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D.V.D.
07-26-2005, 09:32 AM
Hi,

I am trying to tackle a project that most likely requires a few highly trained experts but before I start hiring people I'd like to check the possiblity of doing it myself.

I need to shoot a racing event from 10 different camera angles similar to the way a TV crew would. (would obviously hire cameramen)

The main differences are:
1. Its not for TV. Its for download from a website (not live webcast)
2. I'd like to avoid "live" switching, rather doing a post production using the footage from each camera's tape.
3. I want to use 10 Canon GL2s.

If anyone could point me in the right direction as to what equipment will handle this and/or where I could learn more about this type of production, I'd really appreciate it!

bbeanan
07-26-2005, 10:19 AM
Here is what I would do... Live Swtich to tape (or to DVR like a FireStore) But also ISO Record each camera.

If you do this you can use your live switched tape to start with and where you want to make a change you can do that in post. Doing the full edit with all 10 cameras, tiles bug and everything will be a bear, so give yourself somewhere to start and go from there.

Hope this helps

D.V.D.
07-26-2005, 11:57 AM
Beanan, thanks man.

The problem I'll run into with live switching however, is that the event is huge and covers literally 10-20 acres of land which would require hugh amounts of cable and personel to setup.

Is there a way to feed video wirelessly?

Jim Capillo
07-26-2005, 12:31 PM
Is there a way to feed video wirelessly?

I've used the Trango unit (Markertek) very successfully - with the caveat that the receive antenna be aimed somewhat at the camera position. Sends audio, too.

Pretty expensive, though.....

D.V.D.
07-26-2005, 01:10 PM
Jim please exuse my newbieness, but could you elaborate just a bit and avoid abbreviation if possible.

Also what if cameras are over hills and out of sight?

Thanks man.

bbeanan
07-26-2005, 02:41 PM
Use one of the many CAT5 Baluns they are pretty cheap (compaired to actual cable) they can run like 1000' feet I think. The ones I use can be found here:

www.magenta-research.com or
http://www.extron.com/product/listbytype.asp?subtype=5

both are very good products... if you can keep it down to 8 cameras use the YRB for the best possible signal and do the live switch.

Also if the event is really important (and long) you run a tape in each camera, then back at control do another deck recording each camera then to the VT4 and record the output of the VT4 on yet another deck. No it sounds like over kill but keep in mind pretty much all of your cameras will run out of tape at almost the same time and then you are stuck with nothing (this just happened to me I lost the first 23 sec. of a dance number for my wife's dance recital, as both cameras were having the tape changed at the same time (which I still am confused by since I personally changed the tapes myself and had to walk from one camera to the next)) For the backup record you can just use some cheap VHS decks (but then you can not use YRB) or you could drop a huge dime on BetaCAM decks

MediaSig
07-26-2005, 07:37 PM
I've worked in motorsports tv since 1992...just trying to throw my two cents in, but I've got a few questions...

How many laps is the race?
Is this a short run (10-20 laps) or 200 laps?

How long is the race corse? Depending on where your cameras are, will they be able to zoom in far enough to see the cars? Will the operators be using tripods?

Are you planning on running your cameras from Battery or AC power - I'll always suggest AC power.

And from a safety concern:

How close are the guys to the track? Do they have spotters (if close to the gaurd wall)? Will they need firesuits?


If you don't have a way of switching the shots live to tape and your camera ops are recording to tape, then save your best guys for cameras which can cover large areas of action in case you need to 'fix' anything. Plus make sure you have a detailed camera meeting before the race so they know how to cover their corner/stretch and what you expect of them. If you can't see what their shooting, then you need to be specific else you'll have surprises back in the edit bay. Also if you have time (unless it's one big race), check their tapes from time to time during the day to make sure they are getting what you need.

Didn't even think to ask...is this an oval, road course, drag strip? How fast are the vehicles? Are they Cars, Go-Carts, R/C cars?

Sorry to throw questions back at you, but the answers might help me give better advice.


GOOD LUCK!

Greg

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 09:32 AM
Hey no problem for asking questions. I didn't get too detailed initially to keep from freak'n everybody out.

I'm wanting to cover national motocross events via video and then offer my footage on a website for download (not live webcast).

I figured I'd need at least 10 cameras at the event to capture the race in detail. And the tracks aren't huge, per se, but they are very "hilly" so the riders are going out of view quite often. Hence the need for many different angles.

The reason I don't think live switching would work is because the cameras will just be too far away to run cable. Plus there are bulldozers and huge water trucks traversing the infield throughout the day that would make mense meat out of any cable lying on the ground. Also the production truck would have to be in parking lot practically.

I'd like to try and find a solution for editing my footage down to a single "show", (after) the race but still doing this in a sort of live way?

Like if I could sync all of the tapes and then have them play at once so that I could "live" switch them from tape. Does this make any sense?

I don't even know if this kind of thing is available.

Also in this photo, what is this guy using in order to be wireless? My cameras would not be that expensive, but if this guy is transmitting signal wirelessly, I'd be very interested in that.

http://www.racerxill.com/RXimages/AMI_WP/072605/Fonseca_600.jpg

Guys thanks for all of the input, I really appreciate it.

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 09:50 AM
MediaSig, I forgot to add that the race consists of four races each lasting 30 mintues.

Jim Capillo
07-27-2005, 10:35 AM
Also in this photo, what is this guy using in order to be wireless? My cameras would not be that expensive, but if this guy is transmitting signal wirelessly, I'd be very interested in that.

http://www.racerxill.com/RXimages/AMI_WP/072605/Fonseca_600.jpg

Guys thanks for all of the input, I really appreciate it.

