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Old July 5th, 2004, 11:18 PM   #1
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Low light solution for Night Club Video

Hi folks,
I have my first paying job coming up next week. I'm shooting a singer in a night club. I was wondering what is the best way setup my exposure. I'm planning to manually adjust the iris to maintain center scale on the exp meter, and set the shutter to 1/60 with WB and gain set to auto. I will probably use Frame mode also. Will using this setup give me a good low light solution?

Thanks, Jerome
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Old July 6th, 2004, 01:53 AM   #2
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Recently, I have completed 2 shoots like this. Typically I avoid the low resolution frame mode, but the look you want might demand it. Center scale on the exposure is not needed. As long as your talent is properly lit ignore the background. Personally, I use -3 gain for outdoor and 0 gain indoors. If the exposure is seemingly low, then add light.

That is part 1 of your gig. If the camera is locked down with no movement, crane or second roving camera to liven up the scenes, then the video is only about 40% important. Audio is everything is this type of capture. House feed to your mixer, sweetened with ambient microphones in the room for audience and overall roundness of the sound is just a starting point. A full rehearsal will let you address all of this and fine tune fot the characteristics of the venue. Also, this is when your assistant will assume the position of the talent on the stage and with full lighting up, hold the white card in the direction of the camera so your white balance is set manually.

I even record tape out to minidisk for an event like this, just in case of a dropped frame in the camera. Simple insurance for the most important part of the shoot.
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Old July 6th, 2004, 05:54 PM   #3
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Here's what I'd do...Set your exposure manually, using zebra's to set your highlight detail, adjust as necessary if there is changing light. Depending on your situation, you might be able to get away with AE lock, but often in the kind of spotlit situations you'll encounter this may not work out. Keep your gain as low as you can, but anything under +6 with the xl1 is usually fine. A shutter of 1/60 is best...I've tried it at 1/30 and not been happy in theatrical situations...the result can be wierdly blurry

WB..I wouldn't use the auto white balance, especially if there is any change in lighting throughout the show...typically in theatrical settings I use the incandescent preset, as it will allow the gels used in the show to be rendered with relative accuracy. The second option (and better) would be to use a manual setting based on an ungelled light (rarely available) or the main house spot which would usually have a light amber gel on it.

Normally I wouldn't say this, but you might want to avoid frame mode in this situation, unless the frame mode "film" look is important to you. I find that frame mode in combination with the color and contrast of theatrical situations is not always the best thing (and I use frame mode for everything!!).

As long as there is some decent light on the singer, you shouldn't have any problems...but if the light is not direct..only incidental...you may need to talk to the club about raising the levels a bit while you shoot. Typically they won't let you add anything, unless you're bringing in theatrical lighting consistent with stage productions (video lights have a way of scaring off most drinkers).

As Jimmy said, if you can get in to run a test, its to everyones benefit...that way you don't find out at the shoot that you don't have enough light.

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Old July 6th, 2004, 06:22 PM   #4
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Thanks for the info folks. I'm going to get down to the night club this week for a survey of the situation. The performer is basically singing to tracks of music with the lead mixed out. I'm hoping to lock down my Xl-1 and possibly use my 1 ccd panasonic PV-DV 400 to record video of the audience while the performance is going on. I'm hoping I can get a feed from the house PA. If not I'm going to see if I can get a DAT. Seems like I'm spending more money.

Thanks again,
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