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Two cameras on top of each other?

Ajit Raj Prathi

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I recently came across a well known DP's story on Instagram in which it was seen two cameras were stacked on top of each other. It was noticable that both the cameras had different magnifications (different lenses). I can't help but wonder why he might have done this given that these cams shoot 4k/6k or so, he might as well have just cropped in as required. Would be great if someone with experience could explain why this is done. I have attached a screenshot for reference. 


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Perhaps it's a stylized action shot.  The movie 300 used multiple cameras at different focal lengths on certain shots.  I believe they cropped the first, then blended to the second, cropped that, then blended to the third.  A highfalutin form of the "digital zoom" on cheap camcorders.

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If you're doing a very symmetrical shot where you want the camera to be dead-center to a room but want a tighter b-camera angle too, sometimes you stack the cameras.  I did it for a scene where the main camera was low-angle over the shoulder of someone in a bathtub in the FG looking up at someone in the doorway, and the b-camera was tighter along the same eyeline but didn't have to be as low-angle, so the two cameras were almost over each other. Not quite because I didn't want to have to undersling the b-camera on a Lambda head, those are pain.

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  • 3 weeks later...
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We did this years ESPY awards promos this way and it was really about logistics.  Since his accident its very tough for Tracy to stand for very long and do lots of take etc.  We had a few dolly shots and needed a tight shot and a wider shot for the different cuts that were done for the different promos.  PLUS we were using a teleprompter (which had to be twice as wide).  So the setup allowed us to get both the wide and tight while having identical pushes (one dolly) and keeping a similar eyeliner and allowing talent to use the prompter.


Another consideration is I've had a few jobs with a similar setup where there is a wide more or less lock off type of shot that is on a wide with a large DOF so that the VFX people have plates that exceed the normal frame and then the main camera (which was the bottom one) change lenses to get whatever shot was needed for the project.

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