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Author Topic: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording  (Read 2195 times)

William Schnake

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Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« on: January 17, 2018, 11:13:02 am »

Hi, I have little or no knowledge about cameras.  I own a mid-size sound company that does mainly 70's, 80's, 90's and current country concerts and festivals.  We also do some conference work which includes recording lectures both sound and video for web release.  In our current offerings we have been using Cubase Pro 9.5 with Wavelab Pro 9.5 for our audio rendering.  We can capture up to 48 channels for 48kHz audio with our Mac Mini setup.  I would also like to be able to capture video of some of the shows. 

My thoughts are as follows:
Four cameras
1) at Front of House
2) Stage Right
3) Stage Left
4) behind the drummer attached to the back light truss.

We then run the video into a program of some kind on the Mac Mini to capture all of the video (we might need a second computer rather than our audio Mac Mini to do this).  When we get back to our shop we would first Mix a stereo track of all of the audio so that it is finished and ready to go.  Then using something like Final Cut Pro we could bring in the video and align the audio master track to the video start.  At that point we would be able to take the four views of the show and make a decent looking video.  We render the audio and the final video together and hopefully we would be able to have some good web content for promotion.

For the cameras on the stage I was thinking of something along the GO PRo line.  I would like to have something better than that for the FoH camera although it to would be stationary.  I don't really care about the audio quality of the cameras since we have our audio recorded on a separate platform.

My budget for the cameras and Final Cut Pro is $5,000.  So, any ideas would be helpful.  As I said, audio, not an issue, Video, I am like a new born baby pissing on himself.

Thanks in advance.

Bill
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2018, 03:59:18 pm »

How long are your shows?

If all you're doing is recording video you wouldn't need to bring video/sdi to FOH.

Grab 3x gopro's for the stage and 3x DSLR's. Record straight to disc.

I ask about how long because DSLR's sometimes limit the amount of video length, you can modify that with firmware though.
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William Schnake

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2018, 06:03:46 pm »

How long are your shows?

If all you're doing is recording video you wouldn't need to bring video/sdi to FOH.

Grab 3x gopro's for the stage and 3x DSLR's. Record straight to disc.

I ask about how long because DSLR's sometimes limit the amount of video length, you can modify that with firmware though.

Nathan, thanks for the response.  Most of this type of show will be between 75 and 100 minutes give or take.  Is there any particular gopro that would work better?  Also, I am guessing that I will need a way to start the cameras all at the same time.  I don't know that to be a fact.  Input?

Thanks
Bill
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Mark Cadwallader

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2018, 06:21:04 pm »

Maybe a DMX trigger?  There are little electro-mechanical devices that rotate an arm on command. I've seen them with Broadway road compamies as "quick fix" for something like a non-functioning projector shutter.
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William Schnake

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2018, 06:55:21 pm »

Maybe a DMX trigger?  There are little electro-mechanical devices that rotate an arm on command. I've seen them with Broadway road compamies as "quick fix" for something like a non-functioning projector shutter.
Thanks Mark.  We will see what we can figure out.

Bill
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Philip Roberts

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2018, 09:38:40 pm »

You can use various programs to automatically  line up the various video files based on their audio. I know its built into premier, not sure about FCP. Plural Eyes is a third part option.
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William Schnake

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2018, 09:54:30 pm »

You can use various programs to automatically  line up the various video files based on their audio. I know its built into premier, not sure about FCP. Plural Eyes is a third part option.
Thanks Philip.

Bill
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2018, 11:33:27 pm »

Yeah I wouldn't worry about starting the cameras at the same time you can line the video tracks up very easily in any video editing program even windows movie maker...

Go-Pro's well the newer ones are certainly better; not sure you'd need that new though. And honestly, the knockoff ones from Amazon for ~$50-100 work just as good and are probably fine for your application.

Nikon D3200, D3300, D5200, D5300, etc are good cameras. You could record to the micro SD card for 20-30min of video. Firmware editing would be required to go over that limit.

https://petapixel.com/2013/04/09/nikon-hack-removes-the-recording-time-limit-on-d3100-d5100-and-d7000/

Decent Camcorder might be a better option *shrug*

We might be getting into the territory where you might want to consider shooting in raw and color depth and dynamic range (for lighting) and other things that are out of my area of expertise.

