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Old February 8th, 2005, 02:29 PM   #1
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Shooting in a gym

Hi everyone. I've been asked to shoot in a local gym. They want to demonstrate the proper way to use the exercise equipment. All of my experience has been outdoors in daylight or in an outdoor stadium under the lights. I have a Sony VX2100 that is great in low light situations. However, I'm not sure if I need any additional lighting for this assignment. By the way, I haven't seen the location. The person who asked me to shoot at the gym indicated I would need more lighting. Does anyone have any recomendations for me regarding the lighting? In addition, as I sit here typing my questions, I didn't ask about any audio. Other than the on-camera mike, that's it!

Also, I've only been asked to shoot the video. Someone else will do the editing. They plan to produce about 100 copies on dvd. I currently use Sony MiniDV Premium tape. Should I upgrade the tape for this assignment?

Are there any other questions I should be asking before I agree to take this assignment? By the way, they need an answer tomorrow, so I'd really appreciate your quick response.

Thanks as always.

Steve
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Old February 8th, 2005, 02:44 PM   #2
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I would recommend some additional lighting. At a minimum a small on camera light and one full size (300w plus) light on a light stand. On a vx2100 the footage would probably be usable, but it will be much better with the added light.

I know it's a pain if you have to set up the big light for every shot but it really makes a difference. And the small on camera light will fill in where the big light can't get to.

Ben Lynn
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Old February 10th, 2005, 07:27 AM   #3
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Thanks Ben,

Any recommendations on lighting equipment and cost?

Also, since they've only asked me to shoot the session, should I assume they will handle the "legal" requirements from those individuals participating in the session like releases? (All they want me to do is shoot)

I asked how they were going to use the tape and they "weren't sure". They did say they intended to edit and produce about 100 dvd copies.

Not having done this before, I'm at a loss for how much to charge. They indicated that the session would last about 1 hour.... However, my sense is that it could last longer.....

Any other questions I should ask?

Steve
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Old February 10th, 2005, 09:01 AM   #4
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Lighting - If you are going to do more of this go for pro lights like totas or the like. If you are on the budget plan look in the lighting forum for the excellent Low Budget Lighting article. Just remember to diffuse the light so it isn't too harsh. Also watch your background. Bright lights and shiny exercise equipment in the background will be distracting. If possible, have them turn off all the lights in the gym except for your lights. Control light spill from your lights with barn doors, cards hung on stands etc.

Releases - Get them! Don't "assume" anything. Plus it will show your client that you are a professional.

Time - It always takes much longer than an uninformed client thinks it will take. Most people think that a 30 min. finished product should take only 30 min to shoot! Determin what the client is trying to show. From your brief description, it sounds like you will need a mix of wide shots of the exercise equipment, med shots of the user and motion and probably some close ups of proper hand positions, the talent exhaling on release etc. This will take a lot of repeating of the action and repositioning the camera and maybe even the lights. As a MINIMUM rule of thumb for a simple shoot like this, I'd use a 10-1 ratio - 10 minutes for every finished minute of video. Also consider your travel, set-up, tear-down, etc.

What to charge? Up to you... if they want a professional job, they should pay a professional rate. I post $65/hr but will frequently discount that if I'm interested in the project or see possibilities for more work. And $65/hr is cheap for a good camera, lighting, sound and a decent operator! Others here, I'm sure regularly get much more.

Talk to the editor - find out what he/she wants.
Talk to the client - Ask him/her to "press the play button on the VCR in thier mind" and descrive the video they are seeing.

Good luck. Let us know how you make out
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Old February 10th, 2005, 09:26 AM   #5
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Great points Mike.

For lighting, if you can't afford a full kit (who can right?) you may want to purchase just one pro light. The key is in the control that the pro light will offer. Barn doors and diffusion screens really make a huge difference. Since this is a small job however you may even want to go the budget route with a work light and some reflectors. It's all up to you for what you want.

On camera lighting I recommend just a cheapy for this. Only because this is a first time job that your learning on. If you're going to use the light for other production work then something like a Bescor AK7 kit may be the best. Otherwise a $40-60 on camera light would work for this one project.

You could easily spend more than you make on this project with just these two items. So be carefull and it may be better to get a lower cost item to ensure a profit on this.

For releases, I personally wouldn't have people sign a release from me. The reason why is because your not producing this. Your just the hired camera operator and it's the responsibility of the production company (in this case the gym) to secure the release of the content. I would however make mention to the people (since you seem to know them) that they need to do this. They're putting it all together so they need to be concerned about the release issues. If you want to cover yourself however then you could do the releases yourself and then you would be 100% in the clear.

For time does the client want a 1 hr. product or are they thinking it will take 1 hour to create a 10 or 15 min. video? Either way, Mark is right in there at $65 and hour for doing the work. And you should be there 1 hr. before the scheduled start of production work. That's your time to get set up, think through the shots, and be ready when the scheduled time comes. Yes you should bill for this time.

Again, watch how much money you put into lighting if your only going to do a couple of hours work on this project.

Ben
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Old February 11th, 2005, 10:41 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for your advice. The client called me last night and said their project is on hold. The good news is now I can calmly absorb all your great feedback and recommendations.

I have one last request. I really have no lighting experience...and I would like to do some reading on the subject. Are there any links and/or books you can recommend?

Then when the client calls back (?), I'll be more informed about what I'm getting myself into!

Thanks once again.

Steve
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Old February 12th, 2005, 11:34 AM   #7
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If at all possible, go take a look at the venue with your VX by your side. You've got the best low-light camera available, and you may well find that there's simply no need to take extra lighting, which involves cost, hassle, wires, time. I simply can't imagine gymnasts performing in a lighting situation that called for more lights than a VX needs - it'd be too dangerous.

The Sony Premium tape is absolutely fine Steve - you won't get better pictures or sound by using tape costing $100 a roll.
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Old February 12th, 2005, 08:24 PM   #8
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I shoot womens gymnastics all the time with my VX 2000's with no problem and no extra lighting. Save your money on lighting. Make sure you get the white balance set properly. Beware of mixed lighting, sunlight, mis-matched overhead lights etc. . .
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Old February 13th, 2005, 08:12 AM   #9
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Steve is being asked to shoot a training video, not a live event. The lighting is still needed.

Ben Lynn
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Old February 15th, 2005, 01:38 PM   #10
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I too must shoot in a gym

I have a gym shoot coming up at a local middle school. This is for a single-cam narrative through Ohio University's TCOM school. We will be shooting on a PD-170, mostly sticks, handheld, and possibly some handheld Jib. The scene is short and sweet - 2 friends shooting around on one hoop, about a page of dialogue. I was planning on bringing a soft light (650 W) and a Riffa Kit (1 650 W riffa, 2 tota's 650W each).

I could also get at some 500W Omnis or some some DPs or Fresnels... How much of a problem is it gonna be mixing color temp.'s? I know gym shoulf be hitting about 4500k - most all of the lights I have acess to should be at 3200k. The shoot is March 6 - so if there is a gel I should be looking in to I would have to order it soon. Otherwise any advice on how to avoid ugly color mixing?
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Old February 15th, 2005, 02:00 PM   #11
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Tom - here is an idea others may have different takes on it...

Shoot some wide shots (if you need them to establish the scene) using the existing lights - white balance to them. Then turn off the gym lights and light the actual segment with your actors with your own lighting gear.
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Old March 8th, 2005, 09:35 AM   #12
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Thanks for the advice - Equipment room problems left me with a couple DP's - so I set up the shots, set up a large silk in the corner, and blasted a couple diffused DP's through it. This gave me some color temp. seperation between the foreground and background without adding any harsh shadows.
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