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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Performing Arts Talk 
Thread started 06 Sep 2015 (Sunday) 13:13
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speedlight at concerts

 
Ltdave
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Sep 06, 2015 13:13 |  #1

no so much at big name shows but we have a small ice arena (5,000 people or so) and i wondered about the use of speedlights...

a local club had a couple of small bands/performers over the weekend and the lighting was horrendous. mostly party lighting under the patio tent and i was at my limits (f2.8 1/60) and shooting at ISO 6400. the noise was terrible and of course skin tones were impossible...

does anyone shoot with speedlights?




  
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vfotog
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Sep 07, 2015 04:30 |  #2

generally no. personally, never. it's usually not allowed, and for good reason. They're annoying to the artists. from a photographic standpoint, it's totally frowned upon and unnecessary. show lighting creates an atmosphere; when you use a flash you are not capturing the live atmosphere but literally changing it. It's hard to imagine that you weren't able to get anything decent that wide open at 6400 and 2.8. 1/60 would be way too slow for me; too much risk of motion blur. You need to work on your skills and on your pp.




  
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Road ­ Dog
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Oct 08, 2015 08:30 as a reply to  @ vfotog's post |  #3

I'm going to both agree and disagree with vfotog.

Yes, it's frowned upon and, most often, it's prohibited. Leave the speedlight at home.

I'll disagree with him, though, on whether or not f/2.8 at an ISO of 6400 should, as if almost by default, allow you to get good results. I've been in that position. Under some conditions, nothing you can do is going to garner the results you want. At that point I opt to just put the camera away. 1/60th is certainly too slow.

As a rule, I've found that local clubs aren't going to have the lighting which will be conducive to satisfactory results. An arena that holds 5,000 people, though, will likely be a very different story...


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Village_Idiot
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Oct 09, 2015 08:18 |  #4

I would ask the venue/band if you have that luxury. Also, look at primes. My first show I ever shot was in a BBQ restaurant with a Canon 300D and 50mm f/1.8. They were very few keepers and B&W helped to hide the terrible chroma noise, but it was all I could manage at the time. The f1/.8 helped immensely over my other lens, the kit. Look at an 85 prime or maybe something longer if you can swing it. They're cheaper and although they don't have tremendous reach, most high mega pixel cameras can crop down nicely.


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PhotosGuy
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Oct 09, 2015 08:39 |  #5

No flash for me, either.

vfotog wrote in post #17697842 (external link)
1/60 would be way too slow for me; too much risk of motion blur.

If you're looking for nice, sharp images, that may be true. OTOH, performers don't move all the time, or all of them doesn't move at the same time, either. So why not try shooting at whatever exposure you have to use & try to get some nice blur in part of the image?
Yes, you'll have to delete a lot of images, but you might get 2 or 3 that are really nice, & not what everyone else is trying to get.

As for, " the noise was terrible", that might partly be because you were underexposing, even at a high ISO.

And if they have these events often, find the lighting guy, buy him a beer, & see if he can give you a little more light on the subjects.  ; )


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Ltdave
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Oct 09, 2015 09:01 |  #6

The lighting guy was the two older women who strung the party lights up under the edge of the eze-up canopy...

My biggest complaint was the deep purple skintones due to the lighting. I was using my 24-70 f2.8 II primarily although I guess I should have dug out the 50 f1.4. That's good for a couple more stops...




  
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Wilt
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Post edited over 2 years ago by Wilt. (6 edits in all)
     
Oct 09, 2015 09:05 |  #7

The place must have been reeeaaaally dim! I have shot rock concerts with ISO 400 FILM, and gotten good handheld results!

Here's an old shot taken at a concert in which spots were on vocalists, but the backup band was not well lit, with ISO 1600 on a 20D...at ISO 6400 you have a 2EV advantage on me!
And colored lighting can be considered simply to be the ambience of the concert and venue, and does not need to be neutralized!

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PhotosGuy
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Oct 09, 2015 09:29 |  #8

Ltdave wrote in post #17738790 (external link)
The lighting guy was the two older women who strung the party lights up under the edge of the eze-up canopy...

They don't drink beer? Try a mojito!

... I guess I should have dug out the 50 f1.4. That's good for a couple more stops...

Well, that's a D'oh! moment, if I've ever heard one!

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maverick75
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Oct 09, 2015 09:44 |  #9

If they allow speedlights I use them, of course you have to be mindfull of not distracting the artist or tje spectator.


I'm friends with all the local acts and haven't gotten a complaint.


