Photographing Concerts and their Audiences
For as long as I can remember, I have always enjoyed showing the audience when photographing concerts. Invariably there is no way to step back far enough to capture the expansive crowd. Nor do I have a wide angle lens that can take it all in. My solution has been to make a panoramic image by stitching together overlapping views. Like this:
Sadly I can no longer link to a viewer that shows panos well, but with luck your browser will do a reasonable job.
The image here was stitched from eight separate exposures. Here are four of them.
Take a closer look at these four. You can see that stitching them faces some interesting obstacles. Yes, The photos show lots of noise. These photos were taken in the evening, night might be a better word. All at f/5.6 and 1/250s with the camera allowed to adjust the sensitivity (auto-ISO). My old camera doesn’t do so well at ISO 5000 to 25600. On the left end the light evening sky tricked the camera into underexposing the people and I had to boost the shadows – always bad for noise. On the right end the camera reached ISO 25600 and all the noise that comes with that. I do use some noise removal app for these, but that is another story.
In the minute or so that it took to get this set people moved around quite a bit. Some people even walked along in front. That is one huge problem for stitching. Another is more subtle. Look at the lamp post. In one image it is quite bent, straight in the last. That tells you my lens produces a good about of barrel distortion. These problems, and even exposure nonuniformities are easily solved my my stitching program, Microsoft Image Composite Editor, ICE.
On the bottom it says: Camera motion: rotating motion. Stitched 8 of 8 images. Spans 169.3° horizontally, 48.7° vertically. You can see how the program ballooned the images to correct for distortion, moved them up and down for best alignment and found were to cut from one to the next. Oh, there are stitching artifacts. In a crowd with everybody moving not even the best AI, for that matter nt even old-fashioned human intelligence, could get it perfect. ICE offers a number of different projections as you can see. For this I stayed with the default cylindrical projection.
The four steps at the top describe the major functions, Import, Stitch, Crop, and Export. In the cropping function it even offers to fill the areas around the edges with “context matching fill”. I did not make use of that for this pano.
The final step is to export. Sadly the Deep Zoom and Photosynth options are no longer of use. Time has marched on and Microsoft has given up on those tools. Even ICE is pretty much orphaned, although still available for download from Microsoft. I chose to export a full quality (100%) JPG image. You can see that it is 18098 pixels wide. That makes for a 98.78 megapixel image. I did go back and trimmed top and bottom, see first image above. The file size still came out as 99.6 MB. Yes, I did scale it down for this post.
Here is another pano. This one is made up of just two images. I am using this as the “featured image” so WordPress does not have to choke on the wide panorama.
Now for some other photos from this first Concert on the Green at the Peachtree Corners Town Center with the band Sister Hazel. The lead singer is Ken Block
© 2019 Ludwig Keck