theatre

Shooting Jekyll and Hyde

One of my regular commissions is to shoot promotional images for a local theatre group, Louth Playgoers, who are based at the fantastic Riverhead Theatre. It is always tricky to come up with ideas that will encourage the press to publish promo information, so it is a delight when the director has a clear brief for you.

The March play is Leonard H Caddy’s Jekyll and Hyde, directed by Brian Cliffe. I have shot promotional material for Brian before, a few years ago he directed Amadeus and managed to arrange Gainsborough Old Hall as the location. The hall is a preserved medieval manor house with many later features so provided an ideal backdrop for Amadeus.

Andrew Appleton Photography

Andrew Appleton Photography

For Jekyll and Hyde, Brian and his wife Christine came up with the Museum of Lincolnshire Life, situated in Lincoln, with room sets that pains takingly reproduced different periods in minute detail.

We shot in the dispensary, a Victorian kitchen and a parlour. With eight actors, the director and his production team plus me and my assistant Vicki it was quite an entourage to troop around the museum from one location to another. As it was January it was reasonably quiet but the museum staff allowed us to shoot after the public had left which was extremely helpful, location work with a big cast is hard enough without having to deal with interested on lookers.

I am going to to be writing in detail the full concept and technical details of the shoot, including lighting and post processing in the future for a new book. In the mean time I would like to say a huge thanks to the Lincolnshire Life Museum staff for all their help and to Bryan and Christine for making my life easy and not only coming up with the concept but arranging such a great location. I must also thank (sorry for the Oscar style speach!) my fantastic assitant Vicki who made sure we left with all the kit we came with, juggled light stand and modyfiers and calmed a rather nervous member of the museum staff each time a rather fragile glass ornament wobbled!

I’ll leave you with a couple of images which should be in the local press in the next few weeks.

Andrew Appleton Photography

Andrew Appleton Photography

 

 

Andrew Appleton Photography

Andrew Appleton Photography

 

 

TOTD #11: Shootiing a theatrical production

A late blog from me this evening as I have just got back from shooting a panto – Babes in the Wood – at my local theatre.

I thought I would share how I shoot these productions, I’ve probably shot about 100 shows now including drama, musicals and dance shows. The main thing to remember is you can’t use flash, the theatres don’t like it and it tends to kill the atmosphere created by the stage lights.

I always shoot with two cameras, one with a 35mm f1.8 to get the full width of the stage in and the second with an 80-200 f2.8 zoom mounted on a monopod. Depending on the theatre and the type of production I may wander about or find a seat fairly central to the stage and about 8 rows back, if I can I’ll put the 35mm on a tripod but that is not always possible.

I have both cameras on aperture priority and vary between spot and 3d matrix metering, I also constantly adjust the exposure compensation. You tend to get used to certain lighting scenarios, for example if someone is in a follow spot on a dark stage 3d matrix will invariable over expose as it tries to average out the dark and light areas in the scene. For scenes like this I use spot metering on the subject’s face.

When I started shooting in the theatre a few years back my old Minolta 7d would only shoot at a max of 800 ISO without getting horrendous noise, these days I regularly shoot at 3200ISO on my Nikon D7000 and it is quite acceptable. I use the auto ISO function with a maximum ISO of 3200 and shutter speed of 1/125.

I used to worry about white balance, these days I just leave it on auto and the camera does an acceptable job of rendering the lighting pretty much as I remember it.

Finally, I now shoot JPEG as I find the camera does a very good job of pulling up the shadows if you use the dynamic range function plus I can turn the images round much faster, they are often needed the same night by the press.

I’ll post a few examples from tonight’s show tomorrow and maybe you’ll get inspired to approach a few theatres and try it out.

UPDATE: Some examples from the show

Andrew Appleton Photography

Louth Playgoers production of Babes in the wood

Andrew Appleton Photography

Louth Playgoers production of Babes in the wood

Andrew Appleton Photography

Louth Playgoers production of Babes in the wood

Andrew Appleton Photography

Louth Playgoers production of Babes in the wood

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