But I also don't motor drive at 10FPS like some people do. Also don't use on camera flash, always on triggers.


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maverick75
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Oct 09, 2015 09:49 as a reply to  @ Wilt's post |  #10

I once shot a show where they literally turned off all the lights, the venue said because they wanted to set the mood. Since that day I always bring lights.


Still managed to pull off something but I was at ISO 25,600, 1/30 and 1.8. I was just thankful it was an indie band and not one that likes to jump around.


Small club shows are still the best compared to the big venue, those bore me.

Rather see and shoot an up and coming artist than someone on the charts.

Big venues are no problem, they have more than enough light that you don't need speedlights.


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RichSoansPhotos
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Oct 11, 2015 10:22 |  #11
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vfotog wrote in post #17697842 (external link)
generally no. personally, never. it's usually not allowed, and for good reason. They're annoying to the artists. from a photographic standpoint, it's totally frowned upon and unnecessary. show lighting creates an atmosphere; when you use a flash you are not capturing the live atmosphere but literally changing it. It's hard to imagine that you weren't able to get anything decent that wide open at 6400 and 2.8. 1/60 would be way too slow for me; too much risk of motion blur. You need to work on your skills and on your pp.

Not really unnecessary, just frowned upon, I can imagine that if there was only photographer and hardly any lighting at all, it can be acceptable, so long as the artists isn't completely blitzed by constant flashes and high settings on the flash gun (I've actually seen someone do that, not only did it annoy me, it annoyed the singer), plus you tell them in advanced because there are artists who are sensitive to flash photography especially those, dare I say it, with epilepsy

Just ask the artist in advanced, if they would allow, if not, then don't use it at all, because you will get kicked out if you don't listen. If they do allow, don't use the full high settings, not only will that kill your photos in terms of atmosphere, you are going to annoy everyone




  
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RichSoansPhotos
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Oct 11, 2015 10:24 |  #12
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Road Dog wrote in post #17737546 (external link)
I'm going to both agree and disagree with vfotog.

Yes, it's frowned upon and, most often, it's prohibited. Leave the speedlight at home.

I'll disagree with him, though, on whether or not f/2.8 at an ISO of 6400 should, as if almost by default, allow you to get good results. I've been in that position. Under some conditions, nothing you can do is going to garner the results you want. At that point I opt to just put the camera away. 1/60th is certainly too slow.

As a rule, I've found that local clubs aren't going to have the lighting which will be conducive to satisfactory results. An arena that holds 5,000 people, though, will likely be a very different story...


1/60th second isn't too slow, fair enough, there may be motion on the hand if the artist is playing their guitar vigorously, it's all down to how fast the performers are moving, if they are static, is it too slow?




  
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Nethawked
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Oct 15, 2015 12:18 |  #13

I wouldn't even ask. Even if granted you're not doing much for your reputation. Artists don't like them, it's distracting for the crowd and other photographers in the pit will hate you. Carry f/2.8 or better lenses and adjust ISO accordingly, then spray and pray.




  
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sirquack
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Oct 15, 2015 14:55 |  #14

Trust me, I have shot small shows where the only lighting is old Christmas lights taped or attached to the ceiling. Due to this, I ended up with a Canon 6D (high ISO beast) and then going with primes to get the fastest aperture I can get. I still get away with the 24-70 2.8 in some venues, but I usually end up with my 85 1.8 on and getting close up shots of the individual band members. I did do one show with a speedlight, but other than a few specific shots I got uplighting the band I was there to shoot, I decided I would not bring speedlights again. It just didn't produce the type of shots I felt were representative of the shows I was attending.
Check my Flickr account and you will see the shots I get at as high as 25600 ISO. Some were converted to B/W when the noise was higher than I would have liked, but most of my shots are color and in the 12800 to 25600 range on my 6D.
I am beginning to use my 7D2 with my Siggy 30 1.4 though. And am started to get comfortable with ISO up to around 12800 on that body. I am also able to keep my shutter speed in the 1/125th range or even 1/250th in some shots with the fast glass and higher ISO.
Good luck either way, sometimes to get the shots you want, you have invest in the technology that gets the shots you envision.


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Ltdave
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Oct 17, 2015 14:44 |  #15

i shot some stuff in David Kimbrough's juke joint (David is Jr. Kimbrough the blues artists son) and they had ONE bare bulb ceiling (60 watt) and a 60 watt bulb in a clamp on reflector on a wall about 20 feet from the "stage" area...

lots of shadows and what light there was, was quite harsh. ill post some pics one day soon. still not on a good internet connection...




  
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speedlight at concerts
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