… you never know!

•    If manually operating close-up camera, don’t stop rolling… just let it go; it’ll make the multicam edit easier

MENU