Martial arts event: need advice

Discussion in 'This or That? (MFT only)' started by SVQuant, Jun 5, 2016.

  1. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    My 14yo will be testing for her black belt in Taekwondo in a couple of weeks. The school requested parent volunteers for taking stills and videos and of course my wife volunteered me. I have done such events before, but purely in a personal way with no one else's happiness depending upon my results.

    Here is the setup: the testing will take place in a multipurpose hall which is about 35x60 feet in dimension. From my recollection, it is lit by fluorescent overhead lights and one of the shorter walls is frosted glass. I can find out how the hall will be set up for the event. The school has requested that the cameras be setup on tripods and if possible be controlled remotely so that people are not standing/moving too much. Not clear where the tripods can be placed. Also, no flash.

    I have a choice of stills (which I am comfortable with) or video (which I could manage). Now my questions:
    • Normally, I would to shoot S-mode and high burst with S-AF with my E-M10. Can I use the Olympus app? The little bit I played with it, I was not impressed. Any other thoughts on how I may do this?
    • I could use the video on my E-M10 or I can rent a GH4. I realize that the GH4 will be much better in terms of quality and 4K and all that, but what is my learning curve? FWIW, I have not used a Lumix camera in over 10 years.
    • Lenses: I was thinking that my 25 and 45 should be adequate depending upon where I am in the room since we are looking for full body movement shots. But I can rent the P12-35 and/or the P35-100 if necessary. Any thoughts?
    Appreciate any and all help people can give.

    To give you a sense of the lighting and kind of action, here are a couple of recent shots.
    This is an image from last years school show with the teacher breaking concrete blocks while holding an egg in his hand. E-M10 + O40-150R. 1/400, ISO 3200. Cropped. This was at a much bigger venue.
    This one is from a preliminary test earlier this year. Again a different venue (and a poorly located photographer). E-M10 + O25. 1/400 ISO 640. Cropped. White balance was tricky. P3110872.
    • Like Like x 3
  2. MoonMind

    MoonMind Mu-43 Top Veteran Subscribing Member

    Oct 25, 2014
    First, let me state that given the limitations you mention, I'd actually refuse to be officially responsible for any kind of imagery. I think I see where they come from (I have 25 years of martial arts training under my belt and have witnessed countless examinations as well as gone through a couple myself) - they want to minimise disturbances, which I actually concur with. On the other hand, if they want the event covered, they have to provide conditions that are feasible. Using wirelessly controlled cameras in a room with an unknown number of wireless devices present is treacherous - you risk lag or malfunction; best case are numerous interruptions. It'll keep you from witnessing your daughter's achievements, and it'll most probably be quite frustrating and ineffective.

    If you really want to do this their way, your hunch to use 4K video is a good one in my opinion - that's what I would agree to if they won't budge: Rent a GH4 and - if available - one appropriate lens; if you can't get a good powerzoom, it may be more sensible to use a bright and sharp prime - you own good candidates already. Place the camera on a tripod, capture 4K video, extract stills later. There are lots of downsides to this - but at least you won't miss such a lot.

    If they see some sense and let you handle your camera, I'd simply get (i.e. rent) the Panasonic 35-100mm f/2.8 - it'd allow for enough flexibility (if the action isn't very close, that is) and let you capture nice images - your way of using S-AF with (or without) bursts should work very well with the E-M10 (except if you fill up the buffer); I actually do simllar stuff all the time. I would choose a similar setup, albeit a somewhat more powerful one: Nikon D750 with 70-200mm f/4 (the f/2.8 would be nice, but the f/4 is what I own). The only other lens I'd probably take with me is a fast 50mm (for :mu43:, your 25mm is fine).

    Good luck with this!


    btw. Well captured!
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  3. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA

    Thanks for your advice. I will be going in to talk to them tomorrow, so I will have a better sense of what they expect. I am hoping that at least one other parent will volunteer and we can at least cover two angles.

