The curse of the wide shot

Wide shots are for TV. They have no place in true
IMAG …

There is a great temptation, as you stare at the
monitors at your control point to only think of live video as being like TV,
then of course you will want to include some nice wide shots to set the context
etc.

But, if your audience can already see
the stage, you are only showing them what they can already see with their own
eyes, so it is pointless and
distracting.

You have to think THEATRE,
not TV. What can they not see themselves? What will enhance their viewing from
where they are?

A simple rule of thumb
– if the person is the same size on the screen as they are in real life, you are
not doing IMAG and the shot is a waste of time. It’s not called Image
MAGNIFICATION for nothing.

If you find you
can ONLY get people the same size or close to real life then either your screen
is too small, or your cameras are too far away, or your camops are not using the
zoom, or a combination of all the
above.

The complication, of course, is
if you are trying to do IMAG and TV at the same time, i.e. if you are recording
the show, or are filming for a spill-over room or a webcast or
similar.

In this case there is a direct
conflict between the need of the local audience and the needs of the remote
audience. The best solution is to do two separate mixes on two separate mixers
fed from the same cameras, and to add a ‘wide cam’ option for the remote mix
only.

The next best thing is to mix the
cameras separately from any song words, and when the song words are on the imag
screen you cut to wide shots on the cameras and use that feed to go to tape or
the remote location. This falls over if the remote location need words
too.

Finally, if you have to you can feature
an occasional wide shot in an IMAG feed if it is shared with a remote
location.

The only exception to this
rule is if you are short staffed and are very limited in the shots you can mix
between and you need a ‘safe’ wide to go to when you have nothing else, but in
this case you should really go for a safe mid shot rather than a true
wide.

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