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Old July 27th, 2002, 12:25 PM   #1
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Filming bar concert - advice?

I'm going to be filming a friend's concert in a bar tonight. All I have is the basic XL1S kit with the 16x lens. So I will have to make do with existing lighting and the audio from the microphone. I didn't ask but I think maybe my friend will also be capturing the concert on DAT. This isn't for pay but I don't want the footage to come off dinky. Any general advice as far as preparations go?

All I could think of was just showing up in advance, testing the light settings, getting in a good position with the tripod and start shooting.
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Old July 27th, 2002, 02:14 PM   #2
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You are going to have to think about the white balance. You can leave it in auto and it will do a decent job until the level gets real low. The other option is to go manual and try re white balancing when the lighting changes. Thsi can sometimes give a cool effect but it will look odd if you do it during a song. If the lights change after you manually set the WB then you either go with your old setting or re-WB. You might try it different ways to see what you like. Be aware it may produce an effect you don't totally like. If you have the XL1s then you can preset the WB a couple of different ways and call them up as needed.

Jeff
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Old July 27th, 2002, 02:57 PM   #3
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Well, at this point I'd probably rather let the auto deal with it as I don't want to get any effects that I could do better in post.
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Old July 27th, 2002, 03:12 PM   #4
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I've typically had the best results setting the white balance to the incandescent setting (lightbulb) if there is changing or gelled lighting, this will give you a relatively accurate color cast that allows the gels to appear their natural color. Leaving the w.b. on auto can give you some pretty weird results if the lighting is more than moderately gelled.

Barry
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Old July 27th, 2002, 04:33 PM   #5
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I will have lots of tape so I will try the method you suggested, Barry, also.

I just realized that I haven't learned what the band wants out of this, the DV tape or VHS or what. Time to make a phone call.
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Old July 28th, 2002, 03:33 AM   #6
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Just got back. Concert rocked.

I just came back from the concert and it rocked. Good performance by the band and nice crowd who were good and liquored when it counted.

It turns out the band wanted the whole thing from start to end so they can excuse all the parts when I was just trying to squeeze past people to get to another perspective. I started the video off and on a tripod at the beginning but it got so packed that I decided to keep it on my shoulder the whole time and folded the tripod out of the way.

I'm in love with this camera more and more. It was heavy, yes, but people really cleared out when they saw me coming with the whole gear and the opening band really played to it. Yeah, respect. haha. I think the added weight lent a lot of stability to the shooting as well but was a detriment when I wanted to go up above the audience. BOY is my right arm tired and I have to shoot tomorrow too!

I was impressed with the stabilizer when I was walking around. I haven't really checked any of the shots yet (well, one long shot) but when I reviewed some of the footage in the camera VCR mode it looked great. What wasn't so great was the autofocus. While it certainly helped when I had a central object to focus in on, it was indecisive when I tried to get the entire band in a wider shot. I learned to go to manual in those instances and hit the AF button only when I had a central subject in frame.

Lighting wise, the whole thing is going to be red because of the venue lighting. I tried white balancing before but it didn't seem to make much of a difference. Besides, the concert lighting is otherworldly anyway so I used that.

It was very nice to actually have a place for slowing down the shutter speed. When the lead singer started dancing on stage, when the drummer was hammering, when cute girls got down on the floor, it really had a nice effect with the blurring.

I found I made a lot of close shots on the performer's faces as they grinned, acted and sang. What the band really wanted was to evaluate their performance as a whole so they weren't really counting on the video looking particularly artistic, but I think there is good material there if they choose to cut it into their publicity.

To do this concert again better I think two cameras would be nice. One roving camera, possibly a lighter one like a GL2 (if the concert was more than 60 minutes) and one more or less fixed in perspective positions.
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Old July 28th, 2002, 06:55 AM   #7
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I like having the XL1 on a tripod for more or less frontal shots, and use the GL1 for getting closer shots from different angles. The problem I seem to be having, is the white balance is off between the two cameras. I set them both at the same time, with the same whiteboard. There is a big difference in my footage.

