To be honest, the first time someone mentioned the term "flash mob" to me, I had no real idea what it was. So I turned to the source of all known human knowledge...I Googled it. The oracle then told me that it would in fact require a full multicamera shoot if I wanted to do it right. 

When the NWU's School of Music approached me a while ago to do this project I realized that I would need a second camera operator. I enlisted the help of my friend Andrew Wallis who brought his Canon DSLR and a little Zoom H4n portable audio recorder to the project. In terms of camera gear we had quite a variety: my Panasonic P2 camcorder, Andrew's DSLR with a wide angle lens attached and five cellphone-sized Zoom video cameras (4 Standard Definition and 1 High Def) provided by the School of Music. The Zooms and the DSLR turned out to be perfect for the project because they are small and discreet. The P2 camcorder, the DSLR and the HD Zoom would film the performers while the SD Zooms were given to students who would film the gathering crowd as the School's vocal talent performed an opera piece in the middle of the mall food court. 


Above: The Zoom HD video recorder. I'm seriously impressed by this little device. If they ever make a 25fps version, I'm buying one. And yes that is duct tape. We were not going for looks... 

The project presented a couple of technical challenges. As we were not allowed to use any type of crane or stairlift we had to improvise a pole rig for the DSLR to get an elevated wide angle shot. My audio boom and microphone shock mount was perfect for this. The only challenge was that the camera would need to be mounted upside-down in the rubber shock mount, but I solved this by flipping the footage rightside up again in Media Composer during the edit. 

Above and below: It ain't pretty, but it works...our improvised DSLR rig. The footage was flipped rightside up again during editing.

The next challenge was to use the portable Zoom cameras' files in the same project as the 25fps P2 and DSLR footage. The Zooms, bought in the US, only records video at 30fps. A lenghty Avid Fluidmotion frame rate conversion would fix this (done on the way back from the shoot in the car). The rest of the post workflow comprised a multicam edit in Media Composer. Multicam has always been one of Avid's strenghts and once I had all my footage synced up and running at 25fps the edit was easy.

Doing this project was lot of fun. It reminded me again that we're moving towards compact handheld devices that will fit in your back pocket but still deliver astonishing picture and audio quality. Thanks to everybody who helped out. 

Also keep an eye on the School of Music's Facebook page for more upcoming events and concerts.