Filming a Fashion Show …help !!!!

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    • #37115

      Hi All

      I am fairly new to video editing and filming, and have just been "volunteered" to film a School fashion show.
      The show is taking place at night, in a fairly large hall.I undersdtand there will be spotlights on the stage
      The "cat walk" is at the same height as a stage.
      I only have one camera.(It is the Sony DCRDVD805).and was wondering where is the best place to have it situated…at the end of the catwalk..or slightly to the left/right of it?
      Also should I stand on a table or something similar to get the height and angle right?

      Any advice you may have would be greatly appreciated.

      Also any tips on vido editing software would be appreciated.I have heard about ULead, Roxio, Power Director, Premier Elements, Avid…so much choice…

      Thanks for taking the time to read this.

      Best Regards


    • #164501

      Shooting with spotlights can be very tricky. The problem is only part of what your camera sees is fully illuminated. The rest of the frame is much darker, and that can fool the built in exposure metering system. What happens is the auto-exposure system sees both the area lit be the spotlight and the dark areas, and it averages them. The result is a very light subject, with washed-out colors. Some cameras have a spotlight setting for auto-exposure, which should help some. If your camera doesn’t have a spotlight setting, you would need to set the exposure a little darker than what the auto-exposure says it should be.

      In any case, it would be very useful to test in advance, using the same lighting setup used in the show.

      Good luck, πŸ™‚
      Ken Hull

      P.S. –Setting the white balance manually can be useful (so if someone is dressed all in one solid rich color, it will be recorded as that color, rather than a grayish version of that color).

    • #164502

      Thanks for the advice Ken
      Where would you say is the best place to position the cam?

      At the end of the catwalk or at an angle to the left/right of it ?

      Thanks again

    • #164503

      It’s pretty tough to get a whole live event from one camera. I would highly suggest renting, or buying (an inexpensive) camcorder as a backup to give you some latitude for moving the camera a bit.

      That being said, if there’s no way to get a second camera, then the last thing you want to do is to put it right at the end of that runway. If you were to do this, when the model is walking out, they’ll be a very flat, boring figure, and when they walk away, you’ll see nothing but their backside, a remarkably unflattering camera angle.

      If you can only get your hands on one camera (c’mon, someone you know has to have a camera you can borrow for one night!), then I would personally place the camera at around a 45 degree angle from the end of the runway (so if I were standing on the end of the runway, the camera would be, for example, 6 feet to my left and 6 feet in front of me). This would let you get a little bit more of a 3D, interesting image, while still allowing you to capture the full fronts, backs, and sides of the outfits.

      Again, if you can, get a second (or even third!) camera if you can, but if you’re limited to one, well, there you go.

    • #164504


      Here is my visualization of this.

      Go handheld. Use wide angle lens if possible.

      Tripod OK but may get in the way if crowded and you find you need to move around.

      Go auto focus.

      For starters I would fix my manual exposure for a setting just short of blowing out the models faces when they are immediately opposite you, hopefully within 3-4 feet.

      Get right next to the side of cat walk about two-thirds of the way down (two thirds from curtain; one third from end of catwalk).

      Regardless of video glitches, keep cam rolling to capture complete soundtrack and applause points.

      As model starts at stage/curtain and heads your direction down the catwalk, zoom in (steady not rushed) and try to keep her centered. As she approaches, try to get into a good rhythm for zooming out (i.e., going from tele to wide angle) so that when model is passing you, you are in max wide angle. As she passes, you are slowly zooming in again (i.e., going from wide to tele). Not as hard as it sounds. Living in DC, I have sometimes shot video of Presidential motorcades. Action starts at a distance, its right in front of you, then its in the distance again, All Very Quickly. You can practice on passing cars, except without curious Secret Service escorts or motorcycle cops coming over to say hope you are having a nice day.

      For steadiness, pan with your body, not just your hands and the camera. For example, if the cam is braced on your upper chest and you are using the flip out for framing, twist your upper torso from right to left (or vice versa), not just your elbows, as your cam follows the action. Swivel chair works great if youve got one. Tripod not ruled out.

      As the model is passing you for the second time, heading back for the stage/curtain, at some point you may want to stop panning, hold the cam stationary, and let the model walk out of the frame. This could be timed as the next model is starting her catwalk and enable you to smoothly zoom in on the next model to start the cycle over.

      If your cam has a zoom ring on the lens barrel, you might try using that vs a rocker zoom control. Using the ring, I find I have a better grip on the cam with the hand that is doing the zooming, throughout the zooming process. Better for steadiness.

      For variety and editing purposes (and just getting the feel of things), you can also leave the cam in wide for entire cycles. With a wide angle, this would present the model in miniature one minute in blowup the next. Also, capture the panorama of the whole environment. However, my thing is for the cam to be as tight as possible on the model for the whole catwalk trip, thus the point of the busy tele to wide to tele to wide to walking out of frame action.

      Once the show starts, if you have any major reservations about where you are positioned and think you see a better spot, move over there at some point, even if not opportune. (Keep the cam rolling for the soundtrack.)

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #164505


      I got the chance to help tape a fashion show, and it was a pretty good experience. We used 3 cameras for a slightly different catwalk (it was in the shape of a T).

