For my daughter's school I provided my services to produce the video for each of their plays that my daughter was in.  These were done with mulitple cameras and resulted in either a dual disc or 3 disc set depending on the amount of content. 



The common camera used for the three productions were the GoPro 3 Silver Editions placed along the stage at stage left, stage right and center.  While the main cameras remained the same the second and third plays had some differences.  One of the main was switching from battery power to AC on all three cameras and installing the viewfinders on an extension cable.  All were remote controlled to ease the operation.  On the second and third productions a rear Canon camcorder was rented. 

To use or not to use a GoPro?  There has been some debate about using action cameras such as the GoPro for recording performances.  When removing the fish-eye effect on the video the image is fairly sharp and fine for these types of videos.  I would record the video in 1080p at 60fps in wide image to capture as much of the stage as possible.  This video would then be used for wider shoots as the removal of the fish-eye results in a smaller video image.  In addition to the AC adapter the GoPros were each outfitted with 64GB SD card and a housing that allowed for cold shoe connections.  This setup allowed for the use of external microphones and also the Tascam D-40 that would be on the center camera.  

The camera for the 2017 production used audio from the internal mic for matching purposes while the camera for the 2018 used a combination of a mono feed from the house audio and an external Rode NTG4 for the audience audio.

Here is a sample of a shot using the fish-eye source and one with it removed.


Camera Positions

Most of the plays I have done used 4 - 7 cameras.  This usually consisted of three GoPro at the stage (Left, Center, Right), one GoPro on the far right to capture audience and stage.  In addition I have used iPhones for additional stage and audience from both the left and right stage, and a camcorders with 20x zoom in the rear of the theater to capture the entire stage and be able to zoom in.  For the stage cameras I will place the center stage camera then place the right and left equally apart from the center camera.  The side cameras will capture the activity mainly to the side of the center camera. 

View of 4 cameras, minus the wide shot from the rear of the stage.


Here is a photo of the same frame but with the four different cameras.




Audio production was captured with a Tascam D-40 on the stage with dual external microphones along with the internal to provide 4 channels, audio from the various stage cameras and the house audio for the music and with the 2018 production we had microphones for 10 of the cast members.  The rear camera for the 2017 production used audio from the internal mic for matching purposes while the camera for the 2018 used a combination of a mono feed from the house audio and an external Rode NTG4 for the audience audio.


Post Production

All of my workflow is done with the Adobe Creative Suite. Graphics are mastered in Illustrator and Photoshop and the video is edited in Premiere Pro with additional work in After Effects.  The audio is usually mastered in Audition, but I have used ProTools from some of the more complex audio post-production.

For those that are looking to provide this type of service to your school and have a tight budget I will be posting an article on the low cost and even free products that are what I consider useable.  You can use systems such as iMovie or Microsoft Movie Maker (no longer in use), but there are other solutions such as Media 100 and ProTools First that offer many of the same tools that professionals use.  For creating DVD's and Blu-ray the market is full of cheap solutions that do an ok job, but I still use Adobe Encore and Apple's Compressor to create professional media.  You can use VEGAS DVD Architect to create professional media as well including Blu-Ray.  

So now that you have your footage the next step is to edit it.  Now this might sound complicated and time consuming, but it can actually be done fairly quickly.  Since I use Premiere Pro for my editing I can usually take a 6 minute video with 3 different cameras and have it edited within 20 minutes for a quick single pass.  For the below plays the amount of time for each night ranged from 10 hours to 20 hours.  The main difference was when using 7 cameras my system was very slow even with proxy editing.

Below are a couple of videos about multicamera editing in Premiere Pro.  If you are using a different system then please seach YouTube as someone probably has a video about it.  One trick that I have used is to take each GoPro camera and place the video into a sequence based on the act.  I do break the video by act to make things go faster. This may not be feasible for your project, but mine had a break between the two acts. No placing this footage into a sequence allows me to trim the video and also if I want add the distortion effect to remove the fish eye I can do that within the sequence.  Once I have the sequences built I can select those as the cameras as seen in the videos.

Once I have the video edited with the scenes and add the titles and credits it is off to building the DVD.  As mentioned above, there are several DVD authoring applications available and many for the consumer to use at free or low cost.  If you have Adobe's Creative Cloud subscription then you have access to their Encore application which will create both DVD and Blu-ray discs with menu systems.  I use this to add the photo galleries and other special feature content to the disc.  I will usually create the Blu-ray first then the DVD which will have less content on it.  When I am ready to produce the final product I usually select the Create Image as this will render the final product to my MAC/PC instead of a disc.  This allows me to burn a disc from the file and store the image in the archive for future use.  Below are some videos on how to use Encore.



Duplication Process

For most of these projects I duplicate the media in-house using professional Blu-ray/DVD duplicators that allow for multiple copies to be completed at once.  The process for duplication usually takes around 30 minutes per set not including labeling and packaging.  I use only professional media from Verbatim and CMCpro which so far have had very low failure rates.  For the duplicator I have the a system from Produplicator which has worked very well.  If you only do a couple of discs then purchasing this equipment will probably not work for you financially, but we believe in providing our customers with options.  You can duplicate a dual disc package (Blu-ray plus DVD) with printed inserts for less than $4 per unit (without labor costs) if you do the work yourself and the number of discs is around 50 per type. For the final production the duplication time was just under 36 hours with a total of 206 discs duplicated and labeled (102 Blu-ray and 104 DVD).  The lower the number of discs the more the cost is per final product.  

For the disc labels I use the OL5625WX labels from Online Labels.  These are full face CD/DVD/Blu-ray labels that can be used in laser or inkjet printers.  They do have templates available to use.  I will usually build my label in Photoshop using a basic template from Disk Makers and then copy that image to the template for the labels.  I do two different ones since I usually include both the DVD and Blu-ray in the project.  I would suggest first print a test on a blank sheet of paper and then compare with the label before printing.  Remember to have extra ink or toner as you will go through it quickly especially if you are using a full-bleed image.    

Below are some of the video and packaging art for the school plays I have recently done.  The duplication for these are done in-house including the printing of inserts, disc labels and both DVD and Blu-ray duplication.  Most of these plays had an order for 100 sets of discs with a turnaround time between 15 days and 30 days including the post-production.


Play Examples

Seussical Jr (2016) (DVD only)

The video below are a couple of scenes from the master files and is just the center camera.  This shows the quality of the audio and video from the GoPro Hero 3 Silver without any post-production work.  The only effect added to the video was the removal of the lens distortion on two of the shots.  Audio was from the internal microphone.



James and the Giant Peach (2017)



Shrek Jr. The Musical (2018)