Our most recent shoot was at a recital of jazz vocalist and educator Maye Cavallaro‘s students.
The facility is located in the basement level of a large office building. The performance space is small – maybe 100 seats max, mostly seated around cafe tables.
We set up a tripod next to the sound booth in the back and had one roving camera on a monopod. When the audience fills up the place it’s very hard to move around, but you can usually squeeze into an aisle on the right or near the main desk on the left.
The audio engineer that night (Lou Judson) was kind enough to give us a good mic-level XLR feed to the camera. Sound was good but dry, so I also captured audio through a Zoom H4n to get audience reaction and mix in a little room sound.
Unfortunately the lighting is mixed, with stage lighting mounted on the somewhat low ceiling, but also recessed compact-fluorescents overhead on the stage, and some daylight coming in from windows near the ceiling on the right. The stage lighting was uneven that night, with a bright spot on the left front but falling off by about a full stop on the right side of the stage. We didn’t have the time or authorization to mess with the lights so we shot it as-is with a tungsten white-balance. It was evening so the outside light didn’t intrude much.
I was using the small Canon Vixia HF-G10 on a Manfrotto monopod because it’s less conspicuous and easier to maneuver than the 5DmkII with a big lens on a tripod. It worked well and intercut nicely with the AVCHD footage from the Sony HDR-AX2000 in the back. The only thing I missed with the G10 is a decent zoom control. I was using both the zoom lever on the top and the remote control, but neither gives a very controllable zoom. I might look into a simple external LANC zoom control.
The JazzCafe is adjacent to the performance space and serves beer, wine and light meals. And of course downtown Berkeley has dozens of restaurants within walking distance. There is ample garage parking nearby and street parking if you’re lucky. Bring a good equipment cart. There’s an elevator to the left of the main entrance.