Though at the end of the day, just like an audio console... the user matters WAY more than the equipment.
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William Schnake

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2018, 11:28:40 am »

Yeah I wouldn't worry about starting the cameras at the same time you can line the video tracks up very easily in any video editing program even windows movie maker...

Go-Pro's well the newer ones are certainly better; not sure you'd need that new though. And honestly, the knockoff ones from Amazon for ~$50-100 work just as good and are probably fine for your application.

Decent Camcorder might be a better option *shrug*

We might be getting into the territory where you might want to consider shooting in raw and color depth and dynamic range (for lighting) and other things that are out of my area of expertise.

Though at the end of the day, just like an audio console... the user matters WAY more than the equipment.
I was thinking a decent small digital camcorder.  I already have a Canon SLR 40D, however it doesn't shoot video.  It does take fantastic picture while on vacation which is why I bought it.

I would like to be able to do 1080 on the GoPro type cameras.  I will check out the ones on Amazon.

I am thinking an external 750 GB SSD using the Thunderbolt port on my Mac Mini for recording.  I did a test with 32 tracks yesterday and 1 hour of 32 track, 48K audio takes 15.56 GB of SSD space.  So the audio for a show will be between 22 GB and 30 GB depending on the number of tracks.  Then on top of that I will have the video footage.

I wonder if I could find a camcorder that would hook directly to the Mac Mini and stream it's capture video to the 750 GB SSD?  That would be cool.

Thanks
Bill
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Nathan Riddle

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #9 on: January 18, 2018, 11:47:58 am »

I was thinking a decent small digital camcorder.  I already have a Canon SLR 40D, however it doesn't shoot video.  It does take fantastic picture while on vacation which is why I bought it.

I would like to be able to do 1080 on the GoPro type cameras.  I will check out the ones on Amazon.

I am thinking an external 750 GB SSD using the Thunderbolt port on my Mac Mini for recording.  I did a test with 32 tracks yesterday and 1 hour of 32 track, 48K audio takes 15.56 GB of SSD space.  So the audio for a show will be between 22 GB and 30 GB depending on the number of tracks.  Then on top of that I will have the video footage.

I wonder if I could find a camcorder that would hook directly to the Mac Mini and stream it's capture video to the 750 GB SSD?  That would be cool.

Thanks
Bill

I would NOT record to the Mac Mini for video. ESPECIALLY when it is recording audio at the same time. The HDD will not keep up.

You can take a DSLR output (typically micro HDMI) [Though doesn't look like DSLR 40D has that] and convert to SDI then to a BlackMagic microSD card recorder.

The BM microSD recorder is about 1hr 6min for 64gig SD card @ one of their lowest 1080p codec's bitrate setting.

Camcorder might be a good idea if you're willing to do 'on-the-cheap' Especially considering, and I'm reading between the lines, that this is extra work & cost the client isn't paying for.

On-the-cheap for cameras means colors are off, sensors don't pickup low light, graininess in the image, etc. That may or may not be acceptable, and it may or may not happen. Really depends on ambient lighting conditions & the hardware/software combination in the camera.
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brian maddox

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #10 on: January 18, 2018, 03:32:09 pm »

Okay, i know just enough about this subject to be dangerous.  Hopefully a little bit helpful in there as well.  Here's some random thoughts.

1.  Recording in camera is super convenient and will probably work just fine for your application.  Most of the cameras you will consider for this will have this capability.  Invest in fast, large SD cards and you'll be fine. 

2.  So long as all your video files have some kind of audio on them [distorted on camera mic included] FCPX will automatically sync them for you along with your remixed audio file, which is super handy.  You can also run all your camera files 'live' as if it were a live show and 'cut' between cameras as if it were a live show and FCP will build your initial timeliine off your real-time cuts.  This is a SUPER fast way to get a rough cut of a concert.  You can then tweak those cuts until your eyes melt if you really want to.  [note: doing this 'live' cut editing does require a good bit of processor power so YMMV]

3.  The BMD cameras are crazy good for the money. The image quality is exceptional [again, for the money].  I'm not sure you can get 4 Micro Cinemas with lenses in your budget, but using one with a decent lens for your main money camera might be worth considering.

