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3.3 Camera Matching and Second Shooter Direction

Before we start rolling, it is important to make sure that your cameras are set up to be matched as closely as possible, especially when it comes to color and frame rate. In this lesson you will learn what you need to think about to get your cameras matched! You will also learn how to communicate what you need with your second shooter.

3.3 Camera Matching and Second Shooter Direction

Before you start rolling, it's important to make sure that you have your camera set up, so that they are matched as close as possible, especially when it comes to color and frame rate. In this lesson, you will learn what you need to think about to get your cameras matched. Because Andrew and I own the same camera, the Canon C100, camera matching would not be too difficult. I needed to make sure that we were using the same settings for shutter speed, white balance, and picture profile. Frame rate isn't really an issue because the camera doesn't offer any high speed frame rates. I don't think Andrew and I have ever shot anything other than 24p. As you saw from the lighting setup, I'm using lights that are pretty close to daylight color, and we also have pretty cool daylight color light coming in from the kitchen window. So we set the white balance on the cameras to daylight. The two fluorescent lights I used as the key light can cause a little bit of banding if the shutter speed isn't set quite right. The banding produced by these lights is extremely subtle, and it's very hard to detect. But it's best if it can be avoided. Because we usually shoot in 24p, 1/48th of a second shutter speed is what we usually use. But I have found that 1/60th of a second works better for eliminating banding on these particular lights. With the white balance and the shutter speeds dialed in on both cameras, I needed to make sure that the picture profiles were also matching. I set my camera and I had Andrew set his camera to something called wide DR which stands for wide dynamic range. Wide DR is a picture profile that uses a gamma curve that squeezes a lot of detail into the codec. It looks great right out of the camera. I also had both cameras shoot a few seconds of a grey card and I used this to help color correct the white balance in post-production. Usually, it doesn't take much tweaking if the white balance is set right in camera, but it definitely helps with multiple cameras. This is especially true of different camera models and brands of camera. I used a light meter to get a reading of what aperture value we should be using, which was f-5.6 at 1/60th of a second in ISO 800. The cameras were actually set to ISO 850, which is their native ISO. But the difference between ISO 850 and ISO 800 is only 5.88%. In terms of stops of light, that is about 6/100ths of a stop, which is not a huge difference. Because Andrew had a bright window in his background some of the time, he might have closed down one-third of his stop more than my camera, which was fine. With the white balance, shutter speed, ISO, and picture profiles match on our cameras, we were looking pretty similar. Andrew's camera was looking a little more blue than my camera, but for all intents and purposes, they were as matched as they were gonna get. Now with one camera being locked down to a medium shot, the second shooter would be responsible for covering all the details in all of the action shots. Direction and communication are key to making sure your second shooter gets what they need to make the final video a success. I went over the details of the shoot ahead of time with Andrew. But when he got to the shoot, we went over exactly where his camera would be located and tweaked the setup a little bit so that he was comfortable. He had the idea to get his camera up high so that he could shoot down into bowls. I thought this was a great idea and I found him a little stool that got him up off the ground, about eight inches so that he could reach his camera controls. I directed Andrew to cover Cheryl from the side when she was talking, and then whenever she was doing anything with her hands or when she was pointing to anything to cover that with a closeup. I asked him to use is 70-200 millimeter lens specifically, because I wanted him to be on the more telephoto end to compress the shot and show less of the background. Because this is a real kitchen and not a set and I have four young kids, it was not easy getting all the surfaces in the kitchen camera ready. Backing up and shooting with a little bit more of a telephoto lens helps that because, compared to a wider focal length, the subject stays the same size and you see less of the background. Andrew are also brought a 23-inch monitor to use on the floor as his camera monitor, because he has trouble focusing on the tiny 3 inch on-camera LCD that comes with the camera. This will extremely well for their production because, from my position, I could see his shot very clearly, and monitor what he was doing. Like I mentioned before, Andrew and I have worked together on many, many projects over the last eight years. This working relationship means that I don't have to scrutinize his camera work. I know that he's a competent shooter, director and producer. If he didn't get a shot quite right, he would ask to do it again or stop the action on the spot to make sure that he didn't miss something that would have been impossible to get a second time, like mixing in the last of the ingredients. I expected him to do this and it was exactly what I wanted. To some, this may seem like he's out of line by halting the action and directing the talent for a shot that he needs. I don't see it that way, I know that he isn't trying to take over my production, he's trying to help it. I couldn't coach Cheryl, watch my camera and watch his camera at the same time, so this was a great help to the production. He had to cover all the tight action stuff. And if he didn't get it right, it would have hurt the production because I wouldn't have those shots to cut to in the edit. This sort of working relationship comes with time. If I was using another shooter who I hadn't had much experience with, they might not feel as confident to stop action and get the shots they need because they might not feel that it was their place. In this situation, I would have to explain exactly what I wanted them to do upfront, but I would also have to watch out for them trying to over-direct the talent. It's definitely a fine line to walk. But when you have the right people on your team, it just works. A lot of pressure is lifted off my shoulders having excellent crew work on the production, and it allows me to focus on coaching the talent's performance, which really helps raise the level of their production. In an email I sent to Andrew the day before you shoot, I gave him a full recap of the scope of the production, what I wanted him to bring, and what I expected him to do. I specifically told him that we would be setting up for a few b-roll shots and I was also open to any additional ideas for b-roll shots that he had. But I needed to make sure that we fully covered the material in the script first. In other words, I was welcoming his creativity, but that creativity could only happen after we covered all the content that we had planned for. I couldn't sacrifice getting the content nailed down for a few cute and creative shots. He did a fantastic job as you will see and set up a few nice b-roll shots after we got through the script. All right, you know how this shoot was planned, and now it's time for you to see it happen. In the next few lessons, you will see a collection of highlights from the shoot. Or you will learn how to coach talent, prep shots, stay on schedule, deal with problems, and more. So check that out, coming up next.

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