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Two Favorite Moments – One featured, the other fleeting…

Oct 27, 2019

My favorite line in the show was when Mary Cate tells Lilli that Katie was torn to pieces in the crypt and Lilli answers that “We can fix that.” When asked how, she answers “I don’t know yet”. Later, we see a coffin wheeled in, two ghouls in nurses uniforms bringing in additional body parts and a lot of sewing foing on in the background. Flashing lights and voila! Katie is back, a little wobbly of course. I would add that it would take a heck of a lot more makeup than that to make thse two young ladies really look ghoulish – then again, it was all just Halloween fun.

Now that we're catching up on things, and I've gotten the video out to Rogue Swan, I can go back to the good stuff – my B&Ws, primarily from the show for a while. It looks like there are going to be a few, especially since I'm, at the same time, putting them into a PDF eBook thingie of the whole mini-project., a process that I'll let guide my choices.

My notes to myself concerning the video are here at the end in case anyone is interested.

Every once in a while a B&W image emerges easily from a color RAW file – but that's the exception, not the rule. True more often for some types of scenics. Usually it's a long, laborious process. Occasionally one has to drag it out kicking and screaming – this can be pretty much the rule when shooting people in action, in low-light.

Some images beg a ittle explanation. Next, below, is April and Jessy Gordon peeking out from the sidelines to add their voices to the "and then" chorus. But Jessy's head, accentuated by her expression and the way the stage lights hit, appears to be disembodied. One has to look close to see that the leg and dress belong to Jessy and not April.

Aberdeen Cats & Bats Halloween 5K

On a personal note, I just ran the Halloween 5K – great shirt this time around too – and I'm hanging in there under 40 minutes. Every time I have to go down from running due to an operation, it takes longer to come back – and of course I don't get all the way to where I was. One more race this year, the Reindeer Run approaching Christmas. Then I'll probably have to go to exercising indoors – can't seem to handle breathing the icy winter air like that any more. Bummer. And 


Man, I am not a videographer – yet. Oh, I guess I did alright this time – and I sure learned a lot. I've given the video(s) from the Halloween show to Rogue swan. But first, to jot down a few things that I've learned.

The Rogue Swan video presented a couple of problems. The stage extension (the Lab) on the right in the video created an extended view, making for a very long thin view of what was going on on the stage. So the second night I videoed just the stage, creating two versions of the video – one for viewing everything, albeit a little smaller and the other for getting a better look at the action on the main stage. An alternative might have been to swing to the right at times.

There are five video files – in 4K:

Act I with the lab from night 1  

Act I just the stage from night 2. 

Act II - from night 2 (second act entrance proved a little tricky)

Act III with the lab from night I

Act III just the stage from night 2

Better to experience the musical numbers with the stage/only view videos.


1 – Scheduled Stop/Starts and tripod gimbal

To do justice to a video of a performance, first and foremost, one should have a precise timing schedule. Sure, I knew pretty much what was coming, and that is important as well. But with the camera restriction of half hour clips, with a requirement to then stop and restart the video, it would be best to have convenient stop points scheduled between scenes – even at the risk of adding extra stops. Beats those little glitchy switchovers. I’ve got my eye on a nice gimbal for the tripod on eBay – that should really help too.

2 – Second Video Cam w/good assistant

If there are stage extensions, off stage activity, etc. a second video camera is a must if one wants to edit video into something special. One for the full stage and extension, and a second, manned by someone who will cover fill-ins and at other points zoom in on special scenes or numbers. Foreknowledge of the action would be a requirement and I would recommend a simple camera cradle or tripod with a good gimbal on it – along with a smooth zooming lens.

3 – Editing

Final Cut Pro isn't really so tricky. I knew the basics but found that there wasn't as much more to it as I feared.

4 – Exposure

An area of great disagreement even among experts on line is that of using auto metering vs a set exposure. The first gives you a perfectly exposed, relatively even view across the show – although it can cause occasional oddities. A darkened stage is still a tad darker, but not nearly as much as it really was. The video will look great small but dark scenes can be a little light and wash out blown up on a screen. A set meter setting – which I used this time, shows what the audience saw – but since the view is much smaller, it could seem a little darker, especially when viewed small, but be better on a large screen. Worth some thought – especially if you want to retain a spooky look.

5 – Sound

Another area of disagreement. Tapping into the sound from the booth is an option. Again, worth some thought.

* Nan says I should refrain from including any of this. But I realize that the only reason I was asked to shoot video along with my precious stills is that they didn't have anyone else for it. The good news is that the results are passable AND that I learned enough from it to, if I need to go into it again, have some idea as to what the hell I am doing. Note: being able to do pretty good video clips proves no preparation whatsoever for doing an entire show, where it's all about planning ahead.