Theater productions are a very frequent occurence and are for this reason quite a good starting place to learn how to frame a shot, follow action so as to keep as much material as possible usable.Theater is more about the performance than anything else therefore it is important to cover the action on stage.
Knowledge of the play is one of the most important tasks when filming a play because there may only be one take putting pressure on the camera operator to get the shot right first time or else face great difficulty during the editing stage of fixing mistakes. In order to maximise chances of getting the shoot near perfect from the first time you are filming the best option is to come to dress rehearsals. This may help you in two ways, firstly because you see all the action and see where the action will be taking place before actually recording but also because it is an opportunity to see the play without worrying about getting in the way of the audience when they come to see it. The better you know a play the better the more you will anticipate and the more variety of shots you will be able to get.
Whenever artificial light is involved it is important to be able to control the amount of light arriving into the camera. If you are not careful some parts will be over exposed whilst others are under exposed. It is important to get used to the lighting in theatres and experiment to see which technique gives the best results. After a while this becomes intuitive and time may be spent thinking of the more artistic side.
Sound is another important element of a shoot because although your image quality may be the best in the world without good sound it will be very hard for the audience to appreciate the theater piece. It is as important to work on sound as on the visuals because of the emotion which the actors convey through their voices. On board camera microphones are usualy more prone to camera noise and getting ambient sound from the room so it may be best to get a microphone closer to the action for a cleaner better quality sound.
Filming theatre productions
Filming for the edit
Video taking: Several clips now available online
Geneva Lake Sensation: Edit from the 2004 Lake Sensation in Geneva, Switzerland
About the VX-2000 DV video camera, for those who appreciate good image quality even in low light
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