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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Sports Talk 
Thread started 19 Mar 2011 (Saturday) 08:51
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Shooting a roller derby tonight, quick questions

 
Coppatop85
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Mar 19, 2011 08:51 |  #1

Done a lot of searching on other people's derby shots, but I am still left with some questions, as many of you dont have EXIF data intact:

What sort of tracking do you use for AI servo?

I am guessing I would want faster tracking (though not the fastest), AF/tracking priority (to keep focus on the intended subject if something gets in the way), continuous AF track priority (for same reason), and here is where I am torn -- should I use zone AF (probably not), Single point with expansion points (leaning here), or single/spot focus?

As for settings it seems to be that flash is most likely needed, and to set it on ETTL dialed down a stop or two. ISO 1600+ and F5 (for DoF) or lower. Shutter speed seems to need 1/160 or higher to stop motion, I will probably try to stick to 1/200+, though I may play with shutter drag.

I know some people like to separate AF and metering, but I never got used to that, and keep them tied to one button. I use manual 90% of the time anyways.

Will post pictures afterwords!


5D3, lenses, tripod, and a flash.
Wobsite: www.coppatopphotos.com (external link)

  
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dmwierz
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Mar 19, 2011 09:42 |  #2

I've never shot roller derby, but I have shot almost every other sport, and it seems to me you're making this way too complicated. If you can shoot with flash, do so, however...

Shutter speed seems to need 1/160 or higher to stop motion, I will probably try to stick to 1/200+, though I may play with shutter drag.

This tells me you don't understand how to shoot sports with flash/strobes. Might be worth you doing some searching on the board for hints and suggestions. If you don't understand this concept, adding flash could turn into a nightmare, and you'd be better off shooting ambient.

In short, when deployed properly, the flash duration "stops motion", not the shutter speed. Shutter only controls ambient exposure. You want your flash to be the primary light source, which means your flash needs to be bright enough to overpower the ambient light level by 2+ stops (the more the better). You can control this by shooting your flash in manual mode (ETTL struggles when presented with challenging and rapidly-changing light levels on subjects in motion, which is what the roller derby I've seen on TV looks to be) and adjusting the output until you get the results you're seeking. You also control the results by setting your ambient exposure only bright enough to result in dark frames barely showing shadows of the subjects (frames shot without the flash should look like this).

Below are two images - the first shot without the strobe showing a shadowy subject, and the second shown with the strobe. Note - the camera's settings were the same for both: ISO 400, Aperture f/4.0 Shutter, 1/250s . The images were shot during warm-up to test strobe level and exposure settings.

I wouldn't shoot in high speed burst mode, either. First of all, your flash may have trouble keeping up with you, and secondly, if it does keep up you run the risk of burning out the flash tube. Seriously - it can and will happen.

Again, shooting sports with flash/strobes isn't rocket science, but unless you understand what's going on and how it works, you could be in for a long and confusing event. Also, don't even think about "dragging the shutter"...

I would also reconsider teaching yourself how to back-button-focus...I cannot imagine shooting fast-moving sports having my AF tied to the shutter button.


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http://www.denniswierz​bicki.com (external link)
http://www.sportsshoot​er.com/dmwierz (external link)

Dennis "
Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

  
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Coppatop85
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Mar 19, 2011 10:35 |  #3

Thanks for the info.

There have been various shots I have looked at with, and without flash, those shutter speeds I was referring to were generally done without flash, though I almost always use ETTL.

I don't shoot much sports, I mostly do performing arts (concerts/plays/theate​r) where flash is generally prohibited. I've done some night club shots, so I do get the concept that you can freeze motion with the flash.

I almost never shoot sports, so maybe I am missing the point of the back focus, what is the advantage to it? How is pressing the AF-on button in back, then pressing the shutter down any different than half pressing the shutter to focus, and then half pressing it again to take the photograph? It seems inefficient to me to use the back-focus button, What am I missing?

Thanks for your post.


