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Video production case study

Working as a BBC trained video producer, I initiated the development of this live show video production. In this case study, I explain some of the detail behind its production. The final live show video production contains adult humour, so it’s not for the easily offended.

Planning the production

The Dame Edna Experience performed weekly at London’s Royal Vauxhall Tavern (RVT) for 14 years. In 2013 artist Jonathan Hellyer decided to end his weekly show with one final night performance. Realising that this would be an extraordinary night I set about getting permission from the artist and venue to film the performance. After gaining suitable permissions, I embarked on getting a crew together to help record the event. Experienced DoP Richard Gillespie kindly agreed to support me on this venture as did some of our mutual friends.

Filming day

The evening performance was being rehearsed in the afternoon so we arrived with our kit and set up the rigging to support five camera positions. One camera was fixed onto each of the vertical pillars in front of the stage. Another camera with a zoom lens was set up at the backstage right on a heavy tripod for stability. Cameraman Louis Blair was going to be filming at the edge of stage left on a monopod and Richard was to film with a shoulder-mounted rig at the edge of stage right. I also set up an additional camera on a locked off wide at the back position where I would be based and filming.

Recording the sound

Richard managed to ensure that a clean feed of the performer’s microphone was fed to one camera track and an Atmos track recorded on track 2. All the other cameras were recording an Atmos track so that we could easily sync up the different camera’s images. Once the camera had been rigged the crew took it in turns to stay with the kit while the rest had some dinner. The event was a sell out so we knew it would be impossible to move once the audience arrived.

Filming

After eating we all returned to our positions as the venue filled. Just before the DJ (Simon Le Vans) announced the start of the show, we all went into record. The locked off and mounted cameras needed to be restarted every 29 minutes or so as that was their maximum recording duration. The tripod mounted camera was able to continuously record for the whole 135-minute show duration. It was a very emotional evening for everybody there.

Editing

After filming, I copied all the camera cards onto my RAID 5 drive and then created an additional back up on a separate drive array. I created multi-camera clips for all the cameras. I laid down a master vision track from the tripod mounted camera onto a separate video layer in Avid so that I could edit between the other cameras for the best performance.

Live show video production

Unfortunately due to the copyright restrictions on the use of commercial music all the songs had to be edited out. Once I edited out the songs I then edited together the rest of the show and the final film was uploaded to YouTube. The 31-minute film shows some of the highlights from his 135-minute show. If you would like any help with your live show video production please get in touch.