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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old September 24th, 2008, 05:36 PM   #1
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Shooting in a nightclub

Hi,

It's a while since I've been here.. I'm due to do a shoot in a nightclub on Saturday night with my XH A1.

It's very late notice and I've only ever really worked with the A1 in natural light. If anyone has any tips for an amateur on suitable settings and approaches to filming in a dark club with bright flashing lights it would be very much appreciated! This will be a handheld shoot too, just to make things more complicated ;)

Thanks

Steve
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Old September 25th, 2008, 02:53 AM   #2
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Hi,
See this
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/canon-xh-...y-copy-20.html

And use the MINUS 3DB preset. See first the xls file.

Cheers
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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:04 AM   #3
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Steven,
I just use the factory preset, manual mode, 0 gain, and around f/2 to f/4 works with normal stage lights. (I color match to an HV30 cine mode later in Avid)
My one trick is to find someone who can adjust the stage lights, sometimes the sound guy. Often they will be kind enough to turn them up to maximum, or to make the color balance more uniform.
Terry
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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:51 AM   #4
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Hi Steven,I filmed this a few weeks back with the XHA1 on A(auto) with 12db of gainEuphoria with Dave Pearce @ Paramount on Vimeo

The results are fairly acceptable (good enough in fact that I've sold the footage to several online libraries)

I have also shot stuff in the past on AV(aperture priority) with similar results HED KANDI @ Paramount on Vimeo
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Old September 25th, 2008, 12:01 PM   #5
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Hi thanks for everyones replies.

That's quite a range of gain suggested there!

Phil, it's good to know you can get good results on 'A' if things get hectic.. were you using the 'handheld' setting?
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Old September 25th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #6
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This may be useful. I've no idea what preset Vegard used though. You could beg him to tell you I suppose ;-)

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/wedding-e...lo-norway.html
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Old September 25th, 2008, 03:58 PM   #7
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I actually do a lot of club stuff and the first thing i would suggest is to have a light on the top of your A1. I use a bescor with two 10watt bulbs. If I need to shoot someone really close up, I'll use 1, but if it's to shoot the dance floor I'll use two. Be careful with those lights, cause you can really blind someone. If I really want to catch a lot of the light colors, I'll cut the light, open up the f and reduce shutter speed to about 30... Usually the people aren't moving that fast to where you'll notice a big difference. When in doubt, the auto gain and auto shooting mode works great. Also, don't forget to turn on image stab. You can increase gain, but if you go too high, you'll introduce a lot of noise. If you are shooting people in HD, definitely use the light. In my opinion, the purpose of HD is to showcase detail... If it's dark, you'll see none of that.
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Old September 25th, 2008, 04:12 PM   #8
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Oh yeah and another important thing to keep in mind is the sound level. Due to the loud environment, you will probably need to attenuate your microphone. Even though, the auto gain will not allow it to go over a certain level, your input will still be over saturated. An easy way to tell is when you look at the audio level, does it still move back and forth or is it solid. It your level has very little movement, you need to attenuate and this is easily done with the switch under the handle. If you use an external microphone, which I suggest, the attenuation is by the phantom power switch.
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Old September 26th, 2008, 08:45 PM   #9
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Hi Kevin,

That's great info thanks. Sound is definitely more my area, that'll be covered with a stereo line recording from the clubs system and a stereo mic to capture the room using a Sound Devices 744T. I'm probably just going to go with an SM58 on the camera as it can take a high SPL fine without distorting too much.

It's a small club so a light could be very intrusive so I have to be careful on that.

One thing that I have wondered about... how to approach white balance?!

Thanks

Steve
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Old September 27th, 2008, 01:41 AM   #10
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Steven
Did you look at Vegard's stuff? If you didn't, you should.
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Old September 27th, 2008, 02:12 AM   #11
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Steven,
Still suggest you attenuate the audio level. You can test at home by turning the stereo up an trying it out.
I use fixed daylight white balance, given that nightclub stage lighting is not exactly natural, and I color correct in post anyway.
In general I run with everything in manual except focus. At first you have to pay attention to setting the audio level, and then aperture…. Then follow the action.
Good luck
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Old September 27th, 2008, 04:55 AM   #12
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I've done a lot of shooting in jazz clubs. You have had some good advice, but there is a slight problem: you are not saying which kind of "night club" this is going to be. Light levels vary A LOT between venues.

