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Old August 6th, 2007, 03:04 PM   #1
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Shooting Concerts - Detailed Inquiries

Hello,

A friend and myself are shooting four concerts this week using two XH-A1's. This particular band utilizes tons of red and blue lighting with many fast/extreme shifts in tone and intensity. We will most likely be shooting from tripods positioned in front of the barricade several feet in front of the band. It is possible that we may be shooting handheld from the front row at at least one of the shows (a third individual is going to get a constant wide shot from the soundboard area using a 1-chip Sony HDV cam, but I would like to center on the XH-A1's for the purposes of this thread).

Audio is going to be captured separately by tapers with rigs positioned close to the soundboard and will be synced in post.

We will most likely be shooting in 1080/60i.

I have read all pertinent threads on this board and others and the general consensus appears to be:
SET MANUAL WHITE BALANCE PRE-SHOW UNDER WHITE STAGE LIGHTS
AUTOMATIC FOCUS - ON
AUTOMATIC GAIN CONTROL - OFF
MANUAL IRIS CONTROL
SHUTTER SPEED - 1/60
ND FILTER - OFF

Is the "AUTOMATIC FOCUS = ON" assumption a safe bet, or would it not be wise to rely on the XH-A1's autofocus abilities in this situation?

Can anyone provide clarification on specific gain settings and how they affect and ineract with manual iris control?

Which specific Values should be assigned to the Low, Medium and High Gain Settings for this application?

Is the 1/60 Shutter Speed a definite logical must, or would the standard shutter speed be a more intelligent option? When (if ever) should the shutter speed be adjusted on the fly?

Is utilizing the Zebra Pattern function of the XH-A1 an intelligent choice for this application?

Is there a more accurate approach to manual iris control than simply "eyeballing" and adjusting to taste on the fly (using the Histogram or Zebra Pattern function, etc.)?

Are any of the Custom Presets available on this board suitable as a springboard for this application?

I have heard that the CCD block of the XH-A1 is extremely sensitive and can be physically vibrated by speakers in close proximity to the camera, which causes a constant jitter in the footage. The individual who experienced this phenomenon did not notice the jitter while filming - it was only after he returned home and reviewed the footage on a HD LCD TV that it became apparent (FYI - the camera was mounted on a tripod in this particular instance). Can anyone confirm or disconfirm this and/or provide any solutions that may prevent it from occurring?

I keep a B&W 72mm UV Haze 010 (MRC) filter on my XH-A1 for protection - would I improve image quality by removing it for the duration of the shoot?

Two of these shows are at an outdoor venue. Given that the band will most likely take the stage prior to sundown, would we need to manually white balance on the stage with sunlight remaining then re-balance once the sun is gone (under white stage lights), or is there a method for manual white balance that we can utilize BEFORE the show starts to ensure peak performance for the entire evening?

When given the choice between 60i, 30p and 24p in a concert situation such as the one described above, which would you shoot in, and why?

Any and all information, opinions, tips and experiences would be sincerely appreciated.

Thanks so much!

- Frank
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Old August 6th, 2007, 07:03 PM   #2
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Hi Frank!

>Is the "AUTOMATIC FOCUS = ON" assumption a safe bet, or would it not be wise to rely on the XH-A1's autofocus abilities in this situation?

I would not trust it, it generally focus on center and if the "target" is not there it will "look" for something else...

>Can anyone provide clarification on specific gain settings and how they affect and ineract with manual iris control?

Gain is electronic enhancement. Try to stay close to 0dB unless you can accept some noise in the image. You have to test. Sometimes a bad image is better than no image at all.

> Which specific Values should be assigned to the Low, Medium and High Gain Settings for this application?

Depends on general lighting, try 0, 3, 6. If 0 is useless in your project, just go with 3, 6, 9 or 6, 9, 12. If the concert does not vary in darkness there is no reason to shift between the 3 during the concert.

Is the 1/60 Shutter Speed a definite logical must, or would the standard shutter speed be a more intelligent option? When (if ever) should the shutter speed be adjusted on the fly?

The shutter speed is the speed in which an object can be "frozen" on a frame. 1/50 would be the minimum I think. I question high speeds as 1/15000 would be close to useless - if you need to capture something at that speed you need another type of camera. Canons pro SLR goes up to 1/8000.

>Is utilizing the Zebra Pattern function of the XH-A1 an intelligent choice for this application?

I have found the Zebra to be a bit false. It can the "tuned" in the settings to 70-100 I think. Since your concert is prob. mostly dark Zebra should be no problem - don't shot right into a spot...

