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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 9th, 2011, 07:17 AM   #16
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

John, I would never run without an unmanned camera. It takes the stress out of the shoot, it doesn't add to it, and it gives you the freedom to do what you need to do with your zoom from the rear.

I shot dozens of four camera weddings alone over this past wedding season, now that can be stressful. The Christmas thing was the simplest (and most fun) thing I've ever shot.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 9th, 2011 at 08:29 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:02 AM   #17
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

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Originally Posted by John Wiley View Post
I've just returned from shooting a dance concert.

One idea I have though about lately, and I'm thinking of suggesting this to the client, is to setup a small unmanned camera down the front on either side of the stage, shooting at full wide. I think this would give a really interesting perspective, breaking up the monotony of the flat-looking images you get from right up the back of the theatre. The wider angle and perspective would allow for everone to be in the shot, but have a few dancers 'featured' in a way by being closer to the camera.
I've covered armature productions for over 10 years and this is the way I cover live stage performances.
Two Sony CX550 one either side of the stage, the wide angle gives full cover and the small size is unobtrusive, hardly anyone realises that they are there. I then have two JVC HM700 at the back, one locked off on full stage and I 'drive' the other one for cropping to the number of performers on stage. This works a treat as I can get all of the performance in shot at any time. All of the schools and dance companies I work with want all performers in for most of the time as to sell to the maximum number of parents they must be able to see everyone, not just the 'stars'. On the first ones that I did when I started I tried to be very creative, with lots of close ups and fast editing, but everyone came back to say that that missed too much of the production view. I now keep it simple. I keep the 'creative' work for the promos that a few of the schools have commissioned over the years.

I've just completed one that I shot this morning and I'm out to another one this evening. This work has really boosted my income for the quieter months of November and December, and to be honest I'd rather these than weddings at this time of the year as they're all in heated auditoriums rather than draughty churches.

Last edited by George Kilroy; December 9th, 2011 at 09:40 AM.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:19 AM   #18
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Some really good info coming down. I have three yearly events for a school. Basically I charge them a flat rate and they sell the individual DVDs. Something I've been doing for almost 10 years now for them. They only want to pay for 1 camera and have been happy with my style and what I produce. That being said, I always shoot with an unmanned back-up camera on a stage full wide-shot. I record that directly to an external DVD burner and give them the copies right after the event is over. Basically I call it the choreographer copy of the event. My first year for them I did 3 recitals in a row. Back then I just had a Canon GL-1 and no back up. With no external recorder I was trying to conserve tape by stopping and starting the recording. They had long enough breaks between dances. Near the very end, I double punched the recording button and my eye said your recording. Of course it was the cutest littlest kids ever that I missed. Boy that about crushed me. Since that day I always have a back-up even if was a low quality. Something is better than nothing.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:31 AM   #19
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Yeah, the backup cam is a no-brainer, at least for me too.

My DSLR down front is a wide angle, and then with the proper video camera from the rear I would get a closeup of four kids faces at a time, hold the shot for 5 or 10 secs, then move to the next group of four, and go down the line to get them all. In editing I cut to the wide angle during pans and then I have at least one clear shot of the faces of all the performers, and still have a shot of the entire stage at all times.

The idea of recording to a DVD burner is brilliant, but then I couldn't edit, which would bum me out.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:51 AM   #20
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

What I have done is record to tape on the back-up recorder and then send a A/V out to the DVD recorder. That way I have something that I can edit on the camera and quick DVD for them. It just depends on your cameras.
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Old December 9th, 2011, 09:55 AM   #21
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

I see. Doubly brilliant!
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Old December 9th, 2011, 08:18 PM   #22
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Hi Jeff

I run opposite to you!! I have one camera at the back set to fill the stage with a wide shot and also I get a feed from the desk which is also at the back....this essentially gives me the whole rectital/concert from start to end.
I then have my second cam (with me on it) usually at left front of the stage to shoot all the close ups which takes the monotomy from the wide track... I usually have an assistant on the back camera who simply watches it more than anything else!!

