Excellent concert. Some really different selections and great performances by every group.
I knew I was in for a challenging night when I walked in and saw the chairs and stands set up on the floor instead of the stage. The floor is a few stops lower, light-wise, than the stage and the lighting is pretty uneven. Forget ISO 8000; I was up in the stratosphere at ISO 12,800. Even with that, I barely got 1/125 sec. at f/5.0. In spots I had to open up to f/4.0. I was thanking the photo gods for VR lenses and monopods.
This creates two problems – noise and very shallow depth of field. Without more light there’s not much you can do about either except to fix the noise in post processing and accept the fact that only a small area of the photo will be in focus.
You can increase the brightness somewhat in post-processing but it comes at an even further increase in noise. The best thing to do is to increase the brightness of only the highlights, if you have to, and leave the dark tones alone. The dark tones is where the most noise resides and if you brighten them, it’s noise city.
So, you just tweak the highlights and go for the Rembrandt look. I bet Rembrandt got his start painting concerts in high school auditoriums.