> Is there a more accurate approach to manual iris control than simply "eyeballing" and adjusting to taste on the fly (using the Histogram or Zebra Pattern function, etc.)?

Don't think so. You have a slight problem with the dark concert, that req. low f-value = small depth of field, which will have you missing focus all the time.

>Are any of the Custom Presets available on this board suitable as a springboard for this application?

Don't know.

>I have heard that the CCD block

Don't know.

> I keep a B&W 72mm UV Haze 010 (MRC) filter on my XH-A1 for protection - would I improve image quality by removing it for the duration of the shoot?

Don't think so. Not that would balance the chance of damaging the lense.

>Two of these shows are at an outdoor venue. Given that the band will most likely take the stage prior to sundown, would we need to manually white balance on the stage with sunlight remaining then re-balance once the sun is gone (under white stage lights), or is there a method for manual white balance that we can utilize BEFORE the show starts to ensure peak performance for the entire evening?

Use the K (Kelvin) setting on the A1, and tune until you have something that looks like "real life" on the screen. If you get "close" it's good enough, and you can balance it later in editing.

>When given the choice between 60i, 30p and 24p in a concert situation such as the one described above, which would you shoot in, and why?

Neither, 50i, but that's Europe ;)
Can't give you a good reply here, sorry.

>Any and all information, opinions, tips and experiences would be sincerely appreciated.

One thing only - can you edit HDV efficiently - it's a lot of information to move around in a PC.
I'm preparing for some concert myself and in leaning more and more towards DV - it's simply quicker. I don't want rendering times like "days" or having to boost my PC with a V8-engine just to drag those multicam clips around ;)
CineForm says they have a solution to that reducing file sizes with 30%. Granted, HDV looks better, but does your viewers value it?

Regards
Mats
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Old August 7th, 2007, 01:02 PM   #3
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Re: Shooting Concerts - Detailed Inquiries

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mats Frendahl View Post
>One thing only - can you edit HDV efficiently - it's a lot of information to >move around in a PC.
I can indeed!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Mats Frendahl View Post
CineForm says they have a solution to that reducing file sizes with 30%. Granted, HDV looks better, but does your viewers value it?
I'm not sure if my viewers will value it, but, being a perfectionist, I know that I myself will. I just want to produce the highest quality concert video that I am able to with the gear that I currently have.

I sincerely appreciate your input, Mats!


- Frank
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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:04 PM   #4
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Hi Frank,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Jenkins View Post
I can indeed!

I'm not sure if my viewers will value it, but, being a perfectionist, I know that I myself will. I just want to produce the highest quality concert video that I am able to with the gear that I currently have.

I sincerely appreciate your input, Mats!


- Frank
HD: Good. I might give it a try soon. Right now I'm editing 4-cam concert in DV. Next concert I'll do in HD to test. I'm sure the A1 will do its best.

It's a pitty that most viewers don't value good quality. But hey, they once wrapped fish in Bach's manuscripts...
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Old August 7th, 2007, 02:47 PM   #5
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> Can anyone provide clarification on specific gain settings and how they affect and ineract with manual iris control? <

Adding gain is like push processing with film, and more gain allows a smaller aperture for the same shutter speed. Each 6dB of gain is about equal to one f-stop. Adding gain does add image noise/grain, especially as you move above about 6 dB. And it becomes more apparent in shadows/dark areas of the video.

> Which specific Values should be assigned to the Low, Medium and High Gain Settings for this application? <

Depends one the ambient lighting. If light is generally in short supply, you could try L=0 dB, M=6 dBand H=12 dB for starters.

> Is utilizing the Zebra Pattern function of the XH-A1 an intelligent choice for this application? <

It is the best available method, sort of having a good monitor, for judging exposure of highlights. But it takes pa=actice to use it effectively, especially in venues with special lighting effects.

> Is there a more accurate approach to manual iris control than simply "eyeballing" and adjusting to taste on the fly (using the Histogram or Zebra Pattern function, etc.)? <

Using a good monitor is probably the best bet. Using histogram implies understanding what it means in terms of the final image on tape, and many folks have not developed that skill.

>...CCD...physically vibrated by speakers... <

Can happen, depending on how the sound waves hit the camcorder and their intensity. But the effect is probably movement of the entire camcorder, not just the CCD block.Using OIS might reduce the effects somewhat.

> Any and all information, opinions, tips ... <

You should practice and experiment to get a good feel for what the different settings will give you before the event, especially what the lighting will produce in the camcorder. At the event is no time to experiment. Can you find a practice session somewhere with similar lighting?

