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Old January 19th, 2006, 04:10 AM   #1
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Settings for indoor theatre performance

Quick question...

I will be shooting a talent competition in a very nice theatre. The lighting in the seating area will be very low and the stage will be very well lit. I am planning to have my XL1S in the back of the theatre in the control room approximately 60-70 feet from the stage and 20-25 feet higher than the stage. Is this a good location to shoot from with the 16X AF lense? If so, what would be some good settings to start with?

Another option for camera location is center stage - about 10-15 feet from the performers. Is that a good location and would I use the same camera settings?

I will also have 2 sony consumer DV cams there to shoot close ups from right and left stage.

Some insight on best location for the XL1S and settings would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance!
Jeff
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Old January 19th, 2006, 05:58 AM   #2
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Try visit the venue in advance and test with the expected lighting to find settings that work best for the effect you are seeking. Be sure to use a very good tripod and head. At that distance you may find manual focus works better depending on the lighting and set content.

Don't forget sound. That is very important. Can you get a feed from a house system, or do you need to provide you own mics? If house feed, be sure you have an assortment of adapters, cables, and a ground loop isolator.

If you have to provide mics, get them as close to the talent as you can, as a minimum directional mics in front of the audience. On-camcorder mics just do not cut it.
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Old January 19th, 2006, 08:03 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeff Bettendorf
I am planning to have my XL1S in the back of the theatre in the control room approximately 60-70 feet from the stage and 20-25 feet higher than the stage. Is this a good location to shoot from
It has a lot to do with your goal... A location like that is good for full stage shots where you want to show something like the arrangement of dancers, or actors movements on platforms. But I really dislike it for closeup shots where you're zoomed way in on the performers. Looking down at someone is generally rather unflattering since you see the top of their head and shoulders mostly. It makes everyone look shorter than they really are. But the biggest problem in my opinion is that you see way too much of the stage floor, which will be the background in any tight shot and generally isn't very attractive. If at all possible, find a location where your camera level isn't too much higher than the performers' heads.

There are a lot of good threads on shooting performances:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=18431
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45450
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=5156
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=8525
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=55819
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=38448
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=6866
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=34639
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Old January 20th, 2006, 08:31 AM   #4
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Thank you Don and Boyd...

I will be visiting the theatre again today to check everything out. I will have a direct feed from the soundboard. I think I have decided to place the XL1S centered on the stage about 20 feet away instead of up in the control room. The control room is out, but exact placement I am not sure of until I take the camera there and see what looks good.

Thank you for the links, I have learned alot reading them.

Jeff
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Old January 20th, 2006, 10:17 AM   #5
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been shooting mostly theater, and only ones from a balcony. like don and boyd said..horrible.
have a sony trv730 for full stage shoot, and my xl1-s for closeup and principles.

the biggest problem, at least in my area, that most of the theaters (bay area) are not set up for videographers. the best one seems to be the montgomery theater in san jose, they have a videographer boots, about 4x5, outlets, wired stage and soundboard feeds.

greetings
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Old January 20th, 2006, 06:24 PM   #6
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I will post a sample of the video when I am done so I can get comments on what I need to improve. Where is the best place for me to post that?

Thanks,
Jeff Bettendorf
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Old January 21st, 2006, 06:43 AM   #7
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If in the audience area, try block out the few seats around you (especially in front), and get high so you are about eye-level with the performers. Shooting up at thelr chins is usually not a great angle, and if people stand in front of you, well, someone's bald spot is seldom a great foreground prop. Mid row is good because tht way people are not trying to get past you to seats and tripping on your tripod legs, etc.
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