Mike Carroll of http://mikecarroll.ca was in town for some gigs and while he was here, we decided to setup his kit and record some clips for his website.
This was the first time I have ever recorded video with 4 cameras at the same time It was really fun, a ton of work and I learned a few lessons. I thought I would write a post talking about the equipment we used, how we setup and what I would do differently next time…and there WILL be a next time.
Mike and I brought the drums in and spent some time getting everything setup in the basement. We setup the Gretsch kit and while Mike was fine positioning his gear, I moved on to the cameras, tripods, lights, microphones and mic stands. I used 3 HD cameras and a non-HD camera for the foot cam (as we knew that it would be a small overlay in the end anyway). I recorded 1 of the 2 audios streams from the overhead camera. The 2nd audio stream was comprised of 2 mixed audio signals – 1 condenser mic and 1 dynamic mic. The lighting was provided by a standard worklight. (you do what you can on a budget). The software used to record/process the audio was Reaper and Sony Vegas was used for the video editing. Here is the gear in a bit more detail…
The cameras used were:
Nikon D90 with a Tokina 11-16mm lens – for the front wide angle view
Sony HDR-CX300 – for the side view
CAD GXL1200 condenser mic
Senheiser e835 dynamic mic
Zoom Q3HD- audio/video recorder
- manfrotto lightweight tripod for the side cam.
- noname tripod for the front cam.
- table-top canon tripod for the foot cam. Solid and low.
- senheiser boom mic stand for the overhead.
The lighting was:
standard Canadian Tire worklight.
2 500w lights for 40 bucks
Nikon SB600 speedlight
I figured that a close-up wide angle shot from the front would be cool so that’s where the D90 went. Next I placed the Sony cam on the side and extended the tripod as high as it would go. The foot cam was easy…I put it on the floor between the snare and front cymbal. The Q3HD went on a mic boom stand extended to it’s highest amount right behind the drum throne. The dynamic mic was on a stand in front of the kit beside the D90 and the condenser mic went on a stand close to the floor tom. Both mics were at about waist height. I took the protective grill off the worklights to prevent any weird shadows and then pointed the lights at the ceiling in an attempt to provide a look of natural light. In hindsight, I would have used more lighting because the quality of the video was a bit grainy due to higher than wanted ISO levels. The entire shoot took about 1.5 hours as Mike proceeded to record drums for about 5 different segments for his website. I hit record in Reaper and kept the audio running the whole time. The Q3HD video ran almost the entire time as well. This made it really easy to match the Reaper audio to the overhead audio/video. The other cameras were turned on and off between segments as the canon and Nikon cameras could not record longer than 5 minutes. One tip that I had read in the past was to use a camera flash to sync the multiple camera clips in post-production. For each segment, I grabbed my Nikon SB600 speedlight and flashed it once after firing up all of the cameras. TIP…If you flash a speedlight to sync video, make sure you put the speedlight in a spot that all of the cameras can see. *Facepalm* I did not! While editing the video and trying to line up all of the clips, I notices that I was pointing the flash upwards. At the time, I thought that the flash would blast the whole room and it would be easy to see in each camera…Not so! Next time I will make sure that the light is pointed down in an area that the overhead, side and front cameras can see. By pointing down, the foot cam should pick it up as well even though the flash is not directly in the frame. After all of the clips were recorded, I exported the audio from Reaper, grabbed all of the video footage and hit the desktop machine that I use for video editing.
Here is a sample of one of the finished clips:
I started a new project at 720p due to the D90 only being able to record at 720p. I pulled in all of the video and audio and started to line everything up. As you can see, it was messy looking but Vegas handled everything like a champ. The version I use is Sony Vegas HD Platinum. This software sells for under 100 bucks and is the best combination of easy, light, power and cost effectiveness. The only real issue I ran into was switching back and forth between video angles. In Vegas Pro (from what I understand) there is a tool to help the multicam process. In HD Platinum…no such luck. So the way that I dealt with switching was by using a automation envelopes. Using an envelope, I could adjust the transparency of each video channel throughout the clip I was working on. It was a bit more time consuming but the end result worked and looked just fine. All in all, we created 5 clips for Mike to use. They were all done the same way with the exception on one called “The Next Step”.
The Next Step by Kurt Rosenwinkel:
This clip had its own set of challenges but was probably the most rewarding in the end. Instead of just recording the drum part, we decided that it would be cool to also record the piano and bass too. We started by pulling the original track into Reaper to setup a click track that was close. Here was the first challenge…That song starts around 130bpm and as the drums kick in, the tempo jumps about +10bpm. Mike said that the jump “creates so much forward momentum and still maintains a great feel”…I totally agree but it sucks for trying to match the click. What we settled on was to have Mike play it at 130bpm. Now that we decided on a tempo, Mike first sat down to learn the piano and bass parts on a Yamaha keyboard. We used Addictive Keys by XLN Audio to simulate the piano tone and some other VST (I forget which one) to simulate a stand up bass. It took no time for him to figure out the part and record it like the pro he is. Next, I grabbed my ipad and fired up a metronome app (that I won’t name because is was crappy) for Mike to use while playing the drums. We needed to do this because I didn’t have cables long enough to run a set of headphones from the DAW to the kit in the other room and ultimately, using a metronome would make it easy for me to line up all of the recorded audio parts. After he played the part, we sat down to listen and we couldn’t get it to match the correct tempo. We were both saying “WTF…this is way too slow!”. I grabbed the ipad and played the metronome against the Reaper click and it was WAAAY off as well as inconsistent. I switched the app over to the metronome in Amplitube and that matched dead on. He went back to the kit and banged out the drum parts over a few takes. Once everything was fished I mixed and exported it in order to pull into Vegas. Mike and I had a blast putting these clips together and will likely do more in the future. He has documented his perspective on the process over at his site. I encourage you to read it: Here. Below is the final clip…We hope you enjoy it. If you enjoyed reading this post or have any questions about our process…please leave a comment below.