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


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Old March 7th, 2012, 10:50 AM   #1
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Stage Events - starting over

I do several stage event jobs each year and would like to expand that part of my business. I have a couple old JVC-DV500 (Standard Def 4:3) cameras with zoom controllers and on-camera monitors so they're set up like studio cameras. I run those through firewire to a Datavideo SE800 DV switcher.

If I were to start over with new cameras and switcher - what should I get? I see Black magic makes a really cool new product that you can use with a laptop - ATEM 1. I don't know if there is any point in getting HD switching equipment since all I sell in the foreseeable future is DVD's.

Thanks.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 11:07 AM   #2
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Sorry Geoffrey, just re-read your post and see that you are talking about getting new cameras.

Last edited by George Kilroy; March 7th, 2012 at 11:36 AM. Reason: missread the thread.
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Old March 7th, 2012, 12:00 PM   #3
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

And switcher.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 08:48 AM   #4
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Would any of these cameras make since as a stage-event camera?

Sony NEX-FS100UK Super 35mm Sensor Camcorder - advantages - new technology, good low light
Sony HVR-S270U - advantages - could find used, real manual lens
Sony PMW-EX1R XDCAM - could be found used
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Old March 8th, 2012, 09:20 AM   #5
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

As long as the lens is remotely controllable by wire from the
tripod pan handles -- I don't think the FS100 qualifies, does it?
There are lots of good choices, though -- the Sony S270, the
new Panasonic AG-AC160 and AC130, the Canon XF series, etc.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:13 AM   #6
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

To Chris's list, I would also add the Sony NX5/AX2000 cams for controllable units.

A couple of things I am not clear about. First, are your stage events on reasonably lit theatrical stages or small club or cabaret productions where you may be working with extremely red "effect" lighting or very dim stages? Second, are you looking at the ATEM-1, or something similar, for remotely operating several cameras from a single location or would it be for making live mix recordings?

I ask these questions because, depending on what you want to do and how you want to do it, you may have some additional options for camera choices when shooting for DVD or similar kinds of post-performance program delivery. From other threads, you will find that a number of us work with a mix of controlled and locked-down cameras. As long as you get cameras in the same lines, they will mix pretty well. Plus, with delivery being to DVD, you can adjust the framing from the locked-down cams while editing and do so without a noticeable loss in quality. (Obviously, this kind of adjustment will not be noticeable when going from HD to standard DVD, but has to be more limited when delivering in HD formats.)

By way of example, you could get a couple of Canon XF cams to run with monitors and controllers for close-ups and tracking action while also running a couple of much less expensive XA10 or GH cams for full stage views and cut-away shots. Or, you could pair Sony EX cams or NX5 cams with, say, locked down CX700 cams. For a couple of years now, I have been running NX5 & CX550v cams. I set the CX cams in manual focus for productions where lights go to black between numbers (otherwise, the cams will hunt for focus as the lights come back up) but otherwise rely on their very capable automatic functions such as face focus and auto exposure. I adjust the auto exposure (AE) settings in the menu, generally following suggestions posted by Ron Evans (who works with an EX, an NX5 and some CX cams including a CX700). This combination yields excellent DVDs.

It does require some computer horsepower and editing software, and that will add to the cost of upgrading by as much or more than the cost of, say, an ATEM-1 mixer. But, you can dispense with some cabling and the set-up and protection hassles of running to a mixer. If you do not already have it, you will need a newer computer system (newer CPU, RAM, Video Card, Hard Disks, and multi-cam NLE software) in order to work with multi-camera AVCHD or high mbps Mpeg2.

You may already have budgeted for this, and I mention this only because it sometimes get overlooked that perfectly capable DV systems cannot cope with AVCHD.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 11:59 AM   #7
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

I think there are some viable choices in the range of the Sony NX5U and Panasonic HVX200, HPX170, or any number of other SDI out compact ENG style cams. I've used the Sonys in a variety of situations but you need to be careful of the lens aperture - it's variable during zoom. The Pannys dont have that problem, but they shoot in DVCPro. If thats not an issue (and it wasn't to us) then they are a great deal. Light, compact, good skin tones, and decent in low light. You will have to invest in P2 cards for non-live stuff however, so thats something to consider.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 12:47 PM   #8
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
To Chris's list, I would also add the Sony NX5/AX2000 cams for controllable units.

A couple of things I am not clear about. First, are your stage events on reasonably lit theatrical stages or small club or cabaret productions where you may be working with extremely red "effect" lighting or very dim stages? Second, are you looking at the ATEM-1, or something similar, for remotely operating several cameras from a single location or would it be for making live mix recordings?

.
Stage events on very sophisticated, well lit, high school auditoriums.

I'm looking at the ATEM-1 switcher or whatever, to switch between 2 or 3 cameras, 1 of which would be manned. I record this live mix to a compact flash card and make DVD's at the event or at home the next day (depending on the type of event). No post production editing.

I know there is such a thing as remote controlled cameras, but I don't think I'd want to invest in cameras that would have no other use.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 12:50 PM   #9
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay West View Post
To Chris's list, I would also add the Sony NX5/AX2000 cams for controllable units.

By way of example, you could get a couple of Canon XF cams to run with monitors and controllers for close-ups and tracking action while also running a couple of much less expensive XA10 or GH cams for full stage views and cut-away shots.
How do you remote control a Canon XF camera?
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Old March 8th, 2012, 01:10 PM   #10
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

With any one of these:

Remote Controls - Video | Manfrotto

Or Canon's:

Canon ZR-2000 Zoom Remote Control 0973B002 B&H Photo Video
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Old March 8th, 2012, 01:24 PM   #11
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Those are just tripod mounted zoom controllers - which I would want to have on my tripod. I thought you were talking about remotely controlling a camera on the other side of the room - pan, tilt, zoom, etc.
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Old March 8th, 2012, 02:00 PM   #12
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Sorry, but in my post above, I did say control the lens from the tripod pan handle.

Although if you want remote PTZ you can look into heads like this one: EZ Head Lite
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Old March 21st, 2014, 09:21 AM   #13
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Lot's of good information. I want to thank you all for helping me think this through.

Now let me ask this: Would a Panasonic AG-AF101 be an appropriate camera for stage events? It has HD SDI out but the depth of field would be narrow, at least in low light. I think I understand there are powered zooms available but I wonder how I would handle focus? Would this setup have a good auto-focus or better yet, a tripod mounted, manual focus capabilities?

I'm moving to a Panasonic GH3 for weddings and thought the AF101 might be a good partner camera.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 11:08 AM   #14
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Something like this might fit the bill perfectly.

Amazon.com: CANON 15x HX6 J15x9.5B4 IRS 9.5-143mm TV ZOOM LENS: Camera & Photo

I assume I could find a focus block enabling me to use my manual focus controller.
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Old March 21st, 2014, 02:12 PM   #15
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Re: Stage Events - starting over

Geoffrey, this might be it: VariZoom VZFGBC | Canon Focus Gear Box
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