      Like what Jim (on a roll) mentioned, it would be much, much better with a second camera.
      See if you can find a young student passionate about video, excited to do anything with a camera.

      If you had two camera people (and two cameras), I think it would be great if you can have one person manning a camera from the position Jim mention (45 degrees from the end of the catwalk), zoomed in just enough so when the model is closest, she fills the frame top to bottom. In my experiences, its pretty difficult to pan/tilt and zoom at the same time, so leave the focal length at that.
      Have this camera constantly rolling as soon as the show starts, to get a good track of audio.

      With the second camera, Tom’s position would be great.

      With two cameras, you can cut to two different angles, and you would always have a backup to cut to (incase you lose balance near the catwalk or something and have to move the camera).

      For editing, I would recommend a system that allows you to have at least two tracks of video, and more than 4 tracks or so of audio.


    • #164506

      Hey Spencer,

      I think you’re kiddin about how hard it is to combine pan and zoom shot. This is one of my most used shots. If I’m in a close-up or medium mode during a band, conference, inaugural ball or comparable shoot, doing a shot of several or more people, this is what I do to get from A to B. As I zoom out (going to wide) the camera is headed over to the another part of the bandstand or the room (i.e., panning), and as I close in on my destination, I am zooming in (going to tele) to frame. Without the zoom out combined with the pan, I don’t know precisely where I’m ending up and "precise" is ultra important, so I don’t have an ajustment glitch at the end of the pan/zoom. The said shot, zoomout plus pan plus zoomin in a combined flowing motion is typically one to four seconds. The zoom out makes the pan easier on the eye. Generally, the zoom portion is made very subtle and in effect masked by the panning action; a mutual benefit for zoom and pan you might say.

      I agree with your shot recommendation for the end of the catwalk position. Seems like both zooming and panning would not be overactive from from that angle, looking down the long runway, like looking into a pipe.

      The camera move I describe in my post above (tele to wide to tele to wide to model walking out of frame), all the while panning with the movement of the model is more complicated than the basic abc zoom plus pan shot. This one will take a little practice, such as chasing cars with the cam as they pass by.

      Re being six feet away at the end of the catwalk. The thing about this is that you may have 30 people between you and the catwalk. The view of models below the knee will be blocked or have heads bobbing in there. Unless focus is an issue (being too close to focus; won’t happen of course with a wide angle lens), personally I would want to be smooshed against the catwalk with my cam, beanie declaring MP (Member of Press). X-D

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #164507

      Thanks for all the comments and suggestions received..absolutely amazing.
      Try as I might, I can not get another camera πŸ™

      Seats will be arranged all around the catwalk, so finding the right position is key.I am not sure how much moving I can do between the chairs once the show starts.

      Do you think I should be perched on a table to get the height required?

      Also mention was made of software that can handle multiple audio tracks…any specifc suggestions.I am not at the Pro Level, so something that is easy to use, nice effects(thats what seems to have the "wow" factor with people), and not too expensive.

      Thank you all once again for your valued input.


    • #164508

      Hi Tom,

      Well, I guess you could say I was kidding when I said it that way. πŸ˜€
      But I really meant to zoom and pan when the camcorder is on a tripod. The zoom slider is really awkward to use when mounted, in my opinion.
      In a hand though, it’s great, and I do agree that the shots you described are pretty effective to keep the video very interesting (much more than just a camera on a tripod).

      Hey Armand,

      For editing, Final Cut Express on a Mac would work great. I think Adobe Elements on Windows would handle this pretty well, but I would wait for some Windows guys to answer.

    • #164509

      I’m always for getting as high as possible, but check with the venue’s rules about that. I know a lot of reception halls don’t allow guests to stand on chairs or tables for insurance reasons. Of course, if you brought a platform to set the camera on, you’d be kosher, but again, you need to see if you’re allowed to do that.

      As far as editing goes, I heard someone once say that the best editing software is the one that you know how to use. If you can do what you need to on program A, don’t bother buying program B. But that’s only my "If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it" mentality speaking. πŸ™‚

    • #164510


      Don’t lose your seat.

      Re table, so you are above it all. That would work maybe. Precautions of course; you don’t want to fall off and have a very short career! Also, you don’t want to block view of audience. Generally, we videoguys are fan-toms, not very visible, unless we are part of the shew. Also, if you do something ummmm you didn’t want to do, that faux pas will have an audience and you will have been part of the show after all.

      In the olden daze when there was something called film grammar, the camera looking up (low angle) was said to give a lot of drama/melodrama to the subject, or more simply in film grammar terms This Was Someone/Something Heroic or at least Important. (Check out the film Citizen Kane for the complete "rules of grammar" if you want to learn about this so you can either be informed or be defiant.)

      In any event, a low angle is still very dramatic and if you are shooting from a chair or floor level looking up, esp when the model is closest, this will be a powerful shot, more powerful than if you were at the same level as catwalk with the help of a table. You could crouch on the table for same effect, but you definitely add to your risk of doing a somersault if you quickly stand from that position. πŸ˜€

      REGARDS … TOM 8)

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