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Wobsite: www.coppatopphotos.com (external link)

  
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dmwierz
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Mar 19, 2011 12:44 |  #4

'top - Again, lotsa posts here about back button focus...the search tool is your friend.

In a word, though: precision. How far down is "halfway" down on the shutter, to engage the AF? How easy is it to keep the shutter depressed halfway to track a moving subject for an extended period, or to disengage then reengage the AF over and over again during the same play?

Utilizing the back button always, always give you the precise control required for fast-moving activity. Keep it depressed, or sporadically depress it, and when the time is right, fire the shutter.


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http://www.sportsshoot​er.com/dmwierz (external link)

Dennis "
Yeah, well, sometimes nothin' can be a real cool hand."

  
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Coppatop85
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Mar 19, 2011 12:47 |  #5

dmwierz wrote in post #12050387 (external link)
'top - Again, lotsa posts here about back button focus...the search tool is your friend.

In a word, though: precision. How far down is "halfway" down on the shutter, to engage the AF? How easy is it to keep the shutter depressed halfway to track a moving subject for an extended period, or to disengage then reengage the AF over and over again during the same play?

Utilizing the back button always, always give you the precise control required for fast-moving activity. Keep it depressed, or sporadically depress it, and when the time is right, fire the shutter.

Thanks, I've actually been reading for the last few hours all about it. I've never really had to do all this before, because it is not needed in concert photography. Thanks for your help. Will do more searching


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bsmotril
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Mar 19, 2011 21:19 |  #6

With a 7D, I set the AF tracking sensitivity one click below the middle and use AF point expansion around the center point. I've found with the AF sensitivity set higher, pumping arms and knees can throw off the focus when they're coming at you. If you are using flash, set the metering to Average versus ETTL. That will prevent big variations due to different uniform colors. I shoot pretty much strictly manual mode trying to keep DOF at least 3.5 and up to 5.5 in order to get enough DOF to keep the entire pack in focus. Try to keep Shutter 160 to 250. Dial in the exact exposure for the amount of background you want and let the flash metering take care of the foreground. Use Flash compensation to dial it down a bit if you are blowing hilights. I get good stuff at ISO 3200-4000 with the 7D. My last couple of sets on Flickr have intact EXIF for derby shots. The 17-55 is a great derby lens on the 7D if you're trackside and the 70-200 is perfect for candids or if your up in the stands a bit.


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Kaisita
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Apr 04, 2013 17:29 |  #7

bsmotril wrote in post #12053068 (external link)
I get good stuff at ISO 3200-4000 with the 7D. My last couple of sets on Flickr have intact EXIF for derby shots.

Hello,
I'm also doing my first Derby shoot this weekend.
Bsmotril - I've had a look at your Flickr page - how do you get such sharp results at ISO4000?
Have you used a flash for your Roller Derby images?

Thanks for your help! :)




  
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JPR ­ Images
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Apr 04, 2013 18:42 |  #8

I have photographed a couple of derbies, kind of like photographing basketball. I shot without flash, f2.8, ISO set to maintain fast shutter speed, AI Servo

IMAGE: http://jprimages.com/img/s11/v33/p251453274-5.jpg

Camera model:Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Focal length:160 mm
Max lens aperture:f/2.8
Exposure:1/400 at f/2.8
Flash:Not fired
Exposure bias:0 EV
Exposure mode:Manual
Exposure prog.:Manual
ISO speed:ISO 4000
Metering mode:Pattern

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JPR ­ Images
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Apr 04, 2013 18:45 |  #9

I worry more about shutter speed and less about ISO setting.

IMAGE: http://jprimages.com/img/s11/v30/p277839707-5.jpg

Camera model:Canon EOS-1D Mark IV
Focal length:140 mm
Max lens aperture:f/2.8
Exposure:1/400 at f/2.8
Flash:Not fired
Exposure bias:0 EV
Exposure mode:Manual
Exposure prog.:Manual
ISO speed:ISO 4000
Metering mode:Pattern

JPR
www.jprimages.com (external link)

  
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Kiwi ­ Kid
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Apr 05, 2013 04:02 |  #10

With a 5D3+f2.8 lens you wont need a flash!