Doesn't look like he's wireless. There's no transmitter showing nor any wires going off to feed a nearby unit. He's probably just going to tape for editing later. Another thing I'll throw at you is to hire a crane or platform unit to put one or more cameras on it. They could shoot in different directions if the unit is placed somewhere in the middle of the venue. You might need some bigger lenses if the distance is great.

One thing to remember if you are going to edit this thing in sync fashion. Have your camera operators start rolling tape at either a predetermined time (after syncing watches), or via either a vocal or hand cue..... and roll tape through to the end. It is easy to sync together once, but if a camera operator is continually starting/stopping his tape, it will be next to useless to you (on the edit side).

I just did a local wrestling show in this fashion and it was no big deal to get all 4 cameras synced and then pick the shots.

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 11:58 AM
Oh yea I never thought of that. Great tip Jim thanks! I'll definitely have headsets on each of the cameramen so doing sort of a vocal sync will have to suffice I guess.

Jim, what about the number of cameras? You mentioned you used four for the wrestling event but I'm trying to use 8. (note: 10 total but 2 would be just extra footage to be added if needed)

And as I've looked around for video mixers I've seen that most are only 4 channel. Can I even use 8 cameras?

Jim Capillo
07-27-2005, 12:06 PM
To tell you the truth, I doubt I'd even tackle this project without major resources (a truck) and a pretty big budget.

Anyhoo, there are analog (and digital) switchers out there that will handle those numbers of inputs. Check out Grass Valley, Ampex and Sony. The older ones can be had pretty cheap on eBay. And don't forget the 'ole VT with the SX-8. Up to 24 inputs. Wired is going to be a logistical nightmare. I would probably hot switch the cameras that I could get close to the truck and roll in the others later.

What fun......

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 12:27 PM
AHH CRAP!! I was hoping for, "This is a breeze!" lol

I'm talking about dropping 100k on the cameras and truck and other equipment. If I can't do it for that then, yea I'm not sure I want to go after it either.

Bummer. Thanks for the feedback though.

Rich Deustachio
07-27-2005, 01:49 PM
If any of these shoots are near New Jersey let me know if your looking for camera operators.

PIZAZZ
07-27-2005, 01:58 PM
AHH CRAP!! I was hoping for, "This is a breeze!" lol

I'm talking about dropping 100k on the cameras and truck and other equipment. If I can't do it for that then, yea I'm not sure I want to go after it either.

Bummer. Thanks for the feedback though.


It can be done for that. Contact me and I will be glad to help show you how. You are looking the right direction but I have some suggestions that might really help. I have been around some live stuff before... :)

I might have some time later tonight to post some ideas I have in this scenario.

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 02:27 PM
Rich if I'm able to make this work I will definitely need operators in and around PA,NY,MA,MI. Plus other states. PM me so that I'll have your info.

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 02:34 PM
Yea post your ideas first since you're a dealer. I don't want a sales pitch. :)
Just kidding.

Seriously, I want this to work so I'm all ears.

Jim Capillo
07-27-2005, 04:17 PM
Rich if I'm able to make this work I will definitely need operators in and around PA,NY,MA,MI. Plus other states. PM me so that I'll have your info.

I'm in MA and available.

D.V.D.
07-27-2005, 05:26 PM
Thanks very much Jim I'll let you know.

Jim_C
07-27-2005, 06:06 PM
fwiw.. I can speak from experience... Jef at Pizazz is THE man to talk to.
He knows how to walk the fine line between free help, helpful suggestions, and sales pitch better than most. He truly cares.
Grab him offline asap.

Jim

lesterfoster
07-28-2005, 06:42 PM
Sounds like this is an interesting project that you are working on. Have you tried using people taking photographs with a flash for sinking up the video cameras? I think that if you have one flash and have all the people point their cameras at that flash, then trigger the flash, it would help you sync up all the cameras throughout your production. I have done many shows where people take pictures and it helped with the video production greatly. All I do is capture the video from the tapes, than place markers on where the flashes are, then I lineup all the clips and the markers, then after that I just chop out the boring parts and focus on the good parts, and it looks like a live switching.

Hope this helps

Jim Capillo
07-28-2005, 08:55 PM
Flashes work great for sync'ing iso'ed cams up, but the physical area that he is trying to cover would make that impossible. Sounds like a verbal cue over the intercom or Nextels would be the most practical.

Scrut
07-29-2005, 08:53 AM
If you want to post produce the programme rather than cut it live, why not try the VT addon "Bobs Multicam" www.digitalvideoediting.com/articles/viewarticle.jsp?id=30991-0 . You can cut 9 sources with it so you might have to drop one camera. Obviously the timecode on each camera would need to be synchronised. I have used it for a four camera football match successfully.

D.V.D.
07-29-2005, 11:55 AM
Wow, thanks for that Scrut! It feels like I'm getting closer but the one question that comes to mind is capture time.

Meaning, would I have to capture each camera's footage seperately and then add it to the timeline?

If so I'm looking at a huge amount of time just for captures.

I've been giving this some thought and I think I've decided that each camera should use four tapes. This event is structured in a four race format with each race being 30 minutes long. I figured it would be easier, and hopefully more organized, to have each operator use a seperate tape for each event. In the end, this would help me in a few different ways; but back to the capture thing...

