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TPL  /  THOUGHTS about Camerawork  /  NANCY MASON HAUSER: BB • Why mini-DV? • BEST SHOT
Posted by: RAH, October 31, 2006, 3:10am
Hi, Kim and Everyone else involved-
    Great to read your reflections on what you've done, and what you'd like to do.
I confess up to now getting on the BB was hard for me, too, because it kept asking
for a password and not accepting the one I gave it (I keep one password for EVERYTHING---
probably not the smartest way to deal with security but simplifies how to respond
whenever anything asks for one). At any rate, I mentioned it to Rick who then removed
it as a requirement to get on, and here I am!
      OK. Thought number one...Kim, you mentioned that it was harder for the kids to
understand what Gus was trying to teach if it was new movement(i.e. something they
hadn't seen on the web). My question is what makes it hard, and is there a way of
shooting the material as it is being presented that would make it clearer for your
students?
      Kim, please do keep trying to make the BB work. Maybe what Rick did for
me here will work for you now, too. I think it's great that the kids have
questions for Gus---can't wait to see them and hear the responses! Also you
mention needing to find someone to digitize the video you have. What format
is it on? Like if it's 1/2" VHS send it along and I can  transfer it to mini-DV for
you here(or on to DVD if you prefer). For editing stuff to put on the web,
I'd be using the mini-DV..
       I guess that's it for now...please let me know, when you get a chance,
what your kids are NOT seeing that they need to, in order to get the movement.
   All best,
Nancy
Posted by: kachandler, November 7, 2006, 3:01am; Reply: 1
Hi Nancy,

One of the things we'd like to see is some of the shots from behind as if we were standing behind the dancer. Distinguishing right and left is easier that way.

Having the videos streaming is great as you can repeat them as often as possible. The frame by frame is helpful too. I really enjoy when Gus introduces the etudes.

We're are trying to get hese into our bodies before Friday's session.

Kim
Posted by: Nancy Hauser, November 9, 2006, 2:59am; Reply: 2
Hi, Kim-
        You know, that shot from behind is always a winner . . .  kind of comforting, like settling into something we all know well (following the teacher in class). I've always liked it, especially when the dancers are in front of the screen and I'm behind them, so if —  and it's a big IF — we frame it cleverly, it looks like it's all one  studio.

That's something Linda and I were getting into  — both of us have shot a lot of dance; this  allows us to anticipate and often "complement" each other's shots (like from the same angle or height) so that the classes in two different sites seem united.

It's a constant challenge, and certainly keeps camerapeople on their toes — no pun intended.

I'm so proud of you for sticking with all of this and making it work. The learning curve is hard, but the returns are so rewarding.

Onward!
    

Nancy
Posted by: Linda Lewett, December 5, 2006, 1:07am; Reply: 3
Nancy's essay "About this Role: Cameraperson" is an excellent summary of shooting dance in this the TPL role.  But will add some notes about things that work especially well.  (Nancy - I thought it was on the Performance Lab site but can't find it so perhaps you could cut and paste here?)  

The main thing for Cameraperson is to watch and Listen closely and respond immediately.  The partnership with the coach develops as people get more comfortable with each other.  I get distracted with exposure and focus but maybe have to give up some technical quality for spontaneity because it is required.

Switching may be more trouble than it is worth unless someone knowledgeable is dedicated to doing it.   It can be useful when Coach or recipient site asks to see wide shot, but not good when Cameraperson calls out because it breaks the flow.   Maybe we should try a few with hand held camera alone.  

Matching screen action side shot to wide shot at each site, may only be useful when we have groups of dancers moving together.  When the Coach is watching dancers at other site, I think the main site dancers could be moving along, demonstrating.  Unless need time to rest.  What do others think about this?

It is very hard to hear when other people are speaking in the space.  To make the sessions comprehensive and easy to digest, a limited amount of talking needs to happen.

Everyone automatically speaks to the monitor - but when we turn toward the camera and speak directly into the lens ("Direct Address) it is much more effective.  

When sculpting.  It is very effective to go back and forth between the Over-the-Shoulder shot of Coach touching the body on the monitor, to the Coach direct address into the camera.  

We all have to keep in mind that the dancer cannot always see the screen if they are in a position where their head needs to be turned in another direction.

Dancers should not wear clothes that are too baggy.  Solid colors are best – depending on background should contrast.  At Rider, Kim and Rick thought white curtain was better so better to have dark on bottom and light on top when floor is darker.

Remember for the camera to get full body shot, the dancer (depending on how tall they are) has to be far enough away from camera.  Cameraperson often can’t back away with monitor so it’s better when dancer/coach steps back to demonstrate then closer again to speak into the lens.

When you need to show more of the vertical body, turning the camera on it’s side makes you have to turn your head, But a Dutch angle, diagonal framing, sis a good compromise. This is especially good when someone is jumping or very tall.

Scott and crew adjusted lighting in Rider Studio but remember it is not on your face when you came close to the monitor and with the white curtain I have to overexpose the white curtain to get an exposure.  So remember to back into the space when you want lighting to be best.

Kim pointed out lights reflected into monitors in Rider Studio.  This could be helped by placing dark cardboard above monitor but would make sculpting impossible.  Flagging the lights responsible for reflection or repositioning them could also help it.  Fine-tuning lighting takes time, and not sure technical details as are important as content.  Which brings me to my next question.

I would like to find out how everyone else feels about this.  I find it extremely distracting when the background is not cleared out. I understand philosophical point  that we can connect from anywhere but with the specificity of dance, I think backgrounds should be evenly lit and cleared out of objects.  Is this a problem for dancers learning ?

Ciao
Linda
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