Shooting a Rock Concert any tips?

Discussion in '35mm Cameras and Accessories' started by Chriscc123, Aug 25, 2010.

  1. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    Ive shot concerts before... but not a rock concert with 400 people.... what should i bring, not bring? btw... in not shooting film for this one..... it saddens me so, but hay i don't have the moolla for film right now...
     
  2. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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  3. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    Last time I shot a rock concert was for a government art publication, so the pictures had to be super sharp - I found my best results were from a fast 50mm prime lens (f1.8), hovering around ISO 400/800 and f2-f3.5 (on a DLSR and Canon EOS 1V). This meant I could track things for focus, and not worry about changing focal lengths for composition... All this new LED lighting in venues presents a colour palette that I don't really like in photos... I suspect it will date all current concert photography to "now" when we look back in a few years.

    Marc!
     
  4. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    that was a great article, it seems that i might end up shooting a 70-200mm (f4.0) on a 40d body with battery grip, was going to use flash but now i don't think i will need it, ya think i should bring a back up (witch is my little rebel)... (i seem to have misplaced it at the moment)
     
  5. thebanana

    thebanana Subscriber

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    Earplugs. Seriously.
     
  6. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    also what did you make your website with?
     
  7. patrickjames

    patrickjames Member

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    Not to rain on your parade, but the key word in this forum is ANALOG.
     
  8. Tony Egan

    Tony Egan Subscriber

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    Son-In-Law V1.0. It's very simple table driven design with lightbox for the galleries. Simple enough for me to edit and update after he did all the initial grunt work!

    Good decision to ditch the flash especially during a performance. Respect the performer and the audience and get better photos as well!
     
  9. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    As a part time live sound engineer I will second that suggestion. Get the ER20 type which reduce the level but do not alter the tone: http://www.djmmusic.com/itemdesc.asp?ic=ER-20

    He's obviously not one to bang his own trumpet * (or is that blow his own drum?) but read Tony's guide to gig photography in the articles section here: http://www.apug.org/forums/forum216/48636-gig-photography-my-thoughts-practice.html

    EDIT: * Yes he is. He mentioned it in the second post - which I missed!!!


    Steve.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 26, 2010
  10. Emil

    Emil Member

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    I have shot some gigs and my best advice would be to bring only one fast fixed lens. Photographing in those situations is all about being ready for the shot, and you don't want to waste your time changing lenses or even zooming when something awesome happens. Also don't use flash. Oh, and don't trust your camera to expose correctly, the meter is easily thrown by bright spots on a dark stage.
     
  11. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I have done a lot of rock photography years gone by. And I even remember some of it! Boy could I tell you some stories about partying with The Band, Tina Turner when she was still with Ike, Stykes, 3 Dog Night etc etc. Anyway I too will be getting back into this niche in the very near future. When I was doing it, Tri-X rated at 1600asa was the norm and you had all kinds of access, if you had a pass.

    Now it seems things are different. Gee big surprise there! I have done a bunch of research and contacted some of the leading concert photog working today for advise. Surprising they were quite willing to help an old geazer get back into the game.

    For big concerts a front of stage pass may only really give you access for the first three songs. After that they ask you to put your gear away but give you the option of locking it up in their lockers if you want to stay. SOOO, you have to work fast while at the same time playing nice with the other photogs up front with you. Their advice on lenses were, as mentioned before, really fast short prime shot pretty much wide open. Use spot metering so your camera doesn't get fouled by the bright spots in the background. Go manual focus so you can keep the eyes in focus. You won't have time to focus on the eyes with your AF and then reposition for the shot. If you can swing it have two bodies going, one with short (50mm if using FX camera) fast prime (at least f1.4) and the second body with say a fast 85mm (again assuming you are using a DX format). They recommend shooting at 800 to 1250 asa. No flash! The only bands that are ok with flash (for the first 3 songs) are the old time rockers like KISS etc. They have been around the block and know the score. But after the first three songs even they won't appreciate it anymore and you will be asked to leave. Not always politely.

    For a small venue like the one you are talking about the situation might be different, but at all times as a photog you must be respectful of the band and especially security. Both have a tough job to do.

