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Thread: Taking photos for concert

  1. #1

    Default Taking photos for concert

    Hi,

    Like to check if any photographer here have experience in taking an actual concert performance.

    Would DSLRs be too loud for such occasions?

  2. #2

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Not if it's a Canto-pop, rock or trance concert! LOL!

    It's all relative to the type of performance, and the programme.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    lol. I mean those classical type.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Yes it will. The worst one i've personally experienced was the NUS Wind Symphony concert. I was the official photog. During some of the softer bits in the performance, the shutter sound from my 20d (i was using single shot btw) was loud enough to attract the stares from some of the audience members.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Amend some of the tips as appropriate. I wrote this with a stage play in mind.


    Logistics

    1) Permission - get clearance from the director, and that the theater director knows that you have clearance, or arrange for the staff/ushers to be informed. Besides being a matter of professional courtesy, this would save you a lot of grief. Also, getting permission form the Director(s) can sometime mean getting access to areas normally shut off to members of the public/audiance. Be sure to thank those who assisted, and if you feel so inclined, pass them a nice 8x10 glossy of the closing line-up, or a key high-light of the performance as a gesture of appreciation.

    2) Location - If time is not of the essence, go ahead of a perfromance and scout the location. Try and get permission to pop by in the afternoon and really scrutinise the location. Everything from strategic locations in the ailse, wings, sides of stage, and even lofters can offer advantageous shooting positions. Some of these may offer you the option of a less intrusive position.

    3) Plan ahead - Attend a full-dress reharsal or a performance ahead of your shoot schedule. Bring your camera along and try to meter ahead just to get a feel of things. Shoot if possible.

    In the past when I shot all film for stage, I would go ahead to scout, attend a few reharsals, take incident light readings for the 'must-have' highlights of the performance and do at least one test shoot. I place great importance on point #3, but the most important still remains #1.


    Equipment

    4) Lenses - Chances are, unless you get permission to shoot from the wings or lofters, your 50mm and 85mm would be your most used lenses. Be prepared to go high in the ISO settings, and use noise reduction softwares if necessary. Refer back to #3 and you'll see why attending a reharsal/performance and trying to get some test shots is important.

    5) Support - A lightweight, easily set-up BLACK tripod with a quick detach (that's not noisy to set-up; some are!) is a lot more versatile than a monopod. A tripod can easily be used as a mono, and with a lightweight set-up, you're good to go. Also, it's easier to leave a tripod standing as opposed to laying down a mono, and possibly forgetting where you left it. The number of keepers with some kind of support increases dramatically as opposed to just hand-held. Consider 'bean-bag' type supports, but you'll only know if they would be useful if you do #3.

    6) Shutter noise - As silly as this may sound, drape one or two black or dark, THICK towels over your head and camera. This would muffle a bit of the sound to a level where only someone just beside you would barely be able to hear it.

    7) Attire - Wear ALL BLACK. This would decrease your level of audiance intrusion when you move around during the actual performance. Also, wear sneakers or any rubber soled shoes. Depending on the level of formality of the whole affair, normally, blending in might make you feel more comfortable, but if it's a formal affair, then you have to get yourself comfortable working in that attire.

    8 ) Visibility - Since you will most likely be working in the dark most of the time, be very, very familiar with your equipment, and practise changing lenses, settings etc in the dark/low light. Carry a low-powered blue or red coloured LED torch to assist when absolutely necessary.

    9) While not directly related to the logistics, get familiar with the body language of the conductor and key performers (the ones who do solos). That would put you in a position to identify, and prepare to shoot award-winning moments and expressions.

    10) Have fun!

    Basically, I would say that while all points are important, #1 #2 and #3 are the most crucial to success.

    Hope this helps some. I may have missed out some small, but terribly significant pointers. Please feel free to add-on and that would be feetie dollar marnie take come. Thank you.

    CHEERS!
    Last edited by Dream Merchant; 25th July 2007 at 12:13 AM.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    6) Shutter noise - As silly as this may sound, drape one or two black or dark, THICK towels over your head and camera. This would muffle a bit of the sound to a level where only someone just beside you would barely be able to hear it.
    thanks for all the pointers, especially 6.

