ot: shooting advice please...

ushere wrote on 8/5/2016, 9:11 PM
i've been approached to shoot an outdoor nighttime event in an arena and i haven't done anything like this for longer than i care to remember.

they'll be the usual light changes from a variety of sources that i'll have no control over, ditto sound system, though i hope to get some sort of feed or recording, that is if i'm lucky, and of course, there's no budget.

i'll be shooting on my ex1, and if i can rope a friend in, a sony nx3.

any advice suggestions most welcome indeed.

btw. this is what happens when you supposedly retire to a small rural community where nothing is supposed to happen ;-)


Jerry K wrote on 8/5/2016, 11:06 PM
I been shooting dance recitals for over 20 years, here's what works for me.

do not depend on a good feed but if it works it's a plus. I set the audio on my camcorder to mic even though I'm getting a line feed. I find if I set my Sony camcorders to line the audio feed is to low.

Now setting the camera to Mic the audio will be over modulated so I pad my audio down using XLR adjustable line pad. Also if you are getting a audio feed and running your equiment on A/C they'll be a good chance you will get a ground loop hum in the audio.

There are two fixes for a hum. #1 run all your equipment on battery power. #2 buy a audio line isolation transformer.

On your second audio channel see if there's a speaker that you can hang a mic as a backup. If you have a portable audio recorder that's also a good backup.

All my dance recitals have fast changing lighting which if I try to manually iris its almost in posable. leaveing the camera on auto iris and use the Sony AE shift feature to eliminate hot spots or dark video works best for me.
90% of the time I find no need to use the Sony AE shift but it's there when I need it.

White balance:
White balance is a no win situation with plays.

For many years I have set my white balance to indoor or 3200k. The past two years I have tried using automatic white balance and I like it better.
With 3200k or indoor setting you know everything is going to have that horrible blue look when they start using 5600k lighting. With automatic white balance the camera now has a chance to give me some color correction
for a more normal looking picture.

There's no perfect answer when shooting plays but hope this information here has given you some help
for a better shoot.

Jerry K.
ushere wrote on 8/6/2016, 2:26 AM
thanks jerry, much appreciated.

unfortunately i have no idea what the audio even involves; it's a 30 min dramatisation of the life of a local bush ranger performed in a rodeo ring. it's being staged by a group of very enthusiastic 'amateurs' so...

i'll take your suggests on board - my ex1 does a good job generally when turned to auto, but i generally run manual for ae and wb - but that's always under controlled environments.

in fact, i don't even know what their intended use is for the piece - i've done a few dvd's of the whole event, which over the years have sold more than 3k copies, but i can't see any market for what they're planning - but that's not my worry anyway:-)
Serena Steuart wrote on 8/6/2016, 8:51 PM
Maybe there will be a rehearsal.
ushere wrote on 8/7/2016, 1:02 AM
hi serena,

i'm hoping, but you probably can guess what a committee of local naboobs can decide - it works on paper and we can't get everyone together for a rehearsal ;-(

Serena Steuart wrote on 8/7/2016, 2:19 AM
Hi Leslie,
Tell them that in a rehearsal you'll be able to get lovely CUs of the actors to cut into the big performance.

ushere wrote on 8/7/2016, 7:19 AM
ah, the ego ploy ;-)

well we'll see what happens, they've got just over 6 months to put it together,,, i have a feeling they might have been inspired by our (aus) olympic horse riders opening.

just waiting for the, we've got three riders but surely with fx we can have 300?
riredale wrote on 8/7/2016, 2:14 PM
I try to have multiple audio sources. One recorder ties in to the pa system, one recorder has its own mic on a stand at the front of the auditorium, each camera has its own audio. If the pa audio is good, then I can use it, but usually it lacks audience applause, so I can mix in some of my own audio.

Also, at least two video sources. It is great to be able to maintain interest by cutting back and forth.

And recording a rehearsal gives you so much more material to work with.
farss wrote on 8/7/2016, 4:07 PM
[I]" any advice suggestions most welcome indeed."[/I]

Locked off wide and take a good book to read.

If nothing else bushranger = guns = licensed armourer. I could never find one who'd work for free. Thought about becoming one myself to help out with events like this. I just cannot afford it and that's before I thought about insurance.

Your client might well have a story worth telling but without them being willing to invest a lot of time to tell it best to bite your tongue from my experience. Certain you know this and more unless you're going soft in your dotage :)

ushere wrote on 8/7/2016, 7:43 PM
yep bob, i'm going soft in my old age ;-)

after doing the stockman's challenges for three years i feel i should help them out, they've been good to me personally and well financially, selling over 3k of dvd's isn't bad for the back of beyond.

not too sure what they have in mnd - as i wrote they're still talking / planning, but i did a 'ben hall' bushranger piece for them about 6 years ago which went down very well. mind you it was only a 10 minute segment, but quite effective - daylight in the arena, and there's a local gunsmith who handles the hardware, blanks, etc.,

i think it'll only ever be a max of 2 cameras, more likely one, and as yet i have no idea about anything i should have.
imaginACTION_films wrote on 8/10/2016, 1:12 AM
I've done quite a few live gigs including bands, plays and conferences. Always multicam.

