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Old July 13th, 2005, 04:03 PM   #1
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Camera settings when filming Ballet

I am seeking assistance for the proper settings to use on my Sony DCR PC100
when I video a live Ballet performance. I will be sitting in the audience so a tripod will not be possible, in fact having a camera in the Opera House at all is forbidden. Therefore should I use steadyshot ? Also becaue the dances move in and around the stage they often are illumintated by different stages lights causing them to appear different colors. What exposure settings would be best for this problem. My camera does not have a lot of manual options, but I do have settings like "spotlight" and I was wondering if this might be a solution. Also under these difficult lighting conditions, will auto focus work ?
I would greatly appreciate any assistance I could get.
Regards
Dennis
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Old July 13th, 2005, 05:08 PM   #2
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Ballet isn't so bad

Spotlight is VERY necessary if there is a white costume. I recently filmed the Nutcracker here in Alaska with a DVX100. If you can sneak a small tripod in, I would say risk it. Trust the stage crew people, they know how to light, so don't let your iris be on Auto, and see if you can get a decent white balance (good luck, can be tricky).
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Old July 13th, 2005, 05:13 PM   #3
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If camcorders are prohibited completely, then why bother with this at all? Steadyshot will help, as will the spotlight mode, but if you can't shoot on a tripod then is it really worth doing? Why not approach the management about getting a waiver for taping the event, so you can get properly set up with a tripod and do it right. Otherwise if you have to sneak the shooting and risk getting busted, then the proper camera settings are really the least of your concerns. The question isn't how good it's going to look, the question is how watchable will it be since it's handheld.
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Old July 14th, 2005, 01:24 AM   #4
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If it's worth doing, then it's worth doing right. Talk to the management about being granted access to video the performance and do it properly on a tripod. You'll be much happier with the results and you won't be sent home from the theater before the performance is over.

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Old July 14th, 2005, 07:22 AM   #5
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Why do you feel the need to videotape this performance? You call it an "opera house" which makes it sound like a professional venue with union crews, musicians and performers. If so then you will never get permission to videotape there.

I work in such a place myself, and we have to be vigilant about such things due to union regulations. Granted, some shaky handheld video with lousy audio isn't likely to appear on "Great Performances," but rules are rules and for legal reasons they must be obeyed. The ushers and staff are likely to be watching for just this sort of thing, so you risk being thrown out of the theatre and possibly having your camera and/or tape impounded.

You will need to decide whether it's worth this risk to get what would be very poor quality handheld video anyway...
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Old July 15th, 2005, 12:37 AM   #6
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Besides the risk you run by going afoul of the house rules, you're really cheating yourself by trying to tape the event. If you're hunkered down and peeping through a viewfinder, you're going to miss the event. Sure you might see it through the viewfinder, and get a shaky handheld recording, but you're not going to enjoy the performance. You'll be so busy trying to tape that thing that you'll miss its beauty... and playing back an unwatchable handheld video recording is no substitute for reality by any stretch of the imagination. Why not just *watch* the performance and *enjoy* it. The memories you take from the experience will be of much higher "image quality" than that of a camcorder that you're using to play hide-n-seek with the house ushers.
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Old July 16th, 2005, 04:12 AM   #7
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Not fun without a tripod

I got nauseous and dizzy after video recording a recent opera performance without a tripod.

Several months ago, I was going to the final dress rehearsal of an opera with my Canon GL2 to do some after-performance interviews of some of the cast members. I found out when I walked in that the tech director had forgotten his camcorder for the archive recording. So I was asked to fill in at the last minute.

Having no tripod, I placed my stabilizer (SteadyTracker) on a table and tried to pan and zoom. Since I thought I was going to do a 10-minute interview, I had not bothered to charge my batteries or bring my electrical hookups. To conserve power, I did not use the flip-out LCD screen.

I peered through the tiny viewfinder all night, shaking the camcorder every time I panned. Zooming in magnified the shake. As I drove home, I felt my stomach getting pretty upset. I was so dizzy by the time I got back I could not do anything except go to bed. It took me a day to recover from that horrid experience.

You must be getting paid a lot to go through all of this.
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