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


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Old May 8th, 2012, 08:37 AM   #1
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tight circle on the dance floor

Hello All,
I missed a shot at a wedding last Friday and I want to ask if anyone else has encountered this problem. Low light reception, shooting on the 50mm 1.4 lens on the 7D (because it's my best low light lens). Suddenly, a tight circle formed in the middle of the dance floor and two members of the bridal party really boogied down. It was very hectic, people shoving into me, stepping in front of the camera.....I wound up with some brief shots, not ideal. The bride is very disappointed.

So, have any of you encountered difficulties shooting this kind of action? Any suggestions?

I've just gotten the Sigma 20mm 1.8, which should help. But most of the problem is the excited crowd and the unpredictable action. Is this a common issue?

KC
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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:06 AM   #2
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

I have two suggestions that may help in the future:

1. Become part of that tight circle as it forms...if you can (easier said than done sometimes).

2. Elevate yourself with a chair or risers from head table, etc. and get a birds eye view of the dance floor.

I've done both of these options and had great results.

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Originally Posted by Keaton Clark View Post
But most of the problem is the excited crowd and the unpredictable action. Is this a common issue?

KC
I would say that it's quite common for guests to be unpredictable on the dance floor at a reception. All you can do is try to predict what's about to happen and then adapt as quickly as you can to the situation.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 10:11 AM   #3
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

Here in my neck of the woods, is too common for people to do that exact same thing. I got fed up because it is understandeable that if they let the cameramen outside the circle, he will be seeing (and recording) only other peopleīs backs, and still brides donīt understand why the shot is not par to their expectations.

So you may need to start educating your brides abouth physics laws and the opacity of bodies, because thereīs not much you can do about it unless...

You are over 6ī like myself (Iīm 6ī4"). When the circle starts, I try to quickly enter it before it gets closed. If Iīm not succesful, I just extend my arm in the air and record from there. Not the best angle but the only approach in this kind of situations.

Or you can use a crane, or a balcony to get the shot. I donīt recommend the chair approach unless you want to risk being throw from it by drunk guests and land on somebody else.

Either way is a really common nuissance when people do this. Even for the photog.

Cheers!

Alex
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Old May 8th, 2012, 01:40 PM   #4
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

Alex hit it right on in that you have to become part of the circle right from the get-go. It's a tough situation sometimes but one of the key things we need to do is anticipation. No doubt, what we do is hard. If for any reason I dont get in the circle I extend my monopod (561bhdv) and tilt the camera down. This usually works.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 05:37 PM   #5
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

I use a monopod during dances. Mount a camera on monopod, get your exposure right, flip your monitor down towards the floor & extend monopod. Rest the monopod on you leg/belt or get a fishing pole support. I get my best footage this way & good clearance of about 2 meters. I usually have a LED on my camera to add some fill light.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 05:50 PM   #6
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

The Canon 24mm 1.4 would be my goto lens for that kind of situation. In your case, the Sigma 20mm 1.8 would do the same trick. I would simply go with the 561bhdv and get inside the circle. There's always a little gap to let you in (or you can simply join the party and slowly get inside the circle)

The other way would be to extend your monopod way up and get an overshoulder view of the circle. This is when a 60D becomes handy as you can tilt the LCD screen to see what you're shooting.
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Old May 8th, 2012, 09:03 PM   #7
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

Thank you all so, so much. Very helpful feedback. I really appreciate it. I will try all of these great ideas.

KC
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Old May 9th, 2012, 08:16 AM   #8
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

I can back up the mono pod approach. I've used that in many different situations and once you have it steady it can get some nice angles.
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Old May 9th, 2012, 09:14 AM   #9
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

It is common to find wearable sports cams on these jobs? The resulting footage may require some stabilization but you could (at least in theory) wear a camera and hold one as well.
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Old May 10th, 2012, 10:15 PM   #10
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

first off, if you're using the 50 1.4 or any very low aperture lens in that situation it can be tough. I use the 16-35 2.8 on 5d on a monopod and get great overhead shots of these kinds all the time. second, I've never had a bride disappointed that I missed one very particular dancing shot. sounds like an odd situation.
Bill
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Old May 13th, 2012, 04:24 AM   #11
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Re: tight circle on the dance floor

Agreed, the 16-35mm f2.8 on the 5D is superb lens and great for close dancing.

Steve
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