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Video cameras Condenser Microphones
Old 23rd November 2017
  #1
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jnorman's Avatar
Video cameras

So, what video cameras are you guys using when you are asked to provide video and audio for audition or live performance recordings for duo or trios?

Do you do the video from a distance or relatively close?

Do you set the players up for performance arrangement and show both soloist and pianist in the video? Or do you just show the soloist?

Do you use a single pair of mics off camera, or do you spot mic for a better recording and not worry if the mics show in the video?

Thanks.
Old 24th November 2017
  #2
I've got a couple of canon HD consumer camcorders, but I'm trying the zoom q2n on a choir in ten days.
Old 24th November 2017
  #3
Gear Nut
I also have a consumer Canon HD camcorder. Just got a Lumix (Panasonic) G7 and will be trying them over the weekend... have heard good things about its video capabilities.
Old 24th November 2017
  #4
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Typically a single domestic HD camcorder (Panasonic) only, to avoid accusation of sleight of hand editing by adjudicating panel (often single cam is overtly specified anyway)

ORTF or AB pair just behind the camera tripod....simple is best, but not such a dry acoustic so as to ruthlessly expose playing foibles, so add a judicious amount of 'talent' ** if you can, a bit of 'Bilitis' audio romance, within reason (not to the vision though)

A picture replaces a 1000 words.....and in this one you'll see a cello spot as well....a paused, rather compressed jpg from the mp4 submitted for the competition (it worked for them !)

'talent' = ambience/reverb...ideally sourced from the same room/hall

In this case, and most likely now a fair assumption as a future trend/norm...it's uploaded directlyto the competition website, according to specified file-type and size constraints, which levels the playing field somewhat, compared with inviting DVD's, Blu-Rays etc. Reduces the "will it play ?" worries hugely !

Note to players...don't leave it to the last day/evening to submit, as a rush can result in website crashes and perilously-close-to-deadline anxieties !
Attached Thumbnails
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Old 24th November 2017
  #5
Gear Nut
I forgot the part about the audio setup.... I've been doing ORTF just behind the camera, but have done a spot mic and tried my best to hide it with the camera angle - somehow I thought that if the panel sees a professional looking mic, they'll assume there's editing to the performance. Probably too much worry on my part!

I have also noticed the one camera angle rule in many auditions, so I have been observant of that. Some auditions will also ask to have a clock in the frame, showing the motion of the "seconds" arm, to insure continuous shooting.

Last edited by VlaVlnPlayer; 24th November 2017 at 07:03 AM.. Reason: Typos
Old 24th November 2017
  #6
2x Panasonic Lumix FZ1000. Wish I had waited for the FZ2000, but I am a happy user of those 1000-cameras. Up to 4K quality, good in lowlight, stable, easy to use.
For audition videos: depending on the room, but mostly a 4-mic Faulkner phased array to have some blend options afterwards. Sometimes two boundaries on the floor for extra pickup, or a mic attached below the music stand or inside piano... As long as it does not disturb the video.
Old 24th November 2017
  #7
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
Two Canon G20s. They work GREAT. https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/p...a/vixia-hf-g20 The G-40 is the new replacement.
Old 24th November 2017
  #8
An example of the FZ1000 quality: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UTfk...obsd3rk0h00410
Audio recorded -not by me- before the video-shoot. We shot 5 video takes with a single camera, I synced everything in post (video-stretch and intelligent cuts...)
Old 24th November 2017
  #9
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Mats H's Avatar
Depends on the ensemble and the budget. Often one to three Blackmagic cameras. I find that four or more cameras, where you control one them, give a lot more for you to work with in post and much more interesting material for the viewer. Especially when you're filming long shows. Here's a recent example:

https://vimeo.com/244190497
pw: sjkk
Old 25th November 2017
  #10
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If you have adequate light, Youtube reviewers seem positive about https://www.walmart.com/ip/ACTIVEON-...using/45910547
Old 25th November 2017
  #11
Gear Head
 
Old Foof's Avatar
 

1. Allow plenty of room in the video frame for horizontal and vertical movement- performers jump up for applause, slide sideways to reposition themselves at will, etc.
2. Check to see that the lighting available when you set up is the lighting that will be there during the performance (i.e., "house lighting" vs. "concert lighting")
Old 25th November 2017
  #12
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

Very cool thread, thanks! I've been thinking of investing in some video equipment for auditions and the like but don't really know what to get.

