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Wedding / Event Videography Techniques
Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old October 14th, 2009, 06:55 PM   #1
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Dance Studio Shoot

I'll be filming in a dance studio once a week, long-term. As of now, I'm currently just archiving the footage of each class, but there is hope to eventually extend it into a documentary.

In terms of lighting, the studio is well-lit by Fluorescent bulbs that are supposedly set to 5300k (although it seems a little less).

I'm just looking for some tips as to what's the best way to account for this lighting, adjust settings on the camera, etc. I'll be using a Canon XH-A1.
Also, any recommendations on which Custom Preset to use?

This is a new shoot for me so I wouldn't mind all the help I can. Any other tips would also be greatly appreciated.

These are just some stills from the studio, I did during a test shoot.
The first, and whiter one, came from just hitting the white balance button.
The second being the one with the WB adjusted to 5300k.
Attached Thumbnails
Dance Studio Shoot-dts-awbd.png   Dance Studio Shoot-dts-5300.png  

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Old October 14th, 2009, 07:05 PM   #2
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I think both WB settings are good depending on the "mood" you want to achieve. Maybe ask the owner of the place which one he likes more. Manual WB looks very cold - I'd prefer the "warm" colors. Just you would need to remember that setting and do all the filming the same way.

I'm just thinking if there is any way to lit up the fronts of the dancers. The overhead lighting makes their faces "dark". Maybe set up some reflectors behind the camera to bounce back some light?
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Old October 15th, 2009, 10:09 AM   #3
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Jeff,

I recently shot a documentary with a Canon GL2 with mostly interior shots....and all were in different areas and lit differently. I manual white balanced and/or adjusted to depict the actual look of the room.

Your manual white balance, to me, looks far better than the gloomy-green second one (5300K setting). You might want to check your aperture/shutter settings as they also appear a little dark. I know that with dancing you have to watch your shutter speed though.

If this is footage might be used in a documentary later, I wouldn't go too crazy using artsy-cinematic presets...you might regret it later. You can always color-grade later in post if you choose. You might want to keep your raw footage clean and clear.

Just my opinion...I'm sure others will give better advice.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 11:25 PM   #4
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I agree,

The second image looks very green. The first image is a lot closer, maybe a bit too much blue.

This lighting is tough to get good looking skin as it trends towards green the more you move away from the blue look.

I would get a white card ($5 from B&H) put it in the lighting and use it for your white balance. You will probably need to work with the skin tones in post no matter what you do.

I also agree about adding light at a favorable angle to the dancers, but this can be distracting and might not fit the situation.

Be careful not to mix "well lit" with plenty of ambient light.

Think of your subjects.

The room has some light to work with but your subjects, the dancers do not have any light on their faces, mainly the only the tops of their heads. So they are not well lit.

If you expose for the dancers you will end up blowing out the rest of the highlights.

Also watch for mirrors. If they have some on the walls plan where you are going to shoot from so you do not end up in the frame.
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Old October 15th, 2009, 11:51 PM   #5
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Of course I realise that I'm making a judgement based on the colour of your photos on my comouter screen, but for me this is a no brainer; do your dancers have green skins? Is the floor of the studio green or grey?
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Old October 16th, 2009, 03:15 PM   #6
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In my opinion, you should go with the one on the left and then get the look you want in post.
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Old October 17th, 2009, 05:17 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Lewis View Post
go with the one on the left and then get the look you want in post.
I couldn't agree more.
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Old October 21st, 2009, 09:42 PM   #8
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Thank you all very much.

I shot yesterday with the manual white balance, I adjusted it so it was a little less blue, and all went well. (I realized that both were very extreme on opposite ends of the spectrum; I think I found a good middle ground by zooming in on the wall and WB against that.)

I'll keep you posted on my progress. What are your opinions on audio and mic'ing the room? I have an Azden SGM-SX1 to use, which i can leave on top of the camera, but I'm still picking up a lot of...dance shoe noise...and it sometimes drowns out the instructions from the dance teacher and the music.

I'm thinking the best option will be to blend in the music from the cd in post and keep the ambience low?
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Old October 21st, 2009, 10:20 PM   #9
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Depends what you're trying to achieve.

If you want to capture the feeling of a rehearsal/teaching class then the shoe noise and teacher's comments will be as important as the music. For that I'd use an omni mic on a stand - for the ambiance so you don't have to bother about levels changing as you move the camera and also to give you enough of the music to sync up in post - and a radio mic on the teacher.

If you're trying to give the impression of a more polished performance feed the sound direct to the camera or use a fixed mic near a speaker to provide post sync and a radio mic on the teacher. The amount oif the teacher you use will determione how polished the performance appears to be.

One final thought, if the teacher's dancing take care in the mounting on him/her of the radio pack; I trusted the spring clip alone once and caused serious damage to a radio transmitter. I used serious amounts of gaffer next time! :)
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Old October 22nd, 2009, 04:11 PM   #10
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You could try white balancing on a slightly blue white card. I know you can buy them somewhere. Basically by white balancing on a slightly blue card you will warm up the footage.
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