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Camera set up for tournament tables.


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#1
Morticon

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Hi all. 

 

I'm crowd-sourcing ideas and information here. 

 

 

So, I'm planning on having one or two top tables at next years SA tournament camera linked.  

 

Thing is, i have ABSOLUTELY no idea how to even begin this. 

I'd love to hear some community feedback on how to go about doing this and how to set it up.   Because i'm living and working in China, my access to cheap electronics and cameras etc is just amazing.  So, sourcing the equipment is the easy part. 

The questions Id need to engage with are:

 

1.  How many cameras do i need? 

2. How far away do you set them up?

3. How do i link them to the computer? 

4. Do i use a program? 

5. How do I record them? 

 

 

So, the issue i have is I've seen some  footage of comps before and the camera is always too far away from the action, and usually too far from the dice rolls.  Any ideas of getting around this? 

 

Thanks in advance to the community!!!! 

 


Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

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#2
MaliGn

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Maybe investigate the techniques used to film poker tournaments?
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#3
Brother Tyler

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I've never set up cameras here, so I'm just guessing, but...

 

...I suggest multiple cameras. Lots of them. As many as you can get access to.

 

Depending on the size of the tables, one or two should be overhead, giving the bird's eye view.

 

Depending on the terrain, if you can work a few onto the actual tabletops, concealed as terrain, that would be great.

 

The rest should be spread around the table about a foot to a foot and a half above the table, zoomed in (but not too far). Consider the four corners and the middles. If you can only get four for this, go for the corners. The next two (if you can get six) go on the sides. The last two (if you can get eight) go on the players' sides.

 

If you can link them to a computer, do it. The methods of connecting them to a computer will really depend on the cameras (i.e., are they wireless or cabled?) and the software (no idea what software you'll be using). This will work especially well if you have large monitors for viewing. Recording, too, is a software-dependent answer, so I don't know. Recording the action from multiple angles provides great image sources for battle reports.

 

Along with cameras come lighting considerations. If the overhead lighting isn't sufficient, consider getting some mobile lighting. Mobile work lighting is good, but you can always go with other lighting sources.

 

Whatever you end up doing (whether you follow my half-assed advice or better advice from someone else ;) ), I'd really be interested in seeing the layout, software, and results.


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#4
Morticon

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Bro T - your thoughts are legit like 95% what i was thinking!!! Just not sure how to do it just yet!!! 


Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

Collection of Battle Reports
Corbulo Tactica

#5
Brother Tyler

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So I was basically no help at all. facepalm.png


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#6
Slasher956

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Something to consider though... are you planning on live streaming?  If so then you may need to make sure you dont catch peoples faces in view /focus* unless you have their specific approval.

 

Having said that... depends on what type of location the tournament is held, in some places you may find there are lighting beams running across the hall /venue that you can suspend a frame which will hold the cameras at 4 foot or so above the table.  This would give you a nice birds eye view of the table.   A couple of posts located at opposite corners (left hand corner of each player)  with other cameras can give you a more gamer type view.

 

For connecting them to a PC you could go down the wireless route and have a seperate router /network purely for the cameras and set it to a different channel to any public wi-fi provided.

 

 

*there are a couple of legal & job related reasons for this



#7
NiceGuyAdi

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I work a lot of jobs in live sports broadcast, so I’ll start this by saying that even if you go as stripped back as possible, doing this on your own is going to be a nightmare.

If you want to cover two tables with multiple cameras, you’ll need someone cutting angles for you for each table. And you’ll need someone on hand to fix the cameras when they lose power/connection to your uplink/decide to act up/someone tries to steal them/etc.

In terms of connection of camera to uplink, you’ll want to go wireless, as otherwise people are going to be forever kicking through your cabling and damaging your cameras/themselves and suing you. Companies like Teradek do these for professionals, but each unit doesn’t come cheap. There are other options so the key thing is that they’ll send wireless video using the cameras’ HDMI outputs, and can switch channels so they won’t interfere with each other or get screwed by people’s mobile phones. You’ll need one for each camera.

Cameras wise your options are only as limited as your budget. A cheap option would be GoPro or the Sony equivalent. You won’t be able to zoom with them, though. And the sound will be hideous.

To make something with it you’ll need a laptop, an HDMI switcher to cut between your cameras, and a piece of software to pipe it out to the internet through the Ethernet to a hard line (WiFi is asking for trouble). I can’t remember the name of the software a colleague of mine was using to do this recently but can find out for you if you want to pursue this.

