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  • Writer's pictureAndrej Spilevoj

BI-2 (БИ-2) on Kodak Portra 400 (pushed 2 stops)

As I have already mentioned in one of my blogs - I would not imagine shooting rock concert on digital. No, I do not say it is impossible. It's OK. But for me - it is too easy and too boring. Maybe because I was raised in the night club photography or maybe because I simply fell in love with the side by side results of film v. digital. But since 2019 I made my final decision - if I ever come back to the concert with the camera - it must be a film camera and at leats Portra inside. This time was no different than that. I found out that the Russian well known rock band BI-2 come to my country with their concert and so I offered my services to their management which they accepted quite well. They gave me permission to take pictures on film and I was so proud to be a part of this amazing team at least for a couple of hours. What is the most remarkable thing - they sent me the super helpful photographer instructions which not only provided me with the list of songs and their order, but also a lot of details about the band members actions in each song (who moves where, when and which special effects start, what instruments are plaid at each part). I have worked at many concerts before but this was the first time when I saw such band's interest in helping the photographers to get the best shots.

After I received the accreditation I started battling myself which film I should use. I pretty much knew it is going to be all around Kodak, and I went for Kodak Portra 400 (135) in the end. I also decided to skip B&W film this time - if I needed B&W for some shots I could always desaturate Portra (I know - most will hate me for that). When I came to the concert hall and checked the light with my Canon 300v light meter I came to conclusion that I need to push film by 2 stops, so I shot the concert on ISO1600.

Summary: all the shots below were shot on Canon 300v, 135mm F2, 24-70mm F2.8 II, Kodak Portra 400 shot at ISO1600 and developed with +2 stops (push) at

P.S. I still used my digital gear to get plenty of shots for the band. I usually would do that so the band could receive all edited images in 2-3 hours after the concert. This helps me to be the first photographer who sends the band the images which they usually would share with the press or social networks right away. Ta-da! One point for the digital!!!

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