DIGITAL MULTICAM PRODUCTION PLANNING
We have retired our film-based system in favor of a more efficient DIGITAL MULTICAM system. The Digital MULTICAM system provides all the versatility of the old system, without the turnaround time needed for film processing and digitizing of the negative. With it we are able to get a rough QuickTime edit of the shot within minutes, which eliminates any guesswork about the effect. Our system involves the use of 150 Canon 30D Digital SLR cameras, timing generators and a master computer to organize and archive all of the incoming files.
Once a concept is story boarded and a previz is made with a possible MULTICAM effect, a production meeting to discuss the options is suggested. Although the system is extremely flexible in layout and operation, there is a lot of planning necessary ahead of time to take full advantage. Both the speed and ease of production on the shoot day can be increased with a detailed plan and understanding of the system by the Producer, Director, First AD, and DP. The pre-production plan should include the length of the shot, which is determined by the number of cameras, as well as camera angles, lens selection, camera path, and timing of action.
On the morning of the shoot, MULTICAM is set up on a track, which has been pre-rigged for the first setup. A prep day on location is usually only necessary when complicated or multiple setups are needed. Most setups require about 4-5 (1 hour per 25 cameras on standard set-up) hours before shooting. During that time it is important that the director be available for short periods to choose aim points, focus points, and check that the "move" is correct
Motion picture cameras can be set up at the beginning and end of the MULTICAM track to lead-in and lead-out of the effect, but must be matched approximately to the spacing, focal length, and framing of the still cameras.
Once exposure settings and a timing sequence have been loaded, a red button at the end of a long cable fires the MULTICAM system. A director can fire the system himself, or we will provide a trained finger. For more accurate timing, we have optical beam triggers, proximity sensors, or contact switches, all with programmable delay. Pyrotechnics or other effects can be synchronized to MULTICAM through the computer.
Two or three different MULTICAM setups can be accomplished in the same day, depending on complexity of the setup and move, as well as the number of cameras used. Strike requires about one hour at the end of the shooting day, again depending on the complexity.
After the shoot, we can provide motion stabilization and luminance correction if needed or your Visual Effects team can take the files and perform the corrections on their own. The finished motion stabilized and color corrected digital files are output at full resolution to an external hard disk or other desired media. Individual elements, such as background plates, are shipped as separate files ready for compositing.
MULTICAM is ready to ship anywhere in the world with all of the major components in tough road cases. It is important to find out customs regulations in advance to avoid costly production delays.
Here are some points to consider when estimating costs for your specific production:
-Crew travel and housing
We hope that this helps assist you with the planning of your film production. If you have more questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.