    Since I cut my teeth on manual focus lenses I will be shooting manual as I find AF to be a PITA.

    Good luck and let us know where we can see your shots once you finish.
     
  12. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    unfortunately sense im shooting my digis i don't have any prims for them :O i plan to shoot a rebel with a 17-85 (f4-5.6) and a 40d with battery grip and a 70-200 (f4.0) L and use that one as my main, is this agreeable? the only other thing i can do is switch lens on bodys so not much room for variation, also i THINK i have free rain of the place because i was accentual asked the band playing to shoot them, i think i will take up the earphone offer, also there actually a funk fusion band, anyone know how crazy the dancing will be?
     
  13. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    oh an those earplugs, is there any place in the studio, calabasas where i can get these or something similar, im shooting it this sat, im clueless when it come to places to buy music equipment (besides guitar center)
     
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  15. Wade D

    Wade D Member

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    50mm lens, f/2 and 1/60 with Ektachrome 100. Worked for me at many concerts in the 70's & 80's where I had a side stage pass. Alice Cooper even bought some prints. Earplugs, hell no! Enjoy the thundering sound to it's fullest. What did you say? LOL!:smile:
     
  16. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    i got some of those ear plugs.... they work very very very well..... so far, we will just have to wait for the real thing to see if they really work
     
  17. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    Depending on the background (assume it will be dark), or if there are spotlights on the performers, it may be necessary to underexpose by 1.5 stops from what your camera meter says. That's what I've seen shooting indoor concerts and theater in a college environment.

    If it's a small concert (like a cozy classical performance) without a stage and bright lights, you can probably expose normally.
     
  18. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    That is good advice which sounds wrong the first time you hear it but a meter is trying to interpret what it sees as a standard daylight lit scene. If you expose what is essentially a dark space with a few stage lights highlighting areas in this way the parts of the image which need to be exposed properly (faces, etc.) will be over-exposed.

    Steve.
     
  19. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    well... this is how it turned out, click
     
  20. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    Fast film, no flash, fast-enough shutter speed. Easy. :D
     
  21. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    Great shots Chris! Practice makes perfect as they say. Sharpness is a bit of an issue, but this will come.
     
  22. Chriscc123

    Chriscc123 Member

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    im impressed it went well to, i ended up shooting at about 1000 asa, 1/60 and around f4.0 in the end, in the beginning it was brighter and i was shooting at 400 asa
     
  23. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Member

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    Looks good to me. I have some gig photography to do tonight - black and white only though.


    Steve.
     
  24. fotch

    fotch Member

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    Nice shots Chris, really nice.
     
  25. 2F/2F

    2F/2F Member

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    I have found everything from a 17mm lens to a 200mm lens to be useful for shooting live music. Of these, I like short telephotos and normal lenses the best for most situations. I love the Canon EOS 85mm f/1.8 and 100mm f/2.0. For film, I usually shoot with a 28 f/2 and a 55mm f/1.2 on Canon FD bodies. What I have found to be most important is obtaining a fast enough shutter speed to sharply capture something that can often be moving quite a bit.

    I also think that light meters are near useless in these situations, and especially so if they are built into the camera. You will get much better exposures based on a little bit of experience than you will with a built-in light meter, IMHO.

    I am not thoroughly opposed to flash, as some are, and as I semi-jokingly stated in my previous post. It can suit the mood of some bands very well, and while it is often an annoyance to those on stage or in the crowd, it also often is not. However, I would never rely on it, or call it one of the most important tools for this kind of shooting. You have to learn to make do without it, just in case you are ever forced to do so.

    P.S. Flash does not inherently "kill the mood" just because it is flash. It "kills the mood" because of its location more than anything: right on your camera. One simple thing you can do to change the location and quality of the light that is illuminating the subject is to shoot the flash into the ceiling. (Even if the ceiling is black, this works, BTW; it just sucks up a lot more light from your flash.) This makes the light look more even, soft, and ambient, and allows you to use a more narrow D of F than if you were aiming the flash straight at your subjects.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 30, 2010
  26. judah

    judah Member

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    1679 is one hell of an image, at least to my humble eyes. Congrats and keep up.