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CAMERAS EVERYWHERE!!!!

Discussion in 'Stage Management and Facility Operations' started by who_touched_the_patch, Sep 10, 2004.

  1. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

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    One of the most complex shows I ever SM'd was for a student production of "4.48 Psychosis."

    I was seated prompt side, but had 5 10" monitors at my desk.

    One for OP side, watching the backstage area.
    One IN THE TECH BOX - keep an eye up there.
    TWO foh cameras, one normal colour ccd, and the other infra-red. (If you've never done this, try it, especially when ur show has lots of blackouts.)
    I then had one ABOVE the stage, so I could get the perspective right when we flung in drops, props and MIRRORS !?!?

    Then there was the comms to the box and my ASM on OP, then my cue lights, then my FOH intercom, then the internal phone, then my script.

    (lucky i had a big desk)
     
  2. producer

    producer Active Member

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    Holy Crap!!!!!!

    I'd hate to be working under you on that show! of course you would lose the use of the tech booth camera (I'd cover it up :wink: )
     
  3. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    Dude, that would be awesome!!! I cannot wait until I can get more involved in more professional theatre!!! Right now with school and all I don't even have time for community theatre, only for myu school drama department. :( o well, not too muc hlonger!!
     
  4. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

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    always remember producer: big brother is always watching...

    No no no... the camera in the booth actually pointed towards the grid, as we had seveal MX's up there to perform a couple of complicated fly's and stunts.

    Seriously though, to JahJah, enjoy the school and community stuff while you can. Its really weird, the differences between the two.

    I find that when I SM a small-scale production, I am actually hands-on witha lot of the design and technical work.

    In a more professional production, the SM just sends an email to someone else to get the job done - well, that's how I find it...

    Patch.
    ________
    Yes it's true. Stage Managers can eat bullets.
     
  5. theaterscout

    theaterscout Member

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    I hate to say it, but its got to be said, Whats the point to having all those cameras for the show.? Is there a lack of trust in your theater or does it make it easier to figure out problem areas during full tech run-throughs?
     
  6. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

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    good question scout - i'm glad you asked.

    basically the situation at my company is as follows: I or another "senior" techie will Stage Manage in the full sense of the term: All the preproduction stuff, and seeing the show through run and rehearsals.

    We have our choice of ASM, which usually ends up being one of the better younger techs from the classes.

    During tech week, we take on several more techs from the junior class to be stagehands, operators, so on and so forth. (I'll usually ask one of the older tecchs to be my "Deck Manager" - my term for the DSM.

    We give the juniors run-sheets for the show, but the fact is they are still students, so we need to keep an eye on them.

    An added feature for the cameras was for some specific effects that had to happen, and also so that I or the DM could verify that no actors were in the way of drops or 3X6metre mirrors(!!!) that were folwn in.

    I know it sounds more trouble than it's worth, but it makes sense. Kinda. Sorta. Yeah.
     
  7. darkfield

    darkfield Member

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    If you really feel the technical issues merit video cameras everywhere, then that's one thing.

    If it's really just to watch the students, then you are sending them the exact message that you don't trust them. My experience is that if you treat them like kids they will behave accordingly. Right when they could be learning responsibility, you tell them they need baby monitors. Great lesson for a teaching theater, huh?
     
  8. who_touched_the_patch

    who_touched_the_patch Member

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    What darkfield has failed to realise is that we also need to keep an eye on the younger techies so as to complete their assesment sheets.

    Can't really assess them when you can't see them.
     
  9. darkfield

    darkfield Member

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    I fail to realize many things.

    What do you put in the asseement category "Is able to work responsibly without constant supervision?"

    Stopped teaching that, have they?

    What are you assessing that needs spy cameras? Absence of kleptomania?

    Trading the educational institution for the panopticon, Jeremy Bentham High School now in session.

    At least until a clever someone figures out what a laser pointer does to a ccd.
     
  10. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    You should note that it's standard operating procedure on most Broadway shows and tours to have significant amounts of video monitoring for management and otherwise.

    On my last tour, we had four video feeds, consisting of a color shot from FOH, a black and white shot for infrared, an overhead shot for scene changes (this one, especially, is a big safety thing on some shows) and even helping to call some lighting cues, and a camera on the conductor (this one went both to the PSM and to a video monitor in an opposite wing that also had a small powered speaker with a mix of only the orchestra in it for offstage chorus singers during one number).

    It's the rule, rather than the exception, to have at least this much video on most shows in today's world.

    --Andy
     
  11. JahJahwarrior

    JahJahwarrior Active Member

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    At one show at my school theatre, I ran a camera feed to the backstage area, so people back there could sit back, relax, and watch the show. It kept them out of the wings, trying to watch it from there, it kept them quiet(er), and they always could look and figure out exactly where in the play we were, so that they could be ready when an SM/ASM tells them to get ready. I found it very nice! In the future I might try to run a camera from backstage to the booth too, so we can see them ;)
     
  12. darkfield

    darkfield Member

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    Okay, Andy, but that's a distinction between using the cameras to run the show and using it to monitor the crew.

    The famous houses like the Met and Radio City had cc-tv backstage and FOH to manage the technology before most of us we were born. Powered elevators, platforms, flies, often run from remote areas; similarly FOH cams for lighting when operators are not FOH; those all serve a practical purpose of doing the job safely and/or well. It's not an unusual practice, it's been in textbooks for decades.

    My comment was based on using the technology not to run the show, but using it to keep watch on crew members. I don't doubt that the way of the world now is to never let the little buggers out of sight, monitor their location and mph when they borrow the car, and have them check in with mommy via cellphone every 20 minutes. I am just not saying that's such a tremendously good thing. Seeing it creep backstage seems to be working against some of the very traits you hope they should be building through their participation.

    So seeing the latter application of the technology, part of a less than warm and fuzzy direction IMO, hidng behind the justifications of practicality prompted my somewhat sarcastic comments.
     
  13. Andy_Leviss

    Andy_Leviss Active Member Premium Member

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    I totally agree with you, darkfield, I was responding to the general thread, not directly to you--just pointing out that while there are some uses that, well, suck, there are legitimate purposes for this technology in theatre.
     

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