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Turning Home Video into Pro Video > Turning Home Video into Pro Video - Pg. 73

Getting Power Before worrying about the visual quality of your live-performance footage, worry about the power. Are the batteries charged? Do you have enough battery power to flm the entire show? If so, have you thought about when you can swap batteries without missing something good? If you're flming with permission, you may be able to plug your camcorder into a power outlet, which neatly solves this problem. Unfortunately, because of the extension cord tripping hazard, this solution presents itself fairly rarely. (If you do get permission to lay down extension cords, tape them to the foor using duct tape, like generations of professional flm crews before you.) Live Stage Performances Capturing the Picture Now you've got to worry about where you're going to sit or stand. Sometimes you don't have a choice--you'll just have to sit in your seat and do the best you can. (Keep your LCD screen closed when shooting; keeping it open both distracts the other audience members and gets you in trouble with management.) Thanks to the powerful zoom feature on today's camcorders, standing at the back of the theater is frequently a more attractive alternative. There you may even be able to use a tripod, much to the beneft of your footage and the relief of your muscles. Do- ing so means that the camcorder will be able to shoot over the heads of the audience members--another real advantage over shooting from your seat. Technically speaking, flming a live performance on a fairly distant, brightly lit stage requires three special considerations: ·Usethemanualfocustrick. Nowhere is this secret (see page 59) more useful than when you're flming a live stage performance. Autofocus generally fails you in these circumstances, because the camera tries to focus on the nearest object--the head of the lady in row 34. This autofocus syndrome, which arbitrarily blurs the picture as you flm, is the number-one destroyer of homemade performance videos. Use the manual focus to get the picture sharpened up in its fully zoomed-in state before you begin rolling tape. Then you'll be able to zoom in or out during the performance without ever worrying about the focus. ·Adjusttheexposure. Stage lights and spotlights throw camcorders for a loop. These lights pour very bright light onto the performers' faces, but throw normal light on the rest of the set. The result is a broad spectrum of brightness--too broad for a camcorder's sensors. The auto-exposure feature of your camcorder does its best to fgure out its mission, but it usually makes a mess of things in medium or wide shots, turning every actor's face into a radioactive white blur with no features at all (see Figure 3-3). Solving the problem requires you to override the auto-exposure feature. Consult the camcorder's manual for instructions. On Sony camcorders, for example, you press the Exposure button on the left side of the camera and then turn a thumb chapter3:specialeventflming 73