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Old May 11th, 2009, 01:38 PM   #16
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By far the best thing to do with an overture is also one of the most difficult but ultimately the most rewarding for all involved. You create a montage from rehearsal footage and cut it to the music.

Its probably too late for you now, but next time go to the the dress rehearsal or preview, get in close with a handheld camera and record the most visual parts of the action, the dance movements, gestures facial expressions, anything that is visually attractive and is representative of the piece.

Then comes the difficult bit. You run through your 45-60 mins of footage and clip out the best bits - your favourite shots, key moments that are properly framed and focussed until you end up with maybe 10-15 mins of good stuff.
You drop this on the timeline over your overture audio track then start trimming the clips to match the mood, pace and duration of the music.

With practice you will find that something magical then happens - the combination of music and movement takes on a life of its own - it will either work or not work and you just keep tweaking and tightening until it starts to happen.

What you end up with is a mini preview of the show set to music - plot spoilers don't matter because only the cast and crew will see it. Overtures are typically 3 mins but I've gone to 5 and 8 mins for some shows.

With a lot of practice you can cut the clips and choreograph the on-screen movements with the beat of the music - its a stunning effect if you can do it.

So is it worth all that effort ?

If you get it even half right then you will have your customer booking you straight away for the next show. You will have performers and crew telling you how much they enjoyed the montage and how they showed it to their friends and relatives (rather than subject them to the full 2.5 hours !) and will you be doing their next show please ?

I know all of the above to be feasible because I've done it for many shows over the past two decades and its a tried and tested formula that distinguishes your product - if you can put in the extra work and develop the skills. It will force you to develop some real camera skills often in difficult and fast-moving situations during rehearsals - much more so than lolling around on a tripod at the back of the hall tweaking the zoom.

Go on - give it a try next time - I'll be disappointed if you don't !
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Old May 11th, 2009, 10:30 PM   #17
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Tony-
Thanks for the advice. i always shoot the dress rehearsal to test angles, lighting, coordinate cam ops, notate entrance and exits, and all that other fun stuff that makes the live shoot go smoother. On this one I caught a great out take with the director adjusting a piece of scenery while the lead is singing a solo directly in front of her...but, I digress. i am familiar with the montage idea and try to pitch it to clients whenever possible but at this venue, behind the scenes and close-up shots are problematic.
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Old May 12th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #18
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Bryan ...

For me, most of the fun of stage work is worming into the nooks and crannies of the venue to get dramatic shots of performers and backstrage crew in action, close-up. Cast and crew are surprisingly tolerent of the 'video guy' lurking about in the wings as long as you don't get in their way and deliver the images they want to see (most actors love looking at themselves!).

Another incentive you can offer is stills from video, taken from the rehearsal footage. Often there is no official photographer present, and even the best of them cannot hope to capture as many 'decisive moments' as you can with your video camera, and if you work in HD the quality of the stills will hold up very well. I used to sell prints from video but it was such hard work that I now put a set of stills on Flickr.com for people to view and download - anoher reason for you to be asked back next time.

Good luck with the oveture !
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Old May 12th, 2009, 11:16 PM   #19
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Tony - thanks again for all the great advice and follow-up! This company hires in a photog but I am offering some merchandise (coffee mugs, mouse pads, prints, etc) through my nline store once the DVD's are finished.

The venue I shot at has a lot of restrictions on where you can shoot from but the bonus is they created a very nice video booth area right next to the sound guy.

I will definitely take your suggestions to heart. Perhaps if I become more established with this locale, i might be able to figure out which rules are rigid, which can flex, and which are outdated.

I have finished the overture piece and I am pretty happy with it. I am arranging for a preview with the founder of the theatre company/music director for this weekend sometime. I will let you guys know how it goes.
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Old May 14th, 2009, 02:24 AM   #20
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Hi Bryan,

I've always thought that one of the best openings during the overture is the beginning of West Side Story. First of all the overture itself is great, but if you haven't seen it you might want to watch the opening of the movie.

Garrett
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Old May 14th, 2009, 06:47 AM   #21
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Garrett ...

Agree about West Side Story. I saw it in 70mm as a kid and the opening aerial shots have stayed with me ever since.

Bryan ...

