At the camera position, youâre an integral part of the event. In a multi-camera show such as a baseball game or a concert, youâre part of a team thatâs creating the showâs visual story line. The Director calls the shots and creates the showâs plots and sub-plots with the shots he selects. On headsets, the cameraman has the Director in one ear, program audio in the other ear, and heâs completely aware of the crowd and the action at hand. In a single-camera production, you are the event â whether youâre shooting video for your own script or working with a field reporter. So how do you get the gig? I talked at length to cameraman Danny Zemanek, and hereâs how he did it. âI knew that I wanted to be a cameraman, from early on. Not a director, not a producer, but a cameraman. At Versatile Video, a Bay Area production company, I worked as a utility guy in their remote truck division, and that put me around the gear. Our utility crew would set up the cameras, test them, load them in the truck and set them up at the event. Thatâs how I started. I learned everything I could, I put myself around the equipment, and I practiced with the gear to hone my skills.â
âDanny Zemanek, as quoted by Paul Berliner for Video World, PLSN, Jan. 2015
Measuring 48 by 24 by 32.55 inches (WxDxH), the MTN Box from Mountain Productions is designed for your standard truck. The inside however, can be modified with whatever insert you require to fit your needsâŠ The new series of CM motors are three inches longer that the traditional hoists. This is a problem for CM owners who have to rethink their own case designs. Not so with the MTN Box. They have designed a special insert where two motors fit sideways at an angle to absorb the additional length. One case fits all.
âNook Schoenfeld, from âProduct Spotlight,â PLSN, Jan. 2015, page 56
I have also seen productions where very bright and narrow beam fixtures are pointing in a nice downward fan-out into the audience. What happens is that the poor audience members standing in the beam cannot see any of the show for the entire song or scene. Just as laser specialists pay attention to the termination of their beams, lighting programmers need to be aware of where they are pointing the automated lights. Of course, there are moments that it is okay to focus into the audience for illumination or effect, but consideration must be taken in regards to the duration and purpose.
-Brad Schiller, from "Feeding the Machines," PLSN, Jan. 2015, page 57
Whatâs the proper way to convey your lighting hopes and dreams to your house LD du jour? I prefer an annotated set list, with two simple pieces of information for each song: color, and an arrow indicating tempo. Most any house rig you encounter will feature color and tempo, but may not be capable of movement or beam effects. You may include up to three specific cues, and Iâll try my best to nail them, but any more and you might consider hiring your very own LD. Avoid adjectives, and if you donât speak lighting, maybe avoid words altogether. I might accurately guess what you mean by moody, but when you tell me a song is fluffy or itchy, results may vary. Does âthey donât like greenâ mean no solid green wash, or not even a hint of green? Is ânot too much hazeâ your timid way of implying no haze whatsoever? Be specific.
-Stosh Rickenbach, from "Club Rules 101," PLSN, Jan. 2015, "LD-at-Large"
âWeather is extremely unpredictable, but in the world of live events, the responsibility of protecting audiences, crew and gear falls to the production. Keeping everyone safe has to be a priority. Unfortunately, with all the other aspects of putting on a show, it can get swept aside until itâs too late. Itâs not enough to simply react to weather emergencies. It is time for our industry to start preparing in advance. Itâs important to adopt strategic plans for these situation that will, inevitably, arise.â
âRich Barr, veteran tour production manager and co-founder of Perfect Storm, as quoted by Rachel Pfennig Hales for "Safety Factor," PLSN, Dec. 2014, page 36.
Many of the same steps for working with automated lighting can also be applied to punting with media servers. Speed is the name of the game during a busking show, so finding that âblueâ clip you want or creative effect in a hurry means that your desktop views have to be well-thought-outâŠ When you're using stock content, if you're not familiar with it already, then you may find it very useful to take advantage of a remote content management application (if the server has one) so you can see thumbnails, making it easier to locate clips by color and/or name at least.
âFrom âBusking with a Media Serverâ by Vickie Claiborne, PLSN, Dec. 2014, page 54
If your luminaire has a feature called âquickest pathâ or âsnap,â and it is enabled, then you will instead see the color wheel turn the other direction and go from red to white to blue. In this case, the wheel has turned in the direction that gets to the new result in the fastest manner. The quickest path setting is usually selected in a control channel or by selecting a discreet value for each position on the wheel that indicates you want the quickest path versus normal path. You can toggle the path setting as needed during your programming, thus allowing more creative choices in how parameters change.
For more on obscure fixture features, read Brad Schillerâs âFeeding the Machinesâ column, PLSN, Dec. 2014, page 57.
The lack of a single source for video design, management and playback has thankfully changed, and now video designers have some very powerful pre-visualization/media server hybrid packages. Two of these, the d3 (d3 Technologies) and Ai (Avolites Media), offer the same levels of design and pre-visualization control to video directors that wysiwyg, ESP Vision and LightConverse offer to lighting designers. These proprietary hardware/software servers offer the video designer the ability to lay out all projection details needed, including angles, throw distances and lens options, while also storing the content and the timeline or cuelist for playback as well as allowing for via external control (like DMX or Art-Net).
âFrom âVideo Digeratiâ by Vickie Claiborne, PLSN, Nov. 2014, page 100
If you are on Facebook, Twitter, ProLightingSpace or any other social media network, look to your friends for help. If you are looking for answer on a specific topic, look for a group or user base forum to ask your question. You may not get an answer right away, but trust in the people on the forums â most times, they are willing and able to help. Donât let the flamers and haters get to you. Some people on the Internet are looking for trouble. Just ignore them and look to people that genuinely want to help. ProLightingSpace.com has a number of groups dedicated to almost every aspect of your business, from lighting design, video, media servers and even specialty groups like House of Worship. A number of users on ProLightingSpace have found answers to their questions throughout the years. Looking back at some of the older questions, they still get responses even today. Maybe it is a different take on the subject, or a better technique is found. In any case, the archives and past postings are another great place to find those tips and tricks.
âFrom Justin Lang, âFocus on Fundamentals,â PLSN Nov. 2014
The most prominent set piece for the new musical, If/Then, which explores the two different paths that newly divorced urban planner named Elizabeth (Idina Menzel) could take in her life depending upon a key romantic choice she makes, is a large reflective surface about 32 feet wide by 24 feet tall that is made up of two-by-four-foot tiles that looks like a giant mirror. Scenic designer Mark Wendland says it is made of a Mylar-like product that was picked because it is light in weight. PRG, who built the set, recommended the material for that reason. The mirror is mostly used in various vertical positions to reflect objects on and LEDs in the floor, but at the beginning of the show it is preset in a horizontal position so that its initial appearance surprises the audience. When it is used in a fully vertical position, it is about nine feet off the deck and reflecting back set pieces to add depth or make something like a fire escape appear to be multiplied rather than having extra set pieces.
From âInside Theatreâ by Bryan Reesman, PLSN, July 2014