Seeking shooting tips for the theater environment

Started Mar 16, 2014 | Discussions thread
uhligfd Senior Member • Posts: 2,547
Re: Seeking shooting tips for the theater environment

Rich Gibson wrote:

I've owned Nikon DSLR gear from the D100 through the D3 & D700 then switched to the Nex-5n, 7 and now the 6. I still own the 6 & 7. Up till now I've shot a lot of outdoor kid stuff and a ton of travel photography. Travel and posed group shooting is leisurely and one-off work and I've enjoyed it immensely and learned how to use my gear. I have been fairly successful and am pleased with my work. Now my grandkids are teen agers and are involved in concerts and theatrical work and this is proving to be a real challenge.

Yesterday I shot a musical which had minimal sets with lots of black curtains. I started with the Nex-7 and the 55-210 Aperture mode, ISO 6400, Multi-metering mode and auto focus wide open (f/7.0). It was an unmitigated disaster. Focusing was so slow I missed shot after shot and those which were in focus had blown out highlights. In desperation I popped the 55-210 on the 6 used A mode, auto ISO , wide open, and things went much better. Turning down the EV I was able to pull back the blow out.

Yes, I've read the friendly manual, a couple of times. First of all, the 7 is going on the block; I've ordered the A6000 based on the focus of the NEX-6 alone. Would any of you care to throw me a few tips for shooting successfully in a theatrical environment?

Thanks, Rich

This sounds so strange from a veteran member who has been through many a camera and car. If a car lands you in ditch, you sound here as if you would want to try driving with a new,  another car, but with cameras here instead. Driver or  operator error does not enter your mind, how odd. With blown pictures it is 999 % me who has blown them out!

As many have pointed out, the auto everything camera is not so automatically good as you have assumed. But all is digital, so  you can review a shot taken and see that multi metering for mostly black backgrounds blows out faces and become smart and adjust to lower ISO. You can see that focus was not achieved in AF and you must then realize that the stage is kind of narrow and actors are mostly in 2 - 3 spots anyway, so you can prefocus manually and then shoot, but you missed that opportunity to learn on the fly. You took an f/7 lens to dark scenes: disaster struck. You need a 2.8 at least for stage work. So get out that old f/2 lens and sit up close.

And so forth and on. But to throw out a camera upon operator errors by the half dozen, that seems a bit excessive. You will have the same bad outcomes with another new car or camera if you do not learn and master the road condition or subject matter, I am afraid.

I am also a veteran photog and I learn every day I am out. Good luck and patience.

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