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E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

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  • E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

    I am at a cabaret tmw night and have tonight been offered to take some promotional shots for the characters performing. I will be in front of the stage.
    I have not yet used the EM1 in a similar setting and wonder if anyone has any suggestions on ISO etc. as I have to use the camera with no flash...With stage lighting might not be too hard but any suggestions will be of help as I won't have any time to experiment.

  • #2
    Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

    use any ISO you need to get the shot - it's really that simple
    E, Pen and OM-D bodies
    43 m43 and legacy glass
    loads of flashes and accessories from all the systems

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

      My daughter is a Theatre Designer and I have photographed final rehearsal performances for her on a couple of occasions. However, this was before I got the EM-1. I used my E-620 and it's biggest limitation was it's low light performance; as theatre lighting can get quite dark. This was one of the reasons I bought the EM-1.
      So my advice would be not to be too finnicky about keeping the ISO levels down. Go for depth of field. Burst frame shooting is good in the theatre because actors facial expressions change rapidly. This is probably good for cabaret as well. In the theatre all camera noises are turned off if possible (My XZ-1 in silent mode is quite useful) and the lighting director abhors focus assist lights!

      Good luck, have fun

      bpb

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      • #4
        Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

        Originally posted by photo_owl View Post
        use any ISO you need to get the shot - it's really that simple
        I was at a party last weekend and had no end of probs with a low ISO, so was thinking around 800 or higher but don't know how grainy it might be. Colour is important tmw ...

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        • #5
          Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

          I'd be happy to let the EM-1 go to ISO 3200 and maintain a reasonable quality image. Much further to get the shot.

          bpb

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

            Stage lighting can present problems with changing colour and intensity (as a few of us found when we were invited to shoot a professional stage show at our local theatre )

            The things I learnt:

            if you can, get to the dress rehearsal (we didn't) start with ISO 400 and wide open and also check how far back you are as this will determine what focal length lens you will need

            If you can't get to the rehearsal, get there early as they usually do a lighting check before the audience comes in, run through a series of setting / FL adjustment and see what comes out best for you needs (sounds as if you will be doing shots of individuals not group shots?)

            You may actually find you get a better angle from a few rows back as in some theatres the front seats have you more or less looking up the performers noses

            What we ended up doing was shooting as wide as possible, setting the shutter speed high enough to freeze the action (it was a Ratpack tribute so a fair bit of dance and movement on stage)

            I've checked back on the old files and found I was shooting with a Canon 60D with the 70-300LIS (we were at the back of the circle!), ISO varied from 800 to 5000 and the bulk of the shots were wide open (so f4 to f5.6 depending on where I was focusing)

            Remember to turn the focus beep off if you use it, one of our number didn't and was not popular with either the usher or the audience about them

            (I forgot the most important bit (for me), shoot jpg and RAW, the jpg to quickly sort the images and the RAW to wring every bit of quality out of the image files 'cos, if you are anything like me when I did this, you will need to!

            Have fun

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            • #7
              Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

              Lots of good advice there. I would add:

              1. Stage lighting is not as bright as you think so be prepared to shoot wide open at a higher ISO than you expect.

              2. Depending on the setup, it might be all too easy to overexpose. Your main subject may be in the light with a lot of unlit background behind them. The camera might try to average it out which will overexpose your subject. And once highlights are blown, they are gone for ever.

              Fortunately the E-M1 has good dynamic range and good high ISO performance, both of which help a great deal. You can enable live histogram in the viewfinder which will allow you to check for highlight clipping - you may just have to accept losing some shadows but as long as the main subject is OK you don't need to worry too much about that.

              I generally use manual exposure for stage work. Downside is that it is harder to follow changes in lighting, upside is that the camera won't be fooled by another performer coming into view and disturbing average or pattern metering.

              Good luck, let us know how it goes.

              Ciao ... John

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              • #8
                Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                Thanks everyone.... Will hope for a bit of luck... And try out as you suggested... If it goes well you will see some results soon enough.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                  Originally posted by jamsa View Post
                  I was at a party last weekend and had no end of probs with a low ISO, so was thinking around 800 or higher but don't know how grainy it might be. Colour is important tmw ...
                  it must just be me but I don't understand the concept of concerns over 'how grainy' an image file might be.

                  if the exposure's wrong it's going to end up more grainy through adjustment

                  if the shutter speed is too long for the subject movements it's straight in the bin

                  put another way - you don't have a choice if you want to get the shots! Compromising the shutter speed is a complete waste of time.

                  just use whatever ISO is necessary, and be thankful that you have plenty with the E-M1. I've posted this before but it's ISO 25,600 in a near black ice exhibition this Christmas



                  with the mixed lighting sources of a theater shoot RAW + jpeg with Auto WB - this gives you 2 chances; 1 that the camera gets the WB correct and 2 that you can tune later if required.
                  E, Pen and OM-D bodies
                  43 m43 and legacy glass
                  loads of flashes and accessories from all the systems

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                    Like the image too!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                      Not done cabaret but plenty of music gigs.
                      usually find the lighting intensity doesnt change that much but the colour does. I shoot raw and spot meter off the face.
                      with the EM-1 I am happy now to set an exposure in manual and use the front wheel to fine tune the exposure.
                      Good luck
                      chris
                      shetland

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                        Was planning on keeping the 12-40 on the front but might try the 75-300 too...looking forward to having a go and will try the options you have all suggested for which I am quite grateful...

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                        • #13
                          Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                          Have a look at my mate Ian's website for inspiration.

                          He goes in for rock gigs but his pics might help.

                          He tends to shoot wide rather than long...
                          Brian

                          http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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                          • #14
                            Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                            Originally posted by bilbo View Post
                            Have a look at my mate Ian's website for inspiration.

                            He goes in for rock gigs but his pics might help.

                            He tends to shoot wide rather than long...
                            Impressive!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: E-M1 cabaret stage lighting help...

                              Originally posted by jamsa View Post
                              Impressive!
                              Yes - he's very talented, and a nice guy to boot
                              Brian

                              http://www.flickr.com/photos/12569882@N05/

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