Trying to setup a "production room"...

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by MattG, Nov 17, 2005.

  1. MattG macrumors 68040

    MattG

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #1
    I've never done anything like this before. Complete novice...

    I've got a (small) production room at the college I work at. It's going to be used to record lectures and instructional information for faculty. I'll have lighting equipment, two Canon GL-1's, a projector, etc in there for people to use.

    The room NEXT to it is a little production booth with one-way glass looking into the production room. That's where my Macs are, plus a mixing board and a bunch of other toys.

    My question is (and I know...really vague)...how do I go about setting all this up? Specifically, I've got the two video cameras in the production room, and I'm assuming I want to somehow patch those into the computers in the room next door directly, patch the mixer into the computer directly, and input all of this into Final Cut, live, as it's happening. Right? Or not? How do other people do it?

    :confused:

    If I haven't given enough information, let me know, I'd be happy to explain further. Any advice is appreciated!
     
  2. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #2
    Well, I'll tell you how we do it where I work. Maybe not the best way, but it seems to work OK.

    We have 1 unmanned camera on the (seated, in a non-rolling, non-reclining chair) presenter. We use cheap scan converters to take laptop PPT slides and a document camera feed (for handwritten notes), both VGA, to NTSC.

    Haven't used a projector, they can be noisy. Plus, if you do, I would think using daylight color temp light fixtures (on the presenter only, not the screen or it will wash out) would be better instead of tungsten; I think the projectors will be daylight or higher Kelvin. (Someone will correct me if I'm wrong.)

    We feed those into a switcher, record to DV (and VHS as backup). Later capture the tape and encode or burn to DVD as required.

    Usually we use wireless lav mics for audio, otherwise too much room noise. Our room is not well insulated.

    Can you use the multicam functions in FCP or Avid Xpress Pro to do "live" switching instead of using a hardware switcher? I'm not familiar with using these functions yet. Also, then you have no tape backup in case computer crashes.

    Maybe you don't need to switch from one feed to another? If so, you'll probably have to man the camera; if people are standing, as at a projection screen, they will move around, plus you will probably be forced to zoom in on small fonts which look fine at 1280 x whatever, but on NTSC look like smashed bugs.

    Be sure to record to tape as well.

    And you sure don't want to have to edit multiple tapes together after the fact if you can help it, it's a time sink.

    Not sure that helps, but it's what I got.
     
  3. MattG thread starter macrumors 68040

    MattG

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #3
    Thanks for the info...

    Right now what's confusing me the most is the physical-hookup aspect of the whole thing. Once I have that down, I'll figure out the best way for me to record just by trial and error I guess.

    You mentioned a "switcher." What kind of switcher is this?

    Thanks!
     
  4. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #4
    Well, I call it a switcher, but Panasonic calls it a "Digital AV Mixer", Model WJ-MX50A. Accepts 4 video sources, S-Vid or composite, as well as XLR or RCA audio. The unit's at least 5 yrs. old and since discontinued, worth maybe $1000+ according to eBay... Looks like the new ones from Panasonic run into the $5-8000 range, but would be way overkill for what we do here (16:9? Yeah, right).

    If you go this route, be careful to get a "live switcher" or "AV mixer" and not a cheap routing switcher. A routing switcher simply selects from multiple inputs, and when you switch from one to another there's a "glitch", similar to physically unplugging one cable and quickly plugging in another.

    Better to look at B&H Photo/Video or some other vendor and look at "live switchers" and find what you think you would need.
     
  5. MattG thread starter macrumors 68040

    MattG

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #5
    Cool. I'll check out B&H. The other thing I'm concerned about is actually getting the cameras patched into the control room. They're DV cameras, and I assume I'd want to use the DV connection (FireWire). So would that be the best way to do things? Have a FireWire port installed in the wall of the studio, plug the camera into that, and patch this thing into the mixer? Did that make any sense? :p
     
  6. 2jaded2care macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2003
    Location:
    Atlanta
    #6
    Hmm, hadn't looked at FW switchers before. Guess you could go this route if you're only going to use FW sources. Looks like you can get in for well under $1000 for basic "glitch-free" switching, but not digital effects (like dissolves, wipes, etc.). Just make sure it says "glitch free" switching, and not "passive" or "mechanical" switching, or it will glitch when you hit the button to change sources.

    The Panasonic switcher/mixer (whatever) we use only takes S-video or composite in. Every DV camcorder should at least give you composite out, though you probably have to use an A/V cable (from 3-contact mini phono to 3xRCA out). We use the S-video jack on our camcorders, but some camcorders don't have this. We use S-vid because we're using the scan converters (VGA to S-vid) to go from the laptop PPT slides and Elmo document camera.

    You can have FW jack panels installed on each side of the wall I guess, but I've seen many control room setups where they just punch a hole in the wall (under or near the control room desk) and pass the cables through. Sometimes it's prettied up by mounting a short length of plastic pipe in the hole, and stuffing the excess space with foam (for noise control). That's up to you.
     
  7. MacFan25863 macrumors 6502a

    MacFan25863

    Joined:
    Jun 20, 2004
    #7
    I would suggest getting a switcher such as the Videonics MX-4. You can then connect the cameras to it through S-Video, as well as the projector source. From there, run S-Video out into a AV-DV converter (such as the Datavideo DAC-100) into your Powermac. Though the MX-4 can do audio, I would suggest getting a lav mic such as the AT831R and connecting it to something like the Mackie 1202-VLZPRO, which connects to the DV bridge back into the Powermac.

    Something like this will be far more upgradeable and far less expensive than the other setups suggested, and will still give you execellent quality.
     
  8. MattG thread starter macrumors 68040

    MattG

    Joined:
    May 27, 2003
    Location:
    Fletcher, NC
    #8
    Thanks everyone -- I've got a good idea of what I need to do now. Just need to get it in the budget :eek:
     

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