Glor Tire Season 13 Contestants and Presenters. L-R Claire Dillon, Caitriona Ní Cheannabhain, Lauren McCrory, Alanna Maher, Pat Creaven, Presenter Pádraic Ó Neachtain, Pandy Walshe, Presenter Aoife Ni Thuairisig, Sean Brennan, Sabrina Fallon and Dermot Lyons. Photo by Sean McCormack
It’s that time of year again. Another season of Glor Tire starts tonight on TG4 at 9:30 tonight. It’s a day and and hour earlier than the 10:30pm Wed slot, it’s had for years, but the schedulers wanted a change. If you’re not familiar with Glor Tire, it translates as Country Voice, and is a country music talent show that’s done through spoken Irish, and is one of the top shows on TG4, the national Irish language channel. Nine contestants battle it out with three judges giving comments. The TV audience votes for their favourites. There’s an introduction episode showing all the contestants. Then for 9 weeks, there’s there’s a well known band from the Irish country scene playing with one of the contestants. Next there’s a recap episode reminding you of all the contestants. After that are the live knockout episodes. The three contestants with lowest votes are put before the judges, and they decide which singer to save. The other two go out of the competition. For the final, there’s only three contestants remaining.
Here’s some photos from the show going out tonight. You can register your support by voting for your favourite as soon as the show ends.
Technical info: I shot these shows with the Fujifilm X-T2 with 50-140mm and the X-T10 with 18-55mm lens. I used a double strap system to have both cameras with me at all times for quick swapping. I also shot a series of portraits of each contestant, the two presenters and the three judges, but I’ll show that in a separate post.
With the lack of frequent of posts, you’d think that I wasn’t up to much, but nothing could be further from the truth. I’ll post more about it in my Newsletter shortly. Last week was Glor Tire though, 5 days of solid work shooting for this Gael Media production. Glor Tire translates as ‘Country Voice’ and is a singing contest with 9 contestants, 10 bands (including the cream of Irish country music), 3 judges and 2 presenters. Over the 5 days, 11 episodes were shot, so as you can imagine, it’s a bit intense. Here’s Johnny Brady from his set on the show.
Shooting for the show is hectic. While there are lulls, they’re interspersed with high pressure shooting situations where time is absolutely against you. As the stills photographer, you’re completely squeezing all the required shots in around the production itself. I start with studio style portraits. This year I used the AD360 in the 120cm Octa as my white background. The key light was a 70X70cm softbox with a Neweer rebranded Godox V850. I could’ve used another V850 in the Octa, but the recycle time of the AD360 helped a lot. I held a Lastolite Silver/White Trigrip in my hand to fill in shadows using a modified clamshell setup. Each portrait was shot using a Fuji X-T2 and the 18-55mm lens. Using the dual card slot in the X-T2, I had Raw files going to Slot1, and Small Jpeg going to Slot 2. Slot 2 had an Eye-fi card, which was transmitting to Shutter Snitch on an iPad Mini 2 16Gb. This meant that each contest, judge and presenter could choose their favourite image immediately on set, bypassing the need for 15 selection galleries and back and forth with email.
Cheers to Noel Vaughen for the BTS shot.
For the show, I ran with a double strap harness (just one I got on eBay). On the right was the X-T2, with the 50-140mm f2.8 Pro lens. On the left was the X-T10 with 18-55mm for the wider scene shots. Because of the nature of the show, I shot JPEG. I truly hope that one day, camera makers will offer a Lossy DNG option, to give JPEG sizes with White Balance and Highlight recovery. Generally, I shoot Raw for everything except super high volume stuff ilke this. I shot over 10,000 images, with a first pass bringing this down to 1000. The next pass will half that. 500 sounds like a lot, but with so much happening, it barely gives a flavour of the show, with a small bit of variety.
For the band nights, there’s 3 bands performing. There’s a contestant solo, and a duet with the band leader, as well as the band shots. Generally I shoot 4-5 songs, then import and do a first pass to get the basic edit done before the next band changes over. It makes better use of the down time, and helps reducing the mountain that edit would be otherwise.
This is my 7th year shooting for the series, and it’s always good fun, albeit a lot of work. For me, the Fuji setup I’m using here has made it the most comfortable series yet. The only way I feel I could improve it, would be to switch the wide setup to another X-T2, and perhaps the 16-55 lens (though the 18-55 performed flawlessly).
