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Thread: Need tips for convering a concert

  1. #1

    Default Need tips for convering a concert

    Hi all,

    I am approached to cover a concert this coming saturday. It is a concert for a volunteer organisation and I am doing it voluntarily also. Just need to get some inputs from you guys what are the Dos and Don'ts and also what are the shots to take. What are the equipments needed?
    Am using a D30 with 24-85 USM, 50mm MKII, and a 75-300 USM, 256mb + 64mb CF card..No flash

    Any comments greatly appreciated

  2. #2
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    What kind of concert?

    Formal, classical?

    Wild, rock?

    I have much experience in shooting the serious kind of band/orchestra concerts. If this is the kind you will be shooting, then I can type a bit more.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mika
    No flash
    Very likely you will need a flash, esp when your tele may not be fast enough to shoot with ambient light only. Somemore D30 AF cannot make it during low light, need the flash AF assist. So quickly buy/rent/borrow one

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by roygoh
    What kind of concert?

    Formal, classical?

    Wild, rock?

    I have much experience in shooting the serious kind of band/orchestra concerts. If this is the kind you will be shooting, then I can type a bit more.
    also, a bit more details about the location would help... proper concert hall or impromptu outdoor type? i've shot several concerts as well, and none of them allow flash to be used, so typically i use high ISO and wide-aperture lenses.

    e.g. i covered the Ricky Martin showcase, can take a look here...
    http://larry.clubsnap.org/gallery/album04

  5. #5

    Default concert

    IMHO, If its a rock concert, its goin to be low light.
    i will shoot iso 1600 - 3200, and use no flashlight.
    I seen rock concert pictures using 1600 with no flash.
    Flash might spoil the pics cos not to forget there will be
    stage lights running all over the place.

    I wonder how many will agree with that though.

  6. #6

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    my 2 cents worth of tips : )

    If possible, check with the stage manager or concert time keeper for the concert rundown list. It should include details of song list, special effects eg: fireworks, confetti canon or streamers etc. This will really help you with your positioning. If there is a rehearsal, please be there. So you will know what to expect.

    Take notice of the professional video crew who are recording the event. Check your position & their position so you will not get into their shot.

    If the song is a fast number with dancers, you may want to got wide to catch the dance formation. If it is a slow song, you can try zoom in for expression shots.
    Last edited by gundugundu; 17th December 2003 at 01:48 PM.

  7. #7
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    Wah...almost all I have to say already said....

    Take note of any special events like VIP arrivals, presentation of flowers (to the conductor or VIP).

    If the performing group wants to get a group photo, it is easier to do that just before the audience are let into the concert hall. Alternatively, talk to the staff to have the stage lighting remain on for 15 minutes after the concert for the group photo.

    Try not to shoot during quite passages as the shutter clicks can be very annoying.

    Recce the concert hall to find good locations to shoot from before the concert starts.

    Familiarize with the concert programme. Take note of any solos, or pieces that will highlight a certain group.

    If there is a conductor, take some shots of him/her in action.

    You may need an XDrive as the 256MB CF card will most likely not be enough.
    As complexity rises, precise statements lose meaning and meaningful statements lose precision.

  8. #8

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    Hey thanks guys! you all have been most helpful! The concert is actually a christmas concert in a school hall. time is from evening to nite and there will be a series of performance like dance and skit. Just like the normal concerts we have in secondary sch.

    Anyone kind enough to lend me a 420ex?

  9. #9
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    my opinion is that, do NOT use flash, because it simply disrupts the performance, especially if there's a videocamera taping the show.

    here's my personal experience for my own school's musical in an enclosed auditorium. i used my 10D + 550ex + lens (50 f/1.8, 24-85 f/3.5-4.5, 70-200 f/2.8), turned on Customer Function 3 for the 550ex to "1", where that will change the flash to TTL mode and the flash will not fire at all, though the red AF Assist will fire to help determine focus. i also made sure the MC's (my fellow school staff) announce that NO flash photography is allowed during the show, since i'm covering the show officially anyway, and that flash from cameras will spoil the show etc.

    what was more useful was the fact that i attended the full-dress rehearsals to watch the performance and that greatly helped me, because that reminded me to bring along the 50 f/1.8 lens that i needed to recreate this scene, especially since this is a UV scene, and regular lenses still aren't fast enough:


    50mm, iso800, f/2.0, 1/40s

    for the other shots, i had the opportunity to use my 70-200 for group shots like this from the back of the auditorium:



    if there are multiple shows, it's best. but i doubt it is in your case. so do play serious attention to the sequence of events so that you know where to position yourself for important shots.

    and remember to switch CFn 3 to "0" in the 550ex when you are shooting the VIP etc...
    Last edited by sehsuan; 17th December 2003 at 08:02 PM.