My only advice to you, is never leave your camera unattended on a tripod- or anywhere else! If need be, grab a friend to stand guard and watch over it. Other than that, have fun. Doing concerts can be alot of fun. Trust me.
Keith
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Old July 28th, 2002, 10:02 AM   #8
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<<<-- Originally posted by Capt Quirk :
My only advice to you, is never leave your camera unattended on a tripod- or anywhere else!
Keith -->>>

No kidding! I am totally paranoid about my camera. Actually, the next time I do this I will remember to break down my camera and bag it totally before I leave. I say this because I left the concert so I could shoot some exteriors and a couple drunk bozos gave me some trouble. Actually, there was a fight outside too where there was lots of blood but I wasn't around for that, only seeing the aftermath (dude staggering around with lots of nice scarlet pouring from his face).
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Old July 28th, 2002, 11:50 PM   #9
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Hey Keith, I still say you should have gotten some footage of the drunk bleeding dude!

Thanks for coming out to help me shoot today. See, your camera survived! Hmm.. It was probably safer out in the field today than it was at the concert last night!
Now I'm going to grab a beer and watch the tape!
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Old July 29th, 2002, 01:16 AM   #10
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<<<-- Originally posted by Dylan Couper : Hey Keith, I still say
Thanks for coming out to help me shoot today. See, your camera survived! Hmm.. It was probably safer out in the field today than it was at the concert last night!
Now I'm going to grab a beer and watch the tape! -->>>

I think you will need gravol too because of my shakey cam footage.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 11:36 AM   #11
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After reviewing footage....

I reviewed the footage dumped to an .avi for the first time just now, partly with the leader of the band. Here are some conclusions:

Some people (not here) warned me that the XL1's microphone wouldn't pick up any useful audio. THEY WERE WRONG. It was AWESOME! Sure, it was localized, but it was really really good. I mean it was probably the single most usable element of this exercise. The Canon mic (maybe it was improved between versions) ROCKED. The music is totally usable.

I need to get an LCD external for two reasons. Every movement between setting up shots was jerky cam-let's-watch-Keith-scramble-between-speaker-stands-and-people. If I actually had a monitor I could see through as I moved from point to point, I might be able to keep the band in frame. Also, I found it very difficult to manually zoom using the viewfinder. Instead, I kept it on autofocus most of the concert. As a result, there is a lot of that patented XL1S zoom problem.

I roamed about too much. Partly because I didn't really remember how the songs went and wasn't prepared to shoot the person who was going to be the most active. Here is where a second camera operator would have greatly helped.

I had fun lowering the shutter speed and getting that stutter frame effect... I liked it too much. It was really nice in certain spots like when the crowd got grooving or when the lead singer Ryan shook the bootie but I was too much in love with it.

I hate that the Canon has a lock for record on the top control but not one for the right-hand control. It makes no sense. Either have no lock at all or have it for both. I accidentally hit the pause during one of the best shots. Argh. Again, second camera would have kept the song going.

I need way more disk space. 50 minute concert barely fit in the 15 gigs I had left on my drive.

I need a transportable hard drive so I can dump the footage off to the client. DVD burner anyone?

Having a second camera stay on the tripod or in selected spots taking in the entire stage would have filled in the 'shaky cam' footage parts of my roaming. A must for usable concert video.

When the management put up more lights it helped the DV quite a lot. Too dark = too much grain. I totally worked off the stage lights.
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Old July 30th, 2002, 01:05 PM   #12
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One of my biggest problems with the cam mic, is that it doesn't always pick up sounds 5 feet in front of it. However, it will ALWAYS pick up my voice, even if I am 15 feet behind the camera.

As far as portable storage, look into an I Pod. They have 20-40 gig HDs in them, and might be a little cheaper than a Firewire drive. Did I just suggest a Mac product? Ewwwwwww!
Keith
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