Amateur Recital Video Production - Page 2 at DVinfo.net

Go Back   DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

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


Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 10th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #16
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Red Lodge, Montana
Posts: 889
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

"There is no sound to dance unless it's tap, and even then it always sounds like it's clipping anyway. Fidelity is not an issue."

This is soooooooooo true of hip-hop which we see a lot of in these parts.

The music for the hip-hop performances sounds like clipping because it usually is. It is part of the performance when you are there but can seem annoying when watching it on tv via DVD after the fact. Taking a CD track and making it prominent in editing can mitigate the buzzy, very hollow sound produced in a large performance space. We also get clogging and stepdancing in addition to tap, and we get some oriental (belly) dancing which often involves bangles and finger cymbals and a lot of audience reaction. In the summertime, we have a kind of ethnic folkways festival with a mix of live bands and recorded music for the dancers. Here, as above, the main thing you do with audio is try to keep it from sounding annoying to the majority of your audience. For these kinds of videos, fidelity is rarely an issue, as Adam so rightly points out.
Jay West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 10th, 2011, 10:38 PM   #17
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

The most shocking thing I've noticed at the dance recitals I've done is that the audience seems to feel they are a part of the show. Maybe they are. But it's just constant screaming, howling, "You go, Shannon!", non-stop through the show. Really? And this is from the parents, who should know better.

Clogging and step dancing would be a welcome change for me. But now it's all seven-year-olds grabbing their crotches.

Ah, times they are a-changin'

Jay makes another good point. If there's live music there I'd certainly put a huge amount of effort into capturing really nice live sound. It's just recorded music I don't bother trying to capture. It's already perfect -- at least in the artist's opinion.
__________________
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 08:15 AM   #18
Major Player
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Orlando, FL
Posts: 481
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

All good points but if you are not comfortable doing the syncing later in post then I was going to recommend taking an in house feed. I guess it depends on the house and your level of "comfortableness". I usually take an in house feed into a mixer with an audience mic and do it all there, but the place the I shoot has a good in house audio guy. I put the audience mic low so usually you just hear the clapping at the end. But you have much better control mixing it in post. It just depends how much work you have time to do. In the end the most important thing is, did you get the dance from start to finish, can you see the dancers and can you hear the audio. Remember the old saying "Cheap, Good, Fast" pick 2 because you can't have all three. If I wasn't 3 hours away I would lend you a hand.
David Stoneburner is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 08:52 AM   #19
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Warren, Ohio
Posts: 101
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
Okay, here's more advice.

First, get several cards and shoot in FX, not FH. Dancing is often high-motion, high-contrast action. The more compression you use, the more likely you will get artifacts. FX has less compression than FH. (That is why it uses more file space.) So, just get more cards.
I was originally thinking that I might as well shoot with more compression since I am ultimatley going to compress to DVD format anyway, but now I'm thinking that my thought process may be off a little. I'm not sure I understand completely, but I'm getting there.

A 32gb card should get me approximately 3 hours of video in FX. With FH, I'd get about 4 hours, so I'd still need another card, just not as big of one. I was tring to prevent having to buy more storage and also timing the "changing of the cards" during the performance. The card slot on this cam is on the under side so I will probably have to unmount from the tripod to swap cards.
Brad Ridgeway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 11:23 AM   #20
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,772
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Adam Gold View Post
There is no sound to dance unless it's tap, and even then it always sounds like it's clipping anyway. Fidelity is not an issue..
Not to be argumentative but I'd actually disagree with this statement. While it's not as important as a concert, there are a lot of sounds during a dance performance. Dancers clap, stomp, yell, and especially with character numbers, may have some words. Also, getting the audience reactions, even if it sounds like a sporting event at times, is what makes the difference between a live performance and studio performance. These are the things that studios owners, at lest the ones I've worked with, find are important. Capturing all of these ambient sounds is a little tricky and unless you have a dedicated sound person, will require having several capture points with levels set to allow for maximum coverage . In other words, set at various levels to capture both the louder sounds which would otherwise clip your normal recording levels as well as softer sounds. Mixing in post to make it sound natural, just like in any production, is where the magic needs to bring it all together. If you don't have all of these elements it just doesn't sound like a live performance. Lack of room acoustics is one of the things that makes watching a live performance seem dull. The sound is just too dry IMHO.