Is anyone using GoPros? Or have any experience with their quality?

-Mike
Old 25th November 2017
  #13
Quote:
Is anyone using GoPros? Or have any experience with their quality?
Terrible, sorry to say it. Better quality with an iPhone. Any action camera is going to be useless indoors.

I have used a few different cameras. Canon HF G10s, a G30, a JVC GY-HM170, and most recently a Panasonic AG-UX180, by far the best one in terms of usability and picture quality. I think I will replace the others with the UX90 so I have at least some matching cameras with the same color and low light specs.
Old 25th November 2017
  #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
If you have adequate light, Youtube reviewers seem positive about https://www.walmart.com/ip/ACTIVEON-...using/45910547
The negative reviews of this in the walMart listing note poor low-light performance as a big hangup...and low-light coditions do tend to prevail in concert recording situations. That's an Achilles Heel flaw not just of this camera, but of many...and is one criterion you might elevate to the top of your checklist when buying a camera. Also, as Daniel says above, if it has a fish-eye lens for sports-action capture, forget it (and those cams seem to be optimized for outdoors/daylight as well anyway)

Or else, if using multiple cameras...confine this one to relatively close-up, well-lit subjects and leave the 'heavy lifting' of the more distant shots to cameras more capable in this quite crucial area !
Old 25th November 2017
  #15
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jnorman's Avatar
Mike - I have a GoPro 6 and have also used hero 4 black in 4k several times. Of course they are very wide angle and thus not quite as convenient as something with some optical zoom, but the video quality is outstanding. I have also used Panasonic GH4 in 4k but I sold it a while back. Also have used my iPhone 7 plus which also makes excellent 4k videos. I am not convinced that 4k is really necessary for music videos though.

Daniel - iPhones and GoPros both have 1/2.3 sensors and image quality is similar. Understanding your video post processing software is key to using either to achieve best results. I use power director 15 right now.
Old 25th November 2017
  #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by celticrogues View Post
Very cool thread, thanks! I've been thinking of investing in some video equipment for auditions and the like but don't really know what to get.

Is anyone using GoPros? Or have any experience with their quality?

-Mike
With a fixed lens, you have to position the camera close to the subject and you are stuck with whatever aperture the lens has. If you don't have good lighting, a slow aperture won't work well. And lighting is usually the problem beyond your power to control in many live recording situations.

DSLRs like the canon 80d with interchangeable lens give you much more flexibility in where you position the camera and more lens options at a price.

Mirrorless cameras like the fujifilm xt-2, Panasonic g7, gh3/4/5, Sony a6300, olympus e m10 II are also worth considering. Might be some deals on the Sony a7 series now that the new model is out.

The kit lens that come with many of them don't have large apertures needed for low light concerts. So you will want to look at what faster lens are going to cost. F2.8 is about the minimum, IMO.

