6-camera Ballet Broadcast

Training Academy Blog

As the Televideo Training Academy team head into the third month of their 1-year program, we asked them to chronicle a day in the life of an apprentice. Two members of the group were given the opportunity to assist on an OB for clients at Karma – for a production to be aired on BBC Four.

“Today we worked on a production for one of the country’s leading contemporary dance companies, Rambert Ballet, at the Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. They were performing their new work “The Creation”, as their 90th anniversary celebration, which is to be made into a programme for BBC Four.

The Sadler's Wells Theatre is one of the world's leading dance venues, established in 1683. It has recently been refurbished, and had positions for six cameras; three covering central positions, one each for stage right and left, and a final camera for the wide static shot from the balcony. We had the opportunity to help assemble all the cameras - including tripods with the vector heads, cradles with box lenses, OLED viewfinders, and zoom and focus demand controls.

It was interesting to see the PEDs (short for pedestal), which are essentially the tripods on wheels that have the ability to easily raise the camera up and down, and move around across the floor. They have air hydraulics to allow for smooth camera motion – the air has a tendency to escape, so we had a go with the pumps!

After this small workout we helped to set up the lights and observed an interview being filmed with the Rambert company choreographer, Mark Baldwin. The interview was filmed with two cameras and a wireless mic, and the producer used the stage set as a background. This will be sued as part of the programme edit.

I was surprised to see how different the filming process was, in comparison to the sports OBs I have been on so far. On sports OBs the camera operators follow the director’s instructions during the game, after a pre-match briefing. On this event, each of the cameras had a script holder attached for the operators to follow. The director’s assistant would call out the current scene number and which camera was going to be cut to next. The camera operators would receive the instructions for upcoming high lifts or jumps, so they could frame it accordingly. It was really interesting to see this scripted style of the filming. In the truck there was an absence of replays, graphics and the general unpredictability of a live sport broadcast, as everything was scripted and planned to perfection.

We really enjoyed this experience and learned a lot, and are looking forward to our next challenge.”

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