10th January 2004, 05:01 AM
Generally, midtone subjects are those that seem to have a similar reflectivity as a matt green, light brown or grey subject. Examples of these are human skin, leaves or grass in the sun or concrete buildings.
In a spotlit stage setting, it would generally be high contrast. Hence, there be a dominance of either highlights or shadows with very little areas of midtones. Spotlit faces are no longer midtone unless the skintone is originally rather dark. A good compromise would be to meter the neck area where the light isn't so direct. Alternatively, you could have metered the spotlit face as usual and added 0.5-1EV of compensation, or just meter a midtone spot away from direct lighting. Since you were using film, it would be good to expose for the shadows for optimal image quality. Another way to get about all this would be to set your film ISO down from 800 to 640 and then meter the faces as usual. As you can see, there are many ways to go about it, just choose the one most convenient to you.
However, all this only applies with the basic assumption that your shutter speed is decent enough to capture the action. This is why it pays to have fast glass available in your camera kit no matter what the scenario. With large apertures, you have a choice of being able to get both the exposure correct as well as freeze the action. With slower lenses, you would need to compromise either.
You mentioned that there was a lot of grain on some of the images, based on my experience with Press 800, grain doesn't really show up on the print unless its underexposed by more than 1EV which I regularly do for indoor sports. That hints that the shutter speeds indicated might have been a bit optimistic.
Bottom line? Always bring faster film and faster glass if you have the chance. That extra roll of ISO800 film you brought instead of the ISO200 might give you the shots u need when the lights are dim;That puny 50mm f1.8 might get you the shot that even a 70-200f2.8 cannot. In stage events, the lighting is generally changing all the time, you need to be prepared for all eventualities if you can't afford to miss some action.
With your experience this time, I'm sure you will do a lot better the next time round.
10th January 2004, 09:10 PM