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Shana Jo/A Mother's Soul 1:39pm, 8 August 2008
I'm shooting a play in the new Harbor City School theater at the end of September. Any tips for shooting in there? I imagine that I'll need to shoot with my speedlight? Is there any natural light in there at all?

I am going to be shooting rehearsals, the play, the talkback sessions after the performance each night, and another event that is taking place that weekend that is associated with the production. I will probably being doing images of the actors for media purposes as well, but we might do those out of the theater.
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From what I remember there is no natural light (i.e. no windows)
Also, during a play I would imagine they would not want a strobe firing. You will probably have to shoot higher ISO and wide aperture.
Also, there will probably be several gelled spotlights and it would be hard to color correct your speedlight.
That would be a big question to ask the production team though, if they would allow you to use your flash.
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Ah, good points. I would rather not use the speedlight anyway.

I think I am going to look at renting or borrowing a lens for the weekend too. I don't have anything with a long enough range to shoot in the theater without being right in front of the stage.
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70-200 Canon F/2.8 IS?
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No natural light but fantastic stage lighting. I would say no on the strobe and yes to a prime 1.8 and your 70-200 2.8. Bring a strobe for a group shot but the lighting there is great and bright. If you want to come down before hand some day let me know.
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Seriously, that theater is unreal. It is sooo nice.
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Shawn, yes, that is the lens that I am thinking. I am looking to see where I can rent one from.

Aaron, sounds good. That would be great if I could come down one day and check it out. What days do you work?

My 50mm 1.8 is broke I think. Do you have that lens, Aaron? I need to do a test shot with someone else's. I cannot get a sharp image with mine lately, and I cannot figure out what the problem is. Everything I take with it comes out soft. (Oh, and I don't have the 70-200 2.8, so I am going to try to rent or borrow it if I can find someone who would be wiling to lend it to me for a few days.)
NorthernMinnesotaPhoto 10 years ago
I have shot in theaters and stages before. Shawn's right about the fast lens and stage lighting, but there is usually a great deal of light fall off on stage, I think it's because they use so much black backgrounds that it just sucks up the stray light. Your going to have to shoot around 800 - 1250 iso which adds noise to your images, and set your camera to the incandescent light setting.
As for the staged shots, you can shoot those at a lower ISO for better imagery. Just try to take your time and work out the bugs, you might to borrow some studio strobes for the media photos, and use a basic 3:1 light ratio.
MOD
Karl W. 10 years ago
You could probably borrow my tameron 70-200 F2.8 for a few days if you want.
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Jim, thank you for all of the good tips. I wish I would have made it to the strobe meet-up now. This summer has just been too busy.

Karl, I would be so grateful if you would be willing to lend it to me! I was looking at that lens at one of the rental sites. I would need it Sept. 21st, and then Sept 25 through the 28th. It would also be nice to practice with it in the theater beforehand, so I could get a feel for it. Let me know if you would be okay with any or all of those dates.
MOD
Karl W. 10 years ago
Yeah you could borrow it for that week or so. I'll be busy with school so I shouldn't need it for anything. I can bring it to the September meeting also if you want to play with it a bit.
Misplaced In The Midwest Posted 10 years ago. Edited by Misplaced In The Midwest (member) 10 years ago
I can actually offer advice for this particular situation, since I have dabbled as a stage actor for years.

The day you shoot the dress rehearsal will be the day you get your best shots, as you'll be able to move around (which you obviously cannot do during a performance), and for the dress rehearsal, talk with the director beforehand and explain that you'll need to use your flash and why, and most likely both the director and the actors will be very accommodating. Do the same thing for the talkback.

Shooting during an actual performance will be challenging, as you will most likely have to stay in one spot. (You may have the opportunity to move to a different location in between acts if the play has more than one.

For the rest of it, I would take Aaron up on his offer to get the lay of the land beforehand, and since he's familiar with the theatre, it's a sure bet his advice is sound.
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aReasontoHope 10 years ago
The photos of the girl with the christmas lights was taken in there, but that was in the pitch dark. With christmas lights. hah.

I'd suggest bringing your own.
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Karl, can you bring your 70-200 to the August meeting so that I can play with it a bit?

Also, would anyone be able/willing to borrow me a tripod on Sept 21st and then again the 25th-28th? Mine isn't strong enough to hold my camera with the 70-200 on it.
MOD
Karl W. 10 years ago
Yeah I can bring it to the meeting, no prob.

I'd borrow my tripod also but it's broke already : ) but that's unrelated

You probably don't actually need a tripod for it, the weight of it isn't too bad but if you have to hold it for a long time it gets kinda heavy. I guess you'll see at the meeting
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