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IDEA: Two camera dialogue shoot.


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#1 David Silverstein

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 04:58 PM

Hi, as I was watching Laguna Beach I saw that they use two cameras to do a dialogue scene so they cut back and forth in real time. I thought this is a very nice REAL feel to it for a scripted dialogue scene. Its easier on the editor and with 100s its not expensive if you have a 100 you can just rent another one and bang out your dialogue scenes in one day. Anyway I wanted to know your comments on this technique... has anybody ever used this technique?

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Edited by David Silverstein, 15 November 2005 - 04:59 PM.

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#2 Matt Irwin

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 05:37 PM

That's actually fairly common practice. Using 2 cameras is a good way to speed up coverage and is a great way to deal with action that needs to be perfectly matched or ad-lib dialogue.
If you can get two cameras, go for it.

That said, I should caution you about over covering a scene. Just get what you think is necessary to tell the story the way you want it told. Having two cameras each with 60 min run time can cause some people to go for every angle ("why not? tape is cheap..."), but really, over covering tends to waste time both on set and in post.
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#3 Michael Nash

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 05:55 PM

There's definitely a skill or technique to multi-camera coverage. There is a tendency to get sloppy with your coverage when using two cameras, where two cameras have almost the same shot but not quite, resulting in nothing definitive being said with either. It's a disturbing trend I've seen recently even in high-end films like The Aviator and Kingdom of Heaven.

But with practice you can "multitask" by shooting two cameras and speed up production by shooting two shots that you know you're going to want, such as a simultaneous over-the-shoulder and a clean single.

The biggest challenge to cross-shooting a dialogue scene with two cameras is the lighting; it's very difficult to have good-looking lighting for two cameras more than 90 degrees apart, and keep all the lights and grip gear out of both shots. That said, it can be done and is done, but it's not automatically a time saver. It's just one more tool in your kit, that you pull out judiciously. I've used the double-DVX gag several times, and about 1/3 of the setups the B camera sits it out...

I know we've discussed multi-camera coverage before, so check the archives.
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#4 David Silverstein

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Posted 15 November 2005 - 08:32 PM

Well you do bring up a good point that I never did think of which is lighting. But what I do know is that two tight cu face shots on each of the two characters performing the dialogue would work out and would be what I want. I do think with a lot of movies im not going to over due the lighting and im going to use the bare minimum needed; its just the way I like it.

Youve seen reality tv with no lighting systems really so you can get it to look good.

Any other comments both were very helpful.

Edited by David Silverstein, 15 November 2005 - 08:33 PM.

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#5 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 02:03 AM

It's harder than you think to light two close-ups well facing each other and shoot both directions simultaneously. I certainly wouldn't look to reality TV as some sort of role model for lighting.

I've only done it in fairly soft-lit situations -- overcast weather, twilight, soft indoor lighting like in a supermarket, etc. -- when both directions look similar already.
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#6 Frank Barrera

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Posted 16 November 2005 - 09:35 AM

Aside from the fact that "reality TV" doesn't look very good, there is almost always some lighting. I've both shot and gaffed the stuff and we spent a lot of time, energy and resources to get that "no lighting" look so that we could shoot 360 degrees. Remember also that the DVX100 is around a 320 ASA. This requires more light than you might think.


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Visual Products

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Rig Wheels Passport

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Paralinx LLC

Glidecam

Ritter Battery

Opal

Aerial Filmworks

The Slider

CineLab