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

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Old July 16th, 2006, 02:48 PM   #16
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: california
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hello kell,

most of my shots are in a theater settings.
1 man, 1 camera only
setup between the rows (most of the time) i take a total of 6 seats, 3 per row, a little bit of center (don't like to do center head ons)
tripot, 7" lcd monitor on camera, bogen lanc control, 14" field monitor in front of me, headphones, if available feed from sound board, if not, on board mic. power from the house, batt ready just in case.
some of the theaters in the bay are have a videographers spot, most dont. if possible i also use a wheelchair spot, which is a big risk, you may have to move on short notice!
the boxoffice has to know where you are, so they don't sell your seats.

did a ethnic dance comp. 2 weeks ago, there was no rehearsal, no sound or light rehearsal. what a disaster. on top that they had mostly spot lighting,(amber and yellow!) their costumes were, bright colors, reflective!!!!
i have a canon xl1-s, which does not takes amber very well.!
i told the ad about my lighting concerns.

the program was about 45 min ea. with about 8 differend dances and major light/ color changes per dance. the sound manager promised a feed, but showed up late, there was no time anymore to set it up, used my onboard mic.

over the years i have learned that it is very hard to get near the "perfect" lighting while doing live shots. since it is not a video production, it's a live shot.

and yes you're right, there is the worry all the time something can happens.
keep a setting log, (i also record colorbar and settings at the beginning of the the tape)
i have done only 2-3 balkony shots (don't like the angle) lense is in manual, zoom in, set focus and i am fine. no sutten zooming to avoid hunting.
use the av set.: set the iris, but let the camera do the shutter.

just go for it, everything will be fine.

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Old July 16th, 2006, 03:21 PM   #17
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Location: USA
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Oh, well.

Well an unexepected turn of events - I had some complications this morning from a medical issue I've been having and was unable to attend. I'm very disappointed but it was something over which I didn't have any control. After all this work! She's a friend and she knew of the issue so she was understanding when I called her and told her I was ill. It's a little better now - I will just need to spend today home recovering as I'm still a little shaky. Fortunately this is something that I should be able to work around in the future, but it has been a problem before. Just very, very bad timing. I was up till two am reading the board, practicing with functions on my camera, etc and had plans to go back and correct some of the issues today.

There was one parent in the audience who was shooting along with me and I may be able to contact him to get his video, and maybe between the two of us we can put together something that will work. Otherwise it may be a case of live and learn. I certainly did learn a lot. I wonder if the theater would let me do more shows for practice. It was really good experience nonetheless, even if a bit ill-fated. The good thing is it did get me to take my attention off the computer for a little while and to take the camera out of the closet and start shooting. So it's a beginning. And it showed me clearly where my weaknesses are so I can address them.

I'm going back to bed now, just wanted to post back and say thank you to everyone who gave me such valuable advice. If there is more to add please keep it coming, because I'll use it for the next project. And trying to fix this beast in post may even prove to be more of a lesson than the shooting.

These threads stay on the board a long time, don't they? maybe someday I will be able to look back on it and laugh. Right now I'm just disappointed and p*ssed.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 04:07 PM   #18
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Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Olathe, Kansas
Posts: 309
Hi Kell,

Sorry to hear of your Med issue. I missed a big Horse Show on the July 4th wkend due to banging up my right foot at home. I could barely walk for a wk.

Stuff happens.

The idea on the Manual Focus is to do it at the far end of what you intend to Video. So, back of stage (in front of main curtain where folks perform) to the far right or left (unless everyone does their thing in the middle), and then most everything in between will be in Focus (unless you do a close-up on something much closer to you, like I had 2 performers come half way down into the audience on last shoot).

The more you do the easier it gets.

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Old July 16th, 2006, 07:02 PM   #19
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Welcome suggestions on situations that will build these skills

Sorry to hear about your foot!
I'm fine, disappointed but in the long run this will prove to be a good experience. It's possible myself and the parent who was shooting can save it in post.
Along the lines of a chain being only as strong as its weakest link, I'm going to use this to sit back and assess the strengths and weaknesses in my shooting. Then come up with a plan for what type of events to video to strengthen those areas.

As far as I can see, what's strong:

- I have a good eye for how something should be framed, for light and shadow, and for what makes a good shot. so the basic photog ability is there. The difficulty was that it was kind of hard to see what I was doing in that little viewfinder screen so it might be worth it to invest in some kind of extenstion, if they make it.
- Good ability for honest self-assessment and learning from mistakes, and good attitude. A lot of bounce-back and determination.

Problem areas:

- I was klutzy with the camera - moves weren't smooth enough on the fly when things were changing.

- I really didn't know my equipment - where things are etc- esp. in the dark theater . i"ve only used it a few times and was relying on my eyes which didn't help once the lights were out. And there was an issue with the mic that had I known more about it, it would not have tripped me up.

- Along that line, haven't yet learned how to use the manual functions - clearly from my posts I don't know the proper ways to use manual focus - but also, lack knowledge in issues around focal length, lenses, how to really use the manual functions in that area, etc. Most of the exposure was good, but there were things such as white shirts showing in the zebra pattern, and I really didn't know what to do so I left it alone.

- It was a good chance to learn what I needed to bring with and have ready, stuff like tape, a flashlight etc.

- Since things were changing a lot, my follow was slightly slow in that things changed and I reacted -- kid jumps out of shot but I wasn't really thinking ahead and anticipating well enough what might happen. I could have been wider and ready for it.

- I wasn't really clear on where to be with the camera, what shots to get, etc. There was no clear plan or forethought until I wrote out some storyboards.

- I relied on the autofocus and autoiris because it was the only thing I knew to do - but I really want to master all the functions so I have total control over the camera. Being inexperienced the natural tendency is to play it safe, but what I want to do is intentinally challenge myself by setting up situations that will put me out of the comfort zone and shape me as a photographer.

- I missed shots when I had to focus on other things, such as riding the audio level, or looking for a button on the camera, etc.
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Old July 16th, 2006, 07:18 PM   #20
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Get well soon.

As to focus. When using manual fucus. The area of acceptably sharp focus is 1/3 in front of absolute focus and 2/3s behind. Thus if you focused on a human face generally you would focus on the eyes as the nose protudes about 1/3 in front of the eyes and the ears and parts of the hair are often about 2/3s behind depending on the angle of the head. This holds true with any camera lens on any camera. So you would zoom in as far as your lens will allow, focus 1/3 of the way into the stage to have as much of the stage in focus as possible. Leave the focus then pull your zoom back out to make your crop.

Said another way, if the stage is 60' deep you would focus 20' in. I'm speeking of deep not the width of the stage. The 60' would be measured from the point the actors are most close to the fans to the point they are most far from the fans as those two points are the only ones you are generally concerned with.

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