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Thread: Bonfires and crowd scenes

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Antilles

Posts: 4
Location: United Kingdom
Registered: 10 Sep 2008
Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 3 Oct 2008 at 9:56 GMT
I've been dabbling with panos for a few months now and I've been asked to do some panos at a fireworks display next month. I've seen some great examples on here but am not sure how they're accomplished.

My current setup is Nikon D70, Nikor 10.5mm, and NN3, used with a standard Manfrotto tripod. Can anyone provide me with some tips on what I'd need to shoot fireworks / crowd scenes at night?

I've had a think about this and there are a few issues I can think of:

- There's the obvious problem of not having rooms to set the tripod up, the examples I've seen say that a monopod may be better.
- How do you deal with issues such as camera shake?
- How do you keep the camera level on a monopod?
- How do you turn the camera, I guess I won't be able to use the NN3 for this? Is it a case of guesswork and turning by hand?
- How do you accomplish the zenith/nadir shots?

I guess what I'm looking for is a dummies guide...
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Hans Nyberg

Posts: 2874
Location: Denmark
Registered: 28 Aug 2005
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 3 Oct 2008 at 11:09 GMT
Fireworks in panoramas with people is very difficult.
Here is an event I did recently
www.panoramas.dk/2008/ildregatta-silkeborg/

The classic way of shooting fireworks is using very long exposure.
4-8 seconds at 100 ASA and f11- 16.
However this may be difficult to do in panoramas with people arround.
You will just get black surroundings with that exposure.
The first pano you see is made with 2 cameras. 1 only directed at the fireworks and shooting it the classic way.
The pano was shot at 800 ASA f2,8 2sec.

The other fireworks pano is made very different. Camera on monopod handheld about 1 m above the head. You just turn the monopod around.
I use a wireless remote
Exposure 800ASA 1/40 sec at full aperture f2,8 Shaved Nikkor 10,5 on a Canon 5D.

This gives you very different fireworks and the light is only enough to catch the people at the very large explosions. In many cases the event arrangers are shutting all light out during fireworks.

I managed to get just the 3 extra images for the full 360 degree at one of the most bright firework explosions.

You can find more fireworks panoramas at my NewYear event
www.panoramas.dk/New-Year-2008/index.html

I know that for example the Sydney one is made the same way. Exposure 400-800ASA full aperture and 1/40 sec

Hans
www.panoramas.dk
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Pete Loud

Posts: 398
Location: United Kingdom
Registered: 14 Oct 2006
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 3 Oct 2008 at 19:24 GMT
updated: 3 Oct 2008 at 19:25 GMT
Hans,

I hate to admit it, because so many of your comments p*** me off, but you did a superb job capturing the crowd in the Silkeborg fireworks pano. The exposure was spot on and the expressions on the faces was great too. You definitely had the WOW factor. At night with so many people, Phew! they can be a tricky shots.

My only comment which might be seen as negative, but isn't, is that I'd love to see a fireworks pano take from much closer to the action so the fireworks were overhead, what a zenith that would make.

Cheers,


Pete
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Hans Nyberg

Posts: 2874
Location: Denmark
Registered: 28 Aug 2005
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 3 Oct 2008 at 19:34 GMT

Pete Loud said:

Hans,

My only comment which might be seen as negative, but isn't, is that I'd love to see a fireworks pano take from much closer to the action so the fireworks were overhead, what a zenith that would make.

Cheers, Pete


Thanks Pete

Security at fireworks is very high and closer than around 100 m is not allowed.
The festival in Silkeborg is over 100 years old and it used to be shot from the area of the bridge.
This year they had to move it to the lake because of the security.

Something else is that shooting it closer might also be difficult as it actually generate quite a lot of smoke so you could end with seeing nothing at all if the wind is in your direction.

Hans
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Aaron Spence

Posts: 121
Location: Gold Coast, Australia
Registered: 29 Sep 2005
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 4 Oct 2008 at 2:16 GMT
I've used a similar method to Hans in this fireworks pano:

tinyurl.com/3mpnfy

I only had 1 camera handy so I don't have the crowd looking at the fireworks unfortunately. Nor do I have a pole which would be mandatory as the people crowd right in around you making shooting a standard height pano virtually impossible during the fireworks.

I setup about 20mins before the fireworks, shot a full virtual tour then waited for the fireworks. I shot all the fireworks without moving the tripod/camera, just locked at one of the pano positions. Then for good measure shot another full pano after the fireworks, all without moving the tripod.

In post production I've then selected the best virtual tour scene & the best fireworks shot & combined them.

Audio (as both Hans and I have) adds a LOT to the pano if you can do it.

Aaron Spence
panedia.com
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Antilles

Posts: 4
Location: United Kingdom
Registered: 10 Sep 2008
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 6 Oct 2008 at 9:00 GMT
Thanks for the replies. Some very, very, impressive work here!

I guess then what I'm getting here is either shoot the fireworks seperately and combine later, or..

..use full aperture with as few shots as possible (and sacrifice some of the crowd detail). So I either need to shave my lens or invest in something that will allow fewer shots to get the full pano.

The sound is excellent as well - what's the best way to record this? Will a digital camera that takes video do the job (extract the sound later), or do you need an expensive recording device / mic setup?
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Guest
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 6 Oct 2008 at 9:57 GMT
updated: 7 Mar 2009 at 22:25 GMT
www.bhphoto.biz/TEST/bonfire.html

EOS 5D, shaved 10.5mm Nikkor mounted on monopod above head - fixed aperture (about f8) using extended ISO. 4 around and multiple shots for the fireworks then added as layers in PS. Sound captured with digital note recorder.

As you are in the UK I guess that you will be shooting a November 5th display - don't forget that a bonfire is a huge light source, you will be surprised just how bright. A solution might be that if the fire site and the display are in the same area then shoot a pano of the crown lit by the fire - they will be looking in that direction - then shoot a second pano for the fireworks when the fire dies down and they start lighting the fireworks.
Antilles

Posts: 4
Location: United Kingdom
Registered: 10 Sep 2008
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 9 Oct 2008 at 23:01 GMT
Nice work!

Guess I need to do a little practicing!
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Guest
Re: Bonfires and crowd scenes
Posted: 10 Oct 2008 at 9:15 GMT
updated: 7 Mar 2009 at 22:25 GMT
If you can stake out your location - and be sure that you won't be overwhelmed by the crowd then a tripod is obviously the best solution, if you are working in the crowd then I would definitely recommend using a pole or monopod. It gives you an elevated camera position and is just so much more practical. I cable tie a 35mm film can to my belt and use it as a socket for the base of a monopod, it's remarkably stable - even with slow shutter speeds (1/20th -1/30th). When the display is firing people don't actually move around much, so there isn't that much of a problem with two headed bodies etc at the seams