Video Production Setup: 3-Camera Panel Discussion

More and more video productions are being produced outside a traditional studio and being produced in a natural setting. The ease of streaming video and more portable equipment makes it easier to produce video with professional results.   This is called Electronic Field Production (or EFP).  This article will be the first in a series of articles describing the various ways you may need to set up your production including diagrams what equipment will be needed and where to place the cameras for best results.  The equipment referenced will be Datavideo products (, but other manufactures with similar functionality should work as well.

We’ll start with a 3 camera shoot of a panel discussion in an auditorium or theater.  Below is a diagram of the best position to place your cameras.  Each camera should be on a tripod in order to change shooting angles quickly. In this example, I have the host seating on the left and the two guests sitting on the right.

3 Shot Stage Diagram

Men SittingCamera 1 – Is on the left side of the auditorium and has the best angle for shooting the guests.  This camera will also be able to swing to the right side in case an audience member has a question for the panel.

Interview PanelCamera 2 – Is positioned in the center and back of the audience.  The best shots for this position is for taking long shots and full shots of the panel.  Also can take full shots of the audience.

Host Woman InterviewingCamera 3 – The position for the third camera is on the right side of the room and has best angle to shoot the host and the left side of the isle if there are any audience question

Each camera person will be equipped with an intercom system so that the technical director can communicate with them for best camera position.  The director can think about more than two scenes switching or zoom in and zoom out between the first and the third camera.  You can have camera 3 zoom in on host while camera one is positioning in on the guest that will be speaking.  Cut back to host for reaction while guest is speaking if guests are speaking longer than 30 seconds.

Here is an example of the Technical Director’s shot list:
A.  Begin with a long shot of the panel by camera 2
B.  Give a cut to camera 3 to introduce the host
C.  When the host introduces the guests, give a cut to camera 1 for a two shot of guests
D.  After the introduction o the guests, cut to camera 2 for a full shot of the panel
E.  When the host starts the opening remarks, give a cut camera 3 for close up of host
F.   After the opening remarks, cut to camera 2 for long shot of guests and host.
G.  After 5 seconds, cut to camera 1 for close ups of guests
H.  Follow the scene switching method according to who is speaking on the panel or questions from the audience.

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