8.10.2010

An in-depth look at Metamorphosis. Two Cameras Deep.




Here's a link to a whole gallery of images I liked from the Zach Scott Play:  Metamorphoses.  (Ovid, not Kafka.....):  http://gallery.me.com/kirktuck#100252&view=mosaic&sel=0&bgcolor=dkgrey

I shot most of it with a Canon 5Dmk2 paired up with a 24-105mm L series lens.  I shot the rest of it with a Canon 7D coupled to a 60mm EFS lens.  It was a fast moving play and it was hard to know where to be in relation to the actors and the action.  The play is done in the round and the action continually moves.  It's blocked to play to a 360 degree audience.  Yikes.  I'd probably have more keepers now that I've seen the production a couple of times.

And I'll probably go back again because it's that good.

I'd tell you lots more stuff about shooting this production but I don't really think there's much to tell.  You'll need to shoot stuff like this with manual exposure.  You can see all the black in the background.  It will drive your meter nuts.  You'll need to get attuned to the changing light levels and have some sort of reference area you can meter.  The African American actors chest is close to 18% gray so I metered him pretty regularly when he was on stage, using the spot setting.

You'll also have to go back and forth between auto white balance and a couple of pre-sets.  You can always tell when.  You'll need AWB when they wash a scene with color and you'll need tungsten or 3000k when they use predominantly white light.

Finally, there is a scene with full frontal nudity.  As a photographer you really have to decide in advance how you're going to handle the scene.  I wanted to make sure it was organic to the play so I made sure to always include a lot of context in scenes with the nude actor and to stay away from close-up shots which might seem exploitive.  Probably don't want to send your conservative, hell fire preacher to this one......

But I judged the whole show to be fine for my 14 year old son.  Just when we got to the one part where I had some second thoughts I looked over to see his reaction and he had dozed off.  No counting for taste. (In his defense he'd had a couple of late nights in a row before we dragged him out for some culture....)

This kind of production is a challenge to capture, both because of the changing orientation of the actors in the round and the contrasty and quickly changing lighting cues.  That's what makes it so much fun.

If you are in Austin you need to go see it.  Just staring at the lighting is a photoworkshop worth in two hours........


Coming soon:  The Canon 50mm shoot out......

5 comments:

KrimSon972 said...

Good shots, the colouring and white balance seem well chosen! Good tips as well, regarding switching between tungsten and awb, thank you.

Also, (as a fellow owner of the 7D) I'm pleasantly surprised that, in this size atleast, there seems hardly a difference between the noise of the 5D and the 7D, or this thanks to your post-processing? (Of course, when pixelpeeping at full sizes, the difference will be there, but it looks like you can get very good, well detailed A4 prints of these photo's (haven't tried this yet).

My favourites are the 2 vertical shots of the performers sitting in the hanging ring, the way the people are lit, and their expressions are great! (9749, 0144 and 0809, she looks a force to be reckoned with!)

kirk tuck said...

No big post processing on my part. Believe me. These are pretty much raw from the cameras. They were originally shot as Jpegs so there's not a lot I can do to change their basic nature.

I think that the 7D is very close to the 5d2 for file quality. Especially if you're staying under 500 ISO. I can see a difference in noise over 1600. But it's not as radical as people would have you believe.....

John Krumm said...

Some good looking shots, Kirk (and a funny story about your son). I like the lighting in the first, how it looks like "god rays" are pouring from your subject.

Jon Yoder said...

Seems like a pretty interesting play. Great shots.

I'm looking forward to your 50mm shootout. It seems like your not a frequent of off-brand lenses, but have you ever used the Sigma 50mm 1.4? I've heard lots of good stuff about it, but haven't got to use it yet.

kirk tuck said...

Jon, I think the 50mm shootout will be fun. As to third party lenses.... I've tried to avoid 3rd party AF lenses because I have the (possibly mistaken) belief that their firmware is what eventually causes front and back focusing problems in Canon cameras. Someone talk me out of this......