Trio Iguaçu is a talented group of musicians, playing a delightful blend of tango and bossa nova music. We set up a recording session with them in order to produce promotional videos for the trio, as well as to demonstrate the power and flexibility of our CaptureSync multi-camera video recording software.
CaptureSync is software for the Mac that records video and audio from multiple cameras simultaneously, with all feeds synchronised together and saved to a single QuickTime Movie file. CaptureSync is perfect for recording interviews, scientific experiments, psychological research, musical performances, market research, lectures and presentations.
The setup consisted of one main camera to capture the whole group, as well as three auxiliary cameras to provide close-up views of each musician. These close-up views are useful for analysing playing technique or for editing in Final Cut Pro in order to produce an edited movie that switches between multiple camera angles.
As the quality of the group view was the most important, we used a Nikon D3200 DSLR camera with a 35mm lens. This camera provides high-quality 1920×1080 resolution 30fps video via HDMI, which can be recorded by CaptureSync using Blackmagic HDMI input hardware. As we were using a Mac Pro computer, we used the PCI version of their Intensity product, which is part of a range that also includes Thunderbolt and USB 3.0 HDMI-input devices.
For the auxiliary views, we decided to use Grandstream GXV3601_HD IP cameras. These are basic inexpensive network cameras, which provide 1280×720 30fps video in H.264 format. Being low-cost cameras with small sensors, lacking image settings such as exposure, the image quality is not nearly as good as the D3200, but perfectly adequate for our purposes. In addition, the lens bundled with these cameras is not particularly high quality, exhibiting significant distortion, so we purchased some fixed 6mm and 8mm CS-mount lenses from Stock Optics which were significantly better. In general, fixed lenses provide better image quality (lower distortion and improved sharpness) than zoom lenses.
The cameras were powered by PoE (Power-over-Ethernet) from a Netgear GS110TP Gigabit switch, with the cameras and computer being pre-set with static IP addresses for reliability and simplicity of setup.
Audio recording was achieved using a simple X-Y pair of microphones positioned on a boom in front of the group. These were connected to a mixer to provide power to the microphones and line-level amplification of the audio signal, and then fed to the audio inputs of the Blackmagic card (in our testing, the Blackmagic audio inputs proved to be far higher quality than the Mac’s own audio inputs).
The image below shows how all the components were set up and positioned. The main camera was positioned directly in front of the trio, with the auxiliary cameras positioned at at various angles and heights in order to give good views of each musician while remaining out of shot of the other cameras. The room was acoustically very lively, with lots of hard flat surfaces, so blankets and rugs had to be used to dampen the acoustics. A main light was positioned in front and to the side of the trio, while a backlight (outside the door) partially fills in the shadows cast by the main light, as well as providing a some separation between the musicians and the background.
Below is the recording produced by CaptureSync (scaled down to quarter size, compressed, and exported as a single-track file in order to be playable via the web). If you enjoy the music please visit the Trio Iguaçu YouTube channel for more songs.