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Old May 29th, 2015, 04:37 AM   #1
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AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

I will tomorrow (Saturday) and then again Sunday be doing archive recordings of "Die Fledermaus" with a Panasonic AG-AC160A at a distance of 40 feet from the stage.

The theatre is in a community center, very old venue, some of the lighting is non-functional so at open there are some dark areas at the following opening night test run (3 min highlights of Act I)


I am thinking of putting the gain at +6 for the entire performance and making a point of carefully watching waveform. Good idea/bad idea?

I will be at 1080/60 24p and will try to keep the % meter around 28-32 % for the main subject(s).

Scene: Filmic
Detail -3
V detail +1
Detail Coring -2

Chroma 0
Chroma Phase +2
Color Ach 0
Color Bch 0
Master Ped -9
A.iris 0
DRS OFF
DRS Effect 1
Gamma Cine like
Knee High
Matrix Cine like
Skin Tone OFF

Any suggestions how to improve?
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Old May 29th, 2015, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

Look at the shadows on the cast as they go downstage - almost all toplight and none of it bright - so the upstage areas have nice highlights and the real problem is just no front light - which is important. I really don't think there is much you can do in camera to 'invent' light that just isn't there.

Very often the lighting for the audience looks good and this isn't what the video needs, but here, the lighting designer hasn't considered the audience either.

They usually cite lack of budget, but clearly budget is available for some aspects, and the idea of colours against black works nicely as long as it's lit - so minimalistic scene design gets compensated for by the lighting, and it has not happened.

All thongs considered, what you have done already is inspite of, rather than due to the lighting. Their makeup seems very flat - a bit of work with the makeup could help pull out features?
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Old May 30th, 2015, 07:24 AM   #3
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

Thanks for the observations/recommendations. . .

I agree with " I really don't think there is much you can do" and that includes bringing lights as the maintenance guy at the hall told me prior attempts to boost lighting resulted in blowing the electrics.

I was hired to do an archive video and shutting down the production for an hour or two is not something th performance admin folks would be happy with.

I did forward your comment on makeup. It will be interesting to hear if any changes results from your comment.
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Old May 30th, 2015, 09:16 AM   #4
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

This is now one of the excuses that can be solved by modern lighting equipment - the power hungry stuff is fading away (pun intended) and modern kit providing much better lighting. The trouble from you picture is probably a mix of very basic, old fashioned budget limited permanent equipment, in poor repair, mounted in all the wrong places. Certainly it's very common in public halls here, where the technical input is zero. It's a real shame because they've obviously thought through what they do very carefully. Opera do have a set of rules they follow quite strictly for their staging and lighting and feature things often frowned on in conventional theatre. In big venues, for instance, it's very common for them to have lots of backlight compared to face light. In fact pretty much how modern music lighting now is.
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Old June 1st, 2015, 07:16 PM   #5
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

Hi Karl,

I know I'm late to this thread, but wondering why you would set the Master Pedestal to -9, have the %meter set to 28 - 32% for the main actors, then spend the rest of thread wondering why it is so dark?

I've been shooting dance concerts and theatre performances for years and using the 130/160 series since they came out.

When I look at you're footage again when the actors are not in the main light, you can see how much the poor 160A is struggling in it's crippled state!

Excellent cameras for the task, we keep the Master Pedestal at +1 or +2 for a really dark stage, the gain at +3, and expose Caucasian faces at around 70 - 80%.

That will give you plenty of light, especially in the darker corners of the stage, and a clear image so you can fine tune in post (bring down the blacks if you want to, while keeping a great image).

Also suggest DRS ON and set at 1, will again help bring out details in the darker stage areas.

It's amazing how dance teachers always put the darker/ Asian skinned dance students in the darker edges of the stage!

Cheers,

Vaughan
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Old June 1st, 2015, 07:44 PM   #6
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

Wow! I really look forward to doing a recording (June 7th) with your recommended settings..

I will post some before/after.

Thank you so much for the suggestions . . .
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Old June 2nd, 2015, 03:03 AM   #7
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

@Vaughan

Hi, I am ready to try our your suggestions - stage event, dark stage, distance from stage = 65 feet

Scene: Filmic V
Detail -3
V detail +1
Detail Coring -2
Chroma 0
Chroma Phase +2
Color Ach 0
Color Bch 0
Master Ped +2
A.iris 0
DRS ON
DRS Effect 1
Gamma Cine like
Knee High
Matrix Cine like
Skin Tone OFF

I will set gain to +3, track faces at 70-80%

Any final changes?

Last edited by Karl Walter Keirstead; June 2nd, 2015 at 03:05 AM. Reason: typos
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Old June 2nd, 2015, 07:19 PM   #8
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance

Hi Karl,

Some of my parameters seem to change from time to time, but the main ones that stay the same are Master Pedestal +1 (+2 on very dark stage) Gamma HD Norm (I think because it had lower noise levels which was noted when camera was first released), my knee is on auto too, rest is similar.

I noticed on your clip it is very brown, WB we run on variable at 4K, which means if we get a darker theatre with poor lighting it is very quick to ease it back a bit to around 3.5K and relieve the tanned look.
But most theatres look good at 4K. That's really a general setting for most types of performance.
Personal preference I suppose.

My last suggestion is just to get as much detail as you can. I actually sharpen in post. The parents are really wanting as clear a picture as they can get to see their children's features, esp. when viewing on DVD, which defeats the purpose anyway.

As I said earlier, I usually find I'm leaving blacks at 5% in post just to get every last detail out of dark stages, It comes down to personal choice at that point!


Cheers,

Vaughan
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Old June 2nd, 2015, 07:42 PM   #9
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Re: AG AC160A settings for an operatic performance


Karl, in this clip you will see a transition from a dark stage to the front well lit stage (yes, it took me 3 seconds or so to close the iris, I know), but you will see everything can still be seen when it is dark.

There is no grading on the clip, straight out of the camera.

Cheers,

Vaughan
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