    Does that help a lot or just minor difference?

    I know that there's a soundproof box thingy, but I want a simpler solution.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Denosha View Post
    Yes it will. The worst one i've personally experienced was the NUS Wind Symphony concert. I was the official photog. During some of the softer bits in the performance, the shutter sound from my 20d (i was using single shot btw) was loud enough to attract the stares from some of the audience members.
    agree, much as I don't want to disturb the audience, I need to get my shots.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    ...and half the crowd staring - but hey its free publicity =x

  9. #9
    Member Ambious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by visiongraphy View Post
    Hi,

    Like to check if any photographer here have experience in taking an actual concert performance.

    Would DSLRs be too loud for such occasions?
    Where is the location u r taking? I did a few for my orchestra b4.....

    Michael

  10. #10

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Ambious View Post
    Where is the location u r taking? I did a few for my orchestra b4.....

    Michael
    Esplanade Concert Hall.

  11. #11

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by senok0 View Post
    ...and half the crowd staring - but hey its free publicity =x
    lol. It's a kind of publicity I can do without.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    i heard 1D MKIII got something like a soft slap of the minor...

  13. #13

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by westwest2 View Post
    i heard 1D MKIII got something like a soft slap of the minor...
    All 1-series cameras have a delayed shutter cocking function to control the mirror return noise, not just the MKIII.

    If not adequately controlled, such a relatively small noise can also prove extremely annoying especially when it's amplified by the acoustics of a theatre. Do pay some attention to getting the noise controlled.

  14. #14
    Member Ambious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by visiongraphy View Post
    Esplanade Concert Hall.
    Gosh, u have the biggest challenge in concert taking. Our orchestra ever perform ther b4, man, difficult task. One of the best sound hall ever. Can even hear a pin drop.

    Wat we do is we take photos during the full dress rehearsal b4 the concert. This way, we can stand anywhere we want to capture good shots as during the concert, there's restricted movement area set by Esplanade.

    During the concert, search for the level with the least audience. Corners of floyer 1, VIP seats if it's not taken and corners of circle 2. Or the corporate box seats are also good if no one's taking it. But u need tele lens for it if taking from corporate box area.

    Michael

  15. #15

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    couldn't agree more. the best moments captured often came during a rehearsals or backstage. had an opportunity to shoot a concert in the esplanade concert hall. i must say it is a great experience. both the rehearsals and actual performance.

    for actual performance maybe you can sit at the foyer stalls. (first level). at least is same level of view.

    or else during rehearsals a couple of fast primes will usually do the trick. i spent my entire time on a 35 1.4 on a rented 1D Mark II.
    random equipment.
    where are my primes?

  16. #16

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    thanks for the advices, will try for full dress rehersals.

    I guess I'll need to bring 70-200 2.8.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    An idea just came to mind.

    Borrow 2 or 3 or more bodies, with different lenses. Cloak all of them with some kind of acoustically dead material, and set them up on tripods at strategic locations out of the way.

    Remote fire all of them from your seat.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by visiongraphy View Post
    Would DSLRs be too loud for such occasions?
    Tried the Alpha yet? If I had any other choice, I wouldn't use it for a quiet concert.

  19. #19
    Member Ambious's Avatar
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    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    An idea just came to mind.

    Borrow 2 or 3 or more bodies, with different lenses. Cloak all of them with some kind of acoustically dead material, and set them up on tripods at strategic locations out of the way.

    Remote fire all of them from your seat.
    good one. Then must find long range remote liao.

    Michael

  20. #20

    Default Re: Taking photos for concert

    Quote Originally Posted by Dream Merchant View Post
    An idea just came to mind.

    Borrow 2 or 3 or more bodies, with different lenses. Cloak all of them with some kind of acoustically dead material, and set them up on tripods at strategic locations out of the way.

    Remote fire all of them from your seat.
    lol. I don't mind doing that if they are paying me $20K per concert shoot.

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