I wouldn't spend a lot just for audition taping.
Old 25th November 2017
  #17
I would stay away from Sony mirrorless cameras. They overheat and shut down when doing video after 15 minutes or so. Sony action cameras have the same problem. Battery life on mirrorless in general is also a major problem, and they stop recording after the max file size is reached. The one exception to both is the GH4 / GH5.
Old 25th November 2017
  #18
Quote:
Originally Posted by rumleymusic View Post
I would stay away from Sony mirrorless cameras. They overheat and shut down when doing video after 15 minutes or so. Sony action cameras have the same problem. Battery life on mirrorless in general is also a major problem, and they stop recording after the max file size is reached. The one exception to both is the GH4 / GH5.
My understanding is that the Panasonic GX85 also allows continuous recording - users have reported doing over an hour at 4k.
Old 25th November 2017
  #19
Gear Nut
There are "hacks" one can do to extend the recording time on The Panasonic/Lumix cameras. On my newly bought G7, I see 2h50m of recording available on the 4K30p setting. Interestingly, though, I'm limited to 29m39s on HD mode.... I thought the "hack" was supposed to eliminate that limit as well, but it didn't... anyways, I'm happy with the 2+ hours of recording in 4K (128Gb SD card) that I can get in 4K. I haven't tested it yet for overheating, so I can't speak to that. I do know, however, that each video is divided into files that are up to 4Gb, so I'll have to put them together in post. Hopefully, I wont get dead frames in between them.
Old 25th November 2017
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by oudplayer View Post
My understanding is that the Panasonic GX85 also allows continuous recording - users have reported doing over an hour at 4k.
Maybe it is Panasonic in general. Most companies do not want to swallow the secondary EU import tax that allows for a still camera to function as a video camera.

Quote:
I haven't tested it yet for overheating, so I can't speak to that.
I have never heard of an overheating problem on the Panasonic cameras, only Sony. Specifically the a6X00 series or smaller when working with video.

I'm sure you can make any camera work if you get an external recorder.

Quote:
Daniel - iPhones and GoPros both have 1/2.3 sensors and image quality is similar. Understanding your video post processing software is key to using either to achieve best results. I use power director 15 right now.
I am more of the mindset that understanding the hardware, their workings, and their limitations are key. You need to record with the lowest distortion possible to achieve good results. This is not always possible with slow fixed aperture cameras with smallish sensors like action cameras.

If you do use a GoPro, you will need to keep in mind that additional lighting will be necessary, and you will need to deal with the wide angle lens distortion in post. They are made specifically for outdoor sporting use with a wide depth of field and a lot of distraction movement. I have worked with at least a couple other videographers who admitted their mistake when thinking GoPros would work in their concert recording setup, so I don't think I am alone in this.

Any consumer camcorder with a similar size sensor will be better suited to still concert or audition recording. The Canon GH30 or above are quite good for this as they have extensive manual controls and a good lens, but you still need to deal with low light limitations.
Old 25th November 2017
  #21
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jnorman's Avatar
Daniel - I was not advocating the use of GoPro for this kind of work. The very wide angle is not appropriate for a natural looking scene. I was just commenting on the image quality- I use gopros with handheld gimbals often doing short documentary style videos for the Oregon Historical Society. The canon you mention is an excellent camcorder.
Old 25th November 2017
  #22
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It's still important to verify the specific time recording limit or absence thereof before buying any camera for video work. My Panasonic G6 and GH3 have no limit, but this is an important detail to verify before buying. There are so many cameras with so many differences that it's very difficult to generalize.
Old 26th November 2017
  #23
I'll point out the obvious, that it depends on the project and the budget. An audition where the point of the video is to show there are no tricks going on can be done with almost anything. A school choir or band with no or low budget may demand a compromise to a single wide-angle view to get the entire group in frame, or to be shot from a greater distance. More budget? Better cameras, more cameras, and either a technical director on scene to do the video equivalent of live-to-two with a switcher, or more labor in post to review and edit together the various cameras into a nice production.

For my pro-bono work with my daughter's school, I started with a go pro, then went to the Canons (which required being set way back to get the choir in frame, which means they also got the mic stands in frame). I'm going to try the Q2Ns with their wide field of view this year, because I can mount them on the same tall stands I use for the main pair. If they work well, then in the spring concert I'll use them and get some high school AV club folks and let them shoot with the Canons for closeups and such on solos, and try and put that together in post, since I've got the Adobe suite to edit it all together.
Old 26th November 2017
  #24
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Canon sells a wide angle lens for their camcorders but you can use a lens ring adapter to mount a .45 vivitar wide angle that costs about $15. If you are careful not to fully zoom out into the corners, you can make use of the center of lens where its still sharp. Then you might be able to get your Canons closer...depends on choir size and available space. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produ...gle_43mm.html#!
Old 26th November 2017
  #25
Videography is as deep a subject as recording, and color correction is as subtle an art as mixing. Light is your acoustics, the lens is your microphone, the camera is your preamp/AD, and your monitor is your... monitors.

