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3 Quick Tips for Better Locked-Off Camera Shots

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Today we are working on an event at the fantastic Hyatt Manchester Grand. It’s a great venue and it offers four separate floors of meeting and ballrooms. The event is packed with a full turnout of over 500 educators. Here is a 360 degree view of the floor before the doors are opened and lunch is served. I call this, “the quiet before the storm”.

Occasionally on our shoots, we have a client who wants a video recording of their event but simply does not have the budget to afford a separate camera operator. AV101′s solution for this is to set-up a stationary camera, also known as “Locked-Off” shot.

Although at first glance, it seems very easy to set up a locked-off camera for a given event. Just frame your shot and hit record, right? Well, it’s not quite that simple. There are three things that you can do to ensure that your locked- off camera will record top quality video of your presenters.

  1. Set the camera and tripod up somewhere near the back of the room. Ideally, you’ll want the camera to be elevated (to avoid as many “back of the head” audience silhouettes as possible) and as far from audience members as possible. Zoom all the way in on the presenter on stage and lock the pan, tilt and all other tripod controls down.
  2. Feed the audio output from your mixer into your camera for clean, intelligible audio. The on-camera mic is practically useless for any subject that’s more than 4 feet away, so you want to make sure you’re recording the feed from the mic’s on stage which are fed through the mixer.
  3. Set all the camera controls to manual mode. With a presenter on stage, dial in the appropriate f-stop and lock your exposure to that. If a wide range of different skin tones will be present theoughout the day, check to make sure that darker skinned people are recording properly (open the iris up a bit). Similarly, find a white balance that looks best and lock it in as well. Some types of florescent lights will phase in and out of color temperatures which can cause problems for auto WB.

Armed with those 3 tips, your locked-off video will look far better than before and you’ll feel confident that what you record to camera will match what it really looked like to audience members who attended that day. And of course, regardless of your budget, you can count on AV101 to deliver exactly what you are looking for in an event. If you’ve got a project coming up that could need a professional edge, feel free to contact us.

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