How many cameras to use in your production 1, 2 or 3. What you choose for your own conference depends on a number of factors, including budget, the purpose of the video, your intended audience, whether slides are involved, and the practicalities of the venue.
1 Camera Shoot
A single camera shoot is the quickest, most inexpensive way to film a speech or presentation. Traditionally, this involves a camera mounted on a tripod at the back of the room, behind the audience. This camera usually remains completely static throughout the presentation, capturing a fairly wide shot incorporating the speaker, presentation slides/screen if present, and some of the audience.
- Lowest cost – only one camera, and one camera operator, are required, and also less editing time is involved
- Least space required for equipment – sometimes a consideration when working in smaller venues
- Least engaging/dynamic edit, lack of variety in footage
- More jarring to edit together different sections of footage when only one angle is available
- When the video is intended primarily as a record of the speech, or only short clips are required
- If budget is tight or the venue is very small
- The video is aimed an internal audience, or one with an inherent interest in the speech content
2 Camera Shoot
A 2 camera shoot enables you to take your video to the next level by adding a second synchronised angle. Usually the first camera will perform the same role as in a 1 camera shoot, while the second will capture a mixture of speaker close-ups and audience reaction. The 2 angles are then cut together in the edit.
- Allows for a more engaging and varied edit
- Footage can be edited together more seamlessly by cutting between angles
- Huge jump forward from a 1 camera shoot – the feeling of more than 2 cameras can effectively be ‘faked’ by having the second camera move around throughout the presentation
- Higher cost than 1 camera option (although sometimes this can be offset by having 1 operator manage both cameras)
- Less variety of footage than a 3 camera shoot
- Good option for most events, allows a focus on both the speaker and their presentation slides
- Good for videos that require more energy & are intended to engage/retain the interest of the viewer
3 Camera Shoot
A 3 camera shoot builds on the advantages of a 2 camera shoot by enabling you to capture a 3rd synchronised angle. What this 3rd shot captures will vary depending on the event, but as with the 2nd camera, the likely focus will be on speaker close-ups /alternative angles and audience shots.
- Allows for 2 fixed, dedicated angles whilst still having a roaming, dynamic camera
- Better variety of footage and scope for highlighting specific things
- Provides an interesting & varied edit
- More costly to produce
- Requires greater planning and preparation to determine how best to use all 3 angles
- More space required for equipment; less discreet camera crew
- Full-length speech videos that require a slick edit intended for an external audience
- Sessions with more than one speaker or a high level of audience interaction
While you can continue to add more and more cameras to the equation, and indeed there is something to be said for the high-end polish given by a presentation filmed from many simultaneous angles, the truth is that usually you’ll find diminishing returns as you add further cameras to the mix and in most cases, the above options seem to do the trick.