5. Independent filmmakers vs companiesCapturing live theatre performance – multi camera set up
Recently I published a blog post on filming live performance which covered the basics of filming a live show, I recently however did a multi-cam film shoot for a theatre show and realised there’s a few things extra that I’d like to add.
On a multi cam set up there are a few things that you must figure out before we film.
I’ll assume you have not read my previous blog for catching like the form and so will do a quick recap here.
When shooting on two cameras let’s say camera A and camera B. Camera A will be your master camera, this wants to be placed ideally at the back of the room with a full view of the stage. You will want to put the camera on a tripod, lock it off so you’ve got a wide shot of the entire space. If everything else fails you will have this master shot to give to the company so they can they sell their show and they have a record of what took place.
When you set up camera A up make sure you work with the lighting and sound technician to get the level correct for the show, get them to turn the brightest light in the show on so you can set your Iso and aperture that way you won’t overexpose.
Remember, if you are shooting this on your own this camera will be unmanned so it needs to be set correctly. With Camera A ideally you will want to get a line out of the sound desk so you have a clean feed. In an ideal world, the actors will be miked up. This will save you no end of trouble when you enter the postproduction stage and will give you good audio levels.
Now you’ve got cameras a set ready charged with a fresh clean memory card in let’s move onto camera be. When doing a multi-cam set up, you really need to use the 180 rule.
What is the 180 degree rule
The 180 degree rule is a filmmaking guideline for spatial relations between two characters on screen. The 180 rule sets an imaginary axis, or eye line, between two characters or between a character and an object. By keeping the camera on one side of this imaginary axis, the characters maintain the same left/right relationship to each other, keeping the space of the scene orderly and easy to follow.
When the camera jumps over the invisible axis, known as crossing the line or breaking the line, and it can produce a disorienting and distracting effect on a viewer.
Camera B will be your close up/mid shot tracking. This means you can cook close on the actors you can follow the action you can create an intimate feeling as if the camera is almost on stage with the performers.
A cautionary note, make sure you set your ISO frame rate, Kelvin level the same across both cameras. If you are using the same type of camera, this won’t be an issue. Again, this will save you more time in postproduction if you’re having to cut between two cameras.
When I do a multi-cam set up I always send the footage from camera A straight off to the company so they have a record of the show which they can then send out to producers/theatres etc.
Once you’re in the editing suite (or in my case your laptop) you can sync both cameras together using the editing software of your choice.
If this has helped/inspired you, please do let me know. I can be found on all the social medias @waynesables or via the email at firstname.lastname@example.org and my website www.waynesablesproject.co.uk.