The Stone Mountain Arts Center Valentine’s Day show was just jammed packed with music – classical, opera, show tunes, ballads, and the list goes on. I think the show lasted a good 15-30 minutes longer than usual too.
Because of the seating arrangements, the only high tables were in the back and I usually try to get one so I can shoot over the audience. Being that far back made it impossible to get good close-ups, but the consolation was that we had great company. Our dining companion was James Reed, music critic for the Boston Globe. We had a great time before the show discussing music and traveling around Maine.
I don’t mean to diminish any of the other acts, because they are all top-notch, but Tim Gearan came up from Boston with his horn section and really lit up the room. The evening’s special guest was Paula Cole and she sang two sets of nicely varied music (both covers and her own stuff). Maine Public Radio’s Suzanne Nance took on the diva role for the evening with a bit of opera and a song from The Phantom of the Opera. Carol and the Boys were killer as always.
For a complete set of photos from the evening head on over to http://smac.dmg-photography.com
Technical stuff after the photos.
I was shooting with the 40D and the 5D Mark 2. I had done some tests with the 5DMk2 a few weeks back to see how it would handle video in a concert environment. The results were pleasant enough and I looked forward to shooting video at SMAC. I did some test clips and verified that hand-holding the camera just isn’t practical. At minimum the monopod is needed and a full tripod would be better. I don’t know if that is practical for my show shooting at SMAC, but the video provides a taste of what might be possible with just a bit more gear in the room (I’d also want to grab the audio off the board using a separate recorder.)
Here is a set of clips from the show, warts and all. I did some basic gamma and tone adjustments in Final Cut to make up for a few lousy exposures:
[flv w=800 h=450]/video/20092-SML-cut1.flv[/flv]
Frankly the Flash version doesn’t really do justice to the images — I’ve got some learnin’ to do on that. I also tried taking out some of the handheld shaking using Final Cut’s “smoothcam” filter. Looked like garbage when it was done. Again, that could be pilot error.
Shooting the video with the 5D reminded me of all of its quirks and shortcomings (e.g., having to reset (and “reguess”) the exposure compensation for every clip.) And it reinforced the most basic thing about having video capability with you: if you are shooting video you’re not taking stills — and visa versa. It’s great for background video and B-roll, but you pretty much have to commit to the video and hope for scraps in the still images if you plan on telling a story using moving images. HOWEVER, if I were to set up my XH-A1 on a wide shot or have someone else do wide and regular shots, the 5D would be killer for grabbing closeups from the back of the room. I think that would be a pretty cool project to try.