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Shooting suggestions for LIVE concert??


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#1 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 01:31 AM

Hey guys,

I got a bit of quiry on my mind that i thought i would like to share in case you can help me out with few suggestions.

Recently I was asked to film a LIVE concert for a band. They do not yet have a set budget, but as they have helped me previously on my film projects I wish to look after them the best i can on 'cost-only' basis kind-a thing.

Ok, so they are playing at this venu for 4 nights in a raw.

They area 25 piece orchestra, standing on the stage that is about 1 meter tall. In front of them are about 10 round tables with about 8 seats each and further more, there are stands that go up to 10meters high. Here is a picture that illustrates the space a bit better:
http://www.brisbanep.../...file&id=129

The picture here does not show the 1m tall stage, which would be where the band in the photo is located. Also, the 'hole' in which some people are sitting in the pic is to be closed and there will be tables there - hopefully everyone remains sitting at the tables so if the cameras are on eye level view is not distrupted. Of course i could place cameras higher up too....

From the pic you can also see the the lighting grid.
It is definitely present and from what i understand they vary colours on the backdrop completely randomly. Unfortunately i am not to have any control over it and fear that it may not be enough light for my cameras, hence the dilema in choosing the right once....
Further more, the lighs may be a reason why I would choose to film 2 out of 4 performances, as editing it together between 4 different once may not work continuity wise... this may cut costs down a bit allowing for better rental of the gear on the 2 nighs of filming.

So what would you suggest?
How many cameras and located where?
Which cameras? (event taking place in Brisbane Australia, PAL 50hz 25fps)

I am to edit it on my home off line suite, which can be either Final Cut HD or Premier Pro 2 HD, but either way it isnt on-line... I am to author it into a DVD that can be sold. If I can save money during production I might afford to get into telecine for some colouring initialy, should that be needed??

I thought of maybe doing TWO digi beta's on eye level, on the stand (one on each side) and doing two nights like that. Perhaps i can get the media to be imported onto HDDs that can be brought over for my off-line cut? (I've never shot Digi Beta beforee)

Other option was to get 3CCD cameras (which unit in particular i dont know) to do the same - 2 large cameras on the stands. I could then afford to maybe have a crane in as well with one smaller 3CCD unit on it and maybe even a steadicam (I own glidecam v20) with smaller unit roaming on that?

Last option was to consider those XL1s or XL2s with film lens adaptors and 35mm lenses on them? What do you think of that? That would probably allow for crane or something too - budget wise i mean... I could always try and talk them into putting a dolly between the stage and the audience but that might be hard to organise... as people present will be paying good money to watch them;

My main fear is that I wont be able to get good CUs of anyone on the stage if shooting from stands only.

Let me know what you guys think and what formats live events as this one are usually recorded with?

PS. The SOUND is not to be worried about, they got other guys onto that - real pro's with real budget!

PS2. I am allocating budget wise for at least 2 other DPs to be present (hopfully once that have experience in this live event shooting) and any other crew neccessary for the crane/steadicam to work;

Thanks heaps for any input!
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 02:39 AM

That's tough if you can't control the lighting at all. The first thing you need to do is to find out the light levels they play with. You might very well find out that you can't do it at all because of that. If you talk to the lighting designer, he may (or may not...) be able to tell you a footcandle level he lights to. On the other hand, if he's not used to lighting for cameras, he may not measure at all except by his own eye.

Is the show pretty lively or are musicians mostly seated throughout?
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#3 David Sweetman

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 03:46 AM

The best film of a live show I've ever seen is Talking Heads, "Stop Making Sense," shot be Jordan Cronenweth. I'd definitely watch that again before I shot a live show. Other than that, I'm not sure I can help you much...but if light levels are going to be a problem, I don't think you want to use an xl1 or 2 with a 35mm lens adapter, which I think you lose a stop or so to...right? never used one myself...

Ideally, you'd want monitors for each camera and walkies with headsets for communication, to make sure everyone isn't getting the same shot. If you can't get that, you could probably just tell each camera to favor a certain type of shot and then just let them go at it. You may have to settle for a few bad cuts in the edit room if you do it that way, but it's the cheapest way to get it done.
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#4 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 04:08 AM

thanks guys,

Unfortunately i am not able to get the reading of the ligts on the stage from anyone at the venue, although i am hoping that between now and the show there will be one similar gig, that i can step in to watch with my light meter... that should answer how he/she does the lights;

Are you able to suggest any particular camera set-up from what i have written or are there too many variables still?

I too have heard that xl1/xl2 with cine adaptor requires one stop more, but have never used it to be able to confirm it... has anyone shot with xl2 + cine adaptor?