4.  GoPros have a tendency to overheat if running higher resolutions for longer periods of time.  I'd do a little online research before you buy those for this application.  The newer ones might be better, but my Hero4+ is useless for anything 1080p or higher longer than 5 minutes or so.

5.  An audience shot for cutaways is a SUPER handy thing to have.  Before and after show B-roll is also a great thing to have during editing.

6.  Changing just 1 camera to an operated one will significantly improve the watchabilility of your final product, especially if you want to produce clips longer than 90 seconds or so.  The operator doesn't have to be on comms or whatever.  They just need to be instructed to get an interesting shot, sit on it for 90 seconds or so, then get something else interesting.  This can turn one camera angle into dozens of usable shots for later editing.

7.  Ambient mics at stage AND FOH can be very useful.  Just time align them...  :)

8.  You may want to consider TWO cameras at or near FOH with different shot composition rather than 2 side stage cameras [ maybe one operated see note 6 above].  Or something 45 degrees off center if you can get there and have the camera live through the experience.

9.  A few 'shaky cam' cutaways taken on a cell phone can add to the excitement of your final product, especially if they are 'mid-crowd'.  Again, FCPX will sync whatever short clips you may take based on the audio so don't worry if they are just short little bursts.

It's official.  I know too much about video...  :)

That's all i got for now.  I'm sure i'll think of some more things later.
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brian maddox
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TJ (Tom) Cornish

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #11 on: January 18, 2018, 04:10:45 pm »

All I will add is be sure you know what you're doing if you are planning to use any cameras that require manual focusing, which is pretty much any DSLR (yes, some of them can sort of autofocus, but not really) and anything from Black Magic.

If you have qualified operators, the above may be great.  If you're looking for set and forget, you need camcorders.
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brian maddox

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #12 on: January 18, 2018, 04:16:59 pm »

All I will add is be sure you know what you're doing if you are planning to use any cameras that require manual focusing, which is pretty much any DSLR (yes, some of them can sort of autofocus, but not really) and anything from Black Magic.

If you have qualified operators, the above may be great.  If you're looking for set and forget, you need camcorders.

TJ is Definitely not wrong.  Camcorders also typically have easy zoom lenses and decent auto iris as well.  Much easier to get good usable results right out fo the box.

One of the GOOD things about the GoPro type cameras [aside from being pretty cheap] is that they have a VERY deep depth of field which gives you a lot of wiggle room in the focus department.   Doesn't make for as compelling images, but it is far more set and forget.

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Will Knight

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #13 on: January 18, 2018, 06:21:45 pm »

Okay, i know just enough about this subject to be dangerous.
It's official.  I know too much about video...  :)

Brian nailed it. And I offer another vote for using camcorders in the case. You can easily get 2+ hours of battery life (frees you from the AC cord), up to 128G of SD space for recording storage, small GoPro like footprint and wide software availability to download, edit, synch and time align the videos.  3 would be great, 4 ideal but even 2 is perfectly functional depending on environs and setup.  I've been doing something similar using 4 Canon Cams, Pinnacle & Cubase for the better part of +10 years. 

Good Luck...

Bill   
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William Schnake

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #14 on: January 18, 2018, 08:47:05 pm »

All, thanks for your help.  I talked with a friend of mine who has done some of the same type of work and his suggestion was 4 GoPros with a remote to start them and a camcorder, he gave me a specific Cannon model number, to use from FoH.

I appreciate all of the input.

Thanks
Bill
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Tim Weaver

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Re: Cameras for Mid-level concert recording
« Reply #15 on: March 30, 2018, 12:24:38 pm »

Gooros are great for this, but remember that they will be a wide-angle shot no matter what you do.

If you buy 4 gopros and just use that, you will never have a “close up” shot of anything.

Record to the internal sd card of each camera. Whack it together later, just like you would do to a multi-take multi-track recording.



The Sling Studio is worth looking in to for things like this. The quality is great. We use it all the time to stream and record. We have 2 black magic cameras at FOH with a tight shot and a wide shot. We have a gopro stage left, and an ipod touch on a cheap steady-cam handle thing for mobile shots. The end product looks way more pro than it probably should!
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