I'll probably have some more comments after the 20th!! These guys are also having an awards ceremony for both dance groups (seniors and juniors) so I would suspect that I could zoom up the back camera a bit to a medium shot as the group will probably only be two people for individual awards ..that's the raer cam operator's job!!

I like your thinking George...weddings involve lot's of rushing around to the bride's house, groom's house, church, photo venues and reception which is time and effort whereas the events you do need just one setup!!! I'm hoping to get a few more gigs like this if they enjoy the footage!!

Chris
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Old December 10th, 2011, 09:52 AM   #23
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Jeff,
In my current setup I do already run a wide camera on full stage from the rear - it'd be crazy not to! However what I'm considering is adding an extra unmanned camera and shooting them from either side down the front. This would get everybody in the shot still, but would be a far more interesting shot than a front on. Also give you a great way to show a little more of those kids who a regularly shoved to the side (ie the weaker dancers).

George,
Do you have side camera's right down the front? Are they on tripods or something else like a Magic Clamp? Do you encounter any problems with that particular angle (like people getting lost behind curtains or seeing people waiting sidestage too much? I really want to try this out and seee how much better it looks than one wide camera from the rear. I just need to get an extra camera!
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Old December 10th, 2011, 10:07 AM   #24
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Hi John.
There is no one particular way that I set up, the set-up depends on the location and the type of production. For instance this week I've shot school concerts, dance shows and a formal presentation. One was performed on the floor in a small room, for that I set the cameras high on heavy duty lighting stands with a pan/tilt head to get the right angle. I then set these as high as possible looking down across the performance area. The lighting stands have a smaller footprint than a tripod so are less intrusive so less noticeable. Another was in a school gym where the cameras were at head hight clamped to bars either side of the performance as this gave less of a security camera look. The dance shows were on a traditional stage, for that I set them on low tripods at stage height angled up. This is not a very flattering shot for drama or presentation but for dance the feet and leg movement is important and they always love those shots. I set the cameras so that the tabs are at the edge of the frame so don't usually loose anyone behind the curtains and because they are at stage floor height they don't block anyone's view or distract from the performance.

Last edited by George Kilroy; December 10th, 2011 at 11:42 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2011, 11:14 AM   #25
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

What I'm thinking for my next one is dividing the stage with two wide angles (down front) to overlap, set and forget. Then run main camera from the rear to capture entire stage and center, and for zooming on occasion for solos and small groups. Wide angle from the rear like you do Chris would be great, but I'd like a closer shot to get better shot of the faces.

Last edited by Jeff Harper; December 11th, 2011 at 04:18 AM.
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Old December 10th, 2011, 08:43 PM   #26
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

I'm sorry for soiling this lovely discussion...
but I thought copyright issues were at stake when videotaping the music in the dance recitals, in concerts, and with or without music in otherwise dramatic performances?
I got concerned videotaping for distribution the Christmas and Spring concerts by our school's choir, band and orhestra, and also got cold feet on a rather lengthy musical children's play that was put on one time. Then there was a Christmas Carol performance that I started to rethink. Have my concerns been well founded or no? I haven't heard mention here (like I have in similar threads) of the copyright concern for dance recitals like in the OP.
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Old December 11th, 2011, 03:37 AM   #27
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Here in the UK we can buy a Limited Manufacture Licence, aim specifically at videographers who record and distribute amateur and semi-pro productions. The terms allow for various performance durations and numbers of copies.
For anyone who is interested here is a link:
Limited Manufacture Licence
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Old December 11th, 2011, 04:22 AM   #28
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Thanks for the reminder about copyright issues.
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Old December 11th, 2011, 06:37 AM   #29
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Quote:
Originally Posted by George Kilroy View Post
Here in the UK we can buy a Limited Manufacture Licence, aim specifically at videographers who record and distribute amateur and semi-pro productions. The terms allow for various performance durations and numbers of copies.
For anyone who is interested here is a link:
Limited Manufacture Licence
sigh... again, why the HECK doesn't the US have provisions like this? ARGH!
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Old December 12th, 2011, 07:44 AM   #30
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Multicam concerts gives it that extra oomph on production value. I hope to be able to do that at my next concert gig. Most important is to show the dance in full and also the performer's expressions if you can.
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