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Cabaret Film Shoot Advice Please


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#1 mark_baldry

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 09:37 AM

I going to film a cabaret in a bar in December.

I cannot use any additional lighting only the lights used on the stage and around the room as this would interfere with the cabaret and the audience. As well as filming the performers on stage i also want to film the audience as well.

I was planning on using Kodak Vision 3 500T film stock and will using a Bolex SBM camera and Vario-Switar POE-4 lens.

I am going to shoot a test film tomorrow just to see what happens but I wondered if anyone could give me any advice on how i am going to get this to work!

thanks

Mark
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#2 Chris Keth

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Posted 30 October 2008 - 07:48 PM

Will there be enough light at all? The cabaret shows I've been to were very, very dark.
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#3 Daniel Russel

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:56 AM

Hi Mark,

I've shot a lot of live performance under those sort of conditions, ie, available light in small cramped spaces.. Now, question is - what kind of film are expecting to have at the end of it.. a kind of resume of the night or are you shooting a specific performer??

As a pointer, these shoots have been commissioned and budgets/favours allowing only for SD video.
Obviously there, you get to see straight away what you're getting and then get a bit creative with a noisy image (subjective taste of course..)

Since you're using film, you're more likely to get an image with much more latitude than video, especially when dealing with stage lighting, most probably of the expressionistic kind - using profiles (lekos) and PAR cans. THese stand out like sore on video! but that's what you're left with and it's an accepted look that no-one questions.

With a test roll, you should try and shoot someone on stage and set your lightmeter at different ASA ratings from -2 stops to +2 stops and see what the film can do for you. Same thing for audience lighting (candle lit from a tealight on a roud table?) and someone/couple sat in shoot.

Slate each take clearly, make notes for yourself and lab and shoot a gray card with a profile lamp pointing directly at the card, set at the colour temperature that you'll be using on the night for lab reference at the beginning of the roll. Make it clear to them that you're shooting a test.

I assume (never do that!) that you'll be cutting footage on a form of video/ captured into an NLE.
Make sure you get a telecine based on a 'correct' exposure so as to be able to evaluate underexposed and overexposed footage tests.

Hope this helps!
Daniel
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#4 mark_baldry

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 06:36 AM

Hi Mark,

I've shot a lot of live performance under those sort of conditions, ie, available light in small cramped spaces.. Now, question is - what kind of film are expecting to have at the end of it.. a kind of resume of the night or are you shooting a specific performer??

As a pointer, these shoots have been commissioned and budgets/favours allowing only for SD video.
Obviously there, you get to see straight away what you're getting and then get a bit creative with a noisy image (subjective taste of course..)

Since you're using film, you're more likely to get an image with much more latitude than video, especially when dealing with stage lighting, most probably of the expressionistic kind - using profiles (lekos) and PAR cans. THese stand out like sore on video! but that's what you're left with and it's an accepted look that no-one questions.

With a test roll, you should try and shoot someone on stage and set your lightmeter at different ASA ratings from -2 stops to +2 stops and see what the film can do for you. Same thing for audience lighting (candle lit from a tealight on a roud table?) and someone/couple sat in shoot.

Slate each take clearly, make notes for yourself and lab and shoot a gray card with a profile lamp pointing directly at the card, set at the colour temperature that you'll be using on the night for lab reference at the beginning of the roll. Make it clear to them that you're shooting a test.

I assume (never do that!) that you'll be cutting footage on a form of video/ captured into an NLE.
Make sure you get a telecine based on a 'correct' exposure so as to be able to evaluate underexposed and overexposed footage tests.

