When Nic Dugger, President of TNDV Video, was in New Orleans for the Super Bowl this past February, he learned that 22 cameras were primarily responsible for acquisition. But just one month earlier, his own company had actually handled an even larger production with considerably less set-up time – at Passion 2013 in Atlanta. For this four-day, mega- production, 23 cameras were deployed, directly connected to CPUs based in two TNDV production trucks. Unlike the Super Bowl, Nic’s crew had only 16 hours to set up this shoot, gaining access to the location at 2 AM with the live shoot starting at 6 PM the very next day.
With the pressure of extremely tight timing and no room for error, the crew needed a carefully organized, efficient system to maximize every minute of set-up time. The system they came up with did just that. Instead of sending all tripods, lenses, and cameras separately, TNDV bundled them one station at a time and gave each package a camera number. So, for every camera station, there was a lens, tripod, and camera in a bundle. Every case associated with it had a label with the camera number, the operator’s name, and the location of where the camera was going.
While cameras were assigned numbers, the cables they were connected to were assigned letters. Because of the extremely short set up time, the crew pulled a few extra cable runs, ‘just in case’. According to Nic, “ Every cable had a letter. That way, if we had a bad cable, we didn’t have to say ‘Camera three’s cable was bad,’ we just no longer used cable C and moved to cable D. We pulled at least five spare cables into the building, and did take advantage of some of them.”
Using the number and letter camera staging system, production for Passion 2013 was up and running on time, and the five days of shooting went without a glitch. We were happy that 22 of Nic’s 23 cameras were Hitachi Z-HD5000 cameras. Even if you are not shooting a Super Bowl-sized production, some of Nic’s set-up tips could save you valuable time.
Read more about the camera story at Passion 2013 in a recent article in TV Technology:“Hitachi Cameras Bring Passion 2013 to Life”