June 30, 2016 at 5:06AM, Edited June 30, 5:11AM

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Recording Live Dance Performance

Hi,

I am in the editing suite now, after doing some indoor dance concert recordings. It is terribly disappointing and I am wondering what kind of setup some of you use when recording dance performances (think ballet concerts). My current setup is basic using a Canon 70D, Rode Videomic Pro, 55-200mm lens, with a tripod.

Here's the problems I faced: bumpy video movements when panning sideways/up/down, jerky video when zooming in and out, video going out of focus, poor white balance.

So, the questions I face now is what kind of accessories/lens do I have to invest in to get better output? Since 55-200mm is a parfocal lens, it needs constant focus adjustment when zoomed in/out. What is the best lens to record wide-angle, low-light, concert performance? Do I need a focus puller? Do I need viewfinder?

Also, in theory where would be the best spots to place your camera in a concert hall?

Any input is appreciated. Thank you.

6 Comments

First of all are you doing this for commercial or just a home video?

"Here's the problems I faced: bumpy video movements when panning sideways/up/down, jerky video when zooming in and out, video going out of focus, poor white balance."

I think you should invest in a high quality tripod or at least a high quality head like the 502. The lens is cheap so smooth zooming is poor, my solution was a second camera, one stayed tight, and the other stayed wide. I could then switch back and forth in post and not have any risks with the zoom. Sometimes that's impractical so the other solution is maybe a L series lens? They are really smooth in my opinion and constant aperture and focus.

I've found head on angles to be kind of dull and prefer side front so that I'm almost looking up into their faces. I try to switch it around a bit though, are you allowed to move around in concert?

June 30, 2016 at 10:15AM

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Clark McCauley
Spaceman
2049

>>>Here's the problems I faced: bumpy video movements when panning sideways/up/down

You need a tripod with a "real" video fluid head. The cheapest tripod I've used that has a good fluid head is the Sachtler ACE tripod. ( I use Sachtler FSB-4 and FSB-6 fluid heads most of the time and they are extremely smooth )

>>> jerky video when zooming in and out, video going out of focus

Your image goes out of focus because the lens is NOT parfocal, where a true parfocal lens will maintain accurate focus throughout it's zoom range. Unfortunately most DSLR / Mirrorless camera lenses are NOT parfocal, so you either have to adapt a used Canon or Fujinon B4 lens ( these are affordable "news" camera lenses from 20 years ago that you can adapt to use with a mirror-less camera like the Panasonic GH4 camera ) or switch to shooting with a good quality ENG camera from Canon, Panasonic, or Sony.

I use an affordable Panasonic X920 consumer ENG style camera for handheld interviews and it produces quite a good image for such a small camera. Pansonic is introducing two new prosumer 4K cameras this Fall, the Panasonic AG-UX90 and AG-UX180 cameras that I expect will be great cameras for live event work like your dance performance.

>>>poor white balance

This is your fault. The first thing you MUST learn when using any new camera is how to accurately set a proper white balance.

>>>So, the questions I face now is what kind of accessories/lens do I have to invest in to get better output?

I would rent an ENG video camera with a built-in parfocal zoom lens, or consider buying a good consumer ENG style camera like the Panasonic X920, Sony CX900, or Sony AX100. All of these cameras produce a good image in lower light conditions and their parfocal zoom lens will stay in focus throughout it's zoom range.

Getting a tripod with a "real" video fluid head will also make a huge difference in the smoothness of your camera movement.

June 30, 2016 at 11:08AM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32480

I've found the FS100 to be really good for auditorium and event coverage. You can rent from borrow lenses for $120 for 3 days I think?

Clark McCauley

June 30, 2016 at 1:21PM

>>>I've found the FS100 to be really good for auditorium and event coverage. You can rent from borrow lenses for $120 for 3 days I think?

The Sony FS100 is an out of date digital cine camera that would have all of the same problems you faced when you shot with your Canon 70D.

What you want to use is an ENG style camera like a Panasonic AC130, Panasonic AC160, Sony PXW-X160, Canon XF305 that have a permanently mounted parfocal long zoom lens. With any of these cameras you can go from a wide shot to a tight zoom shot and the focus will be perfect. Put it on a tripod with a "real" fluid head, and you can move any of these cameras in perfectly smooth motion. ( just make sure you properly balance the camera before using the tripod, properly balanced you can point the camera in any direction and let go and the camera will stay pointing in the direction where you let go without having to lock anything )

June 30, 2016 at 2:41PM, Edited June 30, 2:41PM

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Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer
32480

It's true I've just found the footage to be a lot more pleasing in low light than from a DSLR, just my opinion though...

Clark McCauley

June 30, 2016 at 7:15PM

The cheapest thing would be to rent three cameras fixed on a tripod and perhaps one handheld and make the video interesting during the edit.

By the way a parfocal lens does NOT need refocus when the focal length changes. So in other words you do not have a parfocal lens.

July 7, 2016 at 4:16PM

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Cary Knoop
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