Don't get too tied up by venue 'rules'. They are there to stop the staff getting in the way of a paying audience, which is fair enough.

During rehearsals anything goes, so long as you don't get in the way of cast and crew, and even then they can be very forgiving.
Don't forget that you are equaly as professional as they are, and you're paid to get the best possible images without hindrance.

Tony
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Old May 14th, 2009, 08:04 AM   #22
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Hi Tony,

I was actually thinking about the beginning when the drawing of the city scape changes colors and slowly transitions from a very abstract picture to eventually become a photo of the city skyline. I was thinking Bryan could take a still of one of the sets and photoshop some interesting treatments and artistic effects. As the the overture is playing transition through each effect. That way he should already have the shot.

I may try that for the next stage show I shoot. I usually take the overture and use it during the credit roll at the end.

Garrett
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Old May 15th, 2009, 12:30 AM   #23
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Garrett, Tony - Thanks for the ideas.

My big issue with venue rules is not making waves with the floor manager (who authorizes my electric usage and board feed) and not getting in the way of the director. When I showed up to record the final dress, they were in crisis management. One of the supporting cast broke his leg the day before and the actress playing "Anna" had strep throat but performed anyway. The director and key staff were quite busy and me being in their face or backstage would have made things more complicated. But I do think next event for them I will try to make 2 of the dress rehearsals and spend one floating getting behind the scenes and cutaways and the other to do the planning phase. I have not seen Westside on TV in a number of years. I am thinking a about uploading a copy of my video for the overture. I can't upload the soundtrack with it but you could see the concept. Would you be interested?
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Old May 15th, 2009, 06:25 AM   #24
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Bryan

By all means, upload the video - always interested to see how others tackle this sort of work.

Tony
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Old May 15th, 2009, 02:05 PM   #25
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Just got it uploaded to Vimeo. Of course there is no audio. It plays through the overture clip and about 5sec of the first scene so you can see the transition.
No Audio-King and I video for overture on Vimeo
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Old May 19th, 2009, 11:11 AM   #26
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Either I scared everyone off...or they moved on to better things...

Would love a little feedback, if any of you had the chance to view the clip. I am sitting around waiting on a batch render to finish running and for UPS to deliver the blank hydroshields from Discmakers and so my brain keeps rethinking the choices made while editing... Anyways, thanks to everyone for their great ideas and insight. I really appreciate your shared knowledge base.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 03:14 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nate Haustein View Post
Leave it in, its a part of the show - especially if pit members are buying it. I always put a chapter marker just after it as well, so if someone doesn't want to sit through it, they can just hit 'next.'
You could follow Nate's suggestion but have a nice picture on screen and "INTERMISSION" written in big letters. Then it would be like watching a long film with an intermission, such as Lawrence of Arabia or The Bridge on the River Kwai. It would be an easy way to do it if you don't want to spend lots of time editing and people won't get frustrated if they can skip it.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 03:36 PM   #28
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Bryan:

As some other posters said, I would address the initial 5 minutes with a chapter marker option.

Put the initial credits and titling at the beginning

Copy & paste the primary titles to the video just before curtain

Render the full video

On the DVD authoring, link the startup or play button to just before curtain. Most people will watch it from this point.

Create another button or a special feature menu to include the preliminary music.

Five full minutes of music only on a video would be like watching paint dry.
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Old May 20th, 2009, 01:43 PM   #29
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Bryan ...

I liked it - nice choice of stills to keep the interest going, although a few more would have been good.
Luckily you are working with a classic musical and the overture stands up on its own - other shows I could name would be much harder to work with.
And what do you do when the show doesn't have an overture but the performers really want to see a montage of the show - picking suitable music can be really tough.

Anyway well done - you've got away with it !
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Old May 20th, 2009, 02:56 PM   #30
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I am up to my ears in duplicating and printing, so i haven't been able to check back in (or check facebook for that matter.) I gave a pre-release copy to the music director/founder of the theater company and they seem quite pleased. Thanks for all the feedback. In this case there is a chapter marker placed right after the overture and Entr'Acte but i am leaving both in. People can hit the next button if they want to skip it. In this performance, it really compliments the finished piece. Thanks again everyone for your time and input. I went with a video montage to overlay on the Entr'Acte.
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