Shooting A Stage Show

The question often comes up “I want to shoot footage of my show. What camera do I get?”

The short answer is “get a pro to shoot it for you.” Someone who’s good with a camera will get a few great, useful minutes from the show. Someone who’s an expert at shooting live performers will capture the whole event for you.

comparing cameras and goals

Most people are thinking they’ll either buy a DSLR, a go pro, or a compact camera like the ZV1.

Settings are difficult on all cameras because I don’t know any camera that had automatic settings that are good for stage lighting. Stage lighting has very harsh contrast.

I recently tried to record a friend’s show passively and for fun on my ZV1 and he was pretty washed out until I realized I needed to turn off all the auto settings and adjust things carefully.

If you set all the settings at tech rehearsal, with someone else’s help, you can make things good. It’s possible. The lighting may change at showtime

Image size is also an issue. Placing the camera at the back of the room will often get you a shot that is mostly stage. The subject will be small. These kinda shots are not usually useful for promo.

You can shoot in 4k and crop the image to make it 2x as large for HD. I don’t know for sure: these cameras may overheat filming longer durations in some situations at 4k

If you can change the lens on a DLSR to a 200mm you could shoot from the back of the room. You’ll be carrying a camera body and lens to every show.

The Sony rx100 vi has a long lense and is compact like the zv1, but can only shoot for 29min in HD

If you’re shooting for promo, I would get something small and easy like a GoPro or an iphone, put it close to stage at an interesting angle with the hopes of getting 5 seconds of usable footage

If you’re shooting for your records, same a little further from stage.

I don’t use my camera for long recordings.

Written for folks who want to attract and energize groups

Scot Nery is an emcee who has helped some of the biggest companies in the world achieve entertainment success. He's on an infinite misson to figure out what draws people in and engages them with powerful moments.

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