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Live Recording Music Video


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#1 Daniel Meier

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Posted 05 January 2016 - 07:18 PM

Hey folks.

 

At the end of January I'm going to have a music video shoot. There are four songs performed by one band that is going to be recorded live (audio and video).

We have only one day to setup the set and lighting. I need to scheme this shoot in advance, as best as I can.

I have two questions:

 

1) We are recording with four cameras that are operated and two to three that are not. Since it's live, we can't change lighting during the performance.

The band is looking for a warm, homely look, with soft lighting.

I wonder what is the easiest way to achieve soft, but yet directed lighting without using tons of diffusors, flags and all that. Yet maintaing controll to seperately light all talents.

And keep a certain contrast to the scene. I thought about softboxes with honeycombs.

 

The fixtures should stay out of shots. I thought about adding soft practicals. But I can't think of any, besides chinaballs.

To make things even more complicated, the band want's to be positioned in a triangle, half circle kind of way. But maybe I can change their minds :-P

 

 

2) I want to use haze, as its effect adds to the desired look.

Are there fluids out there that don't affect female singer's voices?

I'm also afraid of damaging the pricy condenser microphones, as well as other studio equipment and instruments (guitars, drumset, bass guitar, piano).

Is it really that harmful?

 

Can I distribute the haze evenly in such a big room with one or two standard household ventilators?

 

Furthermore I would like to know for how long the haze effect averagely lasts in a room like this. Any experience?

We need it to last for about 4-5 minutes, as this is the song length.

 

 

The room is about 18 feet tall. We are using the area downstairs for recording.

 

 

 

 

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#2 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 02:27 AM

That's a pretty large set to light. It's good that it has warm colored floors and walls but I think it will be challenging to make such a large space feel homey and intimate. Maybe it would be best to use long lenses to compress the space and keep the background stairs relatively dark to make it not seem as epic.

If you want to go with practicals, it might be nice to hang dozens of low wattage, dimmed down bare bulbs. Like so:

If you hang them in several rows in front of and behind the performers and shoot through them it could be interesting. You could also take a bunch of small colored china balls, put LED globes in them, and strew them about on the floor and on the stairs. And how about Christmas tree string lights wrapped around the drum kit and music stands, or on the bannister?

Oil based hazers like the DF-50 hang in the air the longest but they also leave an oily film on everything, so you're right to be concerned about damaging the microphones. Water based smoke machines tend to billow more and not last as long but they are safer. You could also go with Smoque or mist type diffusion filters instead if the haze or smoke becomes too much of a hassle. It's not really the same thing but it could also look good.
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#3 Daniel Meier

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 09:50 AM

Thanks Sat.

We might even keep the stairset out of the frame and just concentrate on the downstair area, just to keep things easy.

 

I forgot to mention those:

http://ecx.images-am...fL._SL1500_.jpg

 

We use them as practical sources. Letting lights hang down from of the ceiling might be difficult, since it is that high up.

 

Another thing that popped to my mind is the humming noise of the ballast. Are there low-noise/silent ballasts out there for HMIs, that wouldn't even affect silent passage of the music?

If I'd want to hide my ballast in another room, what max. cable lengths are available?


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#4 Stuart Allman

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 03:29 PM

My first impression of your questions is that you really need to hone down what "warm, homely look" actually looks like.  You're concentrating on the equipment before the look.  Try going on 500px.com or a similar site and finding some inspirational photos for you and the director to review.  Once you have that nailed down it should be pretty obvious what you'll need to do.

 

Also take a look at Live From Abbey Road.  That show had a nice look inside a studio, without looking complex.  Some of the PBS music specials from the U.S. like Michael Buble or Tony Bennett are probably on Youtube.  Those had a nice intimate feel.

 

In the space you have I wouldn't bother with an HMI.  Tungsten, fluorescent, plasma, or LED should be sufficient for the floor space you have to light.  The first thing I would do is turn off the evil overhead fluorescents.  It's amazing what you can do with some warmly gelled up lighting in a space like that.  Some cheaply home made tungsten batten strips work wonders.

 

If you try to use smoke or haze during a live performance there's a good chance you won't make it out of the studio alive.  The musicians and studio owners will hate you.

 

Stuart Allman

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#5 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 06 January 2016 - 06:03 PM

I wouldn't hang practicals from the ceiling, that's crazy! I would make multiple speedrail goalpost rigs, raise them up just above the frame and hang fixtures from that. Two combo stands per goalpost, hi-rollers for the background and smaller stands for the foreground. Shouldn't be too much work.
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#6 Daniel Meier

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Posted 26 June 2016 - 06:16 AM

Here's what we ended up with:

 

We had about 3 hours to light the set and another 3 to setup the cameras and grip. We didn't hang any lights down. They were all on the ground using tripods. Mostly diffused or bounced.