Try a bit of both if you can,be interesting to see your results,I,m sure if you shot performing arts with out flash you wont have any problems with Derby girls,different with flash though...


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Kaisita
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Apr 05, 2013 15:50 as a reply to  @ Kiwi Kid's post |  #11

Thanks guys!

I'll be using Canon 60D with a 70-200 f/2.8 lens.

I've never used ISO higher than 800 (have never really needed to) - so I'm a bit worried about the noise that ISO 4000 would introduce...

I do have an external flash (Canon 430EX), but the sports hall is big with high ceilings and there would be nowhere to bounce it off from...




  
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Hybrid ­ AWD
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Apr 22, 2013 09:26 |  #12

I'm jealous of your venue. The lighting is worlds better than the venue I shoot in.




  
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bigarchi
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May 07, 2013 14:39 |  #13

to anyone searching roller derby and stumbling upon this now, note that the style that dmwierz is talking about above is just that. One method/style. It comes off as absolutely the only way to do something right.
It is not.

It is a great way to shoot derby if you can set up a couple (or more) strobes, but by far the only way.
if everyone shot roller derby the same way, it would be pretty boring imho. though there would be a lot of great photos out there, but they would all have the same style.
luckily, photographers can be artists and use what ever methods they want, to come up with whatever style it is they want. And they don't have to shoot a bout the same way, from start to finish either. :)

And a big difference from derby bouts to basketball is that derby photographers don't just shoot the "game" that happens out on the track. they also shoot the crowd, the anouncers, the benches, the afterparties, behind the scenes, the booths, the refs, the superfans, the charities, etc. etc.

a lot of derby venues are dark caves. and are nothing like basketball courts. And some are like hockey arenas (because they are). there are many variables in play with this sport.

dragging the shutter is a very viable option, don't be so quick to dismiss it. especially from the middle of the track, or even directly trackside. i've seen awesome photos that way in derby. I suck at it, but have friends that crush that style.

try second curtain sync. try backlighting, try some on camera flash, try all ambient. try strobing the **** out of it. see what you like and adjust. i know people that shoot derby with nothing but ambient and rock it. JPR Images posted some above that have no flash a look great. of course that is a better lit venue than lots :) but i shoot that way in such venues, especially if i had to travel.

and please check out bsmotril's work for inspiration. He's got a metric sh*t ton of awesome work to look at, shooting derby.

anyway, just my opinion..


~Mitch

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sincity
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Post edited over 5 years ago by sincity. (2 edits in all)
     
Jul 20, 2015 05:16 |  #14

What I do is use three strobes. One is at turn one for the starting action. Another strobe at turn two so you can usually capture who is in the lead. And the last one is just a broad fill. Since the action is hard to predict and not all players are going to be in the lighting area of strobe 1&2

Mind you, this venue is hard to light with mercury lights and 20 ft high ceilings, so I use powerful strobes like a Elinchrom 1200 watts strobes. Both strobes 1&2 are gridded to 30 or 40 degrees so I will control the spill. The strobe #3 is just bare or has a stock reflector.

Autofocus is set for Continuous with the AF start button, so as long as I have the AF start button mashed down it is tracking.

Exposure is set for ISO 640. SS=1/250 F/stop=F/8.

Of course the downside is that you are using studio strobes and it isn't as fluid as using a camera with a shoe flash. So you will miss some of the action. I do keep the shoe flash in a pocket next to me, so I can unclip the pocket wizards and shoot the scene with a shoe flas

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sincity
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Aug 20, 2015 03:39 |  #15

Shooting for another RD team, I got to use a 'better' venue. This time, I used ISO 1600 and used two 1K strobes and a smalled Godox shoe flash for fill.


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Shooting a roller derby tonight, quick questions
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