shooting school events – concert and graduation

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    • #37728


      I just started shooting video for school events, and an elementary school concert and grade 8 graduation ceremony will be my first. I plan to use my own digital 8 camcorder, a stand, and a small sony uni directional mic.The projects are simple and straight forward and don’t require much moving around or editing. I am, however,not sure if my equipment is sufficient to produce a professional looking video. I’m especially concerned about lighting because I don’t know what kind to use, since I don’t want flood lights or anything overwhelming – something discreet but that can do the job. Also, I need an easy to work with editing program that I’ll use to add fades and music to the beginning and end, and some titles. Any advice and suggestions?

    • #167176
      Grinner Hester

      You won’t want to interfere with these events by adding lights. You’ll adapt to their lighting.

      I’m thinking you’ll wanna upgrade your camera. It’s not that it won’t do for this, it’s just many of the audience members will have a much newer camera than you and if you are trying to sell these videos, well, it aint gonna work. You’ll want to rethink audio too. An echoy shotgun grabbing the room just won’t fly for graduations. Run from the house in this case. You can get away with it with the concerts.

      Sounds like regular ole’ Windows Move Maker may be all ya need for post. If you outgrow it, ulead has some affordable solutions then adobe, sony, ect. A quick google search for consumer/prosumer NLEs will give ya more than enough to sift through.

    • #167177

      I have recorded a couple of christmas pageants/concerts for an elementary school, and we have sold the DVDs for about $7 as a fundraiser. Fortunately, I had a lot of equipment that I had access to so I could expand the operations a bit.

      For the choir, I placed 4 handheld microphones on the floor on 2′ tall mic stands. As we are talking about 4′ tall kids, the gact that the mics were near the floor had minimal impact on the sound quality. for the play/musical portion, I placed 3 boundary mics at the front of the stage to assit in picking up the dialogue. I did a 2 camera shoot. The primary camera was set up at the back of the house was considered a low end professional camera. For the second camera, I placed it on one side of the house, fairly close to the stage, and I used a Canon Optura mini DV cam. As a backup, I recorded house sound using a shotgun microphone, and I can say, that I simply used it to provide a very slight ambiance noise, and the stage microphones sounded MUCH MUCH better.

      Talk to the school coordinator, as they may already have the microphones that they will be using, and you may simply be able to tap into the house audio system.

      We did not use any supplemental lighting, just what was on the stage. It was somewhat dark, but it was not terrible (again, this is an elementary school production).

    • #167178

      In a prior life, when funds dictated that my photography equipment was not top of the line (think high school – back around 1969-1970 or so) there was a kid who had all the latest Nikon equipment (I shot with an older Canon FX – precursor to the FT). Anyway, he would always brag about how good his equipment was and how much better his results were because of it – Long story short, I developed by eye and general skills without becoming dependent on equipment and as a result, my work was light years ahead of his – I zinged him one day by telling him I could outshoot him with a Brownie (which I could).

      Same goes here – While better equipment can help make great footage even better, nothing can make bad footage good. If you can use your camera to the best of “it’s” abilities, you’ll do fine.

      What I would suggest is getting some B roll footage – Maybe set up another camera on a tripod and just let it run (like off stage and pointing at the lectern) and even getting someone to help you get alternate angle shots. Then just put it all together in the edit bay (stick to simple cuts and fades, keep glitz to a minimum, just for spice) – Add some nice titles, decent background music and voila, you can have a very professional looking video.

      Also, Grinner is way right on the audio – Possibly set up a voice recorder by the lectern to use for your audio portion (just remember you may need to sync the audio up at multiple points).

      As for non-linear editors, I am partial to Sony Vegas Pro but just about any NLE will do what you need – including the sub $100 Vegas Movie Studio. You can download free, fully functional 30 day trials of all Sony software here:

      Just my $0.02.

    • #167179

      All great advice. Thanks!

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