And some LED-PARs for the background.


Edited by Daniel Meier, 26 June 2016 - 06:26 AM.

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#7 Daniel Meier

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Posted 03 July 2016 - 10:49 AM

Maybe some of you feel like giving a critical feedback? That would be nice!


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#8 Vivek Venkatraman

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 07:57 AM

I just chanced upon this post and ended up seeing your final output.

You said intimate / homely etc which always makes me think of tungsten lighting/

You ended up using a daylight source with NO contrast in the image and practically rendedered the practicals as ineffective set dressing.

 

It looks fine but its very far from the brief [IMO], however I might be wrong.

 

I was thinking something like this

 


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#9 Satsuki Murashige

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Posted 12 July 2016 - 01:01 PM

Hi Daniel, I think it came out looking fine but I also agree that it doesn't feel as homey and intimate as you originally intended. I think in retrospect it was a pretty tough assignment given the huge set and the size of the band. You would have had to block them much closer together to avoid using such a wide lens for your master. The master shot really hampered what was possible for the other angles since you had to shoot it all live.

To me, a homier feel would be a space with couches and soft chairs in a relatively small area, people sitting around casually, arranged informally, perhaps acoustic instruments, and whispery vocals. So maybe it was the wrong song for that brief to begin with.
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#10 Daniel Meier

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Posted 17 July 2016 - 05:30 PM

Thanks Vivek and Satsuki for your critical feedback.

 

@ Vivek:

Nice example of using practicals.

 

We actually didn't use any daylight source. I just added a little bit of CTB to the Backlights for the backing vocals.

 

@ Sat:

I also wanted the band members to be closer together. But they insisted on this classic stage line-up. Although there was no stage, nor was there an audience.

I wanted the lead singer to back up a little and let the pianist and guitarist surround her. So that she would be in something like a semicircle.

This would've also enhanced our shots, that unfortunatly now lack of depth and foreground elements.

 

All in all quite a throwaway of potential due to lack of time.

Like I said, we recorded four videos on that day. Plus the audio was produced live as well. So there were some compromises to be made.

 

Here is the lighting diagram:

Floorplan_Berlin_Funkhaus_Final.jpg


Edited by Daniel Meier, 17 July 2016 - 05:34 PM.

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#11 Phil Connolly

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 04:05 AM

Hi Daniel 

 

I thought it looked and sounded really good, especially considering the timescale you had to shoot it. Not homey and intimate - but appropriate for the location and band size. 

 

Looks like you did what you could in terms of coverage and were limited by keeping the cameras out of shot. Although if done carefully I don't mind cameras in shot. The previously mentioned (excellent) Abbey Road series had cameras in shot - but it gave more flexibility in coverage.

 

I agree the band would have looked better if you arranged them more in a circle as if they were jamming. The problem with the standard 'stage performance' set up it is it looks at bit weird without an audience. Who are they performing too? The singer isn't quite working the cameras enough for a 'performance'. A more intimate in the round set up with the band making eye contact and looking like they are having fun is a bit more natural. For me performance needs to be motivated - either by an audience or an acknowledgment of the camera as audience. Its tricky also because the singer closes her eyes a lot - which gets annoying. But thats a band thing not a lighting thing. I personally thought the lighting worked well, simple and unfussy.

 

However probably a lot of this you can't fix as the band I'm sure had a vision about how they wanted to perform and present themselves and it can be tricky to moderate.

 

These are just thoughts and nit picks - the videos still do a good job of representing the act and the songs. 


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#12 Daniel Meier

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 02:57 PM

Phil, thanks for your motivating words.

 

I recall that the semi-circle thing would've been tricky, because of the sound recording. There might have been issues with the vocal track, as it would've gotten much more "dirty" (more background noise of othere instruments). Maybe that's why they rejected the idea.


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#13 Phil Connolly

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Posted 18 July 2016 - 05:31 PM

 

I recall that the semi-circle thing would've been tricky, because of the sound recording. There might have been issues with the vocal track, as it would've gotten much more "dirty" (more background noise of othere instruments). Maybe that's why they rejected the idea.

Yeah sound could have been an issue. The abbey road show - often use's acoustic screens to control spill. Normally its not too bad as long as the singer isn't right on top of the drummer. Thats usually the biggest cause of spill. I notice from your plan you had the drums off to the side which must helped helped keep the vox clean. I'm guessing the band weren't super loud either, which would help keep the recording controlled.

 

Much easier on mimed music videos, as you can put practice pads and quiet cymbals on the drum kit.  But they sound terrible so no good for a recording. 


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