    I was not thinking Nikon at all, but I can borrow a D810 +70-200/2.8 if needed. I have shot Nikon for a long time, so the learning curve there should not be too bad. Along with Nikkor 35/1.8 and 50/1.8 primes which I own, that will be a very good kit. It does feel a little backwards since I sold most of my Nikon kit when I moved to m43, but horses for courses and all that.

    One of the local camera shops here rents GH4+ P/2.8 lenses for a very reasonable price and I have been meaning to get them over a weekend to play around with. This may be a good opportunity to do so. I have little experience with video and stills extracted from video, but I think I could manage that. Also, I can crop a little and still get decent 4x6 prints out of them.

    Also, thanks for liking my images. These were both single shot captures with S-AF. I chose them as examples of tricky lighting and distracting elements which always seem to be present at these events.
  4. Alex Aina

    Alex Aina Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2016
    Don't forget you can't record more than 29 min untill it stops with a camera... Well that's like that in France, I think it's the same in USA?
    You can make video just with a camera on tripod and let it go, so you can shoot stills with the EM10 and your 25 or 45mm...
  5. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Merci, Alex. That occurred to me as well. I think that it will be too much for me to manage stills and video alone and still watch the whole event. I am going to find out who else has offered to help and then plan accordingly. I will find out more when I go and talk to them today.
    • Like Like x 2
  6. AlanU

    AlanU Mu-43 Veteran

    May 2, 2012
    If the gh4 performs like my gh3 you can shoot video aprox 30 minutes but it will start a new video file. You can stitch in post so it's seamless. Make sure you have a large SD card. Bare minimum you should have an external mic connected to the 3.5mm mic jack.

    If you are shooting video in low light the AF will have a very disruptive hunting focus. DFD will be no help in acquiring perfect video focus. Light quality is everything when it comes to video. In fact renting a G7 would perform much better in noise performance compared to a gh4 if video noise is concerned. If the lighting is like the one in your photo examples you'll be shooting in ISO 3200 or higher. Another issue you may encounter is that you'll probably need to shoot at least 60P for documenting faster video. This means a shutter speed of at least 1/125 so this also reduces the light your able to play with.

    If your going to rent a video rig possibly speak to a person that can advise you on a professional/prosumer camcorder that has excellent low light capabilities. This may be easier to use with no broken files that you must stitch in post. Camcorders do not hunt like most DSLR/Mirrorless camera's used for video.

    I would suggest doing either stills or video and "NOT" both. This all depends if the participant are always in the identical area so you can frame the video and "set it and forget it". This is where you can risk missing video or if any issues occur.

    In the lighting conditions where no flash photography is not permitted your going to be concerned in keeping the fast shutter speed to prevent motion blur. Also you must increase your ISO for faster shutter speeds so your adding more noise to the still photography.

    I'd suggest borrowing a friend's a D810 and shoot away at iso 6400 to 12800++ You will have incredibly IQ with clean professional images with minor massaging in post processing. I do not think a Panny zoom like the 12-35 or 35-100 f/2.8 zoom is fast enough in terms of shutter speed at iso 3200. IMO 1/1000 is bare minimum for fast action photography without flash. This is where images can be soft when you cannot achieve that faster shutter speed to stop action.

    The task your wife volunteered you for is without a doubt challenging to execute if you want professional top notch quality.
  7. Clint

    Clint Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Apr 22, 2013
    San Diego area, CA
    Sometimes its just worth it to sit back and enjoy with the requirements this seems like one of them. OTH - If I was pressured to take photos, I'd setup a D800/810 up with field of view that covers most of the matt area, set my exposure and then use a radio remote to trigger the shutter or set the interval timer for something like one photo every other second for the entire event and then kick back and enjoy the event.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  8. Alex Aina

    Alex Aina Mu-43 Regular

    May 23, 2016
    I've forgotten: Good luck for your daughter''s black belt, and congratulations! :bravo-009::ninja:
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.