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Shooting with 2 cameras


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Hello everyone

 

I'm about to embark on a small, indie feature, we are debating having 2 cameras, we feel that it might help our pace and since we are working with kids, we'll be able to make the most out of our days

 

I was curious to find out how other DP's feel about using 2 cameras and how to make the best use of them

 

c/u and m/s at the same time?

 

cross coverage?

 

what's the best way to approach 2 cameras without feeling like they are getting in each others way and disrupt the lighting approach too much

I suppose sometimes there is really no way to use 2 cameras and just have to convince the director that that's the case

 

thanks so much

 

Francisco

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If you are going to be using 2 cameras often my suggestion would be getting 2 operators. On a small film with not a lot of time you can quickly lose control of the B camera if you're operating A.

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Film or digital? It's a bit problematic in digital, where it is easy there are some differences between 2 cameras, even if they are same model, with same lens.

Edited by Luca Travaglini
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Film or digital? It's a bit problematic in digital, where it is easy there are some differences between 2 cameras, even if they are same model, with same lens.

 

The difference when matching DSLR footage (even across models), is 0.

 

I agree, get 2 operators - It's critical if you're trying to get things done quick, fast and right!

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The difference when matching DSLR footage (even across models), is 0.

 

Are you sure? Digital sensors doesn't have a true native sensitivity, they are calibrated after construction at a standard sensitivity. I'm not talking about a big difference, but sometimes they can be a little different in exposure. And even photo lenses, of same model, may have small differences of contrast and saturation 'cause they are built in series and tested only a sample. In particular i had these problems during the shooting of a music video with three 5D MKII and Canon EF L zoom lenses. Nothing that a good CC can't solve, but a little more work.

Edited by Luca Travaglini
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The problem is that you are usually lit for one angle. You cna shoot with two cameras aimed in the same direction. on gets the wide and one gets tighter. or like you mentioned. You might not always need two cameras so use then on the day that you need them. It can become a cluster. I like one camera better. more control.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I recently worked on a film as B camera operator. We used 2 cameras on about 75% of the shoot. We managed to get a pretty quick pace with this method. Our approach was aiming both cameras at the same angle, or staying on the same side of the axis. A camera would do the wide shots and B camera would do the close ups. We chose this over doing cross angles, as it obviously helped wit the lighting. Also we shot entirely con location. Most of them small. When the B camera was not needed for a specific setup, I would be doing 2nd unit with it, going out to do landscapes, timelapse work, or just cutaways. We used two Sony F3's and two sets of Zeiss Compact Primes. Previously tested of course. Cheers.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In general, I would agree on most of the comments. 2 operators are optimal along with shooting on the same axis for lighting purposes. Also, yes the two camera's may have some slight color shifts, but nothing a DI can't handle. Having said that, with the proper location choices, two camera facing opposite direction can be worthwhile and save quite a bit of time. I shot a film called "Think Like a Man" that had a 33 day shooting schedule with a 140 pg script. Lots of dialogue in restaurants, clubs..etc. Most of it being two actors facing each other. By making sure the actors sat next to windows I was able to light both actors at the same time...while using slightly longer lenses to keep the camera's out of view. In all cases, the windows we're also next to pillars which I utilized to hide the lights. Each actors "key" light was also a soft backlight for the other. In one particular scene, I used 3 cameras. I had a 50-50 along with over over's on each actor. The 50-50 was interesting only because it was "front lit"....but when you have very soft front light and a deep background that falls off (back of the restaurant) it can be visually appealing. FYI.. It worked well on that particular film because we planned it out in prep. The director and I collaborated on locations based on our ability to be able to shoot in opposite directions...but in general, without that kind of commitment in prep, stay with the same axis.

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I recently worked on a film as B camera operator. We used 2 cameras on about 75% of the shoot. We managed to get a pretty quick pace with this method. Our approach was aiming both cameras at the same angle, or staying on the same side of the axis. A camera would do the wide shots and B camera would do the close ups. We chose this over doing cross angles, as it obviously helped wit the lighting. Also we shot entirely con location. Most of them small. When the B camera was not needed for a specific setup, I would be doing 2nd unit with it, going out to do landscapes, timelapse work, or just cutaways. We used two Sony F3's and two sets of Zeiss Compact Primes. Previously tested of course. Cheers.

 

This is precisely the technique you want to use.

 

R,

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