Anyway, if the club is dark (jazz club), you will have to lower shutter speed to 1/30 (NTSC) or 1/25 (PAL), push gain to 6dB or 12 dB and use noise reduction (NR1 and NR2 together on level 1, increase "coring" to +9). This will degrade the picture resolution, but you don't have much choice. For white balance, use manual Kelvin between 2400 and 3000K (color temperature of low power light bulbs). A monopod would be a great help.

If the club is not so dark, your problem will be contrast. You may want to use black stretch, no NR but keep coring on +9. For white balance, use manual Kelvin on 3400K (color temperature of halogens).

A camera-mounted light is only really useful for interviews, as it will not go very far.

The built-in mikes are pretty resistant to high volume, but you don't really want to record the music, do you? If you plan to actually record the music, the best solution is to plug a separate recorder to the home mixer. If you plan to interview people, you will need help to hold a separate mike really close to them.
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Old September 27th, 2008, 07:58 AM   #13
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Sound recording on the camera is purely for sync reference and I won't be doing interviews. Like I say I'm doing a 4 track recording with an SD744T from the house desk and from a stereo mic for the crowd/room.. so the audio will be better quality than my shooting for sure! I'm a sound engineer and I shouldn't really be in control of the camera but.. hey :)

The Club I think will actually be half way between a moody dark jazz club and the more full on rave type events.

Oh and yes I checked out the Vegard stuff Richard, thanks for the tip!
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Old September 27th, 2008, 11:18 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Taylor View Post
I'm doing a 4 track recording with an SD744T from the house desk and from a stereo mic for the crowd/room.. so the audio will be better quality than my shooting for sure! I'm a sound engineer and I shouldn't really be in control of the camera but.. hey :)
So what? I'm more of a photographer, and I am in control of the sound... ;) I use an alesis adat24, and remix everything afterwards. You can download examples there if you want (page in German, but the videos are easy to find...).


Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven Taylor View Post
The Club I think will actually be half way between a moody dark jazz club and the more full on rave type events.
The moody jazz club ambiance may be too dark for the camera. Insist on more light. Another thing: some jazz clubs want to use coloured filters in front of their lights. If you can, replace them by filters compatible with video (of lower density) or ask them removed.
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Old September 27th, 2008, 08:51 PM   #15
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I've done several bar band videos in places that ranged from borderline respectable to downright dives. How you approach it depends on what your end product is supposed to emphasize. In my case, the important thing was to have as good quality sound as possible with video that approached capturing the spectators' experience. What I've discovered is that as long as the sound was decent, people really didn't mind if the color balance was off or the image was kinda dark or blurry. Think about it: when you attend a live performance at a small venue, the colors are rarely natural and the lighting's usually poor to begin with. Why go to all the trouble to make it look like it wasn't? People will happily accept marginal video with good sound because it looks pretty much like it would have if they were in the bar. Lousy sound with good video will get panned every time.

For simplicity, I set up a pair of AT2020 mics on tall boom stands and run them directly to the camera, monitoring with headphones and setting levels manually. Getting the mics up high eliminates noise from conversations among the patrons and gets them out of view. Most places have acoustic tile ceilings, which helps kill the echoes. The AT2020's seem to take high SPL's pretty well and are as solid as a brick. Never had any problems with them.

I actually brought a set of lights to one gig because I knew it would be almost pitch black, lit with domestic colored floodlights mounted on tracks on a very low ceiling so they couldn't spread. The only problem was the electrical wiring couldn't run both the musicians' equipment and my lights at the same time. The music took precedence, so I cranked the shutter all the way down and advanced the gain until the image was decent, and left it at that. The vocalist ended up looking like Satan's child, standing under a red flood.

The biggest problem I have in bar band shoots is getting the tobacco smoke smell out of my gear afterward. Everything reeks for days. They need Fabreeze for cameras.

Martin
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