I hope this doesn’t all sound completely daunting, just want to outline the snags you can come up against ahead of time!
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#8
Brother Casman

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For video recording or broadcasting, OBS Studio might be useful. I haven't used it myself, but I know a number of Twitch streamers use it.
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#9
NovemberIX

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I've spent a lot of time thinking about this is well, and the simplest solution I could think of to keep it all in order was using wireless security cameras and an NVR. Dependent on if you plan to stream the games you might need a few other pieces of software, but for taking raw footage to be cut up later you're pretty well set to go. Thinking about gaming angles, in addition to a overhead table top, maybe set a place/camera aside specifically for dice rolls? If you have a team working with you and you're using wireless cameras, it could be cool to get different table level shots as the game progresses. Some cameras will have a pan/tilt/zoom function which could help with getting good close in shots too. Honestly, the best shots will be dependent on table set up. Admittedly I have a personal bias to Foscam systems, but that's because I know people who work for a US distributor, and get me a good discount along with instant tech support should I need it.
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#10
Morticon

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Something to consider though... are you planning on live streaming?  If so then you may need to make sure you dont catch peoples faces in view /focus* unless you have their specific approval.

We wont be live streaming.  However, for information sake, while this would be courteous, there's no legal requirement to do so.  * assuming we have permission to film inside the store.


Edited by Morticon, 06 December 2018 - 04:40 PM.

Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

Collection of Battle Reports
Corbulo Tactica

#11
sfPanzer

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Something to consider though... are you planning on live streaming?  If so then you may need to make sure you dont catch peoples faces in view /focus* unless you have their specific approval.

We wont be live streaming.  However, for information sake, while this would be courteous, there's no legal requirement to do so. 

 

 

Depends on the country I guess. Just know that if you have a german on cam and he wants you to take the video down you have to do so. You could upload it with him censored but that's additional work obviously. ^^


Disclaimer:

If my posts appear rude to you, I apologize. It's not meant to be rude in any way, it's just the way folks are in my country. It's really more about being direct than being rude. I know how it's perceived in the english speaking community and I already try to tone it down but I barely notice when it's too much since it's normal for me.


So yeah, I'm really not rude it's basically just cultural differences that act against me here. Again, I apologize.

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#12
shanewatts

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Let me start by saying I have no idea how to set these up, however I do watch a lot of recorded Warhammer games.

 

In addition to the above suggestions, I would say make a "dice cam."  Setup a dice rolling area (box rolling area etc) with a dedicated camera to it. That way you can cut the rolls into the video or have it in the top corner etc so people can see the rolls.



#13
Morticon

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Something to consider though... are you planning on live streaming?  If so then you may need to make sure you dont catch peoples faces in view /focus* unless you have their specific approval.

We wont be live streaming.  However, for information sake, while this would be courteous, there's no legal requirement to do so. 

 

 

Depends on the country I guess. Just know that if you have a german on cam and he wants you to take the video down you have to do so. .....


Tell me more? 


Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

Collection of Battle Reports
Corbulo Tactica

#14
Steel Company

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My first thought, is have players wear a small camera, like a Go-pro for their PoV, beyond that, maybe set something up along the short sides of the tables to get a nice cross look at the action?


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#15
Malios

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I've messed around with this as an amateur, having used a combination of go pros and dedicated amateur video cameras with external mics. Hopefully I can provide some tips.

Understanding the types of cameras you are using is important. Go pros are great at filming high resolution, fast framed moving videos in a "run and forget" format but can't zoom in and out or really change their camera settings. Cheap handicams can zoom in and out but can't have external audio input and may not have motion stability that you need for your hand carried shots. DSLRs cameras on the other hand can manually change their settings for best output and quality, but may need to be continuously adjusted on the fly to accomodate for changes in lighting, distance and focus. Not to mention DSLRs need dedicated lenses and can be a hefty investment moreso then cheaper, amateur video cameras. Each camera type has its place but some cameras are better suited for some roles then others.

Next you need to look at your equipment. Go pros need mounts. Cameras and mics may require tripods. You'll need a computer for all of the visual input. Source lighting with light softeners etc. Etc. You also need to look at your gaming peripheries: Are your dice easily viewable on the table by the camera? Can the viewers clearly see what you are rolling?

An important part with the filming itself I discovered is to ensure that your viewers are appropriately orientated to the table. Filming from multiple angles is great and POV cameras provide that sense of personal involvement, but its very easy for the viewers to feel... Lost. Overwhelmed almost.

What I found that helped to overcome this lack of orientation was to set a primary angle. The primary angle is yours and the audience's reference point, similar to most sports coverage. The primary angle can either be static (eg. fixed camera on a tripod) or mobile (eg. head mounted go pro on player 1) which both types have their pros and cons. However, always try to film the primary angle from the same point to create a fixed reference of the game for your viewers. Your secondary angles, dice cams and additionals are then used to supplement your primary camera.

