Having a director's monitor available on set is one of the best tools to have when working with anyone that needs to view the videos being shot from your camera so that they can offer creative input, or at times this tool is used for someone pulling focus remotely (especially when your camera is mounted to a gimbal). You can also use this when mounting your camera at the end of a long JIB / Crane, or when you have a remote camera that needs to stream video back to a Live Switch. Tons of useful reasons to have a Wireless Video Streaming kit on hand.
What is your typical Multi-camera Setup when recording a performance, recital, concert, etc? Well here's a quick look at my most basic gear for three static camera angles. I typically go with (3) Panasonic GH4 cameras as I love the super long battery life, and 4K video recording all day (deliver 1080 but flexible in post for faux zooms and crops).
If i'm doing a 3 camera angle shoot, I find it's easier to match footage when you have the exact same cameras (same color profile, set same exposure, etc).
I also make sure to add a good microphone to each camera as you need really good scratch audio to do a quick sync in post. As a backup I also run timecode on all cameras and match them as close possible for post sync. In the photo you'll see i'll use either a Rode VideoMic Pro or Azden SMX-30.
I also try to use Sandisk 128GB SDXC Cards so I don't have to swap cards during the event, and record each video clip as long as possible. I find it's easier to sync a few long clips in post than a hundred small clips. Once the clips are synced in post, it's easy to cut out all the dead time.
For audio, I make sure to bring a few portable audio recorders (like Zoom H1) and set them up close to Audio Speakers, but i'll bring a Multitrack recorder (like Zoom H6) to plug directly into the sound board. The Zoom H6 offers dual recording in case sound peaks, and worst case scenario I can sometimes grab audio from the cameras (since they are mic'd up).
Finally and totally optional, i've rigged up a dual monitor setup with Camera Motion Research Connex Wireless Video Kits. Super reliable and long range systems. So while i'm operating the main camera, I can get a feed from the two other camera angles and make sure I have a clear visual what everyone is covering. With our wireless headsets, I can direct the other two operators to make sure we cover the entire performance.
So that's a quick look at the core parts of how I tackle these quick Multi-camera angle shoots. Do you have any favorite pieces of gear of tips you'd like to share?
A short while back Amimon made available a Wireless HD Video Kit primarily targeted for Drone use called the Connex. The Connex kit could stream Full 1080p HD Video up to 60fps at a distance of 3300ft with incredibly low latency. The kit, not originally designed for video shooters was quickly modified by Camera Motion Research and has since been a popular affordable choice for those looking to send wireless HD video.
Keep in mind the Connex Mini does not stream audio, but the main stand out features for the Connex Mini are it's compact size, stream long distances up to 1600 ft, almost zero latency, and more importantly the ability Multicast up to 4 receivers (if you're looking to expand your kit in the future). These combined features are normally only found on more expensive systems.
So what other applications would need Wireless HD Video? Besides drone use, or on set sending feed to a director's monitor, this can be setup on a gimbal or Steadicam while someone else pulls focus remotely (low latency is important on this one). It can also be used on a Cable Cam setup or to send wireless video back to a Multicam Switcher during live events. There's multiple reasons why you may one day require wireless video, and the Connex Mini is a good option to keep in your radar. You can get more information about the Connex Mini and custom accessories available from Camera Motion Research at CAMOTIONLLC.com (here).
We take time out to chat with Rich from Camera Motion Research about the new Connex Mini Kit. The Amimon Connex Mini is a Highly Reliable transmitter and receiver kit designed to take the feed from your camera's HDMI output and send it wirelessly over 1600 Feet (500 Meters) to a receiver which can then be displayed on an HDMI monitor. These kits are high performance offering Full 1080p up to 60fps transmissions with almost no latency. The catch is that the Connex Mini is originally designed for Drone use. This means it would normally take a bit of fumbling for you to mount to your Video Cameras along with a portable way to power the kit.
Because these systems can be more reliable than other off-the-shelf wireless video kits, Camera Motion Research has designed a custom accessory pack which includes a frame with threaded mounts for simple rigging and incorporated a lightweight portable rechargeable battery pack solution. With these custom modifications, video camera operators can use attach the kits in seconds offering access to a highly reliable wireless video solution for less money. Of course the cost is reflected by the lack of audio and no SDI inputs (only HDMI) when compared to other expensive units that may offer similar range.
Wireless Video Kits are often used when Steadicam or Gimbal Operators have to send their camera's feed to a director's monitor, when a camera is mounted to a Cable Cam (Wire Cam), Gimbal RC Car, on a custom built Drone, etc. It can also be used for today's demand for Live Streaming videos by sending your feed back to a Multi-Cam Live Switch.
In this interview video, Rich from Camera Motion Research demos the iFootage Minicrane M1 III. This tool-less Carbon Fiber telescoping portable Jib offers it's own panning base (no heavy duty fluid head required), quick leveling of the camera platform, and even Auto Tilt parallax-like tracking during vertical moves. The iFootage Minicrane M1 III weighs just 8lbs, can extend to a full 85 inches, and supports up to 33 lbs camera setups.
The iFootage Wild Bull T5 Tripod is a great choice for those looking for a tripod that is lightweight, compact, and has a high load capacity of 88 lbs. The T5 is anodized aluminum construction. It has a 59 in. maximum height, a minimum height of 8 in., and weighs only 8.8 lb. Collapsed length is 28.3 inches. Bowl diameter is 75mm.