As far as taking the music from the CD a word of caution. Make sure you get the CD they used for the show. A lot of dance studio owners cut the actual song they use, as someone who's studied music it often drives me crazy because they do it in a way that just butchers the song. They make the song fit the dance they choreo'd. So make sure that you get the cut that they use during the show. It also is a good idea to get a board feed if possible because sometimes technical difficulties with the music make the CD track unusable. If you've got a board feed you can use that, if not you'll have to use the sound you captured live which may not be the best but at least it will match what's happening on stage.

I do have one strong suggestion, well actually a couple. I'd recommend that you barrow, beg, or rent a second camera. Set it wide to capture the whole stage. This isn't primarily used for you to cut to, it's for your sanity and is a backup camera. I doesn't have to be a great camera. You may never use the footage from it but it will give you a level comfort and help make your day less stressful. If something goes wrong with your main cam, power failure, card error, missed something because you were focused on another part of the stage, you'll at least have that. Like I said, you probably will never have to use it but it just helps relieve stress.

Also, once you start your recording don't stop between numbers, even when the show has technical problems and there is a fairly long pause. You may be tempted to to save on media but don't do it. This really helps you synch in post. Also some of the funniest things happen between numbers, great for out takes and during the credits.

Memory now a days is cheap so I'd make sure you have enough memory cards to swap out at key points and when you have a break. I usually make sure I swap cards during intermissions even if the card is only half full. You can't tell if something will cause a segment to run long and you don't want to get caught having to change cards in the middle of a number. But, if you do have your backup cam running at least you'd have that.

-Garrett
__________________
Garrett Low
www.GLowMediaProductions.com
Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 11:58 AM   #21
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Red Lodge, Montana
Posts: 889
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

"Not to be argumentative but I'd actually disagree with this statement. * * *"

I think we may be talking past each other a bit and we are not really in disagrement.

With his CX160 and soon-to-arrive stereo microphone, I think Brad is going to get audience sound, stomping etc. that is as good as he needs for his project. The question is what does he do for musical fidelity because recording the room sound system from the middle of the floor won't give very good sounding music. When Adam and I were referring to "fidelity," we were aiming at the music tracks. You suggested (as did we), that Brad could try taking an audio feed from the house sound panel. That requires equipment that, in view of his very tight budget and limited borrowing resources, means he is better off laying in the CD/iPod tracks in editing. Doesn't seem to be actual disagreement between us here.

You are absolutely correct about using the actual CD/iPod/whatever tracks.
Jay West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 01:18 PM   #22
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Garrett, I get what you're saying and I don't disagree. You'll note I did mention the sounds in the house; my point is that the on-cam mics will pick this up just fine and there's no need to make things more complicated and expensive than they need to be. Mounting a stereo mic on the cam is a complete waste of time, money and effort.

And of course you must use the same CD they use in the booth for the show; I believe I said this as well. If that wasn't clear I apologize. And if you can't spend thirty seconds syncing the CD audio with the video then you shouldn't be doing a job like this anyhow. It's really a simple no-brainer to line up the waveforms.

Look, guys, all your tips are absolutely right but he's not going to use the feed from the board with a cx160; if he can't afford a better cam then he can't afford a proper XLR adapter to get the sound into the cam. And from everything I can find, it doesn't even have an input to try to do so. And Sony doesn't make the AIS/Input adapter anymore. [Edit: Of course it does -- Sony gave me the wrong manual when I searched for cx160 -- got the 150 instead. But as Brad points out, no shoe to mount the mic.)

The sad ugly truth is that this cam is singularly unsuited to this purpose; if you tried to find a worse cam for the job you couldn't. The chip is way too small; the internal memory is too small as well and it has very few manual controls.

But it was very generous of Brad to volunteer to do this and he's got to make the best of this with what he's got. Absolutely try to get a second cam to cover your moves. The wide shots are there to cover your moves. The choreographer wants to see everything wide but the parents want to see the faces. Absolutely don't stop recording once you start, except to change cards/tapes. Absolutely get good tripods. Absolutely use SPOTLIGHT mode and AE SHIFT -3 if you have them. Absolutely lock WB to Indoor. Absolutely turn Steadyshot OFF. But DO NOT use the LOW LUX setting; it will slow down your shutter speed and you will get huge weird motion blur. (And actually, low light will not be your real issue -- the areas that are lit will actually be quite bright.) If it's dark onstage then it's supposed to look dark.
__________________
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."

