The SassBirrElla Disaster – The Camera Forum®
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The SassBirrElla Disaster

The SassBirrElla Disaster

SassBirrElla from TheCameraForum on Vimeo.

Not every client job goes according to plan.  Take just this past week, for example.  I had a shoot for “SassBirrElla” a new up and coming Los Angeles area swing band.  We had planned to do a series of stills, and some video at their live gig to put together a series of web teasers for their still under construction website.  Everything was just fine until the bartender turned on the house stage lighting right before the show.  Disaster!


Color Soup Sometimes the light is SO BAD at a live event you just want to cry.

Color Soup
Sometimes the light is SO BAD at a live event you just want to cry.

Call it a photographer’s worst nightmare, high powered colored LED’s projecting through lenses into piercing pin-point shafts of intense specular light.  Add on the rainbow assortment of random color changes and you have a stage full of color the equivalent of which you have never seen.  It was a sea of colored light so intense I was concerned at first for the safety of eye sight and my camera sensors.  As it turned out, it was not strong enough to burn retinas or destroy sensors, but it was far too intense for video recording and too ugly for stills.  An interesting mix I rarely run into.  It was time to get creative or blow off the whole job for another time at another location.


Here is what I did.  I decided to open things up to document the band’s physical movement using a drag shutter for the stills, ranging from half to a second and a half exposure times.  This would give movement and greater interest to the stills.  To get rid of the ugly colored light, I shot it all for black and white conversion, knowing that bad light would never produce a perfect solution but stood the only and therefore best chance of making something creative from an otherwise ruined shoot.  You can decide from the finished piece above how well we managed to pull it off.  Leave us a comment below, and let us know your thoughts.


Chuck Jones

Digital Media Producer, Photographer, Video Storyteller, Cinemagraph Master. Only Semi-Reformed Hippy. Managing Editor of http://TheCameraForum.Com

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