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Camera Placement | Tech, No Babel

Camera Placement

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On today’s Tech, No Babel: Camera Placement

When you’re adding cameras to a room, there are some things you need to consider so you don’t make the same mistakes that most churches do.

First, consider the number of cameras you’re going to have. The more you have, the more viable placement options there are. I’d always start by placing the camera in front of the subject, straight on.

Now, for the second camera, you have some options. If the musical portion of the service doesn’t include a lot of movement, maybe having two cameras, a near follow and a wide follow, both near the center and in front of the speaker is the way to go.

If not, consider placing the second camera off-axis so you can get shots from the side during songs and still use the camera during worship.

Keep in mind that when you’re switching between shots they need to be 30 degrees or 30% different to avoid jump cuts.

Avoid breaking the 180 rule, though. For any shot, imagine a line drawn through the subject, perpendicular to the camera. Cutting to a shot on the same side of the line, looks fine. Cutting from the opposite side is jarring because things jump from one side to the other.

Also consider elevation with reference to camera placement. The camera lens should be as high at the subject’s eyes. Because the view doesn’t know how tall the support under the camera is, subtle (or extreme) changes in elevation can provide a psychological impact you may not want. Shooting from above (as with a balcony shot) makes the subject seem less authoritative because we’re used to looking down (literally) on children. Shooting from slightly below makes the subject seem more so because you look up (literally) to adults when you’re a child and they seem to know more than you.

Keep these things in mind and you’ll have a better production, just because of a passive placement.

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