Thursday, March 30, 2017

Bihzhu Live At Bobo KL

I have been quite active lately with a selective group of local singer-songwriters in Kuala Lumpur, following their gigs and live performance whenever I can. I brought along my faithful Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II to shoot some stills as well as record footage of the stage performance. What better way to end a stressful day (or week) by immersing myself in good quality, locally made music while having my camera itch scratched away at the same time.

I was at Bihzhu's live performance at Bobo KL last Saturday, and it was a full house! Such intimate performance spanning about 2 hours long of great music and soulful, powerful and melodramatic vocals was exactly the best way to cap off my Saturday. I had a half day Olympus Street Photowalk which I led in the morning, and an afternoon appointment with friends that drained me off, so in the evening it was nice to just sit back and relax to some really awesome music!

Shooting condition was not ideal, typical low light stage situation but the E-M10 Mark II handled this session gracefully. I had to shoot between ISO1600 to 3200 to maintain fast enough shutter speed (at F1.8) but surely this was nothing that the OM-D can't handle. Original stage lighting had too much warmth with a strong hint of greenish color cast. The auto white balance did a splendid job to automatically balance the stray colors to produce realistic and pleasing skin color. I believe Bihzhu's lovely dress being dominantly white helped in producing natural looking white balance.

The biggest challenge for me, if I were to really put some effort in getting my shots, would be being stuck in one stationary position, since the venue of show was not large, and the audience filled it to the brim. No matter where I moved myself, I would have accidentally blocked someone's view, and that would have been rude. I decided not to be an annoyance and just stayed seated at one spot, moving to a second location only after the intermission.Where you are standing and shooting from is probably one of the most important factor to determine the outcome of composition and coverage, and this was something I lacked from this particular session. Furthermore, being stuck in one spot prevented me from shooting every member of the band, something which I always tried to do.

I think the life-saver of the night, being stuck in a full house event, seated not too near to the main stage, was having both the 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8 lenses. To those of you shooting a lot of stage events, these two lenses can make a world of difference. Tighter perspective can draw the facial expression and emotion conveyed by the performer much closer and this produces a more impactful outcome. Also, the F1.8 wide open aperture aids in gathering as much light as possible, especially in less than ideal lighting conditions. The fact that Olympus M.Zuiko lenses are already so sharp even at wide open F1.8 means I can shoot everything wide open without the need to stop the aperture down. All images in this post were taken at F1.8, and I have not wished they were any better in any way.

I was focusing on getting the right moment (critical expressions, etc) but the more I listened to Bihzhu's enchanting voice the more I realized shooting was not really that important after all. I was enjoying myself and that was all that mattered. Sometimes we get too engrossed with photography that we live our entire lives through the viewfinder, it is good to just put down the camera and take in the moment. This is so true when it comes to music and live shows.

All images were taken with Olympus OM-D E-M10 Mark II and M.Zuiko lenses 45mm F1.8 and 75mm F1.8

I have also recorded some video, and this was a cover of Dirty Projectors, "Stillness Is The Move".


Check out Bihzhu at:
Official Website: http://www.bihzhu.com/

Every time I recorded a video I am always stunned by how good the 5-Axis  image stabilization is, and the convenience of not having to use a tripod. Imagine, I was attending an event and every one was seated comfortably in a tightly crowded space, a set up of a tripod would have stuck out like a sore thumb! Some may argue that the video on OM-D (older then E-M1 Mark II) has nothing to write home about, I beg to disagree. If you are a cinematographer, a professional videographer, then you can decide what you want. All I wanted was a high quality recording of my favourite singer-songwriter in action and I believe the E-M10 Mark II did a splendid job, despite my lack of skills in video recording. 














A group photo to end the night!

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4 comments :

  1. Nice post Robin! I like to shoot performers like this too. The 75mm is a great lens at anytime but it really shows it's stuff in low light doesn't it? I use the Nocticron instead of the 45mm and while both are great, there is something about the 75mm. Maybe because I can't get close enough for my liking with the 42.5.

    Not to be too critical but on the 4th shot of the guitar man, have you tried it in black and white? First, I love the look of the 75 (at least it looks like the 75) in B&W and second, in my shots when noise gets distracting, I often like a contrasty black and white over color; especially for musicians... and the guy is wearing a hat!

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    1. Hey Kevin,

      Thanks for the kind words. About the black and white, I do not think that the shot will be suitable, as there is too much black in the image, and the bass guitarist was also wearing a black suit, which would have totally disappeared in the background of shadows! Unless that is the look that you are after.

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  2. Hi Robin, I have the first generation OMD EM5 and my question is if it is possible to achieve such video quality with it. e.g If I bought a better lens etc.

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    1. In terms of Video recording, the E-M5 Mark II (similarly, E-M10 Mark II) has significantly improved quality than the first generation E-M5.

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