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Old September 21st, 2017, 06:10 PM   #1
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Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Just wondering what people think of the overall lighting from these clips? I exposed the children for the harsh spotlights, but due to very large gaps between the lights they got darker when not under direct light. I tried to compromise as best as I could. I used the XF300 for the closer shots, and an unmanned, stationary XF100 for the wide view.


Any feedback appreciated.

Thanks
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 05:06 PM   #2
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

IMHO it looks a bit underexposed. I'd maybe open it up a stop or two, or bump up the gain. Understandably there seems to be a big spotlight location on stage, but alot of the shots the dancers don't seem to encounter it.
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 06:03 PM   #3
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

I agree with David !
When the camera "sees" that huge black background it should actually over-expose but it's done the opposite so one has to ask did you expose manually?? Yeah I would have gone one stop up as well if it was available ... I will often see what an auto exposure looks like before they start and then I have a ball park figure to work with ! Then again the parents who will watch this are not really going to be too fussy as long as their "precious" is in focus.

It's an interesting concept using closeups too ...I find that most dance teachers prefer the wide shot so they can assess the whole performance. Most we have done don't even want to look at a version with closeup cutins ... Has anyone found this??
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Old September 22nd, 2017, 07:04 PM   #4
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Yeah, I agree about the lighting... It was my first time filming a performance and it was set to manual exposure in order to keep the look of the video the same instead of constantly changing exposures.

It wasn't for assessment purposes, so I did tend to go quite close at times, and I cut to the wide view during zooming, although I think next time I'll go wider, and open up the iris a little more.

Thanks for feedback.
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Old September 24th, 2017, 08:48 AM   #5
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

I saw no over exposure of the people in the highlights so your camera could have had the lens opened up a fair bit - two or maybe three stops, but you need to test.

To be fair the biggest problem was the stage was lit with too few lights to get an even wash. You have something very typical for multi use stages of this size. Random focussing. probably aimed at something important but long gone. Most entertainment doesn't want even wash light at all because it's boring. Dance where people physically use all the space need even illumination as the minimum, and most theatre with conventional lighting can't offer this. New installs with LED wash lighting can do wide, even and bright - albeit usually in loads of colours, the designers hating white light as it's not theatrical!

Success in a video needs advance discussion and negotiation with the venue.
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Old September 26th, 2017, 07:14 PM   #6
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Actually I'm going to give a contrary opinion here. Yes there were some underexposed shots when they got out of the light but on some shots, unless you were shooting in log, you were pretty much on the edge for highlights and couldn't have gone much hotter. There are a couple of under exposed close ups - so if you are going manual you have to ride the iris and focus all the time. That's easy (well easier) on an ENG camera but much harder on handycams or still frame glass.

As others have said it is more a problem with lighting. If you can negotiate with the venue before hand start of with a 25% white wash across the whole stage and get them to add colours after that it makes the job easier and IMO is a better experience for the audience who can actually see their children instead of only the ones at the front of stage.

The whole argument about "theatrical" is bogus - costume colours actually pop in white light, not in coloured light.
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Old September 27th, 2017, 06:57 AM   #7
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Feedback on wide shots. I am a big proponent of the "rule of thirds". Many dance videos that I have seen usually have the wide shot with the downstage edge on the bottom of the screen. This then usually puts all the heads in the center of the screen with huge amounts of wasted space above. Dance competition do it because many times their logo is on backdrop behind and up high so audiences always see their logos. then it's in the videos as well. Personally, I prefer to put the heads in the normal upper third position this puts all the body movements more centered and filling the screen with dance. Now if you have to do a lockdown shot for the wide shot, then you have to come up with a happy medium to compensate for a full stage or jumps and lifts. So it depends on if you have an operator or not. I would tend to have an operator and push in when groups cluster to the center and pull out as they then fan out wide. Following the action much like a wide shot of a soccer game. Depending on the venue, you will sometimes see the backs of heads of the audience in the first couple of rows. Again, I think the improved framing looks better, but of course it's a matter of choice. Just a thought. I like your close-ups. Watch out going to them too much in a finished edit, and be prepared for some parents to complain that they didn't see their child enough.
I use to work with one studio that didn't want to deal with it so I just stayed wide most of the time unless there were solos and the dancers grouped together. That's where I started using more zooming in and out to follow the action technique. Trying to have a decent medium. Good luck.
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Old September 28th, 2017, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Quote:
The whole argument about "theatrical" is bogus - costume colours actually pop in white light, not in coloured light.
Sorry - you misunderstood me. The question is to do with the look in general. It's really a common issue.

Do you light for the audience there, or the audience at home? The only person who can set the rule is the commissioner - the client or producer. The theatre lighting designers light for the people in the audience. If the critical factor is the video, then you will need to provide them during the programming stage (when the video people are rarely there) video and a monitor, so they can light for your camera. LED lighting is now so common that for the first time, you can wash a large stage with solid colour - something previously impossible, so the lighting can be visually, wonderful. However, most cameras hate blue with a passion, and go sparkly with red. costumes can behave very oddly colour wise, to the benefit or detriment of the camera (and audience member) so if this is important it needs planning.

I run a 1400 seat venue, and we can light for any purpose. However, when the video person turns up half an hour before the show and demands 30% white, then unless the client has got me to programme this in the rehearsals we've spent all day at, they can go and jump because at this stage, it cannot happen without wrecking our input AND it's our name in the programme that says lighting design FRED SMITH or whatever. If the audience see terrible flat lighting, then I don't want my name on it. If the programming can cater for video at the clients request, then I'll do it properly - NOT - just add in a pile of white light.

