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

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Old November 21st, 2006, 04:07 AM   #1
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Filiming an Awards Ceremony!

Hey Guys I know this is a wedding forum but im wondering if anyone has any pointers in filming an awards type ceremonies? Itís taking place in a big hall with a purpose built stage. Only thing is ive been told were going have to shoot from the very back, the room is going be pretty dark but apparently the stage is going be well lit. Im just a bit worried that the camera might not pick up enough light from the stage cause were so far back? Im using a Panasonic DVX 100 as the lock down camera and a Z1 as a roving camera. Any pointers would be much apprciated . Cheers.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 01:07 PM   #2
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I just shot one. My biggest problem was it was a 1 cam shoot, so the tape change made me miss some of the awards. To get around this I used an Iriver mic to capture all the audio and put some table shot inserts where the tape change occured.

This worked well.

However in hindsight I should have used 2 iriver mics at the podium (one on each side) because often the speaker moves to one side and continues to talk as the awards are given out.

Also, the awards were given out during the dinner, so I could not use the on camera mic.

I could have also plugged into the sound system but the I don't trust the sound guy.

The picture looked great and was easy to shoot. It's the audio that may take some planning.

What mics are you using?
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Old November 21st, 2006, 02:34 PM   #3
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I do a lot of 1 camera shoot seminars and it's about the same. I wouldn't worry about the light-if the stage is lit up you should be OK-set the exposure and unless they get cute with the lighting you should be fine. As for audio, I've always plugged into the sound board but have on occasion also run a wireless lav on the podium. The on cam mic is generally useless in this type of situation. For tapes since you can't run full size tapes, run 80s and watch the schedule of events closely. The iRiver is a good idea that way you'll have the audio and can place some B footage into the tape change.
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Old November 21st, 2006, 03:43 PM   #4
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I did a two cam awards ceremony shoot earlier in the year with both XL2's. As long as the stage is well lit (lighting truss), you'll be fine. I wasn't worried about getting audio as this was a two cam live switch to large projector screens.

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Old November 21st, 2006, 05:25 PM   #5
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This post may be perceived as longer than necessary. My apoloigies.

Use manual exposure for both cameras. Once both cameras are turned on and recording, stay away from the pause buttons. Makes synching in post a lot easier.
Stage lighting shouldn't change for the duration. If it does, so what? Ask the lighting person to allow a lot of spill off of the stage, i.e., ask to not have the shutters framed along the edge of the stage. You will need this to allow a smooth lighting transition for the receipients as they walk up the stage steps from the house to get their awards. That is assuming there aren't enough stage lights to properly light the stage in the first place. A properly equipped facility (rare) will have lighting instruments dedicated to light the access stairs.

The mobile camera should have at least two exposure settings either programmed in the camera itself or in the camera operator's mind. One for on stage, the other for off stage.
Follow spot being used for identifying receipients? Does that instrument use a quartz lamp or a xenon lamp? Quartz lamps are around 3200 degrees Kelvin, Xenons approach daylight of 5000 degrees Kelvin, so have a couple of preset white balances ready. Some adjustment is also available in post regarding the white balance.

Audio feed should come from the house system. It is easier that way. However, be prepared for a "ground loop". This is where there is a primary electrical power feed in to the earth ground. The voltage is usually not significant, but it still has the feed frequency, which can infect your audio with an annoying buzz. The simple solution is to isolate the electrical power feed to your equipment with what I call a "ground lifter". This is in an inexpensive ($.50 - $.75 US) device which is designed to match old two wire electrical systems to the safer three wire systems by attaching the earth ground to the neutral via a mechanical connection. If you do not make the machanical connection the annoying buzz usually disapepars. It is a simple process, but a stand-alone audio connection (iRiver or something similar is a prudent backup).

If your camera has XLR audio connections, ask for an XLR mic feed. If not, ask for a record out feed. These are nice because almost all house systems have this feature using a RCA connection. It is usually pre-master fader on the house mixing board, so is not affected by the necessary house EQ tweaks. The downside is that RCA Record Out feeds are high impedance and lose integrity quickly, sometimes a little as a 20 foot cable length. For vocals, this may not be much of an issue.

The iRiver or other stand-alone recording system is always a good idea. A wireless mic (direct to your camera) on the podium is also good. The more mics on the podium (lectern) the more it looks like a press conference. Feeds corporate ego.

The biggest stumbling block with awards presentations is getting good audio. Knowing how the ceremony is planned to be conducted is most important. You need to converse with the sponsoring organizations's representative in this regard. Losing an important comment is tragic. Losing an inappropriate comment is easy in post. Make sure you have the floor covered.

Think the task through before it starts and it becomes easy.
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 03:12 AM   #6
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Cheers guys. I'm using two wireless senns for the sound. I'll try tap into the in house system if thatís not possible I'll tape my lav mics to the main podium mics. I'll also stick a riffle on the roving Z1 to pick up ambient sound although its internal mic is very good.

This may sound like a stupid question but how do you tap into their sound system, will their be a long lead going from my cam to the in house system??
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Old November 22nd, 2006, 08:55 AM   #7
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If there's going to be a full dress rehearsal, you might want to stop by to talk with the lighting guy, the sound guy, and get some test video and audio with your equipment.
Tom T
Mac Pro, Final Cut Studio 2, CS2, Merlin, DVRigPro, VX2100s, HV30
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