Hope this helps!
Daniel


yes that does help. Yes it will be transfered and NLE. The stage will be well lit so i think that will be ok just the bar and audience. But i am going there tonight to shoot my test film so will follow your advice. thanks
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#5 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 08:30 AM

If the audience isn't important, silhouette them against the stage. If they are important; for close ups, you can light them as simple as some candles on the table (good number of them) and a small, tiny bulb right above the camera for an eye-light on any close ups of them etc.
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#6 mark_baldry

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 09:40 AM

If the audience isn't important, silhouette them against the stage. If they are important; for close ups, you can light them as simple as some candles on the table (good number of them) and a small, tiny bulb right above the camera for an eye-light on any close ups of them etc.


yes i do want to see the audience as they should be as interesting as the performers! does it have to be any particular type of bulb?
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#7 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 31 October 2008 - 04:04 PM

Something soft will probably sell best, and keep it a bit warm and under exposed. Without being there/seeing etc can't really say; but something soft and a little warm just to catch the front of their faces/eyelights.
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#8 mark_baldry

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 10:44 AM

did the test film last night but am really concerned as pretty much all of the light levels where so low they were below the maximum aperture of my lens so all i could do was to keep it wide open so could really do any bracketing of exposure.

think i got a fairly decent grey card reading at the start though.

do you think i should have the film push processed or just leave it as it is and see what happens?

thanks

Mark
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#9 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 10:46 AM

How under were you?
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#10 mark_baldry

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Posted 01 November 2008 - 01:28 PM

How under were you?


my meter was giving me mostly 0.4 & 0.5's and sometimes all i got was e.u.
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#11 Daniel Russel

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Posted 04 November 2008 - 05:46 AM

my meter was giving me mostly 0.4 & 0.5's and sometimes all i got was e.u.



was that for all setups, even the stage lighting? or just for audience, which you could get away with being just visible in shap and to add to the cabaret ambience and as suggested - tealight/candles on table would look lovely (but hey, I'm just imagining the scenario!)

I'd be tempted to push it.. it's a bit of a gut feeling and having not been around, hard to say.. BUT

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=27506 might give some further clues to your experience.

All the best and do post the test on one of the video sites (please, not youtube!) if you get a chance,
Daniel
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#12 mark_baldry

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 07:45 AM

was that for all setups, even the stage lighting? or just for audience, which you could get away with being just visible in shap and to add to the cabaret ambience and as suggested - tealight/candles on table would look lovely (but hey, I'm just imagining the scenario!)

I'd be tempted to push it.. it's a bit of a gut feeling and having not been around, hard to say.. BUT

http://www.cinematog...showtopic=27506 might give some further clues to your experience.

All the best and do post the test on one of the video sites (please, not youtube!) if you get a chance,
Daniel


Some areas of bar where quite (for this location anyway!) well lit around 1.4, i think the stage itself will be ok as they will have spots on the performers but the bar area and audience varied between 0.4 & E.U. so i ended up just shooting the test with the lens wide open most of the time. I don't want the audience to look "bright" but would be good to see faces. I've sent the test off to be processed rated as normal and i think i will just have to wait to see the results to decide what to do. seems the new vision3 has quite a lot of latitude so it might just work!

i like the idea of a small light on top of the camera to light the audience faces but don't want to dazzle them so will do some experimenting!

I've started a small blog on my website

Projects Page

where i'll post the finished film but probably won't be until the new year.
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#13 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 05 November 2008 - 07:57 AM

Just a small soft light under by maybe 1 stop, 1.5 stops on your audience will do. you can always darken that later on in post... (much easier to bring down levels then up IMHO).
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#14 mark_baldry

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Posted 20 November 2008 - 09:56 AM

have now had test film converted to video.

first observations is that the focus is quite bad on some shots because it was so dark. I think i will have to use measurements to focus rather than the viewfinder. I think i will also have to push process the film as a lot of the dark areas are completely lost when converted to video.

test film can be seen on my projects page.
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Aerial Filmworks

Wooden Camera

Broadcast Solutions Inc

Metropolis Post

FJS International, LLC

Visual Products

Willys Widgets

Gamma Ray Digital Inc

Tai Audio

The Slider

CineTape

Glidecam

CineLab

Rig Wheels Passport

Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS

Abel Cine

Ritter Battery

Technodolly

Paralinx LLC

Opal