Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

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LJJNR1

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Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostMon Dec 02, 2019 7:40 am

I have just ordered a couple of BMPCC 4K bodies for filming shows at my stand up comedy club.
Does anyone have any recommendations for lenses and settings that will help me get good results (I am brand new to video making).
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Stephen Press

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostMon Dec 02, 2019 8:15 pm

Do yourself a favor and hire some who isn't new to video to help you set up. It will be worth it.
"A cameraman with out a camera is just a man"
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LJJNR1

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostMon Dec 02, 2019 10:25 pm

Stephen Press wrote:Do yourself a favor and hire some who isn't new to video to help you set up. It will be worth it.


It would be much cheaper to just pay someone to come with their own equipment and record the shows and edit them together, but that doesn't help me learn how to film and edit together shows so doesn't achieve what I want to achieve.
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Ric Murray

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 2:35 am

I will elaborate on the previous post. If you want quality results and you are not a video pro yourself, you will likely need some help getting this thing going. More important than lenses is your audio plan. Standup is 90% audio, 10% video. You first need to figure out how you will get audio from the onstage mic to your cameras, and you will need a second mic to pick up audience reaction. Remember, audio is key. They made audio recordings of comedy acts for years with no video, but I can't imagine anyone watching a stand up comedy video with no audio for more than 10 seconds.

You will want someone to help you with lighting. The lighting in almost every standup joint I've ever been in is terrible for video. You will need some fill to lower the contrast and bring the range down to something that will look good on camera.

Do you plan on having an operator on each cam or doing a set it and forget it? This will effect lens choice. In short, I have worked with many, many clients over the years who have asked me to just do a "standard setup" so they can roll on what ever happens. It always looks like **** and it's a waste of time. Also, you do realize that the comic's material is theirs (copyrighted) and you cannot use any of it without their permission, and they will never sign a work for hire contract with you anyway... so just what do you plan to do with this material?
Creativity is the ability to accept ambiguity.
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LJJNR1

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 7:10 am

Ric Murray wrote:I will elaborate on the previous post. If you want quality results and you are not a video pro yourself, you will likely need some help getting this thing going. More important than lenses is your audio plan. Standup is 90% audio, 10% video. You first need to figure out how you will get audio from the onstage mic to your cameras, and you will need a second mic to pick up audience reaction. Remember, audio is key. They made audio recordings of comedy acts for years with no video, but I can't imagine anyone watching a stand up comedy video with no audio for more than 10 seconds.

You will want someone to help you with lighting. The lighting in almost every standup joint I've ever been in is terrible for video. You will need some fill to lower the contrast and bring the range down to something that will look good on camera.

Do you plan on having an operator on each cam or doing a set it and forget it? This will effect lens choice. In short, I have worked with many, many clients over the years who have asked me to just do a "standard setup" so they can roll on what ever happens. It always looks like **** and it's a waste of time. Also, you do realize that the comic's material is theirs (copyrighted) and you cannot use any of it without their permission, and they will never sign a work for hire contract with you anyway... so just what do you plan to do with this material?


One camera will be fixed, one will be in a fixed position but be operated on a tilt and pan etc, one will be on a gimbal.
Lighting is not an issue of concern.
The vocals will come from the mixer, three mics are in place above the audience facing diagonally down and away from the stage.
With regards your final point, no the absolute basics of the industry I have operated in for the past 5 years are news to me.
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Tim Lota

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 5:50 pm

Take a wide lens for the fixed camera, since there is more room for the comic to move and not get out of the frame. I'm guessing it will be a long shot, which would be best for a fixed camera.
The gimbal will probably be close to / on the stage, right? It should have a wide lens, too. You probably want to also use it for the audience, right? It should be something with a fast apeture then, so you don't need to push the ISO as much if you want to film the audience (which will probably not be lit well.)
The pan/tilt camera should have a good zoom on it, so you can get good close-ups. Maybe this camera should be the one connected to the mixer (at best via XLR cable). So you'll always have someone beeing able to check on the sound.

You can get the Olympus 12-100 f4 for the close-ups. It has an awesome stabilizer (not that you'd need one on a tripod, but it can help shaking if the tripod isn't 100% stable or you can use it for other stuff) and is one of the best native MFT zoom-lenses you can get IMHO. As for wide lenses, there are a lot of good choices that aren't that expensive. You could even think about using a prime lens on the fixed camera. Use something light for the gimbal. Maybe the 12-35 f2.8 Lumix.

Hope that helps, good luck! But as Ric said, maybe get someone to help you set-up, explain stuff and give some good tips. At least once.
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LJJNR1

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Re: Stand Up Comedy - Lens choice and setting tips

PostTue Dec 03, 2019 6:57 pm

Tim Lota wrote:Take a wide lens for the fixed camera, since there is more room for the comic to move and not get out of the frame. I'm guessing it will be a long shot, which would be best for a fixed camera.
The gimbal will probably be close to / on the stage, right? It should have a wide lens, too. You probably want to also use it for the audience, right? It should be something with a fast apeture then, so you don't need to push the ISO as much if you want to film the audience (which will probably not be lit well.)
The pan/tilt camera should have a good zoom on it, so you can get good close-ups. Maybe this camera should be the one connected to the mixer (at best via XLR cable). So you'll always have someone beeing able to check on the sound.

You can get the Olympus 12-100 f4 for the close-ups. It has an awesome stabilizer (not that you'd need one on a tripod, but it can help shaking if the tripod isn't 100% stable or you can use it for other stuff) and is one of the best native MFT zoom-lenses you can get IMHO. As for wide lenses, there are a lot of good choices that aren't that expensive. You could even think about using a prime lens on the fixed camera. Use something light for the gimbal. Maybe the 12-35 f2.8 Lumix.

Hope that helps, good luck! But as Ric said, maybe get someone to help you set-up, explain stuff and give some good tips. At least once.


That’s very helpful thankyou.
I’ve already ordered the Lumix lens as that seems to be a common recommendation, I’ll take a look at the Olympus.

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