Friday, April 12, 2013

Arthur Harkins with Sun Circuit at the Red Brick Cafe

The Red Brick Cafe is a great place for a coffee and spending hours on your laptop (free wifi), as well as for wine and sweets. The Cafe schedules performers (music, readings) on a regular basis. The exposed brick, high ceilings, and rotation of artworks on the walls, all situated in the old stone-and-brick part of Guelph lends the Cafe a European/bohemian University-town flavour, with just a hint of gentrification creeping in. It's fantastic in a lot of ways but shooting a video in "natural, cafe" light, it is not.
It is too dark for acceptable video shoots (additional lights would kill the ambience in what is supposed to be a candid shoot), and two handfuls of people seriously hinders any movement of any sort. I was lucky in that the Cafe was only half empty on a slow Wednesday night.
When I first saw the room, my first thought was to turn around and back out the door but then I thought that this would be a good opportunity to test the limits of the Sony APS-C sensors: the stretched-to-the-limit 24MP on the a65 and the soon-to-be--legendary 16MP on the a57.
The a65 had the 16-50 f2.8, video capped at ISO1600. the a57 had the 35f1.8, video capped at ISO3200. I cannot back my conclusions with any scientific date but the a57's 16MP sensor is far and away the winner in low light. I don't care for low noise, low grain, or artifacts. To me, content is king, and everything else is  secondary. Being there, and capturing the moments, with the least amount of intrusion is of paramount importance. 
All the frames have been cropped to varying degrees, including  panning and zooming crops, and the exposure and colours are as they were captured. Most of the panning and zooming was done in post! The large sensors allow for extensive cropping in pans and zooms! I don't think this feature is emphasized enough in the camera ads.With more time, I'll be able to play around with effects, gradation, etc. There will also be 2-3 more videos from the same performance.
The audio is strictly from the  Sony a65, the stationary cam, or B-cam (the a65 is much inferior to the cheaper a57 in terms of audio capture and video quality in low light) using a Rode Pro mic. The video is in its rough'ish stage and I haven't incorporated the audio from the Zoom H4n which was situated beside and 2 feet above the a65. The audio from the H4n is to my ears, CD quality! The a65 audio may sound tinny but the music already sounded tinny in the room and the audio as it stands now is a very good reproduction of how I heard the music. The H4n shoud be the device of choice for bootlegging live shows.

I'm just now editing a wedding I shot last week where I have to sync the h4n audio with the, fun, fun

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