JoJo @ KoKo

So, nearly a year and a half since the last one, I was filming Joanne Joanne at KoKo (that’s “The Camden Palace” to the elderly). This was the Saturday Night “Guilty Pleasures” evening – which seems to be quite a hoot.

Koko is the biggest venue that I have filmed at and this meant I needed some changes.

Firstly, and most importantly, I was aided by Will Brooker. Will filmed from the photographer’s pit (Eee – Luxury!). He was using his own Nikon 7000 with a 50mm lens. He did a great job of “staying on the money” to deliver the close-ups of singer Jo and some really nice crowd shots. This made a huge difference to the final result. Kudos to Will.

Sound came straight from the desk – most of what you hear is the stereo desk pair into the Zoom H4N. In a bigger venue the desk sound is far more usable without further adulteration for the simple reason that the on-stage sound becomes less significant as the front-of-house volume gets louder. So what you hear is what you get.

For this shoot – apart from Will – I had more cameras than the previous JJ shoot. They were:
2. Stage Right: Canon 60D with 24-70. This camera has the Magic Lantern firmware which means it keeps recording past (for this camera) its single 4Gb (or about just 12 minutes) file limit (unlike the later cameras, it does *not* record additional files once that 4G is reached). I couldn’t use this camera without ML.
3. Stage Left: Canon 650D with EF 24-105 F/4L IS USM. Since this show I have also put the ML firmware on this camera.
4. On Mel (Drums): The GoPro Hero 3+ Black Edition. GoPro replaced my original camera recently – they provided excellent service. I had a very early one – I bought it the day it came out – and it seemed to suffer from soft focus. This new one performed beautifully. If there is ANY light, GoPros are awesome. In very low light they’re pretty horrible.
5. On top of Charley’s (guitarist) amp, pointing at the crowd: GoPro Hero 3 Black Edition. The original v3 is very nearly as good as the 3+. With both GoPro’s I power them from a USB power supply. That means I have no concerns letting them run all night, even with their power-hungry WiFi running. They’re fantastic things.
6. From the sound desk, the Canon 6D with the (much maligned, but I think excellent) Canon EF 50 F/1.4 lens providing a wide shot of the whole band. I needed more tripods than I had and ended up putting the 6D on a Gorillapod. I wish I had had a bean bag or similar to soak up the (excellent) thumping kick drum, because the 6D got shaken about a bit and the footage was not that usable. I consider this wide shot a safety thing anyway and try not to use it any more than necessary. But it’s always great to have a wide shot to fall back on if you miss a close up on something.
7. Also from the sound desk, the Canon 5D Mark III with the EF 70-200 F/2.8L IS II USM providing the shot on Jo and Mel. Seems weird using the 70-200 as a relatively wide shot. I would have left it tighter on Jo if I could have.
8. Finally – my handheld camera was the 5D Mark II with the EF 300 F4.0L IS with an EF Extender 1.4x II taking it up to 420mm F/5.6 – on a Manfrotto Carbon Fibre monopod. Luckily there was enough light to run the lens at F/5.6 – that wouldn’t fly in most of the places I shoot (but I wouldn’t need 420mm either). I was weaving between the revellers to get my shots. I tried my best to look “get-out-of-my-way” impressive without being rude. I was mostly ignored.

So this was another insane plate-spinning exercise. That’s a lot of cameras to keep an eye on. I learnt, from this shoot:
A. At loud gigs you need to consider isolating cameras from the bass
B. ALWAYS put new Alkali batteries in your sound recorder. Even if you think the ones in there are brand bloody new
C. Put Magic Lantern on any unattended DSLR
D. Get more people actually holding cameras
E And I can’t stress this enough: If you are handling black cameras in a black area in the dark, take a head torch. I was operating in braille.
F On a related note – if you can – use a single model of DSLR. Why Canon keep moving the controls about is any guess but it’s a lot of fun trying to remember in the dark under pressure.

Anyway – I think the results are smashing:


Posted on June 8, 2014, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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