Cameras systems add another level of complexity and cost to the production but I think it also adds to the professional look of a video show and it helps larger crowds feel closer to the stage action. There is one other major reason to consider a camera system. Custom made video content is extremely expensive and even edited content takes lots of advance time and effort that can be replaced by the use of a camera system. I started using cameras for clients that I was tired of seeing the same types of video content for every show.
1 Additional Technician
$4000 – $8000 Per Week Rental
I have two matching custom built computer rigs that can run either Ai or Resolume and both provide 8 independent HDSDI camera inputs. These are very low latency inputs and lots of effort goes into making sure the camera signals get to the server and then back out to the wall with the smallest amount of processing possible to keep the video in time with the audio. Renting these servers from me is an added cost but you wont find the quality of server with all these inputs and a completely parallel working backup for the price. I built these computers because I didn’t want to pay the exorbitant rental prices for something comparable to be able to separate the camera inputs.
Having 8 independent camera inputs also allows me to do what I call a Multicam output. This is when some combination of the 8 cameras is put on the videowall at the same time showing the entire band. keep in mind this can be a bit difficult with circle video walls.
Both of these server options allow for video FX to be layered with the cameras as shown in some examples from some of my previous work shown here.
Also because the cameras are separated I can begin to put cameras cuts into the song sequences. For example, If camera 1 is always the drummer and there is a spot in the show that he always does a solo or a fill we want to highlight I can put that camera cut into the cue stack and it will happen along with any other lighting changes.
In the past I have relied on primarily the use of PTZ cameras or remote controlled cameras to limit the amount of staff. 1 additional technician can setup and operate the 8 cameras everyday on the tour. I know Slightly Stoopid owns 3 cameras already so you would need to rent a few more and a bunch of cable and infrastructure to make it work. This technician would set up backstage everyday and then send those signals to FOH to be used in the video show.
Another consideration is the use of video feedback in the show. The idea is to put a camera at FOH approximately at the center of the video wall and feed its signal back to the video wall. What you get is an infinite feedback as shown in the examples below. This can be technically complex in some venues but is another tool to consider when making these choices.
One more consideration is that this does allow you to record each show and keep that process in house. Many of these amphitheater sized venues will have some kind of camera system in house for IMAG reasons. These systems are unreliable and change dramatically from venue to venue. They are often mixed live backstage and will not provide access to individual camera feeds or allow you to direct the editing. This is why if you want to do this right you have to bring your own camera system and staff.
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