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Camera set-ups for televised concerts and talent shows

Troy A. Smith

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I have been trying to figure out the cam set-ups for live "concert" style shows like American Idol, The Voice, and music award shows. I see cam shots that look like they are moving right in front of the performer about eye level, but when they cut to a wide shot, I cannot spot any jibs or cam ops (and I'm not talking about a stationary long-lens back cam). I also see crazy fast jib shots that go over the crowd and right up on stage - even around the performers, but again never catch any equipment in the wide shots. What are they doing for these cam shots? Are they on wires? Is anyone using drones inside?


I direct for a megachurch and we use 5 cams (3 stationary, 1 large jib and one roaming stage cam) and want to see how we can get some of these kind of shots. Our worship (singing) sets are just like a rock concert, and we give it that feel as much as possible, but what are these shows doing for cam setups that I'm not catching? Does anyone have a shot diagram of this stuff?



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Most of this style of shot is done with a crane or jib. The technical directors know how the cameras can get in and out of each others' shots, and will cue the motion and live angles around them, so the viewers never see the camera rigs. This is just a sign of the TD knowing their job and doing it well.

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