If I have 8 operators, each with 4 tapes, recording 30 minutes of footage on each, that comes to:

8(ops)x4(tapes)x30(min ea.)= 960 minutes (16 hrs.) of capture time

Yikes! Maybe I'm dreaming, but I was hoping to have the entire edit done within 16-24 hours.

Again, this is the reason I'm looking for some way of plugging in 8 GL2s, somehow starting they're playback all at the same time, and doing a "non-live" (live) switch as they play back.

Without having to capture each one's footage seperately. :eek:

PIZAZZ
07-29-2005, 12:28 PM
Wow, thanks for that Scrut! It feels like I'm getting closer but the one question that comes to mind is capture time.

Meaning, would I have to capture each camera's footage seperately and then add it to the timeline?

If so I'm looking at a huge amount of time just for captures.

I've been giving this some thought and I think I've decided that each camera should use four tapes. This event is structured in a four race format with each race being 30 minutes long. I figured it would be easier, and hopefully more organized, to have each operator use a seperate tape for each event. In the end, this would help me in a few different ways; but back to the capture thing...

If I have 8 operators, each with 4 tapes, recording 30 minutes of footage on each, that comes to:

8(ops)x4(tapes)x30(min ea.)= 960 minutes (16 hrs.) of capture time

Yikes! Maybe I'm dreaming, but I was hoping to have the entire edit done within 16-24 hours.

Again, this is the reason I'm looking for some way of plugging in 8 GL2s, somehow starting they're playback all at the same time, and doing a "non-live" (live) switch as they play back.

Without having to capture each one's footage seperately. :eek:

Don't have a ton of time but I wanted to throw this out there for you guys....

If you went up a notch to the new Sony HDV Z1U cameras then this process would become a bit easier. The Sony Z1U cameras can all be timecode sync'd with the IR remote control. Simply set all the cameras together and reset the timecode so that all the cameras timecode is sync'd. Then you can move the cameras out to the places you want to set them. No more dependence on flashes or the like and you get the higher quality that HDV offers over the GL2 cameras. The HDV format would also help justify your product to the clients purchasing the videos.

Regarding digitizing... I would highly suggest in this application regarding the ton of footage collected to use a hard drive storage device like the FireStore FS4, Nnovia, or newer CITIDisk units. You can get 6+ hours on these depending on which one you purchase. Back at the studio you can mount each drive and either copy the content to your primary drive array or possibly even edit directly off each drive connected via firewire.

ON the OTHER Hand....
If you would like to cut all this editing time out entirely then I would seriously look into live switching the whole thing with at least 4 or 6 cameras. Cable concerns would be most economically met via Cat5 cable and baluns as the Brett suggested. We have done several installs with these Z1U cameras and the Cat5 solution and it has worked great. I was amazed when I ran 300' of Cat5 and gave each of 3 projectors YUV component from the VT. It looked perfect and was much more economical for the client for the install than dedicated COAX cable.

You would need 3 Cat5 runs to each camera.
1. One for Component video from the camera to the VT4
2. One for Communication to the camera position
3. One for Composite video from each camera to a bank of Marshall LCD monitors

you could do a 4th just for backup. There is new Cat5 cable available now that has a nice rubber jacket not like the normal install cable. Or you could just use the install cable and leave it when you are done. It is relatively inexpensive in the scheme of things. The pain would be terminating Cat5 evertime you change cable runs.

those are just some of my thoughts. I can't read these boards that easily on my Treo so hit me an email if you need any clarification. I will be on the road again the next few days.

billmi
07-29-2005, 01:26 PM
If I have 8 operators, each with 4 tapes, recording 30 minutes of footage on each, that comes to:

8(ops)x4(tapes)x30(min ea.)= 960 minutes (16 hrs.) of capture time

Yikes! Maybe I'm dreaming, but I was hoping to have the entire edit done within 16-24 hours.


Yep, it's work.




Again, this is the reason I'm looking for some way of plugging in 8 GL2s, somehow starting they're playback all at the same time, and doing a "non-live" (live) switch as they play back.

Without having to capture each one's footage seperately. :eek:

You could do that too. You can run 8 y/c inputs in to the VT. The trick would be getting all 8 rolling at the same time. For this race you'd be going between shots from very different viewpoints, and probably not often both cameras looking at the same subject. That's a plus for a setup like this because it means the tapes won't have to be frame accurately synced, they'll just need to be close. It doesn't really matter if your timing is off by 15 frames when you are dissolving from a shot of turn 3 to a shot of turn 5. You could probably get a fairly close synch-roll, within a half second, or so by qeuing the GL2s, and then unpausing them all at once with an IR remote. It'd be no good for multiple shots of a speaker speaking, but it might work fine for your application.

Another hitch to this route is that you only get one live preview in VT[4]. Of course if you were rolling from 8 camcorders at once, they could be laid out in your workspace so you could use their LCD displays as small preview monitors, or you could run their composite outs to a pair of security camera boxes that will let you display 4 live feeds on one screen. That and a pair of preview monitors and you're ready to roll.

D.V.D.
07-29-2005, 07:02 PM
Where do I begin! Thank you so much, everyone!
This is the best, most useful information I've ever gotten from a board.

Jef, thanks for taking the time, it sounds like you're a busy guy.

Since this footage would have to be compressed slightly in order to be widely downloadable from the web, I'm not really interested the HD quality.

And you lost me just a little with the drive stuff but I'm almost sure I'll have to go in that direction over live switching.