Adjustable feet spikes and feet pads allow the tripod to function in uneven terrain. The locking legs can be adjusted to any angle from 15° to 78°. The quick release locking lever design allows fast lock and release of the tripod legs with just one hand. Its spreader is easily moved from bottom to mid section. The T5 includes a padded carrying case with comfortable shoulder strap and side handle.
Both the iFootage Minicrane M1 III and the iFootage Wild Bull T5 Tripod are available now at the Camera Motion Research Website at http://Camotionllc.com (here).
The kit includes a Battery Cage and Antenna Support for the Air Unit (TX), a Battery Cage for the Ground Unit (RX), Power Cables, Shoe Mount adapter with thumbscrews, thin 19 inch Flexible HDMI (A) to mini HDMI (C), two 12V rechargeable Lithium batteries, two AC battery chargers, and spare mounting screws. This kit is an add-on that modifies the Connex so that the TX and RX can be powered with their own portable battery along with simple mounting options to use with camera and remote monitor.
The Connex is an extremely reliable full 1080 HD Video transmitter that can achieve 1080p up to 60fps over 1000 Meters away. The omni-directional broadcast means that it is not as sensitive to direct line of sight as other kits, and we've even used the system through obstacles (several walls) without a hiccup. If you're not familiar with this system, I have a product overview of the Connex (here).
The Amimon Connex kit from CMR has been modified for ease of use with your video cameras by attaching a custom battery pack frame to both the transmitter and receiver, includes modified power cables, and also adding 1/4-20 threaded mounts for mounting to a hotshoe or rig (among other small accessories added to the kit).
Even though this particular Connex kit has been modified, you can always remove the battery mount if you want to use it for your Professional Drone. For those who aren't familiar, Amimon chipsets are licensed to other big brand wireless video transmitters (i.e.Teradek), so they are proven to be reliable and robust. The value in the Connex kit specifically is that it does lack SDI inputs and does not transmit Audio. This system is for HDMI use only (but you can always add an SDI to HDMI converter).
A few weeks ago we had the opportunity to test drive the Varavon Wirecam. The Wirecam is a Cable Cam system that flies a camera over a rope tied between two points. Although the affordability and use of drones are increasing for aerial imaging, there are still many instances in which a Drone would either not work, would be illegal, unsafe, or would be just a noisy nuisance.
Unlike most Drones that could only fly for about 20 minutes, the Varavon Wirecam could go for hours at a time. Not to mention if you wanted to fly a larger camera than just a GoPro, you'd need a fairly large Drone. In our example we were able to fly a DJI Ronin-M + GH4 + 12mm Rokinon Lens + Radian Wireless Video System. Now that we've made our point that Drones can't solve everything, here's a quick montage video (below) of us setting up and operating the system.
Operating the Varavon Wirecam was extremely simple to operate as it only moves either left or right and the entire system weighs only about 7lbs (without camera). Of course this is not a tool you should show up with without some type of practice setting it up. You'll want to get a few hours in getting familiar with tying down the line, mounting your camera system, and any other accessories.
Setting up Varavon Wirecam Cable-Cam System
The most difficult part about working with the system is finding a good place to attach the rope. Our warehouse project had plently of steel beams, but out in an open area is where you'll need to be creative. When attaching the Rope, you should brush up on your knot tying skills, carry a set of ratcheting tie downs, and I highly suggest using a Manual Come-Along to pull the braided rope tight. These will make life much easier, and you'll find that with a brand new braided rope, the braids will tighten and eventually produce enough slack that you would have to re-adjust 2-3 times before it starts settling in.
You can mount a camera directly under the Wirecam, but a gimbal will help to stabilize the horizon. And If you're using a gimbal like the DJI Ronin-M that comes with a remote, you'll also be able to control Pan + Tilt as the Wirecam flies.
Of course in order to frame a shot, you'll want to stream the video feed back from the camera. In our setup, we used the Camera Motion Research Radian Pro System. So as one operator controlled the Wirecam, a second operator controlled Pan + Tilt on the DJI Ronin-M Gimbal, and both operators shared a monitor.
The Varavon Wirecam is a great option for high flying aerials when a drone system just won't cut it. I could see this cable-cam system being used heavily in sports on the sidelines of a field, lap pool, motocross track, or other events in which the camera needs to constantly repeat a forward / back or left /right tracking shot.
The iFootage Shark Slider has all of the professional feature sets including adjustable legs / feet, smooth carbon rails, extendable rails, adjustable bearings, and is unique with the counterweight flywheel.
As of this writing Camera Motion Research is the only US retailer carrying the iFootage Shark Video Slider kit sold with an extension rails (for longer runs), and optional flywheel for added inertia. The iFootage Shark Video Slider product is already available and can be found at http://CamotionLLC.com (click here)
Camera Motion Reasearch - iFootage Shark Video Slider Kit
If the iFootage Shark Video Slider was not impressive enough on it's own, the iFootage team had their own NAB booth showing off a new prototype programmable 2-Axis Motion Control Pan / Tilt Head addition for the Shark Video Slider. Each axis is capable of rotating a full 360 degrees. Combined with the slider the complete kit will offer full 3 Axis programmable motion control.
I'm not sure if you can tell, but the microphone wasn't far from the head unit. The unit is fairly silent even as it tracked across for real time video use. Aside from offering very advanced time-lapse photography features that can be programmed into a wireless remote, the head can be programmed for auto panning to keep a subject in frame. Stay tuned about this product.