Tips for Shooting Live Stage Events
Thinking about shooting a live event? Here are 14 things you need to remember.
For videographers, a live event can be an exhilarating experience that pushes you outside of your creative comfort bubble… but if you’re not careful, a seemingly insignificant technical error can ruin the entire video. Don’t let this happen to you! Here are 14 tips for shooting your next big live event.
Pick a Style
Before you shoot a live stage event, do some research into what you want the look and feel of your video to be like.
While they may be the most popular lecture series in the world, TED talks are surprisingly simple when it comes to shooting style. Most TED talks consist of a few cameras on tripods with a master camera. It’s all pretty stationary, which is not a bad thing.
Most modern live events consist of a mixture of tripods, shoulder rigs, cranes, and sliders. These events can become incredibly complicated to edit in post (or direct live). But when done well, a mixed-camera shoot can bring a lot of life to an otherwise boring event.
Cinematic Highlight Video
Sometimes your client will only want a “highlight reel” of the live event and not the entire event itself. This is your opportunity as videographer/filmmaker to show off your cinematography skills. Good event highlight videos will feature complex movements. It’s also more common to see highlight videos shot on DSLRs instead of more traditional video cameras.
Multi-Camera Direction Tips for Properly Shooting Live Events
Running a multi-camera shoot at a large outdoor event can be tricky. Here are a few tips to keep the operation running smoothly.
So you make it to your nearest arena to see your favorite band. Great, except the talent themselves are the size of ants. This is where Image Magnification (or more widely known as IMAG) comes in. IMAG is now a staple for almost all large-scale concerts. In this article I’ll go over a few important tips of the trade for anyone getting ready to throw on a headset, hunker down behind a switcher, and direct a multi-camera show for a live concert.
You can always hide an army of robotic cameras around the stage to get specific shots. However, the majority of your show will come down to hiring two or three camera operators. Your first camera should always have the longest lens available, and it should sit on a tripod — dead center — inside front of house. The sole purpose of this camera is to follow the most important person on stage, which is usually the lead singer (if the band is not instrumental). The long lens camera should stay somewhere around the waist up, tight on the talent, following them wherever they may bounce to on stage. This camera can also do some long pulls or pushes, to/from the stage, but 99 percent of the time their job is to solely stick to the lead talent in the band.
If you only have two camera operators, the best placement for the next operator is on the downstage edge in the pit, directly in front of the stage. This camera’s purpose is to capture all of the action happening on stage. If a guitarist shreds a lead break or the drummer busts into a solo, this camera needs to immediately focus on that musician to capture these glorious moments.
If there is a third camera operator on the show, you can either put them in the pit for more coverage of the stage, or have them on stage with the band. (Note: you must first get permission from the stage/production manager, if you choose this route.) This camera position allows for some interesting angles that even the guests in the nicest seats would never see, allowing the camera the unique opportunity to become part of the production. This usually happens between songs, when the musicians decide to have a conversation with the camera. Not only does this lend the audience the illusion that, through the screens, they are having a personal moment with the musicians, but it also magnifies the visual aspects of the show for those in the nose-bleeds, while including them in the live experience.
As is true with editing video across most media, the two most-used transitions in your arsenal are the straight cut and the dissolve. If your camera operators are lacking video return, make sure to let them know if they have matching or similar shots. You need to avoid this on a straight cut, but especially on a dissolve because it creates the effect that the two matching images are melting together into an amorphous blob mid-transition, which, when displayed on massive screens, can be quite unpleasant.
Hiring an Event Videographer: How to Contract the Best Pro for Every Event
Videography is a lot like photography and other creative pursuits; everyone dabbles in it, but not everyone does it well. If you need to capture high-quality video of your next, a professional event videographer is worth the investment. Read on to discover the benefits of hiring a videographer rather than managing this essential task yourself, and learn what to look for in a pro event videographer
What is event videography?
Event videography is the process of recording a live-action event on digital media. Videography is similar to cinematography (the movie-making process), but it occurs outside of the motion picture production field.
The person who operates the camera is called a videographer. The videographer records footage of the event and edits the final product to produce a high-quality, engagement video segment. For social events, such as weddings, the video is shared with the couple and guests. For business or educational events, the video is used for websites, social media marketing, or online streaming videos
Do you need a professional videographer for your event?
You may think an event team member can capture ‘good-enough’ footage of the event on a smartphone. Or, you feel the event doesn’t merit the cost of a professional videographer.
But high-quality video documentation of corporate events, galas, speeches, and company parties is a great way to build your brand awareness and get people interested in what you do. If you plan to show your videos on YouTube (watched by 73 percent of adults in the US) or another social media platform, hiring a videographer is a must. These industry professionals produce polished, in-focus results that are well-framed, accurate representations of the event.
A Camera Operator’s Point Plan: Preparing for Live Streaming an Event
Clean Cut Media camera operator Jack Ross shares his 5 point plan about how he prepares for a live streaming event.
Speak to the Pre Production team: It is important to plan ahead so you can be prepared for any scenario that can arise when on site. The pre production team will have all the insights you need when planning what kit and equipment to take to the live streaming event as well as formulating a camera plan
Identify and source any specialised kit: Every live stream is unique and requires thought as to what equipment is required to best suit each job. We have various specialised equipment such as gimbles, sliders and backdrops. Clean Cut Media owns a range of the latest kit but occasionally, something unusual is called for, such as in this instance filming a fast paced racing event for Avon Tyres at Castle Combe Racecourse.
Prep and check: This includes making sure everything is fully charged and in working order before the shoot. This is part of your final checklist to ensure you have enough batteries, cards, microphones etc… as well as cleaning all camera sensors and lenses, especially if they have returned from a clay tournament.
Use protection: Our kit is flown all over the world and can often take a few knocks in transit. It is important to use the best possible cases and rucksacks to ensure your valuable kit is protected at all times. We use Pelican cases with laser cut foam inserts as well as Lowepro backpacks and Litepanels lighting cases to maintain the high quality of equipment we have.
Random Tips from a Professional Camera Operator
Teaching the craft of camera operating is extremely difficult to do well, so I’m going to do it half-assed and give you some random tips that may help you along in your career
My childhood dream was to be a camera operator. I wanted to be the person looking through the camera and framing a shot. While I would have enjoyed having a long career as an operator, I entered the business at a time when operators were a dying breed, and the only people guaranteed careers as operators were Steadicam operators. I wasn’t particularly interested in doing that, so I moved towards being a director of photography faster than I had expected. Most of the shoots I do don’t require, or won’t hire, an operator, so in a way I’m still a career operator. I just get to light the shots as well as operate them.
No one taught me how to be an operator. At a young age I found myself drawn to strong compositions in certain TV shows and movies, and I sought to emulate those compositions with my Regular 8mm film camera. Over time I learned, through trial and error and the occasional tip from those more experienced than I, how to move the camera predictably and repeatedly.
LEARN THE GEARED HEAD
I really enjoy working with geared heads, although I rarely get to use them anymore. Most of my projects can’t afford to rent one for me. Hopefully this will change with the advent of the Gearnex geared head, which I’ve now used on several shoots
The geared head offers an incredible amount of control over camera moves, especially dolly moves. For some reason it’s very easy to match pan and tilt speeds to a dolly move by spinning wheels rather than moving a pan handle around. The wheels also offer a wide range of possibilities from very subtle adjustments to aggressive camera moves that stop on a dime.