The reason is, and I completely forgot to mention this, that if this will work, I'll be going to all 12 rounds of the championship to shoot. And the schedule is brutal... 1st round (CA) 2nd round (MD) and back and forth and all over the country. Not to mention each round is scheduled about a week and a half apart! So setting up cable and such is just really out of the question.

Also! OLN will be onsite with their big production for T.V. So in order for me to even get approval to shoot I'll have to be very low key and as "invisible" as possible.

I figured 8 tripods with GL2s on them would be about as invisible as you can get, with 30,000 fans right behind each operator.

So this leads me to Bill's suggestions! And man! I think you nailed it!

...you'd be going between shots from very different viewpoints, and probably not often both cameras looking at the same subject. That's a plus for a setup like this because it means the tapes won't have to be frame accurately synced, they'll just need to be close.

It doesn't really matter if your timing is off by 15 frames when you are dissolving from a shot of turn 3 to a shot of turn 5. You could probably get a fairly close synch-roll, within a half second, or so by qeuing the GL2s, and then unpausing them all at once with an IR remote.

And...


...you could run their composite outs to a pair of security camera boxes that will let you display 4 live feeds on one screen. That and a pair of preview monitors and you're ready to roll.

This really is the essence of what I was trying to explain from the begining. It may be a little assbackwards in terms of total efficency, and not very automated, but to me it makes great sense.

Wow thank you so much EVERYONE! I'm about to split at the seams to get this going so that I can share my results with all of you.

If I'm able to get everything in place and actually make the project fly, you all will be made honorary members with lifetime access! Thanks again.

Jef, perhaps we can discuss a purchase list?
I'll email you.

D.V.D.
07-29-2005, 07:58 PM
Oh man! I think I might have found something that would allow me to have wireless feeds from all over the track!!!!

Check this out. I would still have to have 8 GL2s but instead of having the cameras themselves out on the track I could have this thing:

The remote camera in action: http://www.twenty20camera.com/trackview/
(actually on a rider)

Now check out the technical stuff. Its sounds very straight forward.
http://www.twenty20camera.com/helmet-instruction.php

For my purposes I think this could actually be my ticket to live switching. What do you guys think?

billmi
07-30-2005, 08:45 AM
I think that camera from twenty20 is a camera only, not a camera and wireless transmitter combo. The instructions, and diagrams describe plugging it directly into a camcorder to use the camcorder's deck as a portable recorder.

I think you will find with legal, lower cost wireless options (they can be had for less than $300 and even down under $100 with integrated single chip CMOS microcameras) that, that the signal quality is well below great, and will glitch quite a bit, and that you probably won't be able to get them in 8 frequencies. There are nicer more powerful units available, that require a HAM radio license, but it's illegal to use anything under a HAM license for commercial application.

A good source of discussion about wireless micro cameras, and remote camera platforms, is helicam.org.

D.V.D.
07-31-2005, 08:14 AM
I think that camera from twenty20 is a camera only, not a camera and wireless transmitter combo. The instructions, and diagrams describe plugging it directly into a camcorder to use the camcorder's deck as a portable recorder.

Bill, you may be right about the wireless transmitter not being included with the package but I'm almost positive that it does function wirelessly. In their demo on the home page there, the rider doesn't wear the camcorder along with the small twenty20 camera. It's done wirelessly somehow.

Thanks for helping to further my search for the right products! :thumbsup:
I'm gonna contact the twenty20 people and find out what's up.

lesterfoster
07-31-2005, 01:33 PM
I bought one of these cheaper video transmitter receivers several years back at radio shack. During my initial testing at home, it worked just fine. However trying to use it for doing a show was unsuccessful. I found that as I moved around, it interrupted the signal. It ended up to be a total waste of money. Since then I have tried to sell it, and trade, and just plain given away. But nobody wants it. I have not tried the professional transmitter receivers, but the cheep one’s you get at RadioShack are useless for doing a professional video production.

If you would like, I could ship this one to you so that you can use it for your project, but I am sure that you will find it useless and a nuisance to use.


I checked out that 2020 web site in the videos there look awesome. I think it is a good example of what it is that you are trying to achieve. However looking deeper into the web site I do not think that it is a wireless system, because they keep on mentioning camcorders to plug the device into that you wear on your body. They have a link on their site for a list of compatible camcorders to plug this device into. However I try to view that page and it is off-line.

I did a search on the Internet for wireless cameras, but I came up with nothing but wireless security systems.

One questioned that I do have about these wireless camera systems, is a time lag. How long does it take for the signal to get to the toaster and record it. You may find that going wireless is almost useless, to do with lag time

If I lived closer to your location I would be interested in helping out with your project. I have complete VT system with three cameras, 6 5 inch black-and-white television preview monitors, to help with life switching, and about 600 feet of blue pro video cable.

Jim Capillo
07-31-2005, 01:48 PM
I did a search on the Internet for wireless cameras, but I came up with nothing but wireless security systems.

One questioned that I do have about these wireless camera systems, is a time lag. How long does it take for the signal to get to the toaster and record it. You may find that going wireless is almost useless, to do with lag time.

Here is the company that makes the system that I have. TRANGO (http://www.trangosys.com/)

To sync it to a regular switcher, we fed it into a locked TBC and then on to the switcher input. We had no timing, color or sync issues. With the directional receive antenna, you would have to have someone aiming the antenna in the general area of the cameraperson. That was the only drawback.

D.V.D.
07-31-2005, 05:24 PM
However looking deeper into the web site I do not think that it is a wireless system, because they keep on mentioning camcorders to plug the device into that you wear on your body.

