Amateur on a Professional Job

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 17, 2010
Hey guys

Was after a bit of help, been working for a client who's starting up a new night club event. I've so far done all the promotional work and intro video's for the dj's are on the way. But he'd like a crew of 3/4 people to shoot the festivities on the opening night to have this as a proper trailer for the night.

Thus my question is does anyone have any experience at night club videography and if so what do you suggest in the way of camera, lens, frame rate etc. etc.

I would really like to shoot on DSLR, as a student money is an issue. The light set up that's going to be in the club will be regular for a club with lots of stage and strobe lights etc etc. there is also CO2 canon's confetti, pyrotechnic suits and stunts.

I already have a 60D and top end 50mm lens but should I be extending the lens or looking to hire a better camera for the crew.

Thanks in advanced guys

"Waters above my head" Dale


macrumors 68020
Aug 22, 2010
Behind you
knowing absolutely nothing about it, I would say its not the gear, but how you chose to handle the gear that makes or breaks the deal.

so that said, go clubbing and figure out how best to shoot it with what you've got. All I can say is that you must have a lens hood.

edit: oh and get an external mic if you want any usable sound, all you get from the 60d's mic is the sound of an angry cat.. HSHSHSH HSHSHSSSS
Last edited:
Nov 28, 2010
Is the 3-4 man crew only using one camera? Or is everyone using a camera?

And can you "rehearse" some takes before the event, by maybe going to the club some nights before?

handsome pete

macrumors 68000
Aug 15, 2008
Shooting in a nightclub with a DSLR will have its pros and cons. Obviously the small form factor will help a lot. However, you're going to have to be careful with the lighting (especially strobes). The rolling shutter could prove really problematic in that regard.

I would try to get your hands on a fast zoom lens. Since it sounds like this will be a run and gun type of shoot, then having a range of focal lengths at the ready will be a great advantage. After all, you're capturing everything in the moment. People aren't going to wait around for lens changes or for you to get in proper position.


macrumors regular
Apr 10, 2009
I've heard it said that audio is at least 50% of video. Given that you're taking video of a performance, I'd suggest spending time on the preparation for the audio. If it's a group, several performers, or even one performer singing and playing a guitar, you're going to need to have multiple microphones. They should feed into a mixer that is being controlled in real time by a "sound person" who's job is to monitor all the inputs. Depending on the performance (chamber music versus a band), you might want to get a feed from the back of the club and/or ambient sounds on a separate track for mixing later.

The recording quality of audio in a DSLR is not what you want. Your audio should be recorded on a separate recording device, fed by the outputs from the mixer.

Good luck.


macrumors 6502a
Oct 31, 2011
Brooklyn, NY
I would say DSLR is probably the way to go. You'll want a fast lens, probably a prime for maximum speed. An on camera light comes in handy in nightclub situations too. An external mic is essential, but monitoring probably isnt, so the H4n or similar is bulky and unnecessary, try a RODE videomic or similar that can mount to the shoe and plug directly into the camera. A shoulder support might help a lot as well, since you will be shooting all night and stability will give you exponentially more professional results. Keep your setup compact, keep it simple, and make sure you do everything in your power to get more light on the sensor. If I were doing your job, I would probably keep my 50 1.4 on the camera all night and rent a light.


macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
Los Angeles
Definitely have a device hooked up to get a house feed from the mixer. Any mic in a night club is going to sound horrible (but still record audio on your camera so you can sync sound later). If a DSLR with a fast lens is the best you can get then that's the best you can get. Flashing lights, smoke, confetti and pyrotechnics will give it fits to varying degrees.

Keep lens at wide-angle (if using a zoom), steady and 'zoom with you feet'. The micro-movements you typically get from DSLRs can be very distracting.

If you have to interview someone get them as far away from the speaker stacks as possible and put a mic right under their lips. The mic on top of your camera *will not* cleanly pickup what they are saying. Heck if it's loud enough no mic is going to cleanly pickup what they are saying.

Be mindful of your camera light. Clubs are dark for a reason and some people will get perturbed if there's a dude shinning a bright ***** light all over the place.


macrumors 65816
Sep 30, 2009
Ask patrons to bring cameras and upload their videos to you, then you can put it all together. Best clip of the night wins free admittance for a year. :)

macrumors newbie
Original poster
Jul 17, 2010
Thanks for the help guys

Audio really isn't the biggest concern, probably focus a bit on atoms but the majority of the video will have a backing track over the top of it. There may be a few interviews with patrons and the dj's we'l see how we go.

Was thinking about getting a ring light what do you guys think?


macrumors 68020
Jun 26, 2002
Ask patrons to bring cameras and upload their videos to you, then you can put it all together. Best clip of the night wins free admittance for a year. :)
I love this idea. Sure its been done to death but the more (POV) the better. Just another brush in your resources :)


macrumors 68040
May 6, 2008
I think you are going to need a wider angle lens in that setting unless the place is huge. A 50mm on a 1.6 crop camera is 80mm... which is a mid zoom. That's not ideal for closeups or for wide shots.... which to me are the more compelling shots. I'd try to get a wide prime and maybe an 85 or 135 if you have enough distance and want some closeups too. I don't think a zoom lens is going to help you in that setting. You will also probably have to manual focus everything due to the darkness, so I'd plan on that. If you could actually rent a proper pro video camera it may be better. I don't do nightclubs, but I am a video camera operator on-stage for a large Church and shoot our worship music ... very similar to a rock concert. We use tethered professional video cameras and they handle this situation quite well and have good long zoom ranges. The cameras are about $10-20K, so that's why I was suggesting renting.


macrumors 68000
May 6, 2004
Ask patrons to bring cameras and upload their videos to you, then you can put it all together. Best clip of the night wins free admittance for a year. :)
Reminds me of a Bon Jovi video from the 1990s where they handed out 1000 (or 3000?) video cameras to the audience to film the concert and they mixed it with the proshot video. Don't recall if they let people keep the cameras, but might have since the video budgets were huge back in the day.

Obviously this is different but some sort of contest which involves customer participation can be a great marketing ploy. How about the winner gets a VIPmtable for one big with a $500 of free drinks, which usually costs a club only $100. Good to think outside the box.


macrumors 6502a
Aug 11, 2009
probably focus a bit on atoms
That's one helluva macro lens :)

Clubs are dark for a reason
So ugly people can score? That was always my best chance.

See if you can get a camera high and wide for audience shots and (hopefully) laser-in-the-smoke shots.

There may be a few interviews with patrons and the dj's we'l see how we go.
Patrons: outside, or at least away from the frenetic action and loud music.
DJ: perhaps before the night starts, setting up. Talking about what he hopes to get from the crowd on a night and mix that in with DJ action shots later on.

Was thinking about getting a ring light what do you guys think?
As others have said, use it minimally when people are on the floor. Lights are just annoying if they're not expecting it. Otherwise, any sort of small camera mounted LED light would do I'd imagine.