Last edited by Adam Gold; May 11th, 2011 at 02:00 PM.
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 01:55 PM   #23
Regular Crew
 
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Warren, Ohio
Posts: 101
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Thanks everyone for understanding my limitations and still providing advice and encouragement.

I'm working on getting a second cam. I think I am going to buy an HDR-XR160 which I believe is the same as the CX160 but with a 160gb hard drive. I will use both cams for the performance and then return one or the other even if I do have to pay the 15% restocking fee.

As far as suggested settings...
* I do know how to turn on the spot light mode in scene selection.
* Not sure about AE shift - is this automatic exposure? I can control exposure manually but the cam just shows a reference slider bar - no values.
* I do know how to lock WB to indoor
* I do know how to turn off steady shot
* I do not know how to prevent the cam from Automatically turning on LOW LUX and I cannot figure out how to manually set the shutter speed - could scene selection be setting the shutter speed?

I was reviewing the DVDs last night from the last several year's performances. It seems to me that previous videographers had issues with overexposure probably due to the bright row of lights on the front of the stage floor (I have been told that those lights will be fewer and smaller this year). On one year's production, all of the performers looked like bright ghosts - it wouldn't even be possible to tell who is who as no faces were even distinguishable. The video had overlays of some closeups on top of the wide shot that was way overexposed, but the closeups missed a lot of the performance. I'll be asking questions about the editing and mixing later, but I need to focus on capturing the performance first.

I am continuing to research, learn, and prepare for this event and am grateful for all the input thus far.
Brad Ridgeway is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #24
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Red Lodge, Montana
Posts: 889
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

One follow-up on low lux. At least with my CX550 cams, I have not found any harm in having it engaged. The setting only allows the shutter speed to go below 1/60th when needed but otherwise has no effect that I have seen. Last weekend, for example, I shot a long dance recital with my CX cams locked down on the edges of the stage, with low lux engaged. The well-lit portions were fine even with twin spotlights being used and even with my having forgotten to engage the cam's spotlight setting. (The programming for the auto functions in the CX cams is pretty darn good.) If there will not be dances where they put the lights way down for "artistic" reasons, or times when the dancers go out into the audience, or times when they resort to things like black lights, just leave Low Lux off. Even so, that " chip in the CX160 might or might not be sufficient to capture any of those things even with low lux engaged. Brad won't know until he goes to the rehearsal. (Hopefully, it will be a dress rehearsal with full tech.)
Jay West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:16 PM   #25
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Brad, from going through the manual it appears that the 160 does not have AE SHIFT as an available function. Page 70 of the Handycam Handbook tells how to turn off Low Lux and how to set Spotlight mode. Note that
Quote:
If you set [Scene Selection], [White Balance] setting is canceled.
which is bad news. It'll throw itself into Auto WB, which means it'll constantly be shifting with the light, which you really don't want. Unless Spotlight mode puts it into Indoor WB. Sony doesn't say. It's possible.

If you're going to get another cam, I'd really highly recommend against another anything in the 160 line, and this is coming from a Sony guy. Much better to look for something used in the 500 line, which has many more features and a massively larger chip. The 100 line is fine for birthday parties outdoors but little else.

Interestingly, the manual claims that the iAuto setting will kick the cam into Spotlight mode if it thinks it's necessary. Might be fun to try this in rehearsal. If it works you're home free.
__________________
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
Adam Gold is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:19 PM   #26
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Red Lodge, Montana
Posts: 889
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Ridgeway View Post
Thanks everyone for understanding my limitations and still providing advice and encouragement.

I'm working on getting a second cam. I think I am going to buy an HDR-XR160 which I believe is the same as the CX160 but with a 160gb hard drive. I will use both cams for the performance and then return one or the other even if I do have to pay the 15% restocking fee.

As far as suggested settings...
* I do know how to turn on the spot light mode in scene selection.
* Not sure about AE shift - is this automatic exposure? I can control exposure manually but the cam just shows a reference slider bar - no values.
* I do know how to lock WB to indoor
* I do know how to turn off steady shot
* I do not know how to prevent the cam from Automatically turning on LOW LUX and I cannot figure out how to manually set the shutter speed - could scene selection be setting the shutter speed?