How about Digi BETAs, does anyone have experience filming with those beasts and cutting on off-line? I could get the footage onto my HDDs through a mate that works for the DVD authoring company;

Here is the PDF of the Lemac catalogue, which shows the cameras I am able to rent for the gig
http://www.lemac.com...tal/rentfr.html

Regarding monitors and communicaton with operators, I own nice headphone/mic sets that are quite good and will allow me to talk to the ops. I also plan to run BNC leads from their units to wherever i may be sitting, monitoring every shot (even though i am not cutting) just to make sure framings are matching... I did think about renting a vision switcher (i own a crap analogue one) but that would result in not perfect edit and i wouldnt be able to mix and match between two performances. I'd rather do that in the edit with plenty of time between production and delivery date.

The band is large, so they are not moving too much. They do play Gypsie music, so it is lively...
They do have songs when a string section sits down and so on, but on average there i always 20 of them on the stage... How can i best get CUs of each one of them if they are almost masking one another? Is the crane an answer?

Ill try and get my hands on Talking Heads! :D
I just watched U2 concert filmed in Boston, boy that too a lot of planning and preparaton and it was all in lighting, one thing i am not able to control....

Thanks heaps guys! please do let me know what camera set-up you would give preferance to.
Cheers,
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#5 Matthew Parnell

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 07:49 AM

Gday Lav,

Im based in brisbane and id love to give you a hand if you want. Im currently in the Film and TV program at QUT. Have been into this room with Ten News whilst on work experience, the light levels were not that bad for subjects on stage using their SX cameras. As far as gear goes I'd have a talk to the guys in at Pro-Cam, from my dealings with them, you might be able to get a better deal on the cameras from them over lemac.

Id have a look at live at the basement and a couple more intimate music shows like that are on late on the ABC and ABC2, they might offer a style that fits your restrictions better.

Id love to give you a hand for the experience. Im not too shabby as a runner :( . If you want a hand give me a yell at theparnell@ozemail.com.au.
Cheers,
Matt Parnell
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#6 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 07 August 2006 - 09:49 AM

thanks for the post Matt, ive sent you a PM!

What do you guys think about the XL1/XL2 to PL mount adapter instead of the P&S? I guess the units would be about 10m from the subjects at all times, how do you think an operator would cope with focus with that unit? is it realy live event gear or reserved for shooting narrative?

Cheers,
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#7 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 09 August 2006 - 05:59 AM

any1 else got any thoughts to which format live stuff should best be filmed with?
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#8 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 13 August 2006 - 08:46 PM

thought i bump up my post now that everyone has been receiving emails from Tim in regards to posting again or loosing an account. Perhaps some that may have had thoughts on my dilemma here, but held back previously, could express an opinion :blink:

Thanks guys!
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#9 Sam Taylor

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Posted 21 August 2006 - 09:59 AM

Hi Lav,
Not sure if you've already sorted things out, but if not my thoughts might be useful. I think that it is crucial to know what the lighting director's plan is for the show, including: light levels, colours, and timings. Your link for the venue shows standard overhead lighting grid, which is less challenging, than others.

At the very least it would be good to do a lighting check before the start of the show, where the lighting director can run you through the extremes of lighting intensity and positioning, even if it is impossible to do it any earlier.

I would try and avoid the xl1s/xl2 route if possible for lighting and other reasons:
Not just because of the light loss with the mini-35 type converters, but even with the standard xl1s lenses (16x and 3x wide). This is because at low light levels, you will be forced to have the aperture wide open (even with the standard lenses), and the lenses do not in my opinion give clean sharp images under these conditions.

I would think an xl1s would be OK for wide shots, but could be a hassle for tighter framing. Even with the standard lenses for the xl1s the standard viewfinder is not good enough for fast enough focussing when the musicians are moving around, especially when the camera operator is nearer to the musicians.

With the way smaller depth of field resulting from using the mini-35 type converters the problem would be accentuated. If your musicians are staying still as you suggest, and the lighting is bright, then you might get away with it, but I would want to practice before hand.

For live music events I have got around some of these issues by using sony 9''production monitors, which has enabled far more accurate, and rapid focussing of the cameras. Of course this is only feasible for certain camera positions. Personally I would not use the xl1s unless you are forced to by budget. I would prefer to use digi-beta, or even betacam if finances make it neccesary, not least because of the overall higher quality, but specifically because of the quality of viewfinder making focussing so much easier. This in combination with the way superior lens options and quality. I have seen digibeta to be very sharp, at least you know what is in focus, as you are getting it, not just afterwards! (I have not used digibeta for live shows though, but have in other situations). Cheaper options, but way better than xl1s are sony dsr-250P or 400LP, both PAL.

Of course depending on the quality requirements, and format requirements, or your clients then you could you use anything from xl1s to xdcam hd or dvcpro hd, but you of course you need your camera operators to be familiar with the equipment they are using, a technical hassle with a good quality format is not so good as complete familiarity with a lesser format. Anyways you know all this already so I won't bore you further!!

Camera positions. I would want two cameras up close in the front, almost on the stage if possible. If not two, then one, which can roam around at the front. Then another with some ability to move around on stage, even if that is to the rear of the stage and out of sight. If at a distance back then on a tripod for tighter zoomed shots. That will be useful for eye height material, and for good-audience in background footage. Either a crane shot from the rear, or another high position, so that you can go from a low-back of the venue type audience shot to an elevated one. This way you have a mixture of up close detailed footage with atmospheric/ scene-setting sets both from the audience perspective, and from the "behind the musicians" viewpoint too.

