CriticalDance Forum

videotaping performances
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Author:  grace [ Wed Apr 26, 2000 6:17 am ]
Post subject:  videotaping performances

"A Plain Guide to Videotaping Performance" by Margaret Benton, Head of the Theatre Museum in London:<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank> 647c003e05ed/<BR>9c196935b8a89c94c12564b1003c8449?OpenDocument</A> <P>don't be put off by the beginning...if you're looking for practical directions, see towards the end of this long article, which was originally a conference paper.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited April 26, 2000).]

Author:  jb_dub [ Mon May 01, 2000 8:04 am ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

I've found over the past 7 years that if a dancer can be persuaded to operate a camera they will produce better footage than a technician. However, they will also require some assistance. Two dancers operating one camera helps avoid tripping on cables or awkward trucks, pans, tilts. Several dancer/ camera operators using headsets is a worthwhile investment in production value. Most of all, however, is a dance group that knows from the first rehearsal that they will be taped. If they can be enthusiastic about the process AND the end-product they are more likely to allow inconveniencing a few audience members for the presence of cameras (and monitors- to double check color and light levels): at rehearsals, in the front row, back stage etc.<BR>It's crucial that the producer/director/dancers believe that the videographers have their best interests in mind. It's also crucial that they realize it's hard work and a sacrifice to watch a performance through a tiny camera monitor instead of sitting back and enjoying it.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon May 01, 2000 9:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

Here is a link to the Video Place, which has a reference library of some 2000 videos from a variety of sources. I've joined this year, but have only been once so far. <P>I can understand your point, jb_dub. Cameramen sometimes seem to take the view, 'Dance is basically rather boring. It's my job to introduce some fancy camerawork to try to save the production.' The worst I have ever seen is for a Salsa training film. The demonstrators are rather nice dancers and when they are demonstrating how good the full speed dance can be, the cameraman does everything, except film their feet. He does angled shots, rapid cuts, upper body shots and finally some grainy b&w film of him filming the dance. Ahhh!!!!<P>One of the films in the Video Place is a Belgian pro job of Rosas' 'Fases', one of the best extended modern dance duets you are ever likely to see. The cameraman spends most of the time filming one of the dancers when the key is the interaction of the two performers. Ahhh!!!!<P>The one Video Place recording I have seen is of a full length work 'Planted Seeds' and given the limitations of a 2-camera live video without special lighting, it works very well.<P><BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A>

Author:  Azlan [ Wed Aug 09, 2000 7:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

I'm wondering if all dance companies videotape all their performances to keep as records. Does anyone know?

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Thu Aug 10, 2000 1:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

I suspect that a lot of companies video-tape late stage rehearsals as it less obtrusive to set up cameras etc. The quality can be very low. At a MacMillan Study Evening we were shown some examples and everyone was shocked at the poor quality of those done for the Royal in the 70s. They were only of use as an aide memoire to those who knew the works very well to start with. <P>I suspect that things have moved on a long way since then with improved technology but also greater appreciation for what needs to be done to create acceptable quality work.<P>Readers might like to know that there is a companion topic in 'Miscellaneous':<BR> <A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P><p>[This message has been edited by Stuart Sweeney (edited August 10, 2000).]

Author:  salzberg [ Thu Aug 10, 2000 2:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

jb_dub, I agree with most of what you say, except for the part about inconveniencing audience members.<P>The audience is our partner. They are the reason we're doing this (otherwise, we could just stay in the studio, right?). They are, in a more practical vein, the people who are paying us.<P>If we can't get our videos without inconveniencing audience members, then we should have a separate "video call" -- a run-through with few or no audience members, for the express purpose of taping the show.<P>I'm not in favor of making archival tapes during dress rehearsals, since the performance is not, at that point, a finished product.<BR><P>------------------<BR>=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=<BR>Jeffrey E. Salzberg,<BR>Lighting Designer<BR>Online portfolio, now including "This Day in Arts History":<BR><A HREF="" TARGET=_blank></A> <P>

Author:  jb_dub [ Sun Aug 13, 2000 3:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

by "inconveniencing" I mean no more than any two oridinary audience members may "inconvenience" each other. a camera should be as benevolent presence as a baby in a big straw hat, except that it focused intently on the performance.<BR>

Author:  BabsLights [ Fri Apr 25, 2003 5:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: videotaping performances

I wonder if videotaping is becoming easier and less obtrusive to audience members now with the new DV technology. Certainly quality is better! Though how are people affording the equipment?

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