March 15, 2016 at 5:27PM, Edited March 15, 5:49PM

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Expanding Cameras in TV Studio

Hi All.

I'm doing some research into expanding our single camera TV studio setup into something more. Primarily, we have a single talking head (with callers, Skype video calls, and the occasional roll-in) but occasionally we have a guest in the studio. To me, the next logical step is a three camera setup. Is that right? Would three cameras be overkill for a single "talking head" style production? Can anyone recommend a creative and effective TWO camera studio setup?

Currently, we use an FS700, which does double duty in producing other content for us, and shooting at events and seminars. We definitely have a need for an additional camera or two, so I'd like to add something that will cut nicely with the FS700 but be a little friendlier in run-n-gun event production.

Anyone have any recommendations or experience to share?

5 Comments

What's not to like about the FS700 for run-n-gun?

March 16, 2016 at 7:42AM, Edited March 16, 7:42AM

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Ok, fair enough. I didn't post this question to get into a discussion (or even argument) over the merits of the FS700 when shooting events. I'll answer your question, even though it's off topic and feels like you're trolling.

My camera operators and I have found the FS700 to be difficult to use for ENG-style shooting at events. When shoulder mounted, too many of the controls are unaccessible. I suppose that everyone has their own definition of "run-n-gun" and that definition depends on the experience and preferences of the shooter. When shoulder mounted, if I have to remove my eye from the viewfinder and take the camera off my shoulder to make adjustments, then the rig has failed me.

Michael, your a prolific and intelligent contributor here on NFS. I would be grateful for any suggestions you may have for my original question. As much as the A7x cameras annoy me, I've been thinking it might be a good (and reasonable priced) match for our FS700. On the other hand, I've considered picking up a pair of DSLRs or even DSC-RX10 IIs. Our production isn't a true television studio production, and in fact is morphing into something much more liked Jared Polin's RawTalk.

What do you think?

John Sartin

March 17, 2016 at 7:23AM

John, thanks for the benefit of the doubt--I'm definitely not trolling! I was in fact applauding you for at least having a proper video camera, and also curious as to why you thought such a highly regarded camera fell short. You answered that question, which I appreciate.

Back to the applause: to me, a proper video camera makes a lot more sense as the basis for a run-n-gun setup than trying to use the video bits of a photo camera. And before you think "Aha! Now he really *is* trolling me!!" I'm not! I promise. But do read this: http://nofilmschool.com/boards/questions/a7sii-overheating-woes
That kinda disqualifies the A7x for my definition of event videography.

I do think you are absolutely right to pick cameras for the studio that match your studio camera--nothing is more frustrating then trying to bend one camera's color matrix to match another's. I don't, unfortunately, have a great answer to your ergonomics question. I have in the past visited AbelCine, B&H Photo, and Adorama in New York City, and they are all great places to try out both new and used equipment. I don't know if there are similar kinds of stores in your area, but might be worth the trip if it saves you trouble down the road. Sorry I couldn't be more helpful!

March 17, 2016 at 3:09PM

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Thanks, Michael, for your insights. I'm pretty dang happy with the FS700, and people have been shocked at some of the Frankenstein rigs I've built with it to accomplish a variety of tasks. When our run-n-gun is tripod based, the camera is lovely. In terms of flexibility and image quality, it's pretty fantastic.

Your point about the A7x for event videography is great. I hadn't seen that post, but it doesn't surprise me. I don't really like taking stills or video with the A7 series. It's just too much of a departure from my instincts, which were all developed on Pentax K1000 or a DVX100. The menu system is unfriendly, even for Sony. I'm with you when you talk about a "proper video camera" and frankly, I had high hopes for the DVX200. I haven't had my hands on one yet, but plan get on one at the NAB Show.

At this point, I think I've convinced the people I work for that more cameras are a poor investment. More time editing (and matching grading) is a poor use of our limited resources. We've gone a long way with what we have. On the rare occasion that we have in studio guests, we can borrow a couple of DSLRs and spend the extra time in post. At this point, the money is better spent on marketing, or not spent at all.

March 18, 2016 at 8:23AM

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John Sartin
Technical Director / Editor / Producer / Dude
199

John, glad to prove that I was no troll! If you could follow the custom of expressing thanks with an upvote, that would help me. Whenever I post information that reflects badly on some fan base or other, people downvote it and it actually costs me reputation points to speak the truth. That makes it all the more important to give credit where credit is due.

All the best!

March 18, 2016 at 12:50PM, Edited March 18, 12:50PM

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