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Thread: How many cameras are needed to...

  1. #1

    Default How many cameras are needed to...

    I appreciate this question is similiar to "how long is a piece of string".

    How many cameras might usually be used to record a live event, particularly a band playing on stage? There must come a point when enough is enough.
    Is the answer something like "3 static camera" and "2 moving camera"?

    I know there is no rule, but the advantages of multiple cams (and costs) must, at some point, become pointless.

    I would be grateful for any insight or experiences.

  2. #2


    I think you kind of answered your own question. Cost is a big factor but also the size of the event will have some bearing. I'm filming a play in a couple of months with just two cameras. One fixed and one moving. This will be enough for our needs. Long shots and close ups. It would be better with 3 cameras but thats all we've got.

    So if your talking about filming Glastonbury You'll need loads but if it's a pub band in your local. One camera would do it.

    I hope I have successful appeared to answer your question, even though I haven't really.

  3. #3


    Quote Originally Posted by Midnight Blue View Post
    I hope I have successful appeared to answer your question, even though I haven't really.
    It all good information for me. Thanks. Particularly interesting that having got x cams for your Play; you feel another would be better. I guess directors may often feel that urge for another wafer free mint.

    Whilst limiting factors for many of us might be cost and space (ie. the cameras take up space in a confined ara); what occurs in TV land, for example; when filming the x-factor or eurovision performances?

    I have only recently discovered the joys of multiple cam editing (using Premiere). Friends and I recently visited a sound proof rehearsal studio with 4 cheap cams. I was amazed at how cutting between cams was able to detract (cover up) our worst playing.
    This is not-for-profit project and we are using cheap cams; so borrowing a few more might be possible, but I am trying to balance the number required with the number which might be used professionally.

  4. #4


    If I had a limitless budget and enough space and I was shooting a four piece band playing I would have one camera trained on each member of the band and one fixed full stage camera. Then another one that flies around for audience reaction shots. Then one more steady cam operator to get the real sweat dripping off the drummer type of close up.

    Any more would just be extravagant.

  5. #5


    Your right that they shouldn't be fixed to one person the rest is up to the director to get the right shots especially when the lead singer falls off the stage. This should be caught from many angles.

  6. #6


    Thank you to all for you comments. There is a clear agreement of the length of piece of string
    Whatever the number, if seems that if we add one more, it recursively affect the choice of positions for all the other cams.

    As a result, I am considering 5 cams. One to show all 4 players, and one cam each showing at least 2 persons; where one person is more prominent than the other. This will be in a room (sorry MB, no stage) and we face each other when we play.

    I suspect readers like PaulEars can watch footage and give good estimates over the number of cam being used. It sound like a good exercise to try, but I am easily fooled by the crafty ways that directors have to more camera positions in live recordings.

  7. #7


    I can't quite picture this if you all face each other are you going to up four cameras in the middle looking out ? Then have a roaming camera for the long/mid shots ?

  8. #8


    I am considering putting a cam behind (and to the left) of each person; pointing at the 2 persons opposite (i.e. not me, and not the person on my left).
    I appreciate the prominent person in each shot will not be show full on. But they would appear fuller on (but more distant) from the POV of the opposite cam.
    I had considered the 5th, fixed cam, would go in the furtherest back wall of the room; showing 2 persons with their backs to the cam:(

    Having a roaming cam would be plendid, but I have not yet considered finding an operator deaf enough to endure the sound and kind enough to spare their time. I prefer the idea of using a jig, but our most expensive camera costs less than 200 UKP. I can only dream of such luxuries.

  9. #9


    A rough drawing, showing the general points.
    A rectangular room. Persons arranged almost in a circle. Wide berth given to the drummer.
    Either of two mics are sometimes used. If used, they are positioned to the player's side (so the singer can face a foldback system from the back wall).

    I was guessing that cam5 sits as far away as possible. And the other 4 are positions somewhat as I described. But realise (thanks to Paulears) that I have not considered height either.

  10. #10
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