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Thread: Shooting a small space theatre performance.

  1. #1

    Default Shooting a small space theatre performance.

    Had the opportunity or rather the challenge to shoot a small space theatre performance. The performance piece was really fast paced and featured a lot of movement (it was a fusion dance piece ) coupled with many chances in lighting from spot to soft to coloured lighting all with different temperatures and characteristics. Can't use flash so had to stick to prime, bumping up to 1600iso and opening wide.

    My questions are,

    - In such an event under the constant changing light conditions, how do you achieve a consistent white balance, or would you rather leave the colour casts in as misc en scene?

    - What mode would you shoot under? If you shoot manual how do you account for the quick changes in lighting? For example when normal flood lights are used and then quickly changes to a spotlight on the subject at a dramatic point in the play, how do you cope with or anticipate the sudden change in light intensity?

    Please feel free share your experience and expert advice

  2. #2

    Default Re: Shooting a small space theatre performance.

    Quote Originally Posted by peapilot View Post
    Had the opportunity or rather the challenge to shoot a small space theatre performance. The performance piece was really fast paced and featured a lot of movement (it was a fusion dance piece ) coupled with many chances in lighting from spot to soft to coloured lighting all with different temperatures and characteristics. Can't use flash so had to stick to prime, bumping up to 1600iso and opening wide.

    My questions are,

    - In such an event under the constant changing light conditions, how do you achieve a consistent white balance, or would you rather leave the colour casts in as misc en scene?

    - What mode would you shoot under? If you shoot manual how do you account for the quick changes in lighting? For example when normal flood lights are used and then quickly changes to a spotlight on the subject at a dramatic point in the play, how do you cope with or anticipate the sudden change in light intensity?

    Please feel free share your experience and expert advice
    I have done a few "small space theatre performance/s" for friends myself. Similarly they were fast paced; dances, musicals of sorts, a lot of varying colored gels, lights, strobes, .. the works. Mostly for the effect they want on show for the audience; not the cameras. Even the videos can get out of whack!

    I chosed asa800, but most of the times played with +/- compensation. As for white balancing, I did a custom on a white board with the (no gel) spotlights before the show and use it thru-out the show; my basis was that the lights were all based on the (hot) spotlights. Furthermore, the directors and producers always wants their effects (the colors, the movements) shown in the images.

    Some of my friends shoots RAW, but they spent lots of time post-processing. I shoot a lot (really ALOT) JPG, concentrating the composition and movements.

    So to your question "In such an event under the constant changing light conditions, how do you achieve a consistent white balance, or would you rather leave the colour casts in as misc en scene? " - I say to decide on one major source and correct for the whites, let the rest fall into place.

    And to your second question "What mode would you shoot under?" - It is really a hassle to shift between modes especially if you are using only one body, so I almost always use "Evaluative" on the Canon because I think I understand it very well (at least well enough to expect what is coming on in the LCD, and/or enough to know why it came out that way on the LCD, and dial in the required changes immediately. My correct exposure usually happen on either the 1st or 2nd image. YMMV) If you have 2 bodies, lots of time, and a multitude of lenses to boot, I say "Spot" and/or "Partial" for each.

    Your 3rd "If you shoot manual how do you account for the quick changes in lighting? " - I avoid "Manual" . After so many images in varying conditions, the only times I actually use manual was when I am using my 550ex; then I would usually do manual on the ambient, leaving the 550ex to decide on the subject. My days of manual on the K1000, KR-5, AE-1p ended when I got my 1st Rebel X. I find Canon's "Evaluative" mode surprisingly consistent across the different bodies. The only time I had to scratch my head was with the Eos 5.

    As with changes in lights, I have done either (1) "be there and enjoy the first show, bring the camera for the 2nd." Or (2) have the director/producer/lead brief you on the flow of the show, highlighting on the key events, but this means you have to deal with the changing lights yourself.

    Hope this helps.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Shooting a small space theatre performance.

    Yes it's really helped a lot! Really appreciate the advice thanks for sharing

  4. #4

    Default Re: Shooting a small space theatre performance.

    hi there. h\ad similar experience.

    my suggestion is that if you can get real close to the performers, just use a 50 1.8 prime and shoot under shutter priority 1/60

    shoot in raw so you can adjust the white balance later via the colour temperature, really makes things easier.

    as for iso my recommendation is not to use 1600 unless emergency la. i have conditions where iso 1600 1.8 can only get shutter speeds of 1/30!!

    alternatively you can try shooting in aperture priority mode and under expose by 2/3 stops and in iso 800. use PP to push the exposure or can use the 2/3 stop under to achieve certain artistic mood.

    it will be good if you can attend the rehearsal and see how the performance goes by.

    enjoy shooting!~
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Shooting a small space theatre performance.

    IMHO you should just use ISO 1600, it gives you the flexibility of being able to use high shutter speed if and when you want.

    stages usually have strong lights, hitting F5.6 1/200 usually isn't a problem @ ISO1600.

    1) keep watch on your aperture, don't use too wide open if it's a fast moving piece. IMHO don't ever shoot at F1.8 or F2 etc.. DOF is too shallow that they move a bit they'll be out of focus. I believe recently, there's a fella, shooting F1.8, he can't even get 2 taekwondo fighers in focus due to their movement + shallow DOF of the F1.8

    2) Fast pieces, keep shutter speed fast. Even 1/100, which may not be enough even.

    3) Expose for the spotlight on the face, it'll be the about brightest you will get. keep that exposure in mind. at the 1st switch in lighting, make sure you know the difference in exposure, exactly how many stops etc. With that info, you can very easily estimate very quickly and accurately the proper exposure. Simple changes, you can change your settings within 0.5 seconds.

    4) I make use of my M mode, Av mode, and very occassionally, my Tv mode. I usually preprogram my Av mode to the largest aperture, my Tv mode to 1/200, and I shoot in M mode. When the change is too fast for me to correct my DOF/exposure, such as a drop in light (I simply switch to Av mode and pray) or a sharp increase in light (I switch to Tv mode, but this almost never happens).

    5) I always shoot auto for WB. Fast pieces always have quick changes in light. I would never bet on 1 main light source being there for me. Usually those also give better feel, with minor bits of colour cast. This is not a model shoot, you don't need to worry about colour accuracy etc. the "moment" is alot more important.

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