I can't really tell if it is or not. Check out this video http://www.transworldmotocross.com/mx/slideshow/videos/0,20829,887585_1070761,00.html

They have one of their units on this rider and it does seem to include something in a fanny pack around his waste.

But this same company used their cameras on a few racers at one of the events and the footage was broadcast live to two tents onsite where fans could go in, sit down, and check out the live feeds.


To sync it to a regular switcher, we fed it into a locked TBC and then on to the switcher input. We had no timing, color or sync issues. With the directional receive antenna, you would have to have someone aiming the antenna in the general area of the cameraperson. That was the only drawback.

What is a locked TBC?
I plan on buying the best possible equipment to do the job but so far I can only find security type equipment myself each suffering from the "line of sight" thing.

The line of sight thing is pretty much the way it is for wireless, yes? And as we've discussed in this thread the terrain I'll be shooting at is very hilly and the operators will be out of visual contact alot.

I'm begining to think wireless video coverage of these events will be just about impossible. :(

D.V.D.
07-31-2005, 05:26 PM
BTW lester thanks for offering your help. I definitely wish I knew someone local who knew this stuff so I could sponge it up.

vanderwielen
07-31-2005, 05:44 PM
I've done this for another sport... cross country running. But I shoot 4 cameras.... untheatered as we call it. simply, we run tape in all cameras with audio being sent wirelessly to each. This is important, as you sync the announcers audio, not the video on the timeline of your NLE. Camera 1 (the 'safety cam') is the primary track we lay down with the audio track locked then simply 'flavoring' using captured video from the other cameras. I'd say I spend 3 hours laying down a 20 minute race. On another thought, CAMPLEX is a great solution for remoting your cameras and the new prosumer versions cost about 3K for a pair (tx and rx). We use camplex on two cameras and could easily pull a 2500' coax. camplex uses simple 75 ohm RG59 so let the trucks run over it.

lesterfoster
07-31-2005, 05:50 PM
http://www.360cm.com/images_acct/ascendproav/SportsInstall.gif
I found the following information at this wibsite. I hope it helps
http://proav.pubdyn.com/Installs/July20712005120338PM.htm


[QUOTE=]The wireless camera system at Hammons Field in Springfield, MO, is based on the same technology and quality of equipment that is used in auto racing — such as the in-car cameras used in NASCAR races. An RF Xtreme Clip-On COFDM Link System wireless transmitter is mounted on the Sony DSR-390 video camera between the battery pack and camera body. It takes the composite video output signal from the camera and transmits a digital signal in the 2 GHz range via an omnidirectional antenna on the transmitter to an omnidirectional RF Xtreme receiving antenna mounted above the control room. The receiver in the control room converts the digital signal back to analog composite video. This composite video signal is then sent to a TV One DV-1394Pro-SDI analog-to-SDI video converter that provides a genlocked SDI signal to the master video switcher.

The digital wireless camera system at Hammons Field is frequency-agile and works extremely well in dense populations. Installing a frequency-agile system enabled Hammons Field to avoid the need for the 2 GHz relocation mandated by the Federal Communications Commission to occur by 2007.
[QUOTE]

Jim Capillo
07-31-2005, 06:52 PM
What is a locked TBC?


Genlocked to the blackburst signal of the switcher. Basically it times the camera for smooth integration into the signal ath without glitches.


I'm begining to think wireless video coverage of these events will be just about impossible. :(


Not impossible, but it pretty much would require professional equipment and an engineering staff to put it all together and keep it running during the shoot.

Rich Deustachio
07-31-2005, 11:01 PM
http://shop.wirelessguys.com/s.nl/sc.2/category.91/.f

mikkowilson
08-01-2005, 01:18 AM
"Good, Cheap, Fast ... pick 2"
Unfortunatly that's ALWAYS true. Keep it in mind when prepping this shoot.

I'd do my best to mix as many cameras live as you can, and also ISO record in each camera as a backup...

Don't worry about syncing them too badly, just roll them all none-stop, you'll generally always fine somethign coming in them to sync them..maybe not coming in all of them at the same time, but if you can sync the first 5 and sync the 2nd 5, and then fine somethign comon in one from each group, you will have all your cameras in sync.

There is NO way that you will be able to edit 10 cameras into one master in just a few days. with 24hours of editing, with 30min shoots, you could concivably get 4 or 5 cameras done, into a show, but even that would burn you out in the long run.

So. As you are on a budget, I'd sugest building a simple live truck, using a VT[4] as your core.
You'll have the flexibility of formats to use and you dont' have to worry about genlock.. which the GL2s won't do anyway, so you'd have to have a stack of 10 TBCs/Framesyncs ..those are about a grand each for a decent one. you can use that money elsewere.
Bring each camera feed into the van, loop it through a monitor and then into the VT. So you switch with the VT, you can get most of the sources into an RS 8
Don't worry abotu CGs or any of that "jazz" during your live mix, that's the stuff you will want to do in edit anyway.
Record your mix on a deck... for cheap, I'd sugest a DSR-11 DVCAM deck.. better still a DSR-25 or -45
AND also record in a DDR as this will give you much longer record times that will be ready to edit. Without running CG or effects from the VT it shouldn't have any trouble recording on a DDR very reliably.

As for the the connection of cameras you have a few issues:
You need to have Com to each camera. 2-way radios work in a pinch, but they are a ***** and only one person can talk at a time, a proper headset system would be better. Personally I Like PORTACOM ..cheap and very realiable, just as good as clearcom in my book.
Then it would be preferable if you could get a Tally signal to as many cameras as possible. This envolves taping an LED to each camera and seinding it the signal from the VT.