All the above is good advice but if you can possibly get a 2nd or 3rd camera going it makes the editing SOOOO much easier and the final result will be much more interesting.

Cam 1 locked off wide

Cam 2 locked off on 2nd angle (maybe across the stage) or closeups if you can get someone in to help shoot it. Otherwise can be useful for audience response shots - VERY handy to have when editing!

Cam 3 closeups (Cam 2 and 3 complement each other for dialogue etc.)

String a ZOOM or similar digital mic from the rafters to get a good stereo sound field. A ZOOM H2 can give you 4 channel surround which gives great audience reaction sounds.

Sounds like a fun project - break a leg!
ushere wrote on 8/10/2016, 1:42 AM
if i get a 2nd camera i'll be thinking myself lucky ;-)

hard to hang a zoom from a star ;-)

that said, i would be very happy to follow your sage advice if i could. thanks.
Grazie wrote on 8/10/2016, 4:42 AM
So, Leslie, what will you do?

ushere wrote on 8/10/2016, 6:14 AM
ah grazie, that IS the question isn't it ;-)

first i'm going to meet the committee (you know the old saying, a camel is a horse designed by a committee) and try and get some sense out of them, or alternatively make some sense out of them.

once i have a clearer idea of what they're putting on, why they want it videoed, how they intend distributing the end product i'll take the next step. ah, i hear you asking yourself, what exactly is the next step? f'ked if i know.

however, if for whatever reason they want more than one camera then i'm going to charge them appropriately because i feel this is sort of pushing our relationship a little too hard - i've made no secret of how thankful i was being allowed to shoot then sell dvd's of the various challenges, and in return i've created promo's, tvc's, etc., for free along with giving them dvd's to merchandise at cost and for promotional use.




i put those on youtube since they were not only out of date but on piratebay and the like. should i feel honoured that i've been pirated ;-)

i think this is what happens when you've been doing stuff pro bono for local community organisations over a long period of time, they start taking you for granted...

so, probably no more mr nice guy ;-)
Grazie wrote on 8/10/2016, 6:45 AM
Leslie, you're OK, by me, to ask for what YOU want in a straight way. This doesn't mean Mr Nice Guy has to be sacked. Now, it's up to you if you think that you still wish to do this for no financial reward. However, what "other" rewards COULD you be negotiating with them or, come to that, with yourself.

You're OK by me to ask for what you want in a straight way.

ushere wrote on 8/10/2016, 7:47 AM
i think i'd probably do it for free if it's simply a record of the event, after all i've lived here for over 15 years now and the community has been very good to me and i appreciate their acceptance of us with open arms (especially hanna who's now a LOCAL celebrity let alone an international one ;-))

but yes, i do feel there needs to be a clear line drawn in the sand at some stage in any 'work' related project.

and with that i'm off to bed - age shall not weary them, just dull their senses....
Serena Steuart wrote on 8/11/2016, 12:04 AM
Interesting dilemma, being embedded in a country (village) community as the go-to guy for video with all the advantages and disadvantages that offers. That can be powerful for keeping opposition away because you're 'one-of-them' and the community looks after its members. Perhaps the line in the sand is when it ceases to be fun and the community projects take precedence over other earning opportunities. More fun if you exert more control?
ushere wrote on 8/11/2016, 7:13 PM
well i'd welcome competition with open arms ;-)

as it is you're right about the ad / disadvantages of living in a rural community, it's not as if i need to make a living from local work so i can happily turndown 'mates rates' local jobs without causing offense, but it's the 'community' events that are now both growing in scale and the associated committee's finding that video is a powerful tool for spreading their events to a much wider audience.

the problem lies in the fact that generally members of these committees are by and large 'older' people, 60+ with time on their hands to organise such things and whilst they more or less now have a grasp of facebook and other social media and understand the power they offer they are still luddites in the technical field of actually getting the 'images' they need in the first place.

i have brought this fact home to a couple of local groups by loaning the 'i know all about video' member (there's ALWAYS one if not more) my old z1 and giving them a crash course on its use (auto, tripod, etc.,). fortunately once people have seen the results; wobble cam, bad framing, and total lack of any 'professional' expertise they suddenly realise i have a 'value'. but i can't do that every time.

i suggest, as serena points out, that if you're faced with a similar situation, start out by laying YOUR requirements before they start telling you there's. at least that way you'll be in control if they take you on - and if not, well no one is going to be offended ;-)