How to photograph rock concerts - by Jamie Howard

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by, Aug 4, 2006.

  1. How to photograph rock concerts by Jamie Howard

    "Because concert shooting is a combination of low-light and action
    photography, a reasonably fast shutter speed is usually desirable.
    Though using a tripod or vibration reduction can result in very
    dramatic and artistic stage photographs, the motion blur of the
    performers is not usually suitable for press or PR work. "

, Aug 4, 2006
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    woops Guest

    I've not been to one in a while but have one planned for this fall. I
    understand most (all?) do not allow cameras these days. Got to check my
    tickets and see if they have any rules on them.
    woops, Aug 4, 2006
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  3. My name is John McCullough, I work for I-Mag Video concert videography is our business.
    Actually magnifying the images and displaying them in real time i.e.
    I-Mag = Image Magnification. But we also do video production for DVD
    and a variety of other things.In the Rock Genre my credits include:
    Projectionist for a pay per view concert by Jars of Clay a Christian
    Rock Group
    Video Tape Operator for the Peter Frampton Live in Detroit DVD
    Projectionist for POD
    Video Tape Operator for a yet to be released 3 Doors Down DVD shot last
    fall in Jackson Mississippi
    Engineer and robotic camera operator for the 2006 Nickelback winter

    The only still shot that I have ever had published was a stage shot
    that I took during the Jars of Clay pay per view video production. It
    was published in the tour book on their subsequent tour. When the
    manager called me about six months later to ask for the rights to the
    photograph, my first thought was, Oh my God they're going to sue me.

    I have seen very well lit, well composed and timely images displayed,
    and I have seen poorly lit, poorly composed images of the wrong scene
    at the wrong time displayed.
    Lighting for concerts is fan oriented and sometimes very unfriendly to
    photography. Lighting temperatures can be all over the map from 3200K
    tungsten to to 5600K HMI. Photographing under mixed lighting conditions
    is a story unto itself. With the advent of LED technology the
    background might be a videographic or still image the color temperature
    is subject to be ???

    A touring lighting director is not the same as a director of
    photography for film or video.
    Be prepared to delete most of your images. If it ain't lit, dont shoot
    it. The best camera work that I personally have ever seen comes from
    camera operators who are familiar with the show. They shoot it three or
    four nights a week for months and years on end.

    In a the best of situations the lighting director is communicating with
    the video director and that one moment in time is captivated with
    pinpoint accuracy. Typically not the case, typically the LD is trying
    to suffocate the video director with fog from the multitudinous fog
    machines. That fog is oil based also and can wreak havoc on photo
    equipment and it leaves a bad aftertaste.

    One moment in time: That facial expression that epitomizes the essence
    of the true meaning... is typically followed by a thousand facial
    expressions which my grandson makes when he is making an accident in
    his pants. Use burst photography as many frames per second as you can
    possibly get away with.

    The spotlight is your friend: the stagehand operating it might secretly
    hate you! Best case scenario you have a 5600K (K = Kelvin not
    Kilocycles) keylight which works in concert with your wash and fills
    and whatever. In reality you have a kaliedoscope of colored gels which
    the LD can insert at any time. CT color temperature correction gels.
    Dichroic filters. The contrast between the key and the fill light may
    be well out the range of your photographic equipment.

    Rock concert photography is anything but an exact science, every artist
    is unique, every LD is unique, the equipment charicteristic: unique,
    every venue is a little bit different, but thats what makes it LIVE!
    Realism is not the objective of a rock concert. Go for the surreal, the
    abstract, the bizarre! Have fun even if you are shooting the tragically
    silverthreads, Aug 4, 2006

    Stewy Guest

    I've been refused admittance to concerts for years unless I hand in my
    camera. With the advent of compact digitals I can usually get away with
    it these days as long as I don't give myself away with flash. As most
    recording artists (and record companies) make money from concert stills
    these days, high quality, tripod, live photos are a no-no.
    Stewy, Aug 6, 2006

    no_name Guest

    Unless you can get a gig shooting those concert stills the recording
    artists make money from.

    Next best is getting accredited by some local news organization, but
    you'll usually be limited to getting your shots during the first few
    songs of the set.

    Generally, no tripod shots though. At best you'll get to use a monopod.
    no_name, Aug 9, 2006
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