...and then there's the question of video from camera.
Tally, and wired com are optional, but you need to get Video.
Personally I'd mix and match any ways that work best.

I'd do as follows:
*Base most of your cameras close to the truck, close enough that you can just pull a coax for video, and use a mic cable for Com, and a tiwsted pair or another mic line for tally. - this will work fine for runs up to a couple of hundred feet.
*Get a couple, lets say 3, camplex PRO-X systems and use them to cable to cameras that are a little furthur away, all you need to pull is one coax (camplex will carry video from camera, tally to camera, power ot cmaera, and com both ways), that again isn't expensive and is nice and tough - in soft ground you can even use a shovel to just split the ground and drop it into the gap for trouble areas, or you can string it from trees, etc.
*And for the last couple of (special, non crucial) cameras that you can't get a cable to, use a trango wireless system. Provided they don't change their position too much you dont' even need someone on the recive antenna.. infact you could have the transmitter hard mounted (and aimed) with a short line to the camera nearby.
Because the Trango systems are an Analog system, there is ZERO lag, they link in real time.

- Remeber, it's going to the web, so you arn't needing broadcast picture quality, but signal reliability is crucial.

Yes pulling the lines will take a little time. But here's a bit of math:
Lets say you shoot 3 races at 30mins each. so you have 90 mins of footage from each camera to digitize, AND then edit down. add in the other time, and EACH camera will take you about 3-4 hours in post.
However for the 20mintues (on average) you spend pulling a cable, you eliminate those hours in post. And you only need to pull the cable once per location.
So really, live is a HUGE time savings. ...only if you screw up, do you need to cover it from a tape from one of your cameras - and then you only digitize that short "patch" clip.

Then, I'm scepticle as to if you really need 10 cameras. That really is a lot.
I'd use 8.
- 1 wideshot general camera.
- 3 cameras to cover the track from thought out positions, even if they need to use their zoom a little. - The GL2s have a great zoom on them, and even better if you use the digi-zoom a little (which is fine, it's for web, remeber)
- 4 cameras that are "special" shots, closeup in a corner, or maybe on a jib/crane at a jump, the little cutaways that spice it up.

Of course if it's a really big course, then you may need more, but I really doubt it.

..you can always have a couple more special cameras out on their own just rolling tape that you can edit in a short or 2 if they get something good (like maybe even an interview, etc..)


SO, a wrap up:
Extra time spent setting up a live mix, will be huge savings over time in post.
Reliabilty takes precedence of picture quality.
Use a switcher that can deal the vaeraous sources you provide it unsynced.
Consider each camera and it's connection individually based on what you need for that shoot and location.

A breif cost rundown:
VT[4] LIVE turnkey system: $10,000
1 x DSR-11 DVCAM record deck $2,200
8 x B&W camera monitors w/loopthrough $1,400
8 x GL2 cameras (B&H photovideo) $16,000
3 x Camplex PRO-X systems $9,000
2 x Trango Falcon (4-mile) systems $5,000
6 x 1000' reels of RG-59 Coax for cameras $1,500

That's a total of about $45,000 for the key system components.
Then there's the smaller bits like tripods, short BNC cables for the truck,
power cables, the com system... for which 2-way radios might well surfice for this gig... and other little bits of gear. ..And the van to put the crontrol room in and haul everything.

Wow, I just did a free, public consultation on how to build a basic live truck.
...normally I charge for this ;-)

- Mikko

D.V.D.
08-01-2005, 10:23 AM
My sincerest thanks go out to each one of you.

Where do I start?
Well I guess first, Mikko, you made my day man. And thanks so much for the great detail and effort that you put into your post. I really appreciate that!

The 45k in core components is a great price so that's a relief. I'm thinking 20 - 25 grand on top of that will cover the remaining expenses that will allow the project to at least take flight and begin to generate a ROI.

My next major task is finding operators. Also as Jim suggested I want to hire at least one really knowledgable technical engineer to be at each event to help me set everything up and manage it during the webcast.

My biggest problem there is not knowing what fair compensation is for those positions. Before you answer that though, remember I'm basically shooting my life savings into the air and hoping that it lands on its feet. I'm not OLN, so don't expect that range of compensation. BUT, those willing to take a risk (as I'm doing) may find that the rewards are well worth it on the other side.

You see this project will be a historical marker. Never in the history of this sport has there been live web (video) broadcasting of AMA Pro racing. Once the project is off the ground and has gained a stable viewer base, talks with major sponsors will commense thus hopefully allowing the budget to grow along with salaries and benefits for the crew.

Below are the locations for each of the events.

Rd1: May - Sacramento,CA
Rd2: May - Mt. Morris, PA
Rd3: June - Southwick, MA
Rd4: June - Budds Creek, MD
Rd5: July - Buchanan, MI
Rd6: July - New Berlin, NY
Rd7: July - Lakewood, CO
Rd8: July - Washougal, WA
Rd9: Aug - Millville, MN
Rd10: Aug - Binghamton, NY
Rd11: Sept - Delmont, PA
Rd12: Sept - San Bernardino, CA

As you can see I'll be doing a lot of traveling for five months out of the year. The worst part is I don't live even close to one of these facilities. I'm in South Carolina, so going home in between shoots will be a real challenge.

If anyone is interested in a camera op positions or the tech position for one, some, or all of the events please let me know. Please bare in mind that I won't be able to cover your travel expenses. But if this is as big a hit as I'm banking on, that may not be a problem later on.

