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Thread: Question Time

  1. #1
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Question Time

    I've been asked to film an event near me which is in the format of the UK's Question Time. If you haven't seen it, it's basically a debate program with 4/5 people, usually political figures, and the presenter/chair David Dimbleby, and the audience ask various questions.

    I've noted when I watch it how they use a steadicam, 3/4 tripod cameras, and various booms/mikes to get the finished product - but that is the beeb.

    From what I've been told, I'll be using, in the 'client's' words, their own "big HD camera", and that's pretty much it. I should be finding out more today, but I'm not holding my breath.

    If I am going to be using only the one camera, how should I film? Should I use a tripod (if she has one...), and literally pan to the person speaking, or should I go handheld, possibly hire a steadicam (I've been told they have a large budget)? All the various methods have their bonuses and pitfalls, but in general, what option would you go for?

    I was hoping, if time allows, to do the traditional QT run around, where the steadicam guy runs down the stairs and around the panel (second link in particular)

    If you haven't seen QT, there's a couple of pieces on YouTube:

    Beginning: 50 seconds in: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OXfxD8ehDsU

    End shots: 7:20: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GxH4kMsM-Uk

    Hopefully that should give you enough of an idea to help!

    James

    (100th post!)

  2. #2
    Hi James

    On a single camera it's quite normal to choose a central position and pan to the speaker but you have to be really on the ball. Probably stay just wide enough to have everyone in shot and then you can also do a slow zoom into the speaker. It really get tough when two or more are tossing comments between each other so maybe a medium shot is safest.

    What you will need is a radio mic or at least wired lapels for each speaker other audio will be a nightmare!!

    Chris

  3. #3
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Cheers for the tip Chris

    I still haven't heard from the organiser so I don't know if I'm definitely doing the job or not yet, I'm just hoping that she contacts me tomorrow so I can let her know re audio. I know a good place to hire kit from though so even if she tells me Thursday I'm confident I can get it ordered for Saturday.

    I can't bear the lack of details at the moment!

    James

  4. #4
    Administrator Dave's Avatar
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    What Chris said

    It depends a bit on the nature of the discussion too. If each speaker tends to talk for a reasonable length uninterrupted you can zoom, but it can get messy if there's a lot of back-and-forth discussion.

    Are you shooting for a live presentation or will it be edited (or both)? That could make a difference to the whole approach.

    Getting the audience questions could be interesting. If you need to get them and you only have one camera, you'll have to pan quickly. Practice that as soon as you get set up and see how it's going to work.

    Of course fast panning will force a particular style on the coverage. If the fast pans are going to be in the final edit, it makes it more acceptable (even preferable) do fast pan/zooms on the panel as well.

    Would it be possible/acceptable to have a second camera locked off on a wide shot of the audience, to get the questions? Hardly ideal I know, but maybe an option.

    Steadicams are frighteningly expensive, at least in these parts.

    Hope you're feeling better BTW.
    Dave Owen
    MediaCollege.com

  5. #5
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Still off school

    As far as I know, and I'm certainly hoping, that I'll be shooting with a view to editing it afterwards rather than it being projected onto a screen at the same time.

    I was thinking about bringing a PD150, and having the main camera fixed on the panel as a wide shot, and roaming with the PD150 around the audience and also getting closeups if needed.

    The only thing I'm worried about with this is that because they'll be vastly different cameras, how much will they differ in the edit? Or will this add to the effect?

    I just wish that the organiser would get back to me with the details!

    And yes, Steadicams are indeed expensive!

    James

  6. #6
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    I've decided not to pursue this job any longer as I still haven't had a contact from the organiser, and I'm still ill.

    Thanks for the tips anyway!

    James

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    Senior Member SC358's Avatar
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    Wise decision - you really want to be prepared, not thrown into a situation if it can be help. Their emergency is not your emergency but compensation never hurts. In addition, freelancers really need to be in tip-top shape to perform well because once word gets out how badly the body of work is - it could effect your whole livelihood. Nobody cares how sick you are - they just want what they paid for (and if they could get more for less - they'll want that too).

    Hope you feel better soon!
    SC358
    Relationships are based on compromises - behavior accepted is behavior repeated.

  8. #8
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Hehe I know what you mean :-)

    It's a pity that they didn't get in touch because I would have really enjoyed doing that job I reckon, especially the editing side of things.

    Never mind though, I've been busy and organised another two events, one of which may be paid (although I'm thinking of forfeiting them paying me to ensure that I can get some kit hired for the night - would be good to work with something else other than an ageing PD150 that isn't even mine...)

    James

  9. #9
    Camera Operator/Producer lake54's Avatar
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    Ok just had an email from my middleman (the guy that recommended me) to say that the event has been postponed to the end of January at least.

    I've now also got the email address of the organiser so I can discuss audio requirements in depth.

    James

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