Multi Camera Techniques

Multi camera setup is a television technique that requires using multiple cameras to film a television show.


The earliest known use of multi camera techniques was the BBC’s “The Queen’s Messenger (1928) which used 3 cameras. Due to success of the multi camera set up used for ”The Queen’s Messenger” BBC started using multi camera set ups regularly from 1936 onwards. TV companies in America started using multi camera set ups from 1951 such as CBS’ show “The Amos N Andy Show”. In 1970 Gary Marshall developed multi-camera techniques further by using a four camera set up for his series “Mork and Mindy”. Due to the success of “Mork and Mindy” four camera set ups became more frequently used. Most of British sitcoms and dramas from the 1950s to the 1990s were made using four cameras and were broadcast live. As technology developed, some drama productions were mounted on location using multiple cameras. Meanwhile, the most prestigious productions, like ‘Brideshead Revised’‘(1981), began to use film alone. By the later 1990s, soap operas were left as the only TV drama being made in the UK using multiple cameras. Multi-camera set ups are currently prominent in live events such as sports matches or talent shows such as Britain’s Got Talent and talk shows such as the Jonathan Ross Show.

Jonathan Ross Show

The Jonathan Ross Show is a chat show that features different celebrity guests, games and performances. The Jonathan Ross Show uses multiple different camera positions and angles but the most common are mid shots, two shots and close ups. I analysed a clip from The Jonathon Ross show, which featured a sing off between Hugh Jackman and Luke Evans. The main shot used was close-up shot of Jonathan Ross used when he was talking at multiple different points such as from 0.05 to 0.08. Another shot used was a wide shot this was used to show the four people on the sofa (0.08) and a separate wide shot showing the whole stage and all five people (0.45 and 0.14). Wide shots were used to show the reactions of all of the people on the sofa and to focus on the main guests of the show instead of always focusing on one person and taking attention from the others. A two shot was also used often this is also to get the reactions of more than one person and to draw attention to two people at once this was used various times from 1.20 onwards to show who was the focus and who was singing due to it being more than one person at times. Most of the shots are used to show the guests and presenter, as they are the most important people on the show. The set is barely focused on and is only used to enhance the show itself. The cameras have very little movement and are static for the majority of the show. After watching this show I can see how they convey meaning using shots. When Hugh Jackman is singing they use the close up on that guest to give a viewer a sense that they are having fun, they also often show reactions of the other guests and hosts to show their reactions. The studio that the Jonathan Ross show is filmed in seems to be quite large this could mean that the cameras may not be able to capture all the audience however I do not think this is a big problem as you don’t need to see all the audience and the guests and host are all covered by cameras which is the main focus. The Jonathan Ross has a very distinct visual style, always having a colour scheme featuring yellow and having a sofa for the guests but a desk for Jonathan Ross. It also almost always starts with a mid or long shot of Jonathan Ross walking on to the set or occasionally the first shot is of an artist performing such as when Ed Sheeran was on the show. Another part of their visual style is that they tend to regularly use two shots of the guests or long shots of the host and guests as we can see in the link below. The Jonathan Ross Show uses multiple cameras that simultaneously record the show to make sure all action is caught and nothing is missed so the viewers at home get the all of the show. There are quite a few restrictions on the Jonathan Ross show as it isn’t a huge studio so cameras don’t have a massive amount of freedom but this could also be seen as an advantage because the cameras will have a smaller area to cover.

Rugby World Cup 2015 New Zealand V France

I analyzed a compilation of highlights from the Rugby World cup quarter final between New Zealand and France. Rugby games use multiple different cameras to catch every part of the game. If they used just one camera they could miss parts of the game, as the pitch is huge and the ball can be kicked from one side of the pitch to the other at any point. Multiple different types of cameras are used such as crane cameras, grounded cameras and spider cameras, which are cameras, suspended by wires that are used to film a large area. The spider camera can be used at many different heights and a good example of its capabilities is shown from 0.14 until 0.21. A good example of a high-angle shot is at 2.41 where it is used to show the scrum, this is effective as we can now see the whole scrum. This camera is effective as it can be used for close up shots as well as long shots, high-angle shots and many other shots. One of the most frequent shots in this video is a high angle shot, which can be seen frequently throughout the video at points such as 0.28 and 0.58. This shot is effective as it shows the whole pitch and it allows the audience to see everything that is happening at one time instead of focusing on one part of the game using a mid shot and risking missing something. Another shot that is frequently used is a mid shot. This shot can be seen at 0.54. A mid shot is used to get closer to the action and to give a better overview of what is going on as it is closer than a high angle shot and it means that you might catch something you would miss with a high-angle shot. A close up shot is used from 3.31 to show the expression on Julian Savea’s face after his performance, this is effective because it shows his reaction to winning comfortably and gives the audience a sense of how they are feeling. Rugby has a very clear visual style which consists of high shots usually using a spider camera and close ups to show the expression and feelings of a player or to show why a refereeing decision made or to show why a decision was wrong. A close up is also used to give a perspective of being part of the game. The camera crew at Rugby games have a lot to cover such as the crowd, the game and the management teams, this can be hard but multiple cameras are used at rugby games to make sure everything is caught. Many different cameras are used such as crane cameras, spider cameras and static cameras. They use simultaneous recording to help capture multiple parts of the pitch and the crowds at the same time. The only real restriction is that it is hard to get camera shots in the crowd as it is a small space.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The Jonathan Ross show had more strengths than weaknesses. One of their strengths was the fact they had multiple different cameras as this helped them cover everything and have many options for shots to use. Another strength was cutting from shot to shot fairly quickly giving a bigger perspective of what was happening and helping the audience see more of the set and the guests. The Rugby game had many strengths such as the coverage of the action which didn’t miss anything and made sure the audience caught every bit of action in the game. A weakness was the coverage of the crowd as there wasn’t many shots of the crowd, this may have been to the sheer size of the crowd.


The shots used in the Jonathan Ross Show and The Rugby World cup game are very different from the shots that were used to why there were used and what effect they give. One of the differences is that the Jonathan Ross show uses a close up shot frequently whereas in the rugby clips it was only used once and is never used that much in rugby. Although both shows use it for the same reason; to get a reaction or to see the expression on someone’s face. Another difference is that in Rugby they use a high-angle very frequently whereas they never use a high angle shot in The Jonathan Ross show as it they can fit the whole set in one shot whereas a rugby pitch needs a high angle shot to capture everything. Mid shots and wide shots are used in both the Rugby game and Jonathan Ross as they are both good for showing a wide area while still being fairly close. Both shows are very different and The Jonathan Ross show is in a large studio whereas the Rugby game was in the Millenium Stadium which has 74,500 capacity so the crew would have to think about covering the pitch as well as the crowd which will require a lot more cameras than the Jonathan Ross show, this is one of the reasons the spider cameras are used. In conclusion the Jonathan Ross show and the Rugby game used multi-camera techniques to make the show more interesting and to cover a larger space.