Something a little different; Claire Buxton is currently one of the on-stage shooting DOP’s right in middle of the action, in the famous London West End at the Dominon Theatre. Working alongside with the creative team at the Bat Out of Hell Musical production, Claire is embedded as part of the cast in this post-apocalyptic, ballad-stuffed quasi-opera. Committed to 8 shows a week in front of a 2,000 strong audience, you can see her there till the end of the year!
‘Bat Out Of Hell are delighted with the standard and professionalism of Reel Angels’ Jacqueline Morgan, Company Theater Manager.
We catch up with Claire to see how’s it going:
‘My role is on stage videographer, all handheld; I actually move around the stage amongst the cast. The purpose of this camera position is to capture key performances and details, that are projected on a screen for the audience to see. For example, there is a fight scene and we use the camera to highlight and showcase the moves of the key participants.
The challenges I face working like this, is remembering the different frame sizes and crop factors, as this changes throughout the show from scene to scene. Also the screen its projected onto does change during the show. Which makes framing quite complicated because it’s not the standard 16:9. There is also a slight delay on the screen, which I need to be mindful of and conscious that the image is scaled up, so all the framing and movement is magnified. I do feel on show, my camera work is live and I am aware that I am seen by the audience. And as such, I have to be conscious of how I move and of my posture. Filming or not filming, it makes no difference, I need to look engaged and professional at all times. There are scenes where there are only two cast members and myself on stage, where it is dialogue heavy, so I have to be careful my presence doesn’t distract the audience, i.e I move when the cast move. This takes practice, I was involved in weeks of rehearsals to learn all the scenes and camera movements.
There is a key scene, which is the bedroom set that the audience cannot see due