Also, anyone looking to do something fulltime (or at least for five months out of the year) please also let me know.

Thanks again guys and please keep the suggestions coming.

bbeanan
08-01-2005, 10:43 AM
For crew I would find some college students to be your camera operators. Make sure before the first "real" race you get them to a track to do a day or two of training on what shots you want. With as many dates as you are looking at I would get an RV or Bus and make a tour out of the gig. by the 2nd or 3rd race they will have it down pat. You can most likely get your camera ops for like $150 per show day and like $75 for a travel day. You might even be able to lower that even more since you will be providing them with food, housing, travel, and clothing (I would put them all in matching jumpsuits like flour. green or something for safty). That way at the end of the "tour" they will have a few grand since technically they did not need to spend one dime while they were out (but they will screw it up and go drinking every night and walk away broke with a few good stories).
Then find yourself a GREAT (and I mean GREAT) Technical Director type person. This person should know how to set-up the whole system, build cables, fix cables, fully clean your cameras... everything. This person will cost you anywhere from a cheap of $400 per day to $1200 per day but without this person it is all up to you which can be very scary when you are trying to deal with editing and the business end. Try to find yourself a good Nerd type TD one that would rather stay at the bus cleaning a camera rather then go out drinking (I'm that type of person)

Anyway that all said good luck...

D.V.D.
08-01-2005, 11:13 AM
Then find yourself a GREAT (and I mean GREAT) Technical Director type person. This person should know how to set-up the whole system, build cables, fix cables, fully clean your cameras... everything. This person will cost you anywhere from a cheap of $400 per day to $1200 per day but without this person it is all up to you which can be very scary when you are trying to deal with editing and the business end. Try to find yourself a good Nerd type TD one that would rather stay at the bus cleaning a camera rather then go out drinking

I hear ya beanan. I'm definitely looking for that person. And I'm willing to pay him/her well for not only good work but commitment.

Another question...
Does anyone think this can be done "live" as in webcast live? Some of the events offer broadband web connections but others don't. Any ideas?

billmi
08-01-2005, 11:43 AM
I hear ya beanan. I'm definitely looking for that person. And I'm willing to pay him/her well for not only good work but commitment.

Another question...
Does anyone think this can be done "live" as in webcast live? Some of the events offer broadband web connections but others don't. Any ideas?

Sure it can. You'll need high speed data access on site to do that.

The question is, should you do it live? Is there enough audience demand live to draw in the advertising dollars to offset the cost? I would consider that in most cases the audience for a live webcast would be much smaller than for a view on demand webcast, owing to the fact that only those able to be online during the event will be able to watch live.

D.V.D.
08-01-2005, 12:54 PM
Great point Bill. I think you're right. And from the begining I've had in my head that I would offer an on demand product but over the course of my research I asked a lot of people what they would want and 3 out 5 said live.

Still that wasn't extensive polling and to be honest I think a lot of people would get their panties in a wad if they logged in paid for live and there was a technical problem. Can you say lynch mob?

I think I am definitely going to go the way of on demand viewing. There are just too many other expenses and risks involved with live that I really can't afford to throw on the pile just yet.

Now if I could get this down to a science to where the show would be available the same day only delayed a bit, I think that would be just as good as live to most. Heck everyone is time delayed in some manner anyway due to the different times zones that the races take place in.

Hmmm....wheels begining to spin more rapidly :hey:

D.V.D.
08-01-2005, 01:19 PM
BTW, what is that around this camera op's waist? Batteries?

mikkowilson
08-01-2005, 01:29 PM
Live transmission would be a whole other mess.. don't go there.

Once your system is up and running, and you have it all tested, then you can look into how fast you can actually produce.
If your system is stable, you can run graphics live onto the mix ... remember, it's web, so the graphics need to be simple (no animation) and big and bold ..very basic stuff that VT handles well.

You coudl concevably also encode on teh fly, but that may be over kill.

I'd sugest: get the live mix woring, then run in graphics live during production, be sure to give it a nice clean start and colsing.. make yrou whoel program live. record to VT and tape backup. then at the end of they day, encode the clips (Personally i'd use Windows Media encoder which is free and very effective [insert web streaming jargon here]) in the evenign after teh event and post them.

Using a bus or a RV is a good plan, as you can use it not only as a control room (you wont' need much more than a regular work desk to hold the whole system.) and to travel. and depending on what you get, at least one person can actually sleep there (your insurence company will like (if note require) this as it will place the vehicle under 24hr hour guard)
Again, the investment in a slightly larger vehicle can save you big bucks in the long run.

- WHATEVER you do, make sure that you, and more importantly, your crew, is properly rested and comfterble!


- mikko

MediaSig
08-01-2005, 02:18 PM
Also! OLN will be onsite with their big production for T.V. So in order for me to even get approval to shoot I'll have to be very low key and as "invisible" as possible.

I was just curious about this...I take it sanctioning body and the organizers of the event have given you the green light. Have you made sure that the production crew and OLN doesn't have exclusive rights to the broadcast of this event? I know your looking at putting it on the web, but they might consider that "broadcasting."

You might be low key, but those guys will be smart enough to figure out what's going on.

Looks like you're getting some good info from everyone - I just wanted to point this out incase you don't have definite answers. It might be time to make some phone calls.

