Multi-Camera Set Ups

EcuWeeEcosse Friday, 5/29/2020

I've been thinking about how to get a multi-camera set up.  As ever, the two key factors are affordability and the time investment required.  Realistically I am not going to buy several go-pros, and I don't want to spend days of my life editing.  Cheap chinese action cameras may be one option (the jury seems to still be out), but I wonder if there is another way. 

Both my and my wife's smartphone contracts are up next month. That's got me thinking. Would it be possible to use whatever new phone I might get, and the two old ones, for a multi-camera set up on the cheap?  Even two-year-old smartphones are likely to have better cameras than I could afford if purchasing action cameras purely for filming diecast racing.

That could solve the affordability issue.  But I am still concerned about ease of use and time commitment.  I don't want to kill my enjoyment of diecast racing by getting bogged down in a convoluted editing process. 

Does anyone know of a relatively simply way to set up mutiple phones to record simultaneous footage of a race or tournament and upload that footage to (or ideally have it automatically available on) something like Google Photos, or a film editing app that could pool the separate sets of footage together?  It would then in theory be not too difficult to edit the three (or more) streams of footage together, switching between "reels" as the cars come down the track.

I guess you could connect each phone to a laptop or insert each SD card into a laptop and upload the footage, but it would be a heck of a lot easier if it was just available in a shared app.  I'm also not clear whether the phones would need SIM cards (sorry, I'm a bit of luddite about this stuff) or could be used without but just connected to wifi.

Thoughts or tips gratefully appreciated.  My existing phones are Android, by the way.



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redlinederby 5/29/20
Site manager

I've tried to use Collabcam for iPhone and it seems to be the type of thing that will handle multiple inputs (iPhones) and put them together. It obviously doesn't solve editing issue, no software will solve that :)

I had an extra iPhone so that gave me 2 phones that I used as cameras. I then put the Collabcam on my iPad and used that as "master control" where you can switch between cameras. It was a little cubersome. I ended up not using it not because it didn't work well, but because I got honest with myself about the time/desire to edit multiple camera footage together.

So maybe checkout Collabcam as a start and if nothing else it might lead you to some other app that does multicamera handling. Doesn't hurt to see.

  • Not sure if Collabcam has an Android version...might. — redlinederby
  • There doesn't seem to be an android equivalent of Collabracam, unfortunately. — EcuWeeEcosse
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Chaos_Canyon 5/30/20

Depends on your editing software. I know both Final Cut Pro and Premiere Pro have multicam editing, where it works like a live event - it loads and syncs all the footage together and you 'cut' between cameras when you want the action to change. Works well and is pretty straight forward to use - lots of great tutorials on both too.

As for cameras, I have used the Runcam5 Orange and that has worked really well and they are $99USD delivered (excludes memory cards though) and I know Widow Maker has the DB Power cams which they picked up off eBay for like $20 each as well. Just make sure which ever cameras you get they can shoot at least 60FPS but preferably 120FPS. I've just picked up a couple of extra GoPro Hero 4 black recently for just over $100NZD and these are great. Shoot at 120FPS and becase they're 'old' now they are cheap.

  • I need to look into what features my software has, not sure it's fancy enough for syncing up videos. My major time suck is just getting video from phones to desktops and managing files. PIA. — redlinederby
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3DBotMaker 5/30/20

One of the tendencies with having multiple cameras is to use all the footage all the time. If you want to keep the editing down, only use the multicam footage on an as needed basis. Use your best camera to follow the action from start to finish. If something interesting happens like a crash or close finish, and it's caught by one of the track side cameras, add in that footage. Otherwise don't even bother. You can pull off a great race video with a single camera, but secondary cameras are nice to have in case you missed something.

  • Can I ask what camera you use for the main tracking camera and is it on a motorised gimble? Thanks — Javajim
  • I believe it's a GoPro (5 I think but could be wrong) and yes, on a gimbal. He also uses a remote to start/stop all his cameras at once — Chaos_Canyon
  • Thanks for the feedback much appreciated. — Javajim
  • Dang, where was this comment 2 months ago, lol! I stumbled upon this realization on the fly! — IndianaDiecastRacing
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EcuWeeEcosse 5/31/20

It might be my current track layout, which is more spread out than some, or it might be my lack of equipment or skills, but I find it difficult to track the whole course with a single shot without diving around like a madman and producing footage that makes people dizzy.

If i'm at the bottom, the start of the track is too far away, and if I'm in the middle, on the rug, i have to spin 360 degrees while dropping to try and capture the cars.  Hard on the old knees!

It seems like maybe it would be easier just to have perhaps 3 static cameras set up that could capture everything without me having to dive and spin around the room. It would also mean that I could enjoy the racing without worrying about getting the shot, although I suppose though that just defers the pain to the editing stage. Alternatively a different track configuration might be more conducive to filming. 

Ultimately the answer may be just to enjoy my own racing with my son, forget about filming, then crack open a beer, sit back, relax and enjoy the fruits of all the hard work and artistry that goes into the videos of 3D and others!

  • Combination of all of the above. A track that cuts back on itself can allow you to capture a lot with little movement - also, having your camera on a stick/boom allows the camera to travel. lot further without you having to move. Then have a static camera or two at the points you get the most crashes/overtakes/excitement and the finish line :) — Chaos_Canyon
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