Gig Blog: IMAG for a big Orchestra and Choir – preparation is the key!

64 piece orchestra, 50 strong choir, IMAG, song
words, and a presentation. A potential nightmare? Forewarned is
forearmed!

I have to admit I was dreading this one. It was the
finale of our festival stint this year, and the more I learned the more I
started to panic. This was a PROPER orchestra, who had been on BBC TV ‘Songs of
Praise’ and everything. Their home gig was the Albert Hall in London, and could
nip into BBC Broadcasting House in between verses of a Hymn on Sunday
mornings.

Safe to say I was a bit
intimidated – all my optimism and creativity couldn’t make up for the fact that
I was, on paper at least, a rank amateur trying to do a professional
job.

THEN I realised what was going to
save me.

Preparation.

I had one week to do something about
it. I couldn’t make myself a better vision mixer in one week, but I could make
myself better prepared to mix this particular show. I emailed the right people
and got the stage plot, and the running order. Great start. I worked out some
rough camera positions and listed all the possible shots I might need and
checked I could get them all. My wife and I attended another of their concerts
in a different city a few days before. We took copious notes about solos,
arrangements and met with the production staff to check our ideas with them. We
went over the presentation with the presenter before the event. We typed in some
of the song words in case they decided they wanted them onscreen (they did), we
talked to our pro cameraman to get his input on camera angles and
positions.

So.. how did it
go?

Well, pretty jolly well actually.
Everything ran smoothly, and we received quite a few positive comments about all
aspects of the show, including the video.

Yes
we made mistakes. I forgot to balance the projector colour, so one was slightly
out from the other.

I forgot to focus one of
the static cams (on the front of the balcony!!), so we couldn’t use it, and I
hit a few wrong buttons in moments of panic. But overall it enhanced the event
and that, after all is the main purpose.

It
has been a watershed event for me, and I will certainly appoach future events
with a new focus on pre-event preparation.

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