  10. #10

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    d30, the best usable iso is 400, in which case you need the stage lights to be bright enough, its takes some skill for focusing this demon, best if your focus point has a good colour contrast (bright light + shadow) if not you are going to miss alot of shots. Try using your manual focusing skills for this camera.

    your only fast lens is the 50mm 1.8 and it hard to focus on non contrasting objects and dim light. (its going to be tough) the other lens i do not own so i cannot comment, but its safe to say you need a fast lens, at least a 2.8f to 4f to capture.

    i dun think its a good idea to use flash, the stage colours will be ruin if you flash it!

    personally i do not recomand the D30 for stage work, but like i say it can be done but its a pain to focus. If you could try to borrow a 10D from your friends and try to borrow either a 28-70 2.8f or a 70-200 2.8f with triport (if possible), it will make your life more pleasent during your shoot. Also i dun think 256 is enough. you need at least one more 256CF card or borrow a 512CF card from someone.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Belle&Sebastain
    d30, the best usable iso is 400, in which case you need the stage lights to be bright enough, its takes some skill for focusing this demon, best if your focus point has a good colour contrast (bright light + shadow) if not you are going to miss alot of shots. Try using your manual focusing skills for this camera.

    your only fast lens is the 50mm 1.8 and it hard to focus on non contrasting objects and dim light. (its going to be tough) the other lens i do not own so i cannot comment, but its safe to say you need a fast lens, at least a 2.8f to 4f to capture.

    i dun think its a good idea to use flash, the stage colours will be ruin if you flash it!

    personally i do not recomand the D30 for stage work, but like i say it can be done but its a pain to focus. If you could try to borrow a 10D from your friends and try to borrow either a 28-70 2.8f or a 70-200 2.8f with triport (if possible), it will make your life more pleasent during your shoot. Also i dun think 256 is enough. you need at least one more 256CF card or borrow a 512CF card from someone.
    Hey thanks for your valuable comments. I cannot agree with you more that D30 focusing is a pain to use..especially in low light. However I guess I have to live with the limitations. I do not have any friends with a 10D now..or even a 300D (which I think focuses better) but as this is a voluntary event and I am not getting paid, I cannot afford to to rent from others. CF card and stuffs should be no problem. Think I will live with my limitations and try to borrow a 420ex or 550ex that has focus assist so that I can focus better at night. Anyone renting for cheap? Do not have the budget currently to get buy a new or second hand one yet. Just need it for 1 night only...

  12. #12

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    alternatively, can try to use a ST-E2 if you not going to use flash but need the AF-assit. it def lighter then any flash mount on teh camera.

  13. #13

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    used a D30 to cover my sch's prom.. + 50mm ... without flash

    ISO 800 is pretty usable..



    f2.8, 1/60, monopod

  14. #14

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    feel for the mood...then shoot.

  15. #15

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    close up on iso800 and its too noisey for my liking on a D30. your can see it in the shadows and faces too! especially after your process unsharp mask to it. Anywhay good luck for your shoot!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Wai
    Very likely you will need a flash, esp when your tele may not be fast enough to shoot with ambient light only. Somemore D30 AF cannot make it during low light, need the flash AF assist. So quickly buy/rent/borrow one
    With flash assist also CMI most of the time lor.....

  17. #17
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    The focusing is not THAT bad, just learn to focus on contrasty areas and it should suffice. I took these shots a few months back with a D30 + 50mm and did not encounter any serious lethargy on the D30.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by sehsuan
    my opinion is that, do NOT use flash, because it simply disrupts the performance, especially if there's a videocamera taping the show.
    Flash will not only will disrupt the concert, distract the performers but your pictures will also lose the original mood of the concert, without the color of the stage lightings etc. especially in pop, rock and jazz concerts.

    Flash = strictly a no-no no matter what sort of concert, with very few exceptions.

  19. #19

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    If you are the official photographer, judicious use of the flash may help fill in the shadows on faces and under the chins for certain shots, especially when the subjects are spotlit.

    The key thing is controlling the amount of flash used.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by thoa_rs
    The focusing is not THAT bad, just learn to focus on contrasty areas and it should suffice. I took these shots a few months back with a D30 + 50mm and did not encounter any serious lethargy on the D30.
    U are using a fast prime lens. I was using a consumer grade 28-80mm (not sure if USM or not). It hunted like crazy. I was focussing mainly on the face of the subject (covering a conference - dull clothes they wear) which was the highest contrast thing u could get and each of the halls where the talks were taking place were really dim.
    Last edited by TME; 20th December 2003 at 10:21 PM.

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