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Old February 12th, 2009, 10:23 AM   #1
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Catwalk Filming Next Week. Any Tips?

Hey guys! I will be attending the New York Fashion Week starting tomorrow. While i still will be doing stills for most of it I wanted to test out using the 5d II as a video for the catwalks.

I've been using the camera for some home demo projects but mostly in it's default "auto" state (and using a normal photo tripod with a 501HDV) I will be getting the 561B Monopod for this testing during fashion week and will post my results and findings when i'm done.

I have a few questions due to my unpreparedness. I will not have enough time to get an adapter and nikon lenses to allow me to control Aperture. For my shooting it would be ideal to have a fairly wide depth of field to avoid as many OOF situations as possible as the models are walking down the catwalk.

Is there anyway other than the unlocking of my EF lenses to be able to control aperture? Are there any other tips or tricks that can help me out with my shooting? I've look at this "taping over the contacts" method but do you tape all the contacts or only a few of them?

Also am I correct into just forcing the camera for the biggest depth of field possible to follow the girls down the walk?

Thanks for the help.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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One approach would be to let the camera do its thing, and lock a reasonable exposure for each shot. When editing, give each clip it's own look. (Shoot for many different looks too - tight, wide, tilted, face, legs...) No one will care if the shutter and aperture are a bit different from shot to shot. It would simply add to the montage feeling.

I'd be more concerned about stabilization than aperture. Shaky-cam and glamor do not belong together. (Fast moves, zooms, and going into focus do, but be careful with a longer lens, due to rolling shutter.)

Given that the models won't wait for you to adjust your settings, don't bother fighting the camera. Just get the shots and worry about framing and focus. The runway should be well lit, so its unlikely that it will choose a razor thin DOF.

One challenge would be when the runway is dark before the model makes her entrance. If they use strobe effect lighting, you're really hosed. You'd want to get some light into the camera, lock it, and adjust the exposure compensation to something reasonable before they turn down the lights for the dramatic entrance.

This is a prime example where manual settings would make life much simpler - and less stressful.

Best of luck with the shoot!
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Old February 12th, 2009, 01:45 PM   #3
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get a follow focus. With models walking down the catwalk, its going to be near impossible to nail focus without a good FF Unit. Pick up a speed crank while you're at it
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Old February 12th, 2009, 02:30 PM   #4
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Hi there
I did nearly 10 years of Catwalk shows in Paris with both a Betacam and an EOS1 for stills.(Not at ethe same time Lol)

A few tips... get there early, 2-3 hours before the show, if you want a spot.. better still tape a step ladder in place after the last show in that hall. It helps to work in groups to save spots... getting a good one is make or break..
Forget sitting along the podium with a flash and a wide angle ...the pix look crap.

At the end of the podium head on you'll want to shoot with an 80-200 or a 300mm lens. the lighting is usually pretty good. Head on even with a Betacam there was no need for follow focus, they don't sprint down the catwalk, so I found focussing easy with both the tv camera and the 300mm Nikkors we used in the early days. Also the models stop at the end so you get chance for the posed shot too..

For video our editor always said shoot at least 60 secs of sound without cutting the camera so you have a backing track.

Then its looking for the good shots... I never needed all the outfits as I was shooting for the wire, some of the main fashion guys shot dozens of rolls of film.

Oh finally take a big step ladder (the taller the better) and a tall tripod for a video camera... It gets pretty cramped and packed as these shows...

Some of the better shots: http://www.gwenllyn.com/photo_6.html

Cheers
Gareth
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Old February 12th, 2009, 04:12 PM   #5
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Thanks for the advice so far guys. I've been to a few fashion weeks already, sorry if i did not make that clear. But this will be the first time attempting video. It is more of a demo / test of what the camera is capable but of course we would use the footage if it turns out well.

What i am afraid of are those shows that like to throw their lighting effects in and dim and brighten the lights. That's why i mention what is an option other than unlocking the lens. I've read a little about the tape method but can not find anyone that has a good description of what they actually did.

My main lens for the video would be currently my 70-200 IS 2.8. Because it has the ability to go down to 2.8 i'm worried about the depth of field getting then. Also as I do not have as much experience in tracking movement while manual focusing I would like to make sure I have has much depth of field to work with as possible.
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Old February 12th, 2009, 06:24 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by William Chung View Post
I've read a little about the tape method but can not find anyone that has a good description of what they actually did.
Rather than tape, I like the idea of using mylar. It's a semi-hard, thin, typically clear plastic sheet. It should be available at most any craft or hobby store. You might also find it in paper notebooks used as a plastic divider (though this grade might be on the thick side. You want it as thin as possible without being fragile.)

First, you would cut a circle of it that fits over the lens contacts. Next cut a rectangle or circle out of the center to let the image through. Simple as that.

Quote:
...I would like to make sure I have has much depth of field to work with as possible.
I don't have the camera at hand right now, but if you shine it at a light and lock it with a Canon lens, I think you'll typically get f/18 or so. That might be a bit tight. As I recall, it will go to f/5.6 in middling light, and wide open in the dark. f/5.6 is probably the best setting. If you had a light cap or some took that would let you consistently get f/5.6, you'd probably be fine. I think you're likely to see 1/50 sec on the display and you would then adjust ISO with exposure compensation.

So, maybe a small flashlight, a black cup and some gels would work as an adjustment tool. You'd be able to use IS in that case. Otherwise, you could try the mylar trick.

I hope you'll be able to share good results after your shoot.
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Old February 13th, 2009, 01:00 AM   #7
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Thanks for your help Jon. When you say "but if you shine it at a light and lock it with a Canon lens" How do you go about locking it?

With the tape or mylar would the process be this?
Set aperture
Take off Lens
Put mylar / tape to block contacts
Remount lens

Thanks!
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Old February 13th, 2009, 11:31 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by William Chung View Post
Thanks for your help Jon. When you say "but if you shine it at a light and lock it with a Canon lens" How do you go about locking it?
Hi William,

By locking it, I mean by pressing the AE Lock button. I hear that if you adjust the zoom, it will change the shutter, so you'll want to avoid live zooms while recording.

Sorry I don't have more details, as most of our work has been with Nikon or untwisted lenses, and my son still has the camera...

Quote:
With the tape or mylar would the process be this?
Set aperture
Take off Lens
Put mylar / tape to block contacts
Remount lens
That's it, but make sure to press the DOF preview button when removing the lens, so it maintains the correct aperture.

Best of luck!
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