7.21.2019

B.T.S. shots of our video set up this afternoon. Six lights, three cameras, three soft boxes, two different microphones and three tripods. So, how did it all work out?

Production photos courtesy: Nicole Shiro.
Production commissioned by Zach Theatre.
For the play, "Ann." (About Gov. Ann Richards). 

top left of frame is an Aputure LightStorm LS-1 pointed up toward the reflective insulation on the ceiling; same on the top right hand of the frame. Bottom left: from left to right: Actress, Holland Taylor, watches our interview with Ben and waits for her interview. Just to the right of her is a Manfrotto case that's positioned to work as a flag to keep spill light from an Aputure Lightstorm LS-1/2 light (used to the light the background) from hitting the interviewee. To the right of that is a light stand with a Godox SL60W in a Godox collapsible soft box aimed as the fill light for Broadway director, Benjamin Endsley Klein's interview. Just to the right of that is a C-Stand with a Gitzo microphone boom arm holding a Rode NTG-4+ about 24 inches above and in front of Ben (being interviewed). The camera directly in front of Ben is an X-H1 being used as a wide, establishing point of view cameras. It's got a 16-55mm f2.8 on the front and it's accepting a feed from the Rode microphone, through a Beachtek audio interface/pre-amp. You can see the Rode mic over Ben's head. To the right of that is me at the "A" camera shooting mid-chest and up with the 56mm f1.2 APD lens on a second X-H1. I'm using a dual channel Saramonic UHF microphone receiver in the hot shoe of the camera and I have a Saramonic lavaliere mic on the front plaquet of Ben's shirt. I am monitoring the audio, in a very general way, with a set of Apple ear buds (not the absolute best way but there it is....). The person to the right of me is Joshua, the director, and he's interviewing Ben. Just above Joshua, and over to his right, are two more Godox SL60W lights in soft boxes. To the right of them is a second Aputure LightStorm LED panel, also bouncing off the reflective (silvered) ceiling. Just in front of that light stand is my second camera operator, Ben Tuck, and a third Fuji X-H1 complete with a 90mm f2.0 lens and sporting a smaller Saramonic shotgun microphone to grab scratch audio (which is a must for syncing all three cameras together in order to do multi-cam editing in Final Cut Pro X).

Note the four sound blankets on the floor around our interviewee. I used these to control room noise. And the thick, black drape which ran nearly 100 feet along the back wall helped as well. 


Not shown but waiting in the wings for her interview was actor, Libby Villari.


We ended up not using the Atomos monitor because everyone was comfortable judging composition on the rear screens of the three cameras.


Were our interviews with one famous director and two nationally well known actors a success? Let me tell you that after we get all the editing done. The files look and sound great but who really knows how it will all cut together until we get into the process? 


Libby Villari, who will play, "Ann" in the Zach Production. 

On the right: Joshua is our video program director. 



Holland Taylor. Discussing her hit play, "Ann." 


We switched Ben, on the "B" camera to the opposite side for Taylor Holland's interview. 


Advice: on a multi-camera set up it's crucial to make sure your cameras match up. Same color settings, same exposure settings and ISO (so the noise matches) and, most importantly, all cameras should be set to exactly the same frame rate....

sound from both the lav and the shotgun were good even though we were unable to turn off the (noisy) air conditioning unit. 

Camera settings: All cameras set at 29.97 fps. Shutter speed = 1/60th. All apertures set to f2.8. White balance = 5300K. Profile = Eterna. Sharpening = minus 2. Audio optimized for -12 db to -6 db. 

Cameras: 3 x Fuji X-H1s with battery grips. Lenses: All Fuji: 16-55mmm f2.8, 56mm f1.2 APD, and 90mm f2.0. Manually focused with focus peaking and attendant punch-in. 



9 comments:

MikeR said...

Nice to see how the magic is made.

Richard said...

Wasn't this the job you were going to use two shotgun mics on? Personally my standard audio configuration is a wireless lav on one channel and a shotgun NTG-2 on the other. But I thought you needed to cover multiple people. This looks like just one person on camera, which of course makes it easier to mic.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Richard, on Friday the client decided they'd bitten off too much complexity and reworked the concept. We went all the way back to the idea of three individual interviews. Worked much better for me....

Michael Matthews said...

How was the difference in quality between the lav mic and the shotgun?

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

MM, the lav was pretty much noise free and clear but like most lavs it sounded a bit flat. The shotgun picked up more of the air conditioner noise but had much more detail and clarity. Given a choice I'll probably opt for the feed from the shotgun and do a bit of high end noise reduction in post. I don't know how else to describe it but the shotgun sounds more three dimensional; more real. Less compressed.

Scott said...

Despite the blankets, the shotgun is probably picking up some reflections of the voices, providing a natural “echo” and thus depth.

Kirk Tuck, Photographer/Writer said...

Huge, huge room, thick black drape behind the subject and about 50 feet to the back wall behind us. Oh, and tons of insulation on the ceiling 30 feet above us. Maybe not reflections. Maybe shotguns just have more dynamic range than lavs..... I don't know for sure.....

typingtalker said...

CBS News Sunday Morning (started by Charles Kuralt in 1979) does remote interviews where they often pull back to a BTS view of the goings-on. It's usually only a few seconds but very interesting to people like us.

Many are available on-demand so we don't have to get up early (9:00 am eastern :)) to watch.

gkujasnuu said...

WOW, I do envy you and your setup. I have done BTS shooting on a couple of films (2 feature-length and several shorts). The director's instructions were no flash, no extra lights and no tripod, be quiet and stay out of the shot.
Challening, but fun. Thanks for your insights and all of your observations.