I was recently hired out to capture live sound and video footage for Muswellbrook Amateur Theatre Society’s annual production, held at the township’s local high school.
In 2016, the group chose The Sound of Music as its production and the aim of the shoot is to produce a live DVD for the theatre group.
The Theatre Society has a history of working with the Muswellbrook Shire Concert Band and for what is essentially an ‘amateur production’, they set a high standard of professionalism from behind the stage to the front. I wouldn’t hesitate to work with them again in the future.
As is generally the case with location recording, things don’t occur in a ‘perfect world’. In this instance we were limited by the room itself, as well as the equipment. This meant I had to be not only cooperative, but employ creative solutions in working with my contractor to capture quality audio and visual.
The size of the room limited what sections of the band needed to be micd up to the PA. Two Zoom H6s were set-up close to the source with an X/Y directional head at 120 degrees to capture a wide stereo image of the concert band. The bang for buck quality of the Zoom H6 astounds me – for lower budget jobs like this where a multitrack mix is not feasible, I think the client will be happy with the results.
The cameras available for the shoot were two Panasonic GH4s, a Canon C100 mk ii and a Panasonic DVX-200. Each of them have their own strengths and weaknesses, so as a group, we had to put our heads together and work out a plan to suit each camera’s strengths best.
A Canon C100 mk II is good in low-light and has a pretty good dynamic range, but operating the focus would have been an issue, so it was placed underneath the spotlight operator’s scaffold with a 24-105mm f/4 lens to capture a wide-angle shot of the stage. The large depth-of-field meant once the focus was set, it wouldn’t need to be changed. The camera was set, and basically locked off for the majority of the production, besides checking and adjusting the exposure occasionally.
While the C100 was left running, I could operate the Panasonic DVX-200 beside the front of house mixing desk. This camera is pretty solid for run-and-gun type ENG stuff, but it isn’t the best in low-light situations. The best use of this camera was to capture action – longer shots to mid-close-ups, where stage lighting could negate most of the camera’s low-light shortcomings. XLR inputs on the DVX also meant it could record the mix coming out of the desk, which was mainly vocals and music instruments getting lost in the room’s audio mix. Experienced videographers and audio engineers will know this isn’t a perfect solution, but will suffice to the client’s needs.
The contractor for the job was taking care of the two GH4s at either side of the stage.
I will post a short preview from the shoot once permissions get cleared with the client so you can see an example of the finished product Adrenalin Images plays a part of.
I’m not sorry about the theatre pun, either.
(Featured image sourced from http://www.worldofwanderlust.com/what-happens-on-the-sound-of-music-tour/ under fair use – reporting the news.)