Shooting in a small room

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    • #36652

      Hi! I’m hoping someone here can help me with this problem, please let me know if my non-native English makes this unclear or convoluted, and I’ll try to clarify.

      The band I play in has purchased a Canon MV600 DV camcorder,
      which we plan to use to help us improve our live performance; primarily by filming our rehearsals.
      The problem we face is that our rehearsal space is quite small, and we really want to find a set position where we can film the entire band simultaneously without having to change angles.

      The room is about 3×4 meters (roughly 13×10 feet).
      The north and south walls are 13ft, the east and west are 10ft.
      We are four people (drums, bass, guitar and vocals).
      The drumkit is in the corner where the east wall meets the south wall, facing the north wall.
      We try to put the three other in quite close to the drums,
      like playing a very small stage, all of us facing the north wall.
      We have tried positioning the camera at the middle of the north wall
      and in the corner where the west wall meets the north wall,
      but in both instances, we can’t zoom out far enough or get a wide enough shot.
      Is this a problem easily solved by using a wide angle lens,
      or are there other solutions readily available?


      Karl Ruben Weseth
      Trondheim, Norway

      (My band’s website)

    • #162934

      Yes, a wide angle lens would probably solve your problem. The word “probably” is used here because some wide angle lenses aren’t that much wider than normal lenses.
      You’ve set the cam up on the North wall, which only gives you 10 feet (versus 13 feet) to where the drummer is backed up against the opposite wall. You could have added 3 more feet to cam distance if the cam was on East wall and the band on the West wall or the opposite.
      What you need is maximum distance between the cam and the band. This could be achieved by wedging the band into a corner (e.g., where South wall joins East) with the drummer actually in the corner and facing in the direction of the opposite corner (where West wall joins North). The max distance from cam to band would be achieved if the cam (in this example) was in the corner where West wall joins North and positioned either at the ceiling level looking down, such as securely on a heavy duty ladder (need to pay attention to vibrations from the amps); or on the floor looking up, such as sitting on a very low tripod or a blanket. Either ceiling level or floor level is a cooler angle anyway than just a straight ahead shot. Especially if the cam was at ground level, this would enable individual band members to move up to the cam and do “mug shots.” The fact is that some stages will be smaller than the small corner of that room, so if you can be lively in that small space, make faces, do leaps and dance moves, and such, that may attract certain fans.
      One more thing: It is a cruel fact of life that typically drummers are blocked from view by other bandmates. I have shot numerous band sets in small clubs (with tiny stages), big deal hotel ballrooms, and outdoor festivals. I use a floating camera technique where I try to include all band members in each take. Getting good shots of drummers is usually an extreme challenge. That’s just the way it is. Drummers are heard a lot more than they are seen.
      You are an interesting looking group. Don’t let babes or drugs (or religion or politics) distract you from making it big (until you make it big). Best of luck!!!
      REGARDS … TOM 8)

    • #162935

      think outside the box. have the band set up behind a corner and place the camera in the opposite corner. this will give you an extra foot of room then go with a wide lense adapter

    • #162936

      OK Guys,

      I think we answered this one in August 2005, so we have revived it for 2006. Our advice must have been OK or at least did no harm as this group seems to be tearing up all over Norway. Way to go Fumar mata (name of group)!

      Meanwhile, for those who like to shoot video of bands playing and at play, take a look at the doc DIG. This follows a rivalry between 2 bands and analyzes why one succeeded and one self-destructed. Watched carefully, this film is hugely instructive re camera angles and hand held camera movement (the word choreography also fits), catching peak moments on video, editing in a hip style, and mixing a compelling complex multi layered soundtrack, even if you dont care for the music style, as influenced by the Stones/Velvet Underground/Folk Rock.

      2000 hours of footage (!!!!!!) shot over a 7 year period was boiled down to a 90 minute doc plus many extras (2 discs). A woman who must have had nerves and stamina of steel shot, directed, edited, produced, and put it all together, finishing the project hours before giving birth. (Now thats a deadline!) The interview with her on disc 2 is like attending a graduate class lecture in independent/guerilla filmmaking at USC. If you werent from the Pacific Northwest, listening to college radio in the late 90s, or living in Europe or Japan at the time, you may never have heard of the bands, the Dandy Warhols, and Brian Jonestown Massacre.

      DIG won Best Doc award at Sundance for 2004.

      It you decide to study this film, be aware the language is R rated for sure. Your momma won’t like it. DIG is commercially available.

      REGARDS TOM 8)

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