;-)

Greg

D.V.D.
08-01-2005, 02:22 PM
Yea that's a major issue for sure. But I'm not going to call anyone until I know that I can actually launch a production.

bbeanan
08-01-2005, 02:57 PM
If they do not have an exclusive you should put that into your contract that you do get exclusive web, and or general broadcast rights. If for no other reason than to use it as a negoiating point. :thumbsup:



I was just curious about this...I take it sanctioning body and the organizers of the event have given you the green light. Have you made sure that the production crew and OLN doesn't have exclusive rights to the broadcast of this event? I know your looking at putting it on the web, but they might consider that "broadcasting."

You might be low key, but those guys will be smart enough to figure out what's going on.

Looks like you're getting some good info from everyone - I just wanted to point this out incase you don't have definite answers. It might be time to make some phone calls.

;-)

Greg

billmi
08-04-2005, 08:07 AM
Yep, seeing if you can get in to shoot would be key. I've been invited press at MX freestyle exhibitions, but one of the larger pro paintball leagues for example (which surprisingly isn't big as a spectator sport but is almost as big as baseball in terms of how many people play in the US) charges per camera on the field. I'd expect similar from other "extreme sports."

I'd also take a long hard look at the business end before dumping your money in on a first season of proving you can do it. Make sure that if you can do it, that you can also sell the needed sponsorships to turn a profit (if that is your motive.) I've been webcasting paintball events since 97. While that project is paying itself off, I think it's on track to break even this year. Arguably I don't have an aggressive sales pimp, which I'm sure would change the situation.

If my experience is an indicator, doing webcasts of an extreme sport, and having a strong audience for your webcasts doesn't mean sponsor dollars will appear at your door. In my case it's not a big worry, it promotes another project I work on and it's goal really was (and is) to do something cool, more than it was to bring in money.

If you're considering putting your life savings on the line though, you may really want to have a stronger assurance of return - like at least letters of interest from potential sponsors saying that they'd be likely to come on board for a sponsor at X dollars if you can show them a track record of Y viewers for Z months, etc.

D.V.D.
08-04-2005, 08:28 AM
Well Bill I was going to provide footage in an on demand format in the form of a "day pass" for $5, or a "season pass" for $40. Because of the fact that our sport has terribly weak coverage, the door would cave in with subscriptions. Without strategic marketing it would take a bit longer to reach full profitability but "with" marketing, and very little of it, the thing would blow up.

BUT!

Since Medsig put me on the spot (:)) I decided to stop research on production and switch gears to legal and political research. The results aren't great to this point. :thumbsdow

The AMA (American Motocyclists Association) has given exclusive rights to OLN for the coverage of the outdoor nationals. Note: Supercross, which takes place in stadiums is now going to be carried by Speed Channel.

So what I've had to do is re-think my approach to the whole thing. Although I haven't lost all hope for shooting the racing action in the future, for now I may have to resort to plan B which is to shoot a low budget weekly reality show that would follow a pro rider for the week leading up to one of the rounds. I will still have to get rights from the AMA but it shouldn't interfere with OLN's rights and/or footage as I wouldn't attempt to show any part of the actual race.

So, my sincere apologies to all whom have contributed to my thread and who feel they may have wasted time. I really appreciate the feedback and it will definitely help me as I move forward regardless of the scale of the project. And as I said, I hope to still utilize the 8 camera setup later and possibly even for smaller local races that don't have broadcast rights envolved.

Thanks again everyone!

MediaSig
08-04-2005, 12:07 PM
Since Medsig put me on the spot (:)) I decided to stop research on production and switch gears to legal and political research. The results aren't great to this point. :thumbsdow

The AMA (American Motocyclists Association) has given exclusive rights to OLN for the coverage of the outdoor nationals. Note: Supercross, which takes place in stadiums is now going to be carried by Speed Channel.



Well...what can I say? I've been around motorsports long enough to know how this stuff works and when you mentioned the OLN Network, the first thing I thought about was exclusive rights for broadcast. I've known of others wanting to do the webcast stuff, but that's "poo-poo'ed" by the networks NOT involved in the process.

I DO think your reality show is a great idea. So I'm assuming you'll be able to go to the events, shoot in the pits and anywhere you want just as long as it's NOT the racing action on the track. I'm sure you can get copies of that footage from OLN or the production comapny doing the coverage (for a FEE that is).

I really hated to see you going through the process of setting up production before you had the full "green light" (sorry about the pun). I hope you can prove your production value with a reality show and then maybe move into taking over production on the race coverage - it's a carzy busy...you never know what might happen.

;) GOOD LUCK!

Greg

D.V.D.
08-04-2005, 12:44 PM
Well...what can I say? I've been around motorsports long enough to know how this stuff works and when you mentioned the OLN Network, the first thing I thought about was exclusive rights for broadcast. I've known of others wanting to do the webcast stuff, but that's "poo-poo'ed" by the networks NOT involved in the process.

Thanks Greg and thanks for reminding me to check into the other side of things. I knew that question would definitely have to be answered eventually but since I'm a complete idiot I knew I would first need to find out how to pull a production together first.

Either way, I'm forked on that whole idea for now anyway.


I DO think your reality show is a great idea. So I'm assuming you'll be able to go to the events, shoot in the pits and anywhere you want just as long as it's NOT the racing action on the track.

With this, the AMA is still probably going to be a pain in the ***. I was lucky enough to find an extremely knowledgable lady on another board that really know the cable TV industry as well as the AMA, and she says that there may be a chance for the reality show. But no matter what it's going to envolve lots of begging, er, negotiations.

So with that said, I put my backpack on and head up the slippery slope of the pro racing broadcast mountain. Somebody shoot me please!