Filming Play: What do I need. Please reply!

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    • #44130

      I was asked to film a play by a theatre group. I don’t have alot of money(about $300) and I was thinking of renting some good gear. I was thinling of getting a Cannon XL2. I was thinking about getting mics but then I thought the mic. on the XL2 would be sufficent. I also was thinking about renting a Bogen/Manfrotto 503HDV,351MVB2K tripod and fluid head kit. I found the XL2 fro $150 and the tripod for $50. Any sugestions on diferent equitment or if I need mics.


    • #184960

      Well I’ve videotaped a number of plays and this is what I learned.It’s all about capturing the dialogue and/or music/singing. People will accept you won’t get great shots from the back of the room but if the audio is bad too then the recording has very little value.

      1. Go to the rehearsal and note when who is on stage and what side of the stage they enter on etc.
      2. Have two cameras, one to capture the whole stage (camera B) the other to track the lead talent(s) of the moment (camera A). Use the GL2 for camA and borrow some other camcorder for camB.
      3. Record of a sound board if you have one, not from the back of the room or it’ll sound like crap.
      4. If the production isn’t using mic’s then use recorders near the front of the stage, in the middle for 1 recorder (i.e. Zoom H2) or on either side. I’ve used camcorders as strictly audio recorders too and they work fine. I’ve used wireless mic’s beside the stage to the cameras at the back of the room and that works great.
      5. If the lighting design uses red lights prepare for some fuzzy footage!
    • #184961


      Those were some good tips.


      As for suggestion #3 if you don’t have a wireless setup, you’re going to have to wire those mics from the stage to your board or camera. That will require some long audio cables. And no the mic on-camera mic alone will not be sufficient. See Bruce’s suggestions #3 & 4.

      I think your main difficulty is a $300 budget. With the cam taking $150 and the tripod at $50 that leaves $100. Since you’re shooting on DV anyway, a couple of small DV cameras like a Canon elura 100 and so on may be your best bet to get additional coverage of the stage and get audio if you can’t get extra mics. You’ll have to set up the two small cams on either side of the stage in a manner that give full but overlapping coverage of the stage. The XL2 will be your main camera by which you’ll track the talent as Bruce said in suggestion #2. Also, you’ll need to white balance off the stage’s white light and adjust your exposure to that. When the funky colored lights come on you should be fine.

      My best suggestion if there is enough time to go to their rehearsals and scope out the theater and plan out what it’s going to take to cover the play both audio and visually. Take a notepad and draw yourself some diagrams based on Bruce’s suggestions to help you get a better idea of what he’s talking about. Oh and don’t be afraid to ask questions about where you can put mics, cameras etc.

      Based on your budget alone, you’re not going to get perfect sound or video coverage. However, with just a little planning you can get acceptable footage and sound.

    • #184962

      I am quite lucky because I am an actor and I have been in 7 productions with this theatre. This proticular one (Narina the Musical) I have been in 2 times. So I know the stage and area. I also was going to film a dress rehersal insted of the real show. Bruce, I have a panisonic dv with a zoom mic. so I could keep that one trained on the stage. Thanks so much!


      BZL Productions

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