The notion of a white state and then adding in colour is not lighting design, it's illumination. Quite honestly, I'd not want my name on something so unprofessional. Broadcast TV is exactly the same - you put in face light where it's needed, and then add to create mood. With piles of equipment, you can ensure everyone's faces are lit properly, but to do this in a theatre is tricky with moving people. People glued to mic stands are easy.

For dance, white light is a form wrecker. Professional dance shows use lots of side light from quite low angles, it reveals form and shape, especially in ballet and contemporary where costumes can often be figure hugging.

Light styles, as in classical ballet will be lit in pastel colours traditionally - so pale pinks, lavenders and golds are popular, often split left and right. Open white light is rare there's simply no need for it, and the American system was often to split colours left and right into warm and cool - pinks and blues. For the past 59 years, Stanley McCandless's ideas have been used, in the US, and some of his ideas leaked into UK practice too - so solid a foundation they are.

The notion of spoiling the performer to audience link with a bucket of white light just isn't on. It looks terrible and while a good compromise for the video people, it is such a blunt weapon. I do do it - but only when the client insists the video is paramount in the heirachy, and on these occasions I demand a monitor from the video person - who will be expected to be there at rehearsals and plotting sessions. If they cannot do this, then we tell the client that it's their call, and we will simply do what the video people want, and the terrible look for the audience is fine with us - we also insist we do NOT have a credit for lighting in the programme. In this industry, you're only as good as your last job, and with phones so prevalent, Facebook reveals horrible things.

Video might be the important thing, we're happy with that, but the attitude that you just shove a few faders and that's it, is the same type of nonsense as when people insist autofocus and exposure will be fine, and two different types of camera will match in the edit, and of course the sound from the onboard mic will be excellent. Everyone is an expert in everyone else's work area. We do sound, lighting and video, and consequently are always having to find out the most important area, and working the rest around it - BUT - it needs proper planning, or the end result is dire!
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Old November 28th, 2017, 02:21 PM   #9
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

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Originally Posted by John Mitchell View Post
Actually I'm going to give a contrary opinion here. Yes there were some underexposed shots when they got out of the light but on some shots, unless you were shooting in log, you were pretty much on the edge for highlights and couldn't have gone much hotter.
I've heard of log before, but I don't actually understand what you mean by shooting in log. Can you or someone else explain please?
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Old November 28th, 2017, 05:38 PM   #10
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Simplistically, shooting log ( different companies have different log varients Look up Slog for Sony or Vlog for Pansonic etc ) expands the dynamic range of the video beyond the rec709 of normal TV video. In editing it allows for more detail in the shadows and more detail in the highlights beyond what is possible in simple recording in rec709. This video can then be graded back into rec709 dynamic range for viewing then of course the detail in the highlights will not be lost or for the shadows. I do not believe the XF series can shoot in log but the newer Canon's can shoot with 800% gamma to extend the range.

I tend to agree with John and individual clips can be graded from your video to expand the dark areas. I edit in Edius and would use the YUV filter to bring up the levels as needed. It is easier to bring up the levels than recover highlight detail that has been lost.
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Old November 29th, 2017, 10:31 AM   #11
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Thanks Ron.

So from what I understand, put simply of course, log shooting creates a lower contrast and blander image which utilises the full colour gamut the camera can produce to be edited in post, giving an overall better quality range of darks, highlights and colours?

I'm pretty certain the XFs don't have this option, however they do shoot in 50mbps which is good for retaining a lot of data for high quality Blu-Rays.
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Old November 29th, 2017, 12:29 PM   #12
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

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Originally Posted by Lewis Raymond View Post
Just wondering what people think of the overall lighting from these clips? I exposed the children for the harsh spotlights, but due to very large gaps between the lights they got darker when not under direct light. I tried to compromise as best as I could. I used the XF300 for the closer shots, and an unmanned, stationary XF100 for the wide view.

RDA Summer Show 2017 Highlights on Vimeo

Any feedback appreciated.

Thanks
It is under exposed (I understand why you had to do it), in post I would definitely add more gain and rolloff the highlights.
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Old April 4th, 2018, 02:41 PM   #13
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Hey folks. Got another clip to get some feedback on. This time they had some better lighting. I used a manual f-stop at 2.8 I believe for the manned camera.

In post, I took the highlights down a little, and slightly increased the darker side of the mid range as I felt it need a tiny lift, especially when the dancers enter from the sides, and for the feet/leg shots being a little dark for my liking.

I also added a tiny bit of unsharp mask for a little more definition but this was very little.

Fiinally, I used the 3-way colour corrector to make a more blue-ish/greenish tint as the faces were too red before-hand, and took the saturation down to 75 points (from 100 default).

Overall, I'm fairly happy with the end result.

Will appreciate all feedback regarding the video quality and any improvements for the future.

My shooting details are attached. I felt that 3700k was right at the time but in post the faces were too red.

Attached Thumbnails
Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)-29983616_1887608594616482_5129032541838765706_o.jpg  
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Old April 4th, 2018, 08:01 PM   #14
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

The codec almost completely breaks down in the shadows.

Could you dropbox one minute right out of camera original of this footage? I'd like to take a look.

You could cut the video without re-encoding with ffmpeg, for 20 seconds you would use:

ffmpeg -i <video> -ss 1 -t 20 -c:v copy -an <result>
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Old April 5th, 2018, 02:12 PM   #15
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Re: Dance Class Highlights (Looking For Feedback)

Hi Cary,

Do you mean give you a minute from the raw file or do you mean before it's colour-corrected etc? Because the raw file for one minute is around 400MB.

I've never used ffmpeg before. So this just takes my MXF file and produces the raw, cut copy?

I always use Premiere Pro H.264 (usually around 10 mbps CBR for a full HD video) then Encore to do the processing. If anyone knows a program which gives better encoding then I'm all ears.
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