You'll almost always be limited by available light when recording live concerts, as lighting rigs are very conspicuous. Using high-quality, wide-aperture lenses is the best way to compensate. Dynamic range is what separates pro and semi-pro cameras from the 90's camcorder look with blown-out highlights, and dynamic range costs money. DSLR & prosumer camcorders can get you 12 stops of useable range; expect to pay $15K/camera and upwards for anything approaching 14 stops. Also be aware of the codec. Most prosumer gear is limited to 100mbps, which doesn't leave a lot of room for correction in post. On the other hand, uncompressed RAW video can eat up a terabyte an hour. The most demanding video conditions are those with wide variations in light levels and lots of movement. I record lots of live rock shows, so that's what I've gotten myself into. Thankfully, recital recordings are a much easier entry point.

I'm shooting in 4K with the Sony A7SII and A7RII. I've recorded for over an hour continuously without overheating. That seems to be more of an issue with the cheaper models. I shoot mostly with very fast primes (f/1.4), some shoulder mounted, some stationary. Always manual focus. Mobile is easier easier than stationary, in my opinion; you can change position if you need to, whereas you better be very happy with a stationary angle before you press record. Color correction is still a mystery. After a year of shooting I consider myself a beginner in this field; always lots to learn!
Old 26th November 2017
  #26
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jnorman's Avatar
Great answer Daniel H - the FF Sony A7 models are beautiful cameras both in functionality and design. I almost replaced my GH4 system with the A7SII but have fallen in love with the sheer freedom of GoPro/handheld gimbal for the doc video work I do (though it is not good for music work in general). Since the music video work I do is mostly student auditions and simple documentation of small performances, I am wary of throwing a lot of money at it - my iPhone 7 Plus actually does a pretty good job in 4k. I just thought maybe a used gh3 (1080p) or similar might be an inexpensive step up in IQ.
Old 26th November 2017
  #27
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In student auditions, you have more control over things so one camera may work. In live performances, I tend to think you almost need at least two cameras because something unanticipated is going to happen. Either the performers move to an unexpected position, or some tall person with big hair in a brightly colored outfit is going to sit in the worst spot for your video. A second camera allows for another chance at capturing something useable and serves as a safety backup.

I've seen some amazing phone pictures, but as I understand phone cameras, pretty much everything is in focus and there's no way to blow out distracting backgrounds like with a DSLR lens?
Old 26th November 2017
  #28
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2manyrocks View Post
In student auditions, you have more control over things so one camera may work. In live performances, I tend to think you almost need at least two cameras because something unanticipated is going to happen.
A single zoom lens on a tripod can give you a lot of freedom to choose your shot, and if you're able to change positions between songs you could deal with changes as they happen. I'd only trust a fixed camera if the performers are really nailed down (e.g. pianists, drummers, seated, standing in risers, etc.).

A couple more points: while a shallow DOF (sharp foreground, blurry background) gives a cinematic look and good separation between subject and background, it also makes the margin of error a lot smaller. If you set your focus and the performer takes a few steps back, your footage may be unusable. While small apertures don't look as cool, they're a pragmatic solution to focus problems.

Full manual is a necessity. ISO, aperture, focus; all of these will ruin your footage if set to auto and conditions change in the slightest. Auto white balance will create a color correction nightmare in post, especially if you're working with multiple cameras. Auto shutter is not meant for video. Full manual!

Last edited by [email protected]; 26th November 2017 at 08:25 AM..
Old 26th November 2017
  #29
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It isn't unusual for concert lighting to change dramatically making white balance and exposure so much fun.

There's a guy shooting video on a mobile gimble rig at some events I've covered. Every time I see him, it seems he's added something to his rig. I don't see how he carries it all not even using any kind of sling.
Old 27th November 2017
  #30
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celticrogues's Avatar
 

Thanks all for the GoPro advice. I was hoping that would be a cheap multiple camera option. Those Canons look nice though.

-Mike
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