Author Topic: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's  (Read 5561 times)

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Mac Calder

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Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« on: Jul 14, 2006, 01:40 am »
Whilst this is technically theatre (hence a resident of the other forum), it is so obscure that I think it belongs here rather than in the other forum. However feel free to move it mods ;-)

I have a show, opening in 4 months - so a while away, but there are a few technical challenges I need a bit of help with, and need to get sorted out ASAP.

The venue for this show is an abandoned.... I am hesitant to use the word mansion, so "Big House". It is four stories high. 8 bedrooms etc. When I was approached for this job they said "We know that you like technical challenges, and the fringe, well we think we have a challenge for you".

The show is basically a ghost story, the audience moving through the house the show is based on the theory of "Each room tells a story" and "Each person who lives in a house leaves an imprint upon it".

The problem is, I have 1 LX op, 1 Sound Op, and quite a large number of technical elements - hence I cannot do what I did the last time I was doing a house show (2 sets of ops doing alternate rooms) - I have instead dedicated one of the cloak rooms as 'the booth'. My origional thoughts were to cue things through actions - either actors doing things that trip switches, or me in the adience tripping switches, however that was vetoed. Next thought was to install cameras in each room - just cheap IR ones. Again, that was vetoed. I have access to wireless cans, which is a good thing, however I cannot be in the same room as the audience, as some of the rooms are quite small. The entire show is 1 hour long, and we will be doing 4 shows a night most nights.

As the house is abandoned and scheduled to be demolished 2 weeks after we close, I have permision to modify the house extensively, which is why I am asking so far in advance.

So my question, after all of that is basically - "How on earth would you deal with this sort of show? And how would you call it when you cannot be in the room, your ops are blind and you have no cameras?"
« Last Edit: Jul 14, 2006, 01:50 am by Mac Calder »

loebtmc

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #1 on: Jul 14, 2006, 01:51 am »
For environmental shows like this, you kinda don't do normal cueing - I did one where we had an elaborate stage set-up and cued it all over headsets, but we moved with the audience/with the show. For a piece like Tamara (and several of us can put you in touch w the folks who SMd that) indeed the cues were room-specific and therefore whomever the nearby tech was cued those on their own. There is no way to confirm that the folks in different parts of the house are at the same points on any given nite without actually being in the room w the actors - so lights/sounds were minimized and run from behind by ASMs who traveled w the actors and cued on their own. The SM acted more as a PSM - the life and death is mostly props and that everything is set up /cleared perfectly. Sound and lights cue were minimal.

Mac Calder

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #2 on: Jul 14, 2006, 02:37 am »
The problem is this has an AWFUL lot of SFX and LX. We only have one LX board (and 30 touring pack dimmers, so one per rooms or so + some movers) and sound is mainly SFX, also only one board, so 2 ops sitting at desks, cuing for many rooms, which means it does need complete cueing. I am planning on memorising every single cue so that I can move alot faster (no book to lug arround). I was just throwing arround ideas with a few other members of the team through IM, and currently we are thinking of putting holes in the wall in different places so that I can use peep holes, or putting large window type holes in the wall then hangining painting over them - and using painted gauze for the paintings instead of canvas.

The show is like a tour, there is a 'narator' who leads everyone through the house, so I am guaranteed to have complete run of the house whilst they are in a particular room, which is good.
« Last Edit: Jul 14, 2006, 02:38 am by Mac Calder »

centaura

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #3 on: Jul 14, 2006, 07:38 am »
I was on tour once where we did the show in an arena, on arena staging.  The rental lighting company set up the light board 'backstage' behind the curtain, and not close enough for me to even peek through the curtain.  I was both SM and light board operator for the tour.  So, without any time to try this set-up out, and no ability to move or change it, I had to call the show totally blind, going purely on lines and the sounds of the actors.  I was familiar enough with the show that I could imagine the scenes in my head, and the actors later said that I was pretty darn close on the cues that didn't come off of lines.

They've vetoed cameras (how strong a veto was that?), would they veto mics being placed around?  If you worked at it from the begining going off of lines and sounds, you might be able to do one or two rooms that way, if there are some rooms that you can't get close enough to to put your 'picture' in.  Or, would you might be able to put different ops in different locations around the house, each with a room or rooms they were assigned to 'view'?

Though I like the picture idea, if you can put your ops together in one space and have you follow the show around and call from adjacent rooms.  Even if you're not able to fully memorize, if you have different watching stations around, you could have the pertinent parts of the script at each watching station so that you're not lugging it around.

Have fun, sounds like an interesting challenge.  No problem with it being posted here, I see 'other' as other types of spaces as well as other types of shows.

-Centaura

Mac Calder

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #4 on: Jul 14, 2006, 06:20 pm »
It was an extreamly strong veto - I even suggested using a "Spy" camera, integrated into the narators costume and they vetoed it. I have NO idea why. I am planning on micing rooms to a certain extent - I own 8 SM57's which I plan on hiding around the space.

The main reason is there is no hire budget I think, because we are being sponsored by a lighting company and have beg, borrowed and stolen the rest of the equiptment we are currently going to use (maybe not stolen)

It does look like fun though... I cannot wait!

ChaCha

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #5 on: Nov 27, 2006, 08:04 am »
Hey Mac,
How did this show go? Did you solve the puzzle?
Cheers,
ChaCha
ChaCha

Mac Calder

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Re: Odd venue, close quarters and blind op's
« Reply #6 on: Nov 27, 2006, 02:31 pm »
It was great fun! I ended up using a number of peep holes hidden throughout the house, as well as gauze paintings in some rooms, and one way mirrors in others. It was difficult at first to remember which room/hole/opening I needed to use when - as some rooms I needed to change angles to see certain actions.

Was it stressful at times? Sure
Would I do it again? In a heart beat.

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