Much different than a television commercial, event shooting is very unplanned and unfiltered. Rarely do you get a second chance to get your shot, so being on point and in focus is critical.
MXLGY’s co-founder Mike Prasad was my primary contact for the job and seeing as I had never shot a event in a bar before I had to confirm how much and what type of equipment to bring. He said he wanted primarily hand-held shots so as usual I reached immediately for my Express35 “Event Rig” equipped with my Zacuto EVF, Zoom H4n, Rode VideoMic Pro. I was told a tripod would be too bulky and impede foot traffic so I shot any locked and dolly shots from my Cinevate Altas 10 slider.
Shooting in a club is quite difficult for a few reasons:
1. You are constantly shooting in unflattering, dim lighting conditions so fill light and fast lenses were a must. To combat the low light conditions I mounted a Fotodiox 312 LED light to the top of my rig and shot with a really fast (large aperture) lenses. I chose my Zeiss (Contax) Distagon 35mm/1.4 as my primary lens on the 5Dii and a Tokina 12-24/f4 on a Canon 60D for wides. I also had a Zeiss 50/1.4 ZF and 85/1.4 (Contax) nestled in my ThinkTank Wired Up 20 for quick access.
2. When shooting at such large apertures on a full frame camera it can be really difficult to nail focus, so I much prefer the Zeiss lenses which have a larger focus range for fine tuned focus, and it would have been even more difficult with a follow focus system.
3. One of the art forms all event shooters try to master is invisibility. It’s hard to get candid, non-posed coverage of an event when people know you are near. This is one of the disadvantages of a large shoulder rig or cine-setup that I hope one day to master.
The night was full of fun and excitement and I was personally stoked to be in a lively, fun environment shooting a subject unfamiliar to me. I really enjoy shooting in new setups and scenarios because it allows me to stretch outside of my typical style and workflow to accomplish something I normally wouldn’t attempt to produce.
All in all, I had a rad time shooting and learning about this hip and creative take on traditional bar tending known simply as Mixology.
Event images provided by Travis K. Okimoto