The next thing to consider is your lighting. Cameras, DSLRs through to go pros, don't adjust to lighting like the human eye does so if you're not playing outside at noon in direct natural light, you need to control the lighting for best visual results. Without lighting (and appropriate light softening), your videos may appear washed out by too much direct hard light, or appear very flat because there's not enough.

The next thing is sound. The camera mic can be ok, but again you'll need better sound input for better quality. Then there's the type of mics such a shotgun mics, panoramic mics, etc. And their pros and cons into what effect you're after. Shotgun mics are handy if you're standing directly in front of the camera, but not so handy if you're standing behind or to the sides of the camera. Pamoramic microphones on the other hand pick up everything which is great for having a single, stationary mic in the middle of the table, but will also pick up background noises too that can detract from audio quality.

But most importantly... Its how you edit the videos that keeps it engaging. Having good software is key as others have mentioned.
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#16
Morticon

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Great feedback so far, all. Thanks. 


Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

Collection of Battle Reports
Corbulo Tactica

#17
TheWeepingAngel

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I haven't checked them out for a long time, but Frontline Gaming used to do livestreams of games. Might be worth checking out their videos and maybe even sending them a message to see what their setup was like. From memory, they had one main camera either above or off to the side of the table, and then maybe one or two closer-up angles to switch between. A dedicated dice box and camera (and high contrast dice) would be great as well, if you have the resources available
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#18
Slasher956

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Something to consider though... are you planning on live streaming?  If so then you may need to make sure you dont catch peoples faces in view /focus* unless you have their specific approval.

We wont be live streaming.  However, for information sake, while this would be courteous, there's no legal requirement to do so. 

 

 

Depends on the country I guess. Just know that if you have a german on cam and he wants you to take the video down you have to do so. .....

Tell me more? 

 

 

Legally all Europeans & UK are covered by a law call GDPR*, which governs personal data ownership which included pictures/ images of their (our) faces.

 

The person owns it and has complete control of all personal data and you must have explicit permission to hold it... comments like if 'you buy this ticket then you agree to....' dont count the person must select an option saying 'i agree to....' which is why a lot of websites that deal with europeans have changed their tick boxes from auto selected to opt in to default of deselected

 

On top of that you have some jobs (such as UK police) which can disipline personal if they appear in online media

 

 

* I dont know the full ins and outs just bits that have impacted my work.... but it covers the person not where they or you are.  One of the guys in the company where I work runs our chinese factory and he is covered by this law....


Edited by Slasher956, 07 December 2018 - 08:54 AM.

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#19
Morticon

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Did some research  (because this is legitimately fascinating!) and from what I'm reading this wouldn't apply in this case.  It is very far reaching (the GDPR) but, wont apply to something not targeted to the EU. 

"When the regulation does not apply

Your company is service provider based outside the EU. It provides services to customers outside the EU.  Its clients can use its services when they travel to other countries, including within the EU. Provided your company  doesn't specifically target its services at individuals in the EU, it is not subject to the rules of the GDPR."


Gamist, cheesy, beardy or broken; If Games Workshop put it in the book I'll gladly play against it, or with it. - Mort
"Use soft words and hard arguments." (Henry George Bohn [1796-1884].)

There is no harm in, on occasion, having disagreements. It's another thing entirely, however, to be a tool in conveying that disagreement.

"OP: The term used by players to describe a combination of yours they are personally unable to beat"

Collection of Battle Reports
Corbulo Tactica

#20
Dark_Master

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It’s been mentioned before but make sure you have some sort of form to sign for people to give consent to be filmed.

Also that form needs to state what the filming will be used for and that the people filmed will not have any reasonable rights to the footage.

Someone I know got into legal bother filming a COSPLAY event as one of attendees later wanting paying for ‘staring’ in a promotional video

DM

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#21
Xenith

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Did some research (because this is legitimately fascinating!) and from what I'm reading this wouldn't apply in this case. It is very far reaching (the GDPR) but, wont apply to something not targeted to the EU.

"When the regulation does not apply
Your company is service provider based outside the EU. It provides services to customers outside the EU. Its clients can use its services when they travel to other countries, including within the EU. Provided your company doesn't specifically target its services at individuals in the EU, it is not subject to the rules of the GDPR."

I think the gist is that S.A. may have a similar law which you should be aware of?

For a first time, I'd start small. Single camera over the table. You can either live stream directly to YouTube (super easy, can do it from a cellphone) or do the edit and upload later.

When you're confident and have more experience, consider the multiple camera option.

Edited by Xenith, 08 December 2018 - 12:11 PM.





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