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Old February 23rd, 2004, 07:57 AM   #1
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Best Setup for shooting indoor concerts?

Hi,

I'm starting to shoot a documentary of a band. I've had two test runs of shooting shows and still don't think I'm getting the results I believe the GL2 is capable of.

I have found that the 16:9 anamorphic just doesn't cut it for shooting unless I'm missing something. I shot an entire set in 16:9 setup next to the soundboard in a theatre-type hall. The band members look pixelated on their edges from wide angle and not much better at zoom.

Another thing I notice is that the autofocus has a very difficult time with the lighting changes that coincide with the light show. I imagine that's to be expected and I am going to need to start manual focusing. The strangest thing is that the autofocus seems to have the most trouble with predominately red lighting schemes. Is this because of skin tone or is the GL2 generally unhappy with reds?

I'd appreciate any pointers for shooting in low light / indoor settings with lighting changes. For referential sake, here's the settings that I used for the last shoot:

Tv mode at 1/30
No Gain
Auto Focus

I didn't fiddle with White Balance and figure that plays a big part in this. I'm new and have been reading more and more every day and know that I should be setting the white balance to an indoor setting rather than leaving it all auto but was following the general advice of ALL AUTO while learning the camera. That's why I was set to 1/30. It gave the best brightness on Tv mode without too many jitters.

Thanks for any help,
Kevin
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 03:35 PM   #2
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First of all use full manual mode all the time. I don't understand why people even bother with any semi-manual or full auto modes. If you just spend a couple hours learning manual mode you should have it down in no time. It is so easy to use if you just give it a try. People seem to have this strange fear of using manual controls. This is what I do:

1. First set the shutter speed to 1/60. This is a good all-round speed to go with unless your doing something that requires a special look.

2. Set the gain as low as possible. Zero being the best for a clean, no grain image. I will only go as far as +6db, anything higher you'll start to see noticeable grain. I won't even shoot if the light is too low.

3. At this point you won't even have to touch the other two parameters anymore. Now just adjust your f-stop to how bright you want it.

Of course things change depending on the situation, but setting the camera up this way will give you a good start, the rest will come with experience. For shooting concerts or in clubs I would recommend using the indoor white balance preset. I've shot about 100 shows in the last year and get great results every time. More recently i've been using a custom preset and getting even better looking stuff, but i'll get into that another time. Another thing I do is before the band goes on stage, take out all of the colored gels out of the lights. You can't always do this but when you can the footage looks amazing! Last weekend i even added a couple 500w worklights to the stage and bounced them off the walls and this created a really cool look.

Corey
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Old February 23rd, 2004, 07:30 PM   #3
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Hi Kevin,

Because the bands that I shoot have constantly changing lights I shoot in Spotlight mode so I can concentrate on changing composition and focus. I shoot in Manual focus mode too and when I am up close to the band and change from shooting one muso to the next I will hit the MF/Auto button when the lights are bright, let the cam focus and then click back to MF.

I use indoor setting for White Balance.

Reds don't seem to work well compared to a nice bright blue or yellow lights but what can you do. The Red gels over a stage light really cut down the brightness.

However I often tell the lighting guy/girl to crank up the lights as I am videoing the show for the band and low lights can be atmospheric to watch live but useless for the video camera. Sometimes they will sometimes they won't.

I always shoot bands in 4:3 too. If you want to shoot from back near the mixing desk/soundboard and want to crop out the ceiling and crowd then just crop down while editing.
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Old February 24th, 2004, 03:49 AM   #4
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Corey,

You have confirmed what I have done before is OK, thanks.
I like your idea about bouncing the light off the walls but maybe not practical in pub/club situations always.

Would be interested to hear how "your" Custom presets work out, I have used CSTM only to alter colour to show a good match.

Andrew,
Have not tried spotlight yet actually on a shhot but a colleague of mine swears by it.
Good idea about cropping top & bottom if filmed from the back, nice one!
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Old February 24th, 2004, 07:24 AM   #5
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Thanks for all of the comments and if anyone's lurking, keep them coming. I'll try these techniques out at the next show (March 6).

-K
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Old February 24th, 2004, 01:49 PM   #6
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I just want to hear about this custom preset.....
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Old March 6th, 2004, 09:21 AM   #7
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We still haven't heard about the custom preset... Is it a secret?

:)
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Old March 6th, 2004, 02:43 PM   #8
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To use the custom preset go into your gl2's menu and select "custom preset". Here's the settings i used at the last show i shot:

color gain= turned all the way down
color phase= a couple clicks towards green
sharpness= a couple clicks to the left
setup level= default

You'll have to adjust those according to the lighting at the show. The color gain setting really helps to get rid of that red bleed that you get from red lights. The color phase lets you turn down the overall red color in the video.
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Old March 7th, 2004, 03:49 AM   #9
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Thanks Corey, I will check out the "red" setup this Friday my next shoot under lights.

Must admit that I have used the CSTM when checking the final colour accuracy but this has been hit & miss.

My Cam set-up has been:
1. White Balance
2. Exposure
3 CSTM

in that order and I have had some pretty good results (in my eyes!).
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Old March 9th, 2004, 11:15 AM   #10
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I'm going to have to try the CSTM settings the next time reds become an issue but I got lucky on Saturday. The lighting director was very agreeable to my shooting needs.

Her attitude along with the suggestions you guys gave me made for a video that is easily 500% better than the first one I shot.

I ended up at 1/30, +6db, F1.6 and I manually focused on the furthest guitarist from me and the footage that I've been pulling off of the tapes looks great.

Thanks for all of the comments....

Now, If someone could remind me of those companies that make machines specifically for editing I can start thinking about a better machine for my NLE.

-Kevin :)
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