Shooting live performances? (2 replies and 5 comments)
So, every year I shoot and edit a live performance for my local art house. The first was a ballet, the second a retrospective type thing where they tried to involve all their students young and old.
Now, I do not own equipment (due to my low economic standing); thus I usually rent some VERY minimal gear from a good friend of mine, who charges me way under the normal price.
Anyway, my equipment consists of two old ass Canon Rebels one POS (non pan and tilt) tripod and another, slightly better, fluid head.
So, my set up is: Camera A in the center with a wide shot of the whole stage, which is static, so I put it on the POS tripod. And then I put my B cam on one of the wings, usually left, because I feel the left to right movement is more natural. For this camera, I go for a panning medium wide shot for getting tighter two/three shots.
Ideally, I would want someone operating my B Cam and a third camera next to my A camera (with an something like an 85mm) on another fluid head for getting closeups (though probably super shaky even with a fluid head.
I will then ask the director to put on the whitest lights in order to set my color balance. Then, as I sometimes get super bright lights in the middle of the performance which blow out the performers, I ask the director to also turn the lights to the brightest they'll be doing the performance, which I then set my exposure. But then, hopefully, it won't be super dark in other places. So, I guess I'll ask him to turn on the lights that will be at the lowest brightness during the performance. And from there find a compromise in the middle.
So that's really all I have though of to do. I usually get pretty good shots from this coverage, but I'm trying to see if there is anything else I can do to push the quality a little more, you know? Also, if there is anything I've said that rings the the no-no bell, please let me know, with any suggestions.
So, any thoughts? Anyone ever done anything like this before?
why not place them side by side? One static, nicely composed wide and one with a big zoom lens to go after the close ups? Seems a bit more uniform to me. That way you always have nice frontal close ups when they face the audience and profile CU's and two/three shots when they face each other.
If you have access to a third cam and an operator you can have one cam static wide frontal and two cams on either side of the axis/line so you can get some nice shot/reverse shot montage going.
I would however get a good fluid head for the close up cam so that you can always create nice, smooth movements when changing the fame. That way you don't always have to necessarily cut to the wide whenever you're changing the frame.
A servo zoom would be ideal as well.
Here is a very (not) funny rough cut of a show I was working on last year.
This is probably one of the better episodes. We had three cameras, three operators, and the AC giving camera directions over a headset for which camera to zoom on what.
It looks like you would be fine with what you have, but if you can get a second shooter on the other side (even if its someone with an iPhone on a tripod) you might be able to get a few extra shots that would tie well together in a complex or weird action on stage. Or reaction shots from the crowd may work as well. You could do this yourself with your phone if it's not too dark, or if you angle it right. Phones are pretty powerful these days, lets not forget them!
Best and good luck,
Thanks for the thoughts guys! I think I might do the two cameras in the middle actually.
A follow up is:
Not sure if you guys have used the Canon Rebels before, but there's this weird function on them that only allows them to record 3 for three minutes at time before going into sleep mode or timing out (not sure, all I know is that they will stop recording after a very short period).
Does anyone have any idea if it is possible to keep this from happening? Seems like a pretty dumb function to me.
google "spanning". might help I think
Yes this is the most annoying thing about DSLRs. You can get around this a few ways:
Install magic lantern on the SD Card, and use their "movie restart" function, which just results in dropped frames, but the video auto records to a new file whenever it would normally shut off. Also, you can lower the bit-rate and get up to 30 minutes of continuous recording.
Or, simply time the two cameras to manually record every 12 minutes ( which is how long it should last.)
If you're finding the recording shuts off before 12 minutes, and at different intervals, you need either a fast/ newer SD Card, or to use an empty card and not delete. (magic lantern is fine if its on there though).
Make sure you get the right software for the camera model if you're going to use ML!