I was reviewing the DVDs last night from the last several year's performances. It seems to me that previous videographers had issues with overexposure probably due to the bright row of lights on the front of the stage floor (I have been told that those lights will be fewer and smaller this year). On one year's production, all of the performers looked like bright ghosts - it wouldn't even be possible to tell who is who as no faces were even distinguishable. The video had overlays of some closeups on top of the wide shot that was way overexposed, but the closeups missed a lot of the performance. I'll be asking questions about the editing and mixing later, but I need to focus on capturing the performance first.

I am continuing to research, learn, and prepare for this event and am grateful for all the input thus far.
These are all menu functions. Check your manual. It is on page 61 of my CX550 manual.

"AE Shift" is the setting you want rather than exposure. It should be in the Manual Settings Menu. It adjusts the range within which auto exposure works. You want to use manual focus which means you can't use manual exposure. Auto exposure on this teeny cam is very good. (See above). EDITED TO ADD: Just read Adam's simultaneous post and see that the CX160 does not have this, so never mind.

"Low Lux" is a menu setting. It should be in the "shooting set" menu. Again, setting this simply allows the shutter speed to drop to 1/30th sec when you get dim or weird lighting. Otherwise, it has no effect. (See above.) Go the rehearsal. If they are not doing really dim lighting etc., don't worry about it.
Jay West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:51 PM   #27
Trustee
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Novato, CA
Posts: 1,772
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Hi Brad, you're getting a lot of good practical advise. I'm not very familiar with the camera(s) you're planning on using so I won't try to comment specifically on those issues. As a thought, since you won't have a way to mount the mic on your camera which isn't optimal anyway, you might think about returning it and putting that investment into a small portable field recorder such as those offered by Zoom, Tascam or Sony. It would give you the flexibility to place it away from your camera so accidental bumping of it won't be an issue. Most can be mounted on a standard tripod.

Also, check with the sound guy at the venue where the performance will take place. A lot of newer boards have the ability built in to record the house feed to a usb drive. I just did a show in a church auditorium of all places that had a board that did that. It was really easy for the sound tech to just pop in a usb thumb drive and give me the wave files.

And most important don't get discouraged by all the info flying at your. It is actually fun to do live shows. Just a little preplanning, which you are doing, is involved and once the show starts it off to the races.

Garrett
__________________
Garrett Low
www.GLowMediaProductions.com
Garrett Low is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:51 PM   #28
Major Player
 
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Red Lodge, Montana
Posts: 889
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Ridgeway View Post
I was reviewing the DVDs last night from the last several year's performances. It seems to me that previous videographers had issues with overexposure probably due to the bright row of lights on the front of the stage floor (I have been told that those lights will be fewer and smaller this year). On one year's production, all of the performers looked like bright ghosts - it wouldn't even be possible to tell who is who as no faces were even distinguishable.
With these kinds of issues, you could try using the "spot meter" function at the rehearsal. This allows you to point on the touch screen and have auto exposure set for that area, and to change as you go. I think you can combine that with the spotlight mode. This would likely avoid the problem with the front of stage lights blowing out the faces. My CX550 also has a SpotMtr/FCS function (combining both spot metering and spot focus with one fingerpoint). If your CX160 has that function, you could try that as well. Might give you some of the benefits of manual exposure without having to fumble with buttons in the dark.

You could do this with the second camera, although you might not need to reset it the since it will be a fixed frame view. I recall Ron Evans posting about using these functions on the SR11 and XR500, which are predecessor models to the current CX and XR models.

Garret's point about getting a USB recording is a good one if the board has that capability.
Jay West is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:56 PM   #29
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Apple Valley CA
Posts: 4,866
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad Ridgeway View Post
I was originally thinking that I might as well shoot with more compression since I am ultimatley going to compress to DVD format anyway, but now I'm thinking that my thought process may be off a little. I'm not sure I understand completely, but I'm getting there.

A 32gb card should get me approximately 3 hours of video in FX. With FH, I'd get about 4 hours, so I'd still need another card, just not as big of one. I was tring to prevent having to buy more storage and also timing the "changing of the cards" during the performance. The card slot on this cam is on the under side so I will probably have to unmount from the tripod to swap cards.
"FX" should show "24 Mbps" where "FH" is a lower 17Mbps bitrate - shoot the higher bitrate - more data=better resolution and motion capture, Yes, it uses more card space (more data=more space), but cards are cheap, 8G and 16G SDHC cards are pretty cheap nowdays. Yes, you'll end up "tossing" (more accurately "interpolating" down) most of the added data before you finally burn to DVD, but the better the image quality at each stage in the workflow, the better the final render/burn.

