By: Mac Clarke 

January 15th, 2024 

Two terms that will become increasingly familiar to you in RTA are Single-Camera (single-cam) and Multi-Camera (multi-cam) productions. Both single-cam and multi-cam are separate recognizable approaches to the creation of films and television in production. This resource guide aims to provide you with all of the information you will need to gain a thorough understanding of both production styles through the use of definitions, strengths, and challenges of each, and overall factors to consider when selecting one for your production. 

Understanding Single-Cam Productions: 

Single-cam productions are a type of production style that refers to using one primary camera to capture each scene/shot. With the aid of dollies (camera tracking devices), single-camera productions often move the camera throughout the shot to enhance the visual story without using excessive transitions or cuts to the next shot. This method of production increases the overall amount of flexibility when considering angles, lighting, and shot composition on set, as scenes in single-cam productions are generally filmed from multiple angles and perspectives using the primary camera. Single-cam is the traditional way of filming for cinema, however, many modern-day directors opt to use multiple cameras for added elements when shooting their films such as convenience and perspective. Some examples of popular single-cam productions include Television Shows “The Office” and “Modern Family. 


  • Attention to Detail: Since the production crew only needs to focus on the visuals of one camera, single-cam productions offer a unique opportunity to pay close attention to the details of a shot. 
  • Control: The ability to solely focus on one camera allows for more control and preciseness of a shot. Time and resources grant the opportunity to capture exactly what the director/cinematographer is seeking.
  • Cost: The use of only one camera saves a production a lot of money and risk overall. This is due to the fact that the production requires fewer crew members and equipment.


  • Time-Consuming: Single-cam productions often end up being excessively time-consuming due to the inconvenience that can be using only one camera. One camera will need to capture the angles and perspectives needed for the scene, instead of using multiple cameras to capture all necessary footage. 
  • Camera Motion: Unlike Multi-cam, Single-cam often requires moving the camera to capture the different angles and perspectives needed for a production. There is an increased risk factor due to the possibility of ending up with shaky footage. 

Understanding Multi-Cam Productions: 

Multi-cam productions are a type of production style that involves using multiple cameras simultaneously to capture each scene/shot. With the aid of multiple camera operators, multi-cam productions can capture a multitude of angles and perspectives of the same moment within a scene in order to enhance the audience’s understanding of the setting and characters. In this style of production, transitions and cuts to different angles of the footage are common when editing, due to the increased amount of camera footage in comparison to single-cam. The multi-cam method of production is most commonly used for sitcom television programs, talk shows, and live events (i.e., The Olympics, Award Shows, Music Festivals, etc).


  • Efficiency: Multi-cam productions are notorious for their ability to achieve a high level of efficiency, especially when compared to single-cam productions. This is due to the fact that they capture copious amounts of different footage, decreasing the need for retakes on set. 
  • Editing: Considering the fact that multi-cam productions capture a lot of footage, this makes the editing process smoother due to the selection of clips that the editors have to choose from. Ultimately, the goal of the editors is to create the best possible outcome with the provided footage in post-production, and the more footage they are given, the wider selection of shots to choose from to create the best final product. 


  • Time-Consuming: Multicam productions pose a challenge as they are larger and more complex productions in comparison to single-cam. The use of multiple cameras and additional required equipment will take extra time for set assembly. Additionally, the risk of malfunction and damage increases with the amount of equipment used. 
  • Organization: Strong organization skills are also required on multi-cam productions due to the amount of additional crew members needed to operate the extra equipment. Tight schedules and a comprehensive understanding of the production are needed in order to make sure things operate as smoothly and efficiently as possible.

It goes without saying that both Single-Cam and Multi-Cam productions pose a great number of strengths and challenges alike. When considering which style of production would work best for your creative endeavors, make sure to carefully consider factors such as your audience, budget, and time constraints in order to select the most beneficial and efficient method of meeting your project goals and bringing your vision to life.