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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:00 AM   #1
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Dealing with changes in lighting at a concert ?

I will be taping my wife's Cabaret performance using my Sony TRV-900.

The lighting is all over the place for each song - from bright spotlight to dark/dim. Sometimes the lighting even changes during a song.

The last time a did this I tried to adjust the exposure myself as the lighting changed. First, I was never quite fast enough. Second, there was a momentary but visible increase/decrease in brightness each time I adjusted the exposure.

Any suggestions on how to get the camera to handle it smoothly ?

Is there a good "middle-point" setting that will avoid brightness distortion and also be enough for the darker lighting ?

Should I be using one of the exposure programs ?

Thanks.

Pat De Marco
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Old April 29th, 2008, 09:57 AM   #2
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If you can't control the light, auto exposure is your best bet.

If you want the best video, then talk to the person in charge of those lights. ;)
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Old May 7th, 2008, 08:58 AM   #3
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Thanks. I have tested with auto-exposure and it does did a good job except when the lights were very bright. When the light were very bright I got glare and distortion when using auto-exposure.

Is this something I need to fix on post-production or is there a programmed exposure that will get it right ?

Thanks

Pat De Marco
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Old May 7th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #4
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Pat, you're asking if you should "ride the iris very much",
my answer is no,not too much.

I recently had the same dilema when i shot a stage show,dark scenes then bright scenes,spotlight in the middle of the stage,dark round the edges etc.

So i asked myself, do i film this as a camera operator or do i want the finished article (dvd's in this case) to look like the show is supposed to look,
for example,if a scene is meant to be dark for the audience,who am i to brighten it up with my iris,likewise,if a spotlight is on someone in the middle of the stage and they're a bit over exposed,should i close the iris but then not be able to see the background actors,i think not.
I wanted to produce a dvd that looked how the show's producers wanted the show to look, not how i wanted the show to look.
I rode the iris a bit to keep the show looking how it was supposed to look.
Sometimes i had the "low light" warning flash up on my cam, "i know it's dark,it's supposed to be a dark scene" i thought to myself.
You get the idea.

Anyway,there's some clips of that same show on vimeo. Link below.
Show is called Kiss Me Kate.

www.vimeo.com/paulkellett

Paul.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 12:58 PM   #5
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Pat -

I have a little different "cut" on this. I've shot a lot of community theater over the past several years, and it's always a challenge. Stages are lit for an audience, not video. Most lighting designers are concerned with the presentation to the audience, without regard for the camera, as it should be.

I tend to "ride the iris". I agree with Paul about keeping the scene luminance and color displayed as intended. However, when the talent is featured, such as under a spotlight, I expose for the talent's faces, and if that means the background or ensemble goes too dark, so be it. I believe that producing featured performers with their faces "blown-out" is undesirable, and is not fixable in post. There is usually a fine line -- zebras are indispensable. Auto-iris/focus/etc. has seldom worked for me, including the "spotlight" mode, so I stay manual on everything.

Good luck -- it's one of the most challenging environments in which to shoot.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 01:01 PM   #6
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I should elaborate a bit more,if i zoomed in on the blown out talent, then yes i would close the iris correctly (ish).
If however the shot was wide,i'd let the talent stay a little bit blown only on bright clothes or white stage props,not the face.

Paul.
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Old May 7th, 2008, 02:26 PM   #7
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Yeah, I do that, as well. It's pretty typical during the big ensemble numbers. My comments were primarily directed toward the "featured talent" shots. Everything is a compromise.

It always amazes the lighting folks when I show them all the "hot spots" on stage. The eye is much more accommodating than the lens.... (Not that they do much to correct them, though!)

cheers
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Old May 8th, 2008, 09:25 AM   #8
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I think the main issue is you are asking a lot of the camera you are using to handle the situation.

My short answer is large chips and ride the iris as much as you can to find a nice balance.
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Old May 8th, 2008, 01:03 PM   #9
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Good info. A really helpfull discussion that instigates more questions.

Do you-all "ride the iris" while in auto mode ?
If not, do you have a base exposure setting ?

When you adjust the exposure do you record a visible brightening or darkening of the video ?

I have tried "riding the iris" by remaining in auto mode and using the AE-shift function. It's difficult to be right-on-time and I get that visible brightening flash or darkening.

Paul, your video (quite nice BTW) does not seem to show the exposure shift but it looks like you may have edited the recording to fade into each scene.

Tim, I agree. The TRV-900 is quite good but not professional. I don't need the result to be perfect but I'd like it to be very good. BTW, what cameras are better able to handle this situation and what functions do they have ?

Thanks

Pat
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