Re: Thanks and a couple of questions

isabelle jenniches (
Fri, 15 Jul 1904 22:24:20 +0200

Dear Greg, Jeff and list:

You adress a familiar question. Each time I attempt to use live video in a
performance a different solution has to be found for the camera since the
situation/story is different each time.
It can be, as Greg described, a camera man/woman that operates from above/next
to/in front of the stage, giving close ups and adding different angles
to the
spectators experience. This setup lends itself best for, again like Greg said
"In-the-spotlight kind of stuff." For more intimate scenes it can be disturbing.
Then suddenly the camera seems agressive and voyeuristic. A static camera
softens this effect, but still inevitably the piece will get an
undertone of
"the human being as seen through media". It seems to be impossible to
make a
piece using media without the media to be the/a subject of the piece!
The camera operator as member of the cast is a third solution. There are
wonderful examples of dances for camera operator and performer; I
usually enjoy
the contrasting ways of moving next to each other -filming somebody
dancing has
its own elegancy and yes I would call this dance (butter? cream!).
Difficulties arise when a very specific camera behaviour is wanted. I usually
find images and angles by first doing the camera work myself. This is
probably a
mistake, since it is impossible to copy somebody else's "camera eye"! I usually
have to operate the realtime processing of the live video data during the
performance, so I am very much depending on the camera person. I guess
this is
like the situation on a film set where the understanding and close working
together of director and camera person is of major importance.

Best, Isabelle


Greg Baskind wrote:

> I did lights for a dance performance in a nightclub in Austin.
> The whole show was taped by a camera woman.
> While the performance happened, she was moving around with the camera.
> It was a good thing in the more chaotic dances...lights
> flashing..lots of shadows...and this mysterious camera person
> waddling and crouching, prowling around the dancers. I liked it.
> The themes of the dance lent themselves well to this extra aesthetic element.
> The themes had commentary on Popularity, Press, Modeling, Vanity,
> In-the-spotlight kind of stuff.
> It was not a procenium stage...more like 3/4 theatre in the round
> with sunken stage and 16 Highend light instruments (nightclub style)
> to create atmosphere.
> My guess is that the camera would have to led itself to the themes on
> the dance.
> Not just a random element.
> Unless...
> Have you played Descent 3. It's an amazing 3D, 1st person game.
> There is this feature in the game called a guidebot. This little
> flying spotlight moves ahead of you, exploring and obeying your
> commands. In the Heads Up Display, there is a monitor. The monitor
> shows what the guidebot is seeing. It's quite a neat effect to have
> the main view and a little extended perspective.
> Much like the Huge TV screens at Baseball, Basketball and Football
> stadiums...Rock concerts too.
> Camera operators always on the sidelines and in the fly's.
> Hope that helps.
> PS...where can I get BigEye.
> Greg
> >Colleagues,
> >
> >Having just returned from the 2000 Feet Festival, I would like to report
> >that the use of the BigEye sound canvas with Jin-Wen Yu's choreography was a
> >success. I personally want to thank Richard Povall, Mark Coniglio, Tom
> >DeMeyer, and the others who helped with my panicky attempts to get my
> >computer/video/sound module setup working. There was interest in the
> >system, and in the use of technology with dance in general. One slight damp
> >note was when I was referred to as the pieces' "computer programmer" and it
> >took me a while to figure out why. There's no shame in the title per se,
> >but it's like referring to a dancer as a "leaper". Just because it's part
> >of what you do, doesn't mean it's what you are. I referred to myself at the
> >conference as a performance technologist. I'm curious to know what titles
> >others have used in similar situations?
> >
> >Also, I'm curious to know if anyone using the BigEye or other sensing
> >systems have experimented with the use of a camera operator to add to the
> >flexibility of the system? For that matter, any work which involves live
> >video would require some kind of aesthetic framing choices on the fly (as
> >opposed to editing choices, which have more time). I find often that when
> >I'm using a camera it feels a lot like an improvisational dance, especially
> >when documenting a piece I've not seen before (I shudder to think of the
> >people who will berate me now for a) referring to operating a camera as
> >dance and b) referring to documentation of a dance as being artistic. Oh,
> >well.)
> >
> >Does anyone else have experiences/opinions on the camera operator as an
> >aesthetic influence to the dance?
> >
> >Jeff