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FORUMS General Gear Talk Flash and Studio Lighting 
Thread started 16 Dec 2015 (Wednesday) 05:08
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I need help...

 
Jiggo0109
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Dec 16, 2015 05:08 |  #1

Been tasked to cover a gala concert at a certain school and I am faced with a dilemma right now. :oops: My problem is that I am limited with equipment to use in lighting up a fairly big stage. I only have...

1 400watt strobe
2 150 watt strobes
1 12 ft light stand
2 8 ft light stands
1 YN 560 IV speedlite
2 yn rf 605 trancievers (compatible with both 603 and 602 yns.
2yn rf 602 receivers
70d and 600d
ef 70-300 is usm
ef 24 105
sigmalux 50 1.4 and
18-55 bak up lens in case I need it for wide shots.

With the listed gears, I will be encountering spotlights of different colors during the presentations (all performances are in a group with minimun of 15 persons per number) and will surely be a head ache with regards to white balance. So I have to over power them with flash. The stage size is approximately 25ft width x 15ft height(?). here is the image

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5640/23158295034_507d161e46_c.jpg


How would I do this? My plan is to place my 400 watt in a 12 ft stand at the basketball right side and place my two 150s on both sides of the stage and aim them on the gray roof of the covered court... My speedlite on board for fill and tight situations. I can shoot anywhere I want (except up stage of course) but my worry is if my strobes can do the job. The program will start with the sun totally out of the scene.

Hope you can give me better ideas guys. Thanks in advance.



  
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saea501
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Dec 16, 2015 07:17 |  #2

Please understand as I mean no offense to you, but why did you accept the job if you don't have the knowledge or the equipment to do it?

Personally, I would decline the job if I didn't have the ability to do it.


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Left ­ Handed ­ Brisket
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Post edited over 3 years ago by Left Handed Brisket. (2 edits in all)
     
Dec 16, 2015 07:36 |  #3

Totally overpowering the stage lighting is a bad idea. If you did that the lighting would be unrealistic and not give a sense of place that the people were on stage at a live performance.


Frankly, I feel that flash during a live performance is poor form and would avoid it at any cost.

of course you are probably going to want to be shooting at 2.8 or so for pure ambient at a performance and I only see your 50mm as a fast lens. If you can't get some more continuous light to help you out, you might try bouncing the strobes. To give yourself a little more room to work, I would place the two 150 ws strobes about 6m from the front of the stage, aim them at the ceiling of the gym pointing toward the stage, and use them just strong enough to up your ISO and SS a bit. You should be able to still get a bit of ambient/stage light in the shot to give that sense of place.


PSA: The above post may contain sarcasm, reply at your own risk | Not in gear database: Auto Sears 50mm 2.0 / 3x CL-360, Nikon SB-28, SunPak auto 322 D, Minolta 20

  
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Jiggo0109
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Dec 16, 2015 07:42 |  #4

saea501 wrote in post #17820890 (external link)
Please understand as I mean no offense to you, but why did you accept the job if you don't have the knowledge or the equipment to do it?

Personally, I would decline the job if I didn't have the ability to do it.

;-)a Believe me, the administrators would be satisfied with just a speedlite on board my camera. I just wanted to give them something different now. I have been shooting here for several years but this situation came in different way. That is why I am ought to ask some suggestions on how I can go around with my gears limitations.

If the strobes would not really work, I still have an option of renting a full frame (6d) and go for natural lighting using my 1.4 lens and borrow some 2.8 zooms from my friends. But this is really my last option for I do not really feel comfortable borrowing expensive stuffs because I'm afraid of breaking them accidentally.




  
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nathancarter
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Dec 16, 2015 08:07 |  #5

As a relatively experienced stage photographer, I'll say this:

You don't have to overpower the stage lighting with flashes - especially if there's a manned spotlight. Powerful flashes throughout the whole event will be extremely distracting to the audience as well as everyone on stage.

Shoot in raw, make sure your ISO is set appropriately to get a proper exposure on the subject (don't blow out the skin). Set WB to Tungsten so you still get a decent preview on the LCD, but if necessary, do more WB correction in post. If it's a concert-type event, it won't be hard to find a reference point - a white shirt collar, a page of sheet music, etc.

Furthermore, most of the time you WANT to include the color and direction of the stage lighting, to maintain the "feel" and ambiance of the performance. This isn't the time for even, flat, neutral business-portrait lighting. Even if you have a WB reference point, my usual process is to globally adjust for the white neutral point, then back it up about halfway to what it originally was. This will get the skin looking OK while still preserving the ambiance of the show.

If you MUST use flash, I'd use your single most powerful flash or strobe, put it at the back of the auditorium, as high as you can safely raise it, with a reflector or snoot or dish that will put the light evenly across most of the stage while NOT lighting the wings and audience. This will somewhat emulate proper white/neutral stage lighting. It'll still be distracting to the rest of the audience if it's popping every few seconds throughout the evening.


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Ulysses01
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Dec 16, 2015 08:56 |  #6

Is this a paid job? or are you doing this for free?

This makes a huge difference in terms of how much you should invest in additional gear purchases or rented gear.




  
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Jiggo0109
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Dec 16, 2015 09:12 |  #7

Ulysses01 wrote in post #17820993 (external link)
Is this a paid job? or are you doing this for free?

This makes a huge difference in terms of how much you should invest in additional gear purchases or rented gear.

