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Any suggestions for shooting live show?

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pixel_pilotAny suggestions for shooting live show?
by on Mar 27, 2007 at 4:12:16 pm

Hey all,

For my job I shoot alot of live concerts and musicals. I currently have 12 easter shows coming up. This is a broadway style musical that is lit like a rock concert. Their are alot of intelligent lights and extreme sudden changes in the lighting for scene effect. I have shot many live rock concerts but this show actually has the most extreme lighting variables I have ever dealt with. I discussed with the light about doing some wash lighting but we don't want to kill the show either. I am shooting with 3 canon Xl2s to a tricaster switcher. The video is being put to big screens as part of the show but we will also be taping so I can post it later for dvd. Any insights would be appreciated.


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Mark SuszkoRe: Any suggestions for shooting live show?
by on Mar 29, 2007 at 2:40:02 pm

It is always a compromise, shooting and cutting for IMAG screens in the venue versus shooting and switching and/or editing for a post version. The compositional needs are very different and often in opposition. If you do the choice of shots and cutting to opitimize the live audience's IMAG experience, you often get a relatively boring master tape out of that. Running iso records, you can sometimes fix quite a bit of that in post with different timing of cuts and selection of shots, but you are still locked into the IMAG composition/framings you shot with. If you IMAG feed a live cut that's got a home viewer audience in mind, the live audience is going to be really distracted from the live performance. You will suck life out of the show.

For lighting, you must either vote for and live with covering the show as it actually was, or commit to a customized interpretation of the show geared to the needs of video. Perhaps one compromise you can try is to add some level-raising washes to just the full dress rehearsal. Then you can use just the dress for TV or try and match levels in post later as you intercut between the rehearsal and the actual show. Failing that, you could maybe rent cameras with more control over dynamic range, if the budget allows. If the budget is fixed, then you do the best you can. With today's cameras, that's a lot easier to do than in the old tube camera days, if that's any consolation; you can do great work today that was impossible to attempt even ten years ago.

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pixel_pilotRe: Any suggestions for shooting live show?
by on Apr 4, 2007 at 10:32:38 pm


thanx for the tips, This past weekend I did 7 shows in a row. Everything went well. I ran switcher for three cameras and had them take shots that would be suitable for tv. I have shot shows in this venue before and discovered early on that you have to decide what you want to go on screen as you stated. Being this will be put to DVD for resale I decided I had to shoot for tv. I made presets for the white balance on three different scenes, a dark blue,
orange red and the regular wash used for the main acting scenes. this seemed to cover all the bases for this show. The camera guys have to really work their irises and presets but we got in a groove
and I called ahead on shots so they could get their settings before I cut to them and they kept me informed what they neede from their end as well. Thank God for clear com! Its alot of work for all of us but its coming off nicely. I white balanced to every light scene with the a spot light hitting the white board and the irises on the cameras wide open full zebras. This seemed to work well. Have you any better suggestions on this? any more input would be great. Ive got 8 more shows to go.

Thanx Again

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