Right must go and get on with some work, good luck Lav, Sam

PS I am originally from Scotland but have more relatives in Queensland than in Scotland, including about 50 in Brisi!
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#10 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 22 August 2006 - 05:30 AM

Hey Sam!

Thanks for the great post mate! I am definitely going to take everything you said on board, as i was already thinking much along the lines of what you suggested, hoping that the lights on the night would be enough to go ahead with Xl1s perhaps, merely because of the budget restrictions - but the realist in me knows that wont be the case and that we will have to go with something along the lines of digi beta or betecam...

Other option of using the DSR250P or 400P didnt really come to mind, but having just read your post i am very much interested in checking that out further. i am very familiar with the 250P having shot number of docos with it, so i guess i know what quality of work it can produce. Can't really say i did anything with the 400P though... Ill check with the renting company (ProCam or Lemac here in Brisbane) to what they also might advise me on, afterall they may have more insights into this then me as they own the gear... and i do have a feeling that their suggestions may be along your lines :)

Again, thank you for the post and thank you for steering me away from the min35 and the Xl1/2 units... i wasn't sure what i was stepping into with that and can now firmly put it to rest, having received this adivce.

Oh and the tip on the behind the scenes camera, roaming behind the musicians just sounds great! I have not thought of that and will see what the band reckons. It might be a tight squeeze there with 25 musicians and a cameraman, as there isnt much room in the 'behind' area - all more reason for me to ask for for some more detailed plans of the event, a visit to the stage, lighting check, etc...

I will post back the dates of the event, once i find out what they are, in case any of your family from Brissy decide to check it out. The band is a formation from Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and are trually wonderful - not saying this cause i know them, but rather cause i love their music :)

Cheers might! A trually wonderful post!
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#11 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 18 October 2006 - 07:05 AM

hey guys,

just a quick updated on the project.
we shot on beta sx (x3) and did that for two nights. we shot in camera as well as vision switched on the night, recording into dvcam. matt, from the forum came along and helped (vision switching). thanks matt!

the lighting tech was great to work with. he really made it work for video, by showing me shows prior to the once we filmed and adjusting them per my notes. we had beta sx there for one night for tests as well, when we shot some steadicam stuff, just cause we could...

again, thanks to all that put their 2cents in and thanks to matt who came around to lend us a hand.
cheers,
lav

PS. stills are from still photographer. the video clip sampel should be on www.lavproductions.com soon. thanks

Edited by Lav Bodnaruk, 18 October 2006 - 07:09 AM.

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#12 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 22 November 2006 - 12:33 AM

hey hey,

if you like Quick Time stuff (I dont) you can check out the clip that this topic was on about on my web site ... uploaded recently.

visit: http://www.lavproduc...om/projects.htm

click on the picture which says doch (might have to double click) and wait few minutes as it is 10MB.
The footage is of LIVE edit, and it is obviously crap BNC signal not the actual Beta SX that we shot with (that is yet to be edited).

Cheers,
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#13 Ken Minehan

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 09:37 PM

any1 else got any thoughts to which format live stuff should best be filmed with?

Hello Lav,
I am a DOP from Brisbane currently working in Singapore. I am also a graduate from QUT.
Anyway, i recently shot a live concert here where i had no control of lighting too. But the event was also a launch of Panasonics new HDX 900. We were shooting the Gig with these cameras and it exposed fine.

Just to give you a rough idea check out the attachment. The filter wheels on 1B will give you an asa of 640. That should be fast enough for your gig.

I would recommend to shoot any concert on HD or digibeta. Try your best to get as much information out of the lighting director, and as him what lights he's using from where. If he answer these questions for you, you can get a rough idea on lighting conditions for your gig.

I hope that helps
regards
Ken Minehan

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#14 Lav Bodnaruk

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Posted 23 November 2006 - 10:13 PM

hey Ken,

Thanks for the post.
The event in question has actually passed and the link in my previous post shows a clip from the actual gig. We shot on Beta SX and I was quite happy with it - ProCam did me a great price on all the gear which made it possible for us to do it;

The lighting director turned out to be very flexible!
As there were 5 shows in a row, I was able to watch the first few (we filmed last two) and give him my notes on how to best improve it for the sake of the video.

Most importantly, the client is very happy with the footage! We have not yet commenced the edit of the Beta SX tapes, but I have been showing them the vision switch cut, and they are thrilled :)

If you get a chance, do watch the video and let me know what you think.
It is a bit dark at the beginning of the song, since they insisted on setting that kind of mood for that particular track... also the QuickTime is a product of BNC live vision feed and I am sure that the Beta SX footage will be brighter.

Thanks!

PS. It really helped that I had amazing cameraman/woman that worked on this project! Some of the shots are just sooo pretty :)
PS2. Doing the event on HDX 900 would have been a dream!
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