International evening 1999: an experiment in angles

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About the International evening:

The International evening is an event in which people demonstrate different aspects of their cultures and consists of acting and tasting food from different countries, I was there to shoot the event and served as the sound engineer when I dubbed the tracks onto minidisk so that when I would get to editing (which I have not done yet) I will have the best sound quality possible.

The aim of shooting this event:

When I was shooting this event I was concentrating on experimenting with different angles as well as getting behind the scenes footage.

General comments:

There were people doing a play, others dancing, some singing and poetry reading with a fashion show to conclude.

Behind the scenes:

The behind the scenes footage was not as complete as I wanted, mostly I managed to get people rehearsing their acts, the final song and instructions on how to walk for the concluding fashion show, here it was fairly interesting because I managed to get different angles for a single act, seeing the people rehearse and hearing them giving feedback to each other. I could have shot more of the preparations with the lights and the technical side but I was doing the sound therefore I could not.

About the first two dances:

During the actual show I used two cameras, one static getting a wide shot of the action on stage while the other camera was used to get a variety of shots. The first act was a hip hop dance and for this I shot it from the side so that you see both performers sometimes concentrating on one, then the other and overall I managed to get the action for this. After this was a Mexican dance and I moved so that I was to the right side of the stage and audience so that you see the performers from the side and since they were pointing in this direction while the audience saw them from the side most of the time I got one of them head on while the other from the back and I like the effect I got.


Filming someone playing the piano is interesting because of all the different angles which you could use although I was to the pianist's left and got a medium shot showing the piano and the person and moved to show the hands dancing on the keyboard and a close up of the player's face to show the player's concentration.


There were two theatrical people and each one did a different sketch, one about a shipwreck, the other was from a french play although I do not remember the name. I filmed the first actress from a high angle looking down on her which was a waste of time when she was directly below... although this may not be true, depending on the effect you are trying to get. She was meant to be going mad therefore the audience may get paternal, or maternal as the case may be through seeing it from that angle. It became useful overall because had I been at the front of the stage it may have been harder to see all that was happening.


One of the people whom I know in the show is a skilled singer and is recognised by many people and during the show she went to the front of the stage and sang from there and I was near the front but below the audience's eye line so that the camera was looking up at her so that she appears dominant. I found that this part was interesting to shoot because it was a close-up and we could see her fairly well in the footage. The problem with this shot was mostly that I had forgotten to check with which hand she holds the mike, I hadn't thought about it when I had filmed the practice but because she is right handed and I was to her left the microphone covered her face for a large part of the singing which was a shame.

The Fashion show:

I shot this from different angles, from the front so that I was at the end of the runway which could be an interesting shot although I found that it was fairly useless for the edit since there is no second shot which is wide to show the people turning to show the clothes. The stage was shaped like a T so if you can visualise that I was on the inside part of the T so that the top bar is in front of me and then to my right as I pan and the runway is to my left, close to the center I was able to show the people coming towards the camera, turning into the main axis and from here they walked away from the camera towards the audience, if I had been higher and with a smaller lens angle (I was using the wide angle lens attachment on the PC7) so that there would be less flare in the camera, the second change would be to get higher thereby not getting the lights directly into the lens and onto the CCD to reduce glare.

All the performers singing together:

At the end of the event everyone came onto the platform to sing and another person placed himself at the piano and played the song's tune. I got an over the shoulder shot looking from the person playing the piano to the singers and moved to get some close ups of the people singing.

My thoughts on the shoot:

This was an interesting shoot because I had spent the previous three days working on sound and staying after school each night so that I would know the performances by the people and could anticipate which shots and to a large extent it worked and I am happy of that, oh apart from a small detail which was that since there was so little light the depth of field was reduced thereby making it harder to keep the performers in focus. I would therefore advise any person shooting a play to advise the light engineer that there should be more lights so that the performers are appropriately lit.


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