Filming a Music Festival: Managing Exposure and Making Connections

Written by Luke

August 29, 2023

We recently wrapped up our work lighting and shooting media at Margaretfest 2023.

While on-site, my main role was to gather video footage of all of the performances. Initially, we intended to only gather media of Nava Onti, however, as we realized with the lighting we should extend our services to everyone making the effort to get up on the stage.

Throughout the event, I had to manage my exposure, focus, and gimbal while also being flexible and capturing anything at any moment. I focused very heavily on slightly overexposing my footage to have a wider usable range to work with since I wouldn't have any crushed whites in such a dim space. This achieved what I'd describe as a flat, but "functional" look that gets the information across:

However, I also got some compelling outcomes from shooting at a correct / dimmer exposure. In the subsequent color grading, I attempted to showcase the darkness of the space and isolate the visible lighting into a more chiaroscuro effect:

Beyond filming, we were able to make strong connections with all of the bands by communicating with them about lighting and showing them previews of their footage after their performances. Once we got home with all of the footage, I graded, cut, and stabilized all the footage and packaged some of the assets into Instagram stories. We landed on Instagram stories because there were about 8 or so performances and a wave of individual posts for each band is a little less acceptable than a wave of story posts.

We ended up getting reposts from each of the bands and a sizable amount of engagement on our account with a handful of new followers. However, the connections made and the opportunity to showcase our work to a wide net of performers was the most invaluable thing gained.

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