Spend some time with the three camcorders together to decide which will give you better results for the wide camcorder. In part judge by how much of the final product will be the wide shot, and try envision how the footage will mix together in the final product.
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Old August 8th, 2007, 02:10 AM   #6
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I just started using the A1 but have shot a lot of concerts with my GL2. My settings for almost all live shows are:

focus: manual
gain: 0, 6 for really dark venues.
shutter: 1/60
frame mode on, anamorphic on
f-stop: adjust accordingly
zebra: 80
whitebalance: indoor factory preset

here's some footage using these settings (except for the crane stuff):

http://www.terraform.tv/ck/epk_final.mov

http://terraform.tv/sc/socialcode.mov

don't have any footage up with the A1, but it looks amazing so far. my settings for the A1 are:

frame rate: 24f
focus: manual
gain: 0, 6 for really dark venues.
shutter: 1/48
f-stop: adjust accordingly
zebra: 75
whitebalance: indoor factory preset

One mistake I notice most people make when shooting concerts is wanting to expose too bright. It's okay to let stuff fall off to black, don't worry if you can't see the guitar player if you're mainly focusing on the singer. If you just worry about exposing your main subject in the foreground your footage will look a lot better than if you try to crank up the gain and get all the background stuff in at the same time. Some might not agree but that's just what I do.

Last edited by Corey MacGregor; August 8th, 2007 at 02:13 AM. Reason: added info
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Old August 8th, 2007, 02:57 AM   #7
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Frame rate 24f - you mean Canons 25F?
Is this a "US issue" since you don't have 25fps as in "PAL land"?
Or is there advantages of using Canon 25F even in "PAL land"?
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Old August 8th, 2007, 10:39 AM   #8
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Yes, North American version. 24f for sure. There probably isn't any real advantage, I just like the way it looks. The most important thing to worry about is good framing and exposure.

Last edited by Corey MacGregor; August 8th, 2007 at 10:48 AM. Reason: added info
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Old August 8th, 2007, 11:01 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Jenkins View Post

I have heard that the CCD block of the XH-A1 is extremely sensitive and can be physically vibrated by speakers in close proximity to the camera, which causes a constant jitter in the footage. The individual who experienced this phenomenon did not notice the jitter while filming - it was only after he returned home and reviewed the footage on a HD LCD TV that it became apparent (FYI - the camera was mounted on a tripod in this particular instance). Can anyone confirm or disconfirm this and/or provide any solutions that may prevent it from occurring?
that exactly happened to me 2 days ago. Even during the shooting I noticed that the jitter was just going with the rhythm of the drum beat, but I could do nothing about it. I am searching for a solution for next similar shooting....
But the way, the focus was on manual all the time.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 08:05 AM   #10
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You need a rock solid tripod and very sturdy mount.

Do not setup close to the speakers. Sound intensity is higher there.

Try using OIS, it might help.
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Old August 9th, 2007, 09:08 PM   #11
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You can't imagine how loud that was. I simply cannot believe there would be anything louder in the world. My tripod is sturdy, but the air was vibrating hard. The hall was small so no escape from the speaker........
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Old August 10th, 2007, 06:13 AM   #12
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You could try a shooting range. A rifle usually generates 130-140 dB, although for a very short time.

Is there anyway to manually shut off the mic - I'm planning to do some filming on a range and don't want have the A1 to capture any sound.
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Old August 10th, 2007, 08:35 AM   #13
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switch to audio manual, dial down the levels to 0
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Old August 10th, 2007, 09:56 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juni Zhao View Post
switch to audio manual, dial down the levels to 0
Yes, ok, this I have tested and knew. My question was unclear (I see it now).
What I meant was: Can the A1 mic. itself handle peaks at 140-150 dB even when the dials are set to 0, or should it be "muffled" to not register the peaks at 140 dB?
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Old August 10th, 2007, 02:21 PM   #15
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> Is there anyway to manually shut off the mic <

Or set the input to XLR and connect connect anything.

Ability of the mic to survive (i.e., not be damaged by) a rifle report will depend of the mic position relative to the muzzle and bore and what your are shooting. Is the mic being hit directly by muzzle blast, or just the sound waves, and are you firing .22 BB caps, or some hot .375 eargesplittenloudenboomer.

The A1 mic itself will probably clip the audio somewhere between 125 and 135 dB SPL due to the limits of the electronics in the microphone itself (not the camcorder preamps). There are mics made for picking up very loud sounds, e.g., the instrument mics used on percussion. If your intent is to record the gunshot sound, consider using a mic designed for high SPLs (e.g., 145 dB SPL at 1% distortion).
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