Why 2 cameras during a live machinima shoot can save your (pardon my french)

March 6, 2010 at 9:57 pm (Home, Machinima)

Robot arms a comin'

In the real world, live shoots are intense. You got a bunch of union guys on every corner of the room with these big robotic moving arm things, while another guy is in the back surrounded by what looks like bullet proof glass configuring a huge switchboard, which essentially switches from one camera view to another. Believe me, I was in that scenario. And my large robotic arm knocked a screaming teenage girl on the head during a heart-throb JPop concert (woops). In machinima, none of this is the case. Well, hypothetically it is but it’s a lot less complex and show-y.

If you are planning a live event and want machinima coverage, I URGE you to consider two individuals on 2 cameras. Planned well, you can get an assortment of nice shots that wouldn’t have been possible because with one camera, you’re just so focused on getting the conservative, front-on shot that you overlook the glorious moments that you can experiment with. Last week I shot a graduation ceremony in Second Life for Manchester School of Business and worked with a very talented machinimatographer named Cisko. What I got back from him was GOLDEN footage and a little extra sauce for the editing stage (he even had time to get some neat artsy shots of the venue and other shots that are low priority but sometimes end up being the most memorable footage).

If you are planning a two-camera machinima, here is what I urge you have the machinimatographers do:

Graphics- ALL GRAPHICS SHOULD MATCH ON BOTH MACHINES. Since Cisko is in Germany and I am in Philadelphia, well that doesn’t exactly help us see the other’s screen, heh. Both shooters should exchange their windlight settings via the .xml file that is created whenever you save a custom setting. If both members have this, the footage lighting will match. Also, they should double check everything in the Graphics Pane starting with:

  • Resolution- You can double check by right clicking the file and go to details and see what resolution it is (ex: 1280 x 720 is what we shot at).
  • Details– Both shooters should have the same draw distance, particles, detail levels in trees, etc. if you want to get really exact.
  • Other- In Graphics under Hardware Skinning, you should really have the same anti-aliasing and that should actually always be at least 4x (unless you want splotchy lines around all the avatars.. yuck!)

Plan ahead– Plan who gets what shot. Otherwise, both members will get the same type of footage. In the Graduation shoot scenario, Cisko ONLY shot towards the audience while I ONLY shot towards the stage. I got the close ups of the speakers and long shots of the overall set up on stage, while he got close ups of the audience reacting and clapping. My favorite shot he got was directly behind the speaker’s shoulder. You can see his perspective, which was a pretty packed venue. Very cool!

If you take care of those 2 things, you should be good! As a shooter, knowing that there is another person getting coverage that the editor can cut to later, you feel a lot less stressed. Your emotions really shine through in the type of footage you get! The lesson here? All shooters should do yoga before they go on set!



  1. Chantal Harvey said,

    How did you send the files for edit, they are usually too large to send?
    I use yousendit.com, but 2 gig is the limit.

    • framedin3d said,

      hey I just brought a yousendit account I think it was maybe 40-50 a month? Then cancelled it right away and was able to send I believe unlimited? They’re a good option though!

  2. Cisko Vandeverre said,

    Was fun and worked well

    • cisko vandeverre said,

      oh forgot – check the FOV too.

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