When the season begins broadcasting in January, I’ll do more posts with all the photos.
I’ve shot the production stills for TG4/Gael Media’s show ‘Glor Tire’ (it translates as Country Voice) for over 5 seasons now. This is the first one where I’ve gone all Fuji for the show. For the live performances, I used a dual strap system with a Fuji X-T10 with 50-140 f2.8 Pro lens, and a Fuji X-Pro1 with an 18mm lens. For the interviews, I used the X-T10 with 18 and 35mm lens. Finally for the studio style portrait shots, I used the X-T10 with a 35mm lens. As these were horizontal shots, the shooting distance required mean you weren’t getting the distortion you often get with close in vertical shots on 50mm equivalent lenses (the 35mm is about 53mm equivalent).
For years, I’ve been shooting this on Canon, with the 5DII, the 60D and the 5DIII. Lens included the 28mm f1.8, the 85mm f1.8, the 70-200 (both f4 and f2.8) and the 17-40mm. While I’ve had the X-Pro1 for a few years now, I didn’t feel it could compete in this area-much as I love it.
This year the arrival of the X-T10 has changed that. It’s such a capable camera that my 5DII sits mostly unused, bar nightclub and occasional video work. I use it for everything else. Houses, product, models, head shots. Personal and professional work. For Glor Tire, there were a number of features in the camera that I used to boost the number of keepers I got to choose from, as well as just make life easier in the process. Shooting 11 episodes of a show over 5 days is a stressful work environment and anything that can ease that is more than welcome.
In no particular order, the features that really helped were:
1. Face Recognition: With performance, there’s a certainly amount of swapping orientation, so often I’m using centre focus point to handle the change. With Face Recognition turned on, the camera selected the face over 90% of the time over the selected focus point, and with far less hunting. This meant that I got far more shots with the face completely in focus. Some of the previous failures are based on both the performer and I moving, but often it was just simply missed focus due to hitting the nose rather than eye with focus. This still isn’t perfect. For example with a female performer that had hair falling over her face when in profile, the camera want to select a band member instead-even though they were on the edge of the frame.
2. Continuous Focus: Mixed with Face Recognition, this meant that I was able to shoot as the performer moved about and still get the shot. Yes, Canon has this, but it just worked better for me with the X-T10-probably because of the Face Recognition. And of course, it’s a switch on the front of the camera, couldn’t be easier to change.
3. Continuous Shooting: The X-T10 has 2 continuous modes: CL and CH, low and high speed. These are changed from the Drive knob on the top. For the most part, I hate this knob. It often gets knocked into a toy camera mode by accident. However given that it’s so easy to change to continuous from it, I have to forgive this. A lot of them performers on the show, while excellent singers, are not necessarily trained in stage craft. This means they can sing with closed eyes for a lot of the song. You can get emotional shots in this case, but for promotional shots, they prefer eyes to be open. Continuous shooting means you get a chance to get those rare moments. Yes, the Canon can do this as well, but it’s the combination of these first 3 features together that make it killer for keepers.
4. Electronic Shutter: For the interviews, the recordings are made using flesh coloured DPA headset mics. These are particularly sensitive, and would pick up the sound of the camera firing. Normally you’d need a Blimp for this situation. In the past, I’d just shoot the rehearsals, but now, with the electronic shutter, (with the camera audio features turned off), the camera is silent in use. The camera itself is cheaper than a Blimp. Win win.
5. Flip out Screen: Having a flip out screen means that I can capture more angles easily. Rather than be restricted to head height, I can match the angles used by the crew, as well as shoot ones that they can’t do.
I could add more, but those are the 5 main things that made a huge difference to the work for Glor Tire. I will mention the 50-140mm lens though. It’s ridiculously sharp, even using Lightroom, which is a little mushy with Fuji files.
Working on the show is great fun, albeit rather intense. Not to mention the amount of work after the show in selections. As with anything live (while the show is recorded, the performance elements are live takes), you’re hoping to capture moments that can promote the show. That said the final 4 episodes are broadcast fully live, making it even more pressure! Episode 1 will air on TG4 Wed 13th Jan 2016.