Any thoughts on shooting a gig at this venue? at

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Old March 27th, 2009, 08:05 AM   #1
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Location: London, UK
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Any thoughts on shooting a gig at this venue?

I'm shooting a performance at the venue shown on these YouTube videos:
DOUGLAS JAMES on MySpace Music - Free Streaming MP3s, Pictures & Music Downloads

It's in a week but I can't get there before then to check it out because it's too far away.

I will be shooting this band but with _only the singer/guitarist and bass player_.

I've got a Canon XHA1 and a Sony A1 (which is a bit rubbish in low light but could be OK for a wide shot).

It wants to be moody and I want to get close ups of the singer. The trouble is I don't know anything about the lighting at the venue. I believe that they don't have any spots.

The idea is to use the performance as the basis for a video.

This is all very vague I know but any thoughts or suggestions would be most welcome.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 09:39 AM   #2
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There is some light there, what those working club stages call side-booms, or booms. There's a white light upper left, and a green-blue(?) light upper right, visible in the videos.

Some problems with this - the drummer is in the dark, although that's probably worse on camera than it is to the in-person audience.

This small sweet spot in the lighting probably won't be as much of a problem since you'll only have the two musicians, they'll fit in the existing lighting much better.

If you're limited to just what's there, here are some ideas:
* Don't move the white light. Get a white balance on your camera at the center of the stage with only the house lights and that white light on.
* Be prepared to gel down the intensity of the green-blue light. Maybe they'll have it on a dimmer, maybe they won't. Think about color - is the mood you want more blue, more red?
* This light is probably on a moveable stand. Consider moving it further back (upstage). Think about what it would look like providing more of a backlight rim of color around the performers. If you do move it back you probably will want to keep the intensity high.
* For a moody look, don't run your camera in auto. Try to avoid gain. Let areas of the stage go black. Let shadows in the performer's faces go dark.

If they have another "boom", you might add a second backlight from the left side of a different color. Very common approach in rock stage lighting. If they have more lights and a dimmer system you could have two or three colors of backlight on each boom and change it between songs or during a song for different emotional effects (Warm? Cold?). Also a very common approach in rock stage lighting, in that terminology "two circuits of color on the back booms, red and blue..." or some such. At least in the U.S.

But keep the front light white. These theatrical gels they use for color on stage are great to the eye, typically the camera doesn't like them so well for key/fill on faces. If you keep it white, you can always make moodier colors in post.
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Old March 28th, 2009, 05:35 AM   #3
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Thank you so much Seth.
I like the idea of moving the coloured light upstage and will see if I can do that.
I'd like to make the background as dark as possible so that I can composite other images onto this scene.
The camera has a spotlight setting that I have used once in the past and it seemed to work well. I think the effect it has is to stop the camera from trying to bring out detail in the black area.
So, maybe if I can get a black drape in the background instead of the white one, move the coloured camera upstage so that it works as a backlight and use the spotlight setting, I may get what I am looking for?
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