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Mark Stavar October 7th, 2008 02:31 AM

Multi-camera dance recital shoot
Looking for opinions on how well suited the HVX-202 is for shooting dance concerts. E.g. how well do they handle:

1. Lighting that is all over the place

2. Will probably need to use auto-focus most/all of the time

3. Lots of movement of camera (pans and zooms) as well as subjects

All feedback greatly appreciated.



Noah Kadner October 7th, 2008 09:08 AM

I don't see why auto focus is necessary- as it never, ever looks professionally acceptable. Get an on-board monitor so you can manually focus. And if all the action's on stage you're not going to have much variance in focus anyway you'll be able to get it right manually and probably leave it there for a while. As for the camera's suitability- sure. Might even be overkill depending on how much you're getting paid. :)


Paul R Johnson October 7th, 2008 12:01 PM

Auto-focus will be dreadful - the problem will be that people will be zapping in and out of the frame, maybe you are looking at a group of dancers at the rear, but as soon as somebody moves into the autofocus area, the lens romps off and you lose the entire rear, then by the time the foreground is sharp, the damn dancers have gone, leaving the lens to hunt about again to restore the rear. On top of this, you will possibly have coloured lighting, which again will really make a mess of the autofocus system. reds and deep blue - two common saturated colours in dance will fool the camera big time! All your 'lots of movement' will be in and out of focus.

I do lots of dance, from amateur to Strictly Ballroom Dancing, and what you need to do is zoom in on something mid stage depth, as use this as your focus datum - small adjustments from this point in and out. The other thing may be that you will have to use manual iris too, pulsating lighting means that sometimes the cameras can not keep up and the image pulses up and down, but lagging behind.
If you are worried about focus, unless the lighting levels are really low it shouldn't be too much bother

Mark Donnell October 8th, 2008 05:07 PM

I agree completely with Paul - autofocus is a big mistake with something like a dance or sports event. The HVX, in my hands, is just marginal for indoor shooting without good lighting. You'll want to use a 1/60 shutter, and may need a +6 gain up for the best results.

Mark Stavar October 8th, 2008 05:11 PM

thanks to all for your feedback.

Much appreciated.


Tom Klein October 9th, 2008 05:16 PM

Hi Mark,
If you have a budget Hire a Bigger Better camera with a better lens, stage performances can be a huge difficult challenge, with a smaller camera and limited lens control it can be a Nightmare. plus, audio can be difficult too if the performers don't use mics.
lots of pitfalls, but if you do it right, lots of back slapping.
Tom K

Jerry Wiese January 7th, 2009 07:10 PM

My favorite topic! I do dance pretty much exclusively. Part time, of course. I do have a fair amount of experience with stage shows and different cameras.

First, NO AUTO FOCUS! One of the biggest problems other than those already stated is the inevitable BLACKOUT. Nothing looks worse than the lights coming up to a big blur slowly coming into focus. Paul is right-- set your focus on a spot in the center of the stage where most of the action will occur. If you do a fixed wide shot/moving close up shot like I typically do, the wide shot will rarely ever need adjustment-- maybe just a little zoom change. You can adjust the closeup on the fly. Also, try to find a camera with peaking to help you see when the subject is in focus. Usually a color such as red, blue or yellow that shows up around the edges of the subject in sharp focus.

Unless this is one time only, invest in better gear. Better equipment translates into better quality and more sales! I went from consumer Sony HC1 and HC3 to 2 Sony HVR-V1Us to 2 Sony PMW-EX1s over the course of 3 years. The quality is amazing, and they are great in dim lighting-- which also happens a lot in dance performances. I now produce Blu-ray as well as super high quality DVD, and people appreciate the clarity and the fact that they can actually see their dancers' faces.

TingSern Wong January 9th, 2009 10:15 AM

The new HPX172 might be able to do that for you. It has far better low light ability than the HVX202 plus excellent manual focusing aid.

I tested the HPX172 - and completely agree with the others that the HPX172 is far less noisy than the HVX202 plus it is more sensitive to low light too.

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