I was going to go check the CX160 manual, looks like others have already, and as I feared, the lower end Sony doesn't have many of the settings/adjustments that we are all used to on the "5xx" series cams many of us use for their size and versatility....

Your description of the prior video is "blown out" - i.e. badly overexposed... this is where those of us familiar with Sonys tend to use the AE shift function to lower the exposure a couple notches, which helps avoid this... spotlight mode, if you have it, should also help. What happened is the cameras, left to their own decisions, looked a the overall scene, and since I'll bet there was LOTS of black background, they tried to bring that "up", thus overexposing the stuff that was SUPPOSED to be properly exposed... Your CX160 should have "face recognition" - turn it on, it will also help- if it can find a face, it will adjust exposure and WB automatically to it... which may or may not help with wide shots where faces may not be easily seen - it should work great on closeups, although dramatic lighting can throw the AWB a curve ball...

You'll need to flip the LCD open and go through the available functions and menus options. I'd concur with Adam that iAuto may be your best bet - the firmware algorithms in these cams are usually fairly accurate, and far faster than you could manually adjust them... won't be 'perfect", but likely faster than the average camera op (myself included!)

I fear that the CX160 (and probably the XR version) strip out so many features and capabilities that it's going to be tough to adjust adequately... BUT the newer Sony handycams tend to have good "lattitude" (handle high to low lighting range in a frame) fairly well. That small CMOS chip is also going to struggle with lower light, I'd go ahead and turn lo lux mode on if it has it (you probably have to set it as on the CX550's it "resets" after a few hours to "off"...). Again, I concur with Adam on getting a used 500/520/550 series camera - you'll be happier with the results, although your wallet will be less happy... you can pick up a used CX500 for around $500 (I may be selling one of mine if you're interested), and it's got the bigger CMOS and most of the menu options/adjustments.

If "last year's video" was as bad as you say, you still may well come out ahead of the game - while the lower end consumer cams have pretty severe limitations, they also have a lot of "idiot proof" improvements and features that give pretty impressive results when compared to cameras from even a few years ago...

I started out with pretty cheap consumer cameras, so I totally understand where you're at, just be forewarned, you'll likely find the limitations fairly quickly and want to upgrade your gear <wink>! We'll all be here for support when you joint GA (gearheads anonymous)... "Hi Brad, welcome, I'm Dave, and I have a gear addiction..."

Best of luck, I think we all would drop in with gear and a helping hand if we were in the neighborhod, but we'll give as much "remote advise" as we can!
Dave Blackhurst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old May 11th, 2011, 02:59 PM   #30
Inner Circle
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Woodinville, WA USA
Posts: 3,464
Re: Amateur Recital Video Production

Quote:
Originally Posted by Garrett Low View Post
A lot of newer boards have the ability built in to record the house feed to a usb drive. I just did a show in a church auditorium of all places that had a board that did that. It was really easy for the sound tech to just pop in a usb thumb drive and give me the wave files.
But, um, er, isn't that just a more complicated way to just borrow the original files? He can just hand you the original source. Why take ten steps when one would do?
__________________
"It can only be attributable to human error... This sort of thing has cropped up before, and it has always been due to human error."
Adam Gold is offline   Reply
Reply

DV Info Net refers all where-to-buy and where-to-rent questions exclusively to these trusted full line dealers and rental houses...

Professional Video
(800) 833-4801
Portland, OR

B&H Photo Video
(866) 521-7381
New York, NY

Z.G.C.
(973) 335-4460
Mountain Lakes, NJ

Abel Cine Tech
(888) 700-4416
N.Y. NY & L.A. CA

Precision Camera
(800) 677-1023
Austin, TX

DV Info Net also encourages you to support local businesses and buy from an authorized dealer in your neighborhood.
  You are here: DV Info Net > Special Interest Areas > Wedding / Event Videography Techniques

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

 



Google
 

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 09:09 PM.


DV Info Net -- Real Names, Real People, Real Info!
1998-2017 The Digital Video Information Network