My sons' school. The coverage is free but performers are expecting prints. For sale of course. The concert is for fund raising purposes actually. Business is out of my concern because I am one of the sponsors of this event, but I want to give better results for paid photos, which will again be donated (sales income) for additional funds.




  
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Jiggo0109
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Dec 16, 2015 09:19 |  #8

nathancarter wrote in post #17820949 (external link)
Even if you have a WB reference point, my usual process is to globally adjust for the white neutral point, then back it up about halfway to what it originally was. This will get the skin looking OK while still preserving the ambiance of the show.

Like this? Snapshot I took last Feb, the scenario will be more added lighting for the upcoming event. First is unedited.

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/634/23494767730_ff5f0fcca5.jpg

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/694/23162267334_05e4326839.jpg

Edit: just checked your gallery and definitely a thumbs from your style to just what Ive posted... hehehe



  
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RandallB
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Dec 16, 2015 13:12 |  #9

nathancarter wrote in post #17820949 (external link)
As a relatively experienced stage photographer, I'll say this:

You don't have to overpower the stage lighting with flashes - especially if there's a manned spotlight. Powerful flashes throughout the whole event will be extremely distracting to the audience as well as everyone on stage.

Furthermore, most of the time you WANT to include the color and direction of the stage lighting, to maintain the "feel" and ambiance of the performance. This isn't the time for even, flat, neutral business-portrait lighting. Even if you have a WB reference point, my usual process is to globally adjust for the white neutral point, then back it up about halfway to what it originally was. This will get the skin looking OK while still preserving the ambiance of the show.


This is excellent advice.


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Bassat
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Dec 16, 2015 14:10 |  #10

As a parent who has been to more than one school event where some ... cough, cough... ehem people, cough, cough..., used flash photography, I can tell you that most of the audience will want you strung up on the school flagpole about midway through the first number. If you are still doing it during the second number, run for your life.




  
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Ulysses01
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Dec 16, 2015 20:48 |  #11

Jiggo0109 wrote in post #17821009 (external link)
My sons' school. The coverage is free but performers are expecting prints. For sale of course. The concert is for fund raising purposes actually. Business is out of my concern because I am one of the sponsors of this event, but I want to give better results for paid photos, which will again be donated (sales income) for additional funds.

That being the case, the advice from those with lots of stage shooting experience becomes even more advisable because it also happens to be the simplest approach. It will also mean less cash invested. This is a good thing because it will allow you to concentrate on actually shooting rather than devoting so much attention to the lighting gear. When setting up and controlling lots of lighting that you're unfamiliar with, things can get really frustrating really quickly — both for you and for those attending the event. Simpler will look better, and it will help you focus on better photos.

All the best! :)




  
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Jiggo0109
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Dec 16, 2015 22:37 |  #12

Ok... Thank you guys. There will be a dress rehearsal tonight ,with full lighting too, and I will try the advises made.




  
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nathancarter
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Dec 18, 2015 07:21 |  #13

Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO, then do some noise reduction in post. The 70D can handle a moderately high ISO. If you're just sharing web-size and social-media-size, you can use a different style of noise reduction - maybe it looks crummy at 100% but looks just fine at screen-size resolution. Don't obsess over keeping the ISO low - a proper exposure with appropriate shutter speed and high ISO is way better than underexposure or motion blur with a low ISO.

Keep an eye on your shutter speed, since you can't fix motion blur in post. I use around 1/200,maybe a little faster or slower depending on the style of the performance.

Aperture, open it as wide as you got. However, if you're missing focus with a very wide aperture, narrow it a bit so you have more DOF and probably a little extra sharpness. Of course, you'll need to adjust the ISO accordingly to get proper exposure.


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Jiggo0109
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Dec 18, 2015 10:23 |  #14

nathancarter wrote in post #17823432 (external link)
Don't be afraid to crank up the ISO, then do some noise reduction in post. The 70D can handle a moderately high ISO. If you're just sharing web-size and social-media-size, you can use a different style of noise reduction - maybe it looks crummy at 100% but looks just fine at screen-size resolution. Don't obsess over keeping the ISO low - a proper exposure with appropriate shutter speed and high ISO is way better than underexposure or motion blur with a low ISO.

Keep an eye on your shutter speed, since you can't fix motion blur in post. I use around 1/200,maybe a little faster or slower depending on the style of the performance.

Aperture, open it as wide as you got. However, if you're missing focus with a very wide aperture, narrow it a bit so you have more DOF and probably a little extra sharpness. Of course, you'll need to adjust the ISO accordingly to get proper exposure.

Hi again... this will be the story if I will not use flash. They were both taken in iso 1250, f4 and 1/125th. First set framed during red light on and just in just a split of a second the light was different, hehe... Oh, I will be using my friend's 16 -35 2.8 tomorrow night. He insisted I should use it so I took the offer.

Anyway, here are the photos. Same thing is happening tomorrow night.

IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/771/23803251726_f39980dc00.jpg

after lightroom
IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/681/23721017952_99e6b12cfd.jpg


IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/1/618/23747064371_fdfcaaf5e8.jpg

after lightroom

IMAGE: https://c2.staticflickr.com/6/5658/23747023611_c743dc08a4.jpg

Hope you can help me on this one... (fingers crossed)... :-)



  
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nathancarter
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Dec 21, 2015 15:06 |  #15

You can certainly use flash for pre-show or post-show posed portraits. Just not during the performance.

On that second image, use Lightroom's radial filter to even out that center hotspot, so the exposure and white balance are more consistent with the rest of the image.


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