i volunteer with kexp once a week. most of the time i log tapes or catalog the archives but once in a while, online content cordinator jim beckman will invite me along to watch some live performances and shoot some video. i am grateful for this opportunity because it is a fun learning experience to record live performances.
raphael saadiq's old school rhythm and blues band was a surprise for me because i had never heard of them prior to the show. if you read his wikipedia page or allmusic profile, you will see that he's been around for a while.
for those shoots when a tripod is too much, it might be wise to invest in a monopod. no man can hold a camera that steady. i don't care how strong your arm is. you can never hold a shot for too long.
if you have the full final cut pro studio, you might be able to fix shaky clips in post. at kexp, we use the express copy so we don't have this luxury. but if you do have the full version, you can apply a 'smooth cam' filter. you can plan ahead for using the 'smooth cam' filter by keeping your shot a little loose. this way, when the filter enlarges your image for processing, you won't loose any information off the edge of the frame.
for a long time, i was obsessed with keeping one camera wide. here i will publicly denounce that initial philosophy. i learned my lesson. for live performances, wide shots are overrated. unless a performer is using the space in an interesting way, it is best to use tight shots. most performers do not move around too much and if you show them in a wide angle, you will only highlight the boring aspect of their performance. rather you should do the opposite and focus in on the little movements.
it might be wise to decide which camera is going to get which shots before you start. camera one focus on performer a and b. camera two focus on performer c and d. if two cameras agree to share a single subject, it might be wise to decide upon different focal lengths. this way, you keep your options open. you don't want to set yourself up for jump cuts in the edit studio.
try to minimize the noise in the shot. this is another reason to keep away from wide angle shots. the depth of field in video is too deep and if you throw in too much motion, you will only draw attention to the faults of the medium. keep it tight and try to keep the background bland and boring. black is good.
i love shooting video and i don't think i could ever grow bored with it. my biggest challenge is acquiring experience. every time i shoot video i make new mistakes. and with every mistake comes a lesson. and with every lesson, i am only more excited to go out and shoot more video.
thinking back to my work on the tommy dean movies, i would love to have a chance at that kind of project again. a subject like raphael saadiq would be a dream come true because his scene is neck deep in nostalgia. the question i would ask through a documentary about him would be, how does he capture the spirit of the original scene and how does he make it is own? pretentious stuff like that! anybody out there have any ideas?