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Old February 22nd, 2006, 11:02 PM   #1
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Shooting a Stage Production

I've been asked to shoot a stage production in a month or so. I have a Canon XL2. I won't have access to a second prosumer camera, so I wanted to know how to get the best out of the shoot.

The production will have two brushups and I was planning to shoot as follows:

The first brushup I will get a wide angle, down center stage shot throughout the show. The second brushup I'll try to move around, getting stage left and right where I think necessary. I can edit the shots together during post-production.

If anyone has a better solution I'd really appreciate the help.

Thanks.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 12:17 AM   #2
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What is a "brushup"....NEVER heard that one yet Also, you need to be clear of what you are shooting......this makes a big difference with giving you advice. So, tell us what content you're shooting so, you can get some tips.





Quote:
Originally Posted by Vishad Dewan
I've been asked to shoot a stage production in a month or so. I have a Canon XL2. I won't have access to a second prosumer camera, so I wanted to know how to get the best out of the shoot.

The production will have two brushups and I was planning to shoot as follows:

The first brushup I will get a wide angle, down center stage shot throughout the show. The second brushup I'll try to move around, getting stage left and right where I think necessary. I can edit the shots together during post-production.

If anyone has a better solution I'd really appreciate the help.

Thanks.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 01:45 AM   #3
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It's a musical theatrical production. A brushup is simply a full performance without an audience, just for the actors to get ready for each production week. The theatre is quite small, about the size of a small conference room seating 200; they have two audio monitors in front of the stage, as well as five large concert-type speakers, two on each side of the stage and one in the center.

Is that enough info or is there something more specific I should address? It's possible for me to simply tape with the shotgun mic that came with my XL2, but that may or may not work out too well, especially when I start moving around.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 04:10 AM   #4
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Your initial set up sounds ok, since you do not plan of having a 2 cam set up.
first round, shoot a wide/frame the stage, then your second round of shooting you can get the close ups and medium shots...i would try to patch into the house audio if you have the capabilities. maybe on the second round.....still shoot on sticks so you're not prone to camera shake....make the shots count. hopefully the actors read their lines the same both takes with no freestyle. getting good audio may be your biggest hurdle....since you have the cam set up already.

you're on the right track for only having one cam.
are they paying you?
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 08:08 AM   #5
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Here's a collection of existing threads on the topic. Lots of good reading there for starters...

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=60275
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 12:45 PM   #6
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It looks like you are going to shoot this film style. Definitely take a house audio mix for audio as stated earlier. I hope you have alot of time for editing and plenty of disk space. I would definitely recommend getting at least one more camera as a master and use the other for mediums, close ups and moves.

Here's a play that I did a few years ago with close-ups done on a dress rehearsal night and seamlessly cut together with an actual performance night. Even with multiple cameras and living mixing, I had plenty of fixes in post.


www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=17557
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 01:12 PM   #7
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If you are shooting on different performances, capture your audio via feed linked to the camera for closeups and med shots. Since the performers say lines differently, different timing etc. it would be best to capture the audio from your CUs. You can then lay those audio tracks on to the wide shots without having TOO MUCH trouble with lip sync.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 01:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Cavanaugh
If you are shooting on different performances, capture your audio via feed linked to the camera for closeups and med shots. Since the performers say lines differently, different timing etc. it would be best to capture the audio from your CUs. You can then lay those audio tracks on to the wide shots without having TOO MUCH trouble with lip sync.
That is a great point and is very critical. When I did mine, I was amazed at how close those kids were able to hit their marks and say the same dialogue and gestures on both nights. I wasn't able to use any of the audio from the close up camera because it couldn't be wired and would not match otherwise. The audio from the close up steadicam shots was actually from the performance night with all the cameras and when the master audio track was recorded.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 01:22 PM   #9
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So your 'brushup' is our 'dress rehearsal' Not a term I've heard before here in the UK - and I thought (wrongly) I'd just about got the hang of the American version of plain English! If you can arrange it - a mini-dv - domestic style just doing a wide shot really helps as cut-aways or coverups. If the show is all miked, then syncing from MD or CD isn't too much of a problem.

Worst bit - lighting. You'll end up with some very odd images. Got any follow spots? - if so, they'll burn out easily and manual exposure will be an absolute essential - forget auto anything. Colour is a big issue, the LD picks colour for live audiences, not video.
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 02:33 PM   #10
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You should obtain a clear definition of the purpose of your video. Will you package and sell the video as a DVD? Do you have the legal right to sell it?

Will the video only be used as training for the crew and cast?
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 05:25 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul R Johnson
So your 'brushup' is our 'dress rehearsal' Not a term I've heard before here in the UK - and I thought (wrongly) I'd just about got the hang of the American version of plain English!
Don't worry - I've been doing tech theatre for 40 years and have rarely heard the term "brushup". It certainly isn't the same thing as a dress rehearsal. In my experience it would only apply to shows that run a long time and have long breaks between performances. Whenever we need to do this sort of thing it would be in a rehearsal hall without sets or lights since the union crew costs would be too high to justify such activity onstage.

I shoot our opera performances on two different nights and splice the audio from both nights as needed. With just a bit of practice this isn't so hard, and if it's done properly nobody will even notice the splices. I am unable to use more than one camera (a "multi-camera shoot" would get us into a more expensive union situation, and there isn't much room available for me to setup either).
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Old February 23rd, 2006, 06:43 PM   #12
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"Brush-ups". What an odd term. In fifteen years of professional stage hand work through all kinds of live theatre performances, concluding with grand opera, I've never heard that term. It is usually 1st dress rehearsal, 2nd dress rehersal, etc., which concludes in the term, "final dress". Then again, I worked my last professional show 25 years ago. As times change, so do terms, apparently.

First , I wouldn't do a static long shot for the entire first dress rehearsal. I'd consult with the director to find the locations within the performance where long shots are most useful, like the beginning of each scene and perhaps to track certain important entrances/exits.
After the establishing shots of each scene my preference would be to work on mid shots of the important actions/reactions between individual performers and groups of performers.
Then on the next rehearsal I would focus upon key close-ups. Again, here is where time spent with the director or asst. director will be well spent.

Because each live performance will be unique, I would suggest you import audio with video every time you change camera angle. It saves a lot of trying to audio sync with the dominant video track. Because of this, insure your audio feed is consisten from one performance to the other.
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Last edited by Waldemar Winkler; February 23rd, 2006 at 09:56 PM.
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