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How to Match Cameras and Recorded Clips using OnLocation

One hassle of the production process is trying to go back and get additional shots that match older footage. Those of you who shoot interviews know what I speak of – I’ve had to cut together a TON of interviews over the last 10 years, and every time I’ve had to go back and reshoot, there’s always something different about the new footage. B-roll footage can be used to cover the jump, but it’s not the same. If you want to use a jump cut or quick dissolve, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing the microphone move positions, or the camera framing being off, and the subject’s head gains 5 kg because of a closer camera angle.

Adobe OnLocation contains a feature to combat this problem, and it’s also useful for dialing in cameras in a multi-camera shoot. It’s called the Split Screen Feature.

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Here’s a shot of me from last week’s eSeminar on OnLocation. Notice the lovely garish shirt I’m wearing. For the sake of this tutorial, I’m going to try to match this scene with my live camera.

I’ve made things simple enough by wearing the same lovely shirt. I had to dig the shirt out of a box buried in the back of the garage this time. I need to be sure to ask the wife about why the shirt keeps disappearing like that.

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To get Split Screen dialed in, click on the flyout menu on the Field Monitor, and choose Display Settings.

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The opacity of the Split is set by default at 50%, but for this exercise, I’m going to crank it up to 100%. Anything less than 100% will cause an Onion Skinning effect, which can be useful, but in this case it’s too much information. Using 100% makes it clear what’s from the still and what’s from the live camera.

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Here’s the tricky part – you MUST click on items in exactly this order: Double-click on the pre-recorded clip. Pause the clip on a good frame to compare. Then, click the Split button. Click the Stop button. clicking Stop should switch left side of the screen back to the live camera.

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Use the on-screen controls to adjust the size and area of the split. To match up my camera angles, I’m going to use the CS4 logo hanging on the top left corner of the green screen. Adjust the camera position until everything lines up. I’ll take this moment to ditch the hat, which I can see wasn’t in last week’s shoot.

Just from the field monitor, I can see that the brightness of my camera isn’t what it was when I shot the previous footage. Be aware that the Split is also active on the Waveform Monitor as well. I need to adjust the iris/exposure of my camera to match. With the Fv at 1.8 and the Exposure cranked up to +1, I’m seeing similar brightness values in the Waveform monitor and in my Field Monitor.

The one thing this technique won’t help me with is removing the new curry stain on the shirt. Fortunately, with this shirt, it’s almost impossible to notice. 🙂

This same technique works well in Pre-production on a multi-camera shoot. Point cameras at a common object. Hook OnLocation to Camera 1. Dial in white balance, iris, exposure, etc. Then, record a reference clip. Go to camera 2, hook up OnLocation, and compare the live feed from Cam 2 with the recorded clip from Camera 1. Split, use the Waveform Monitor, and adjust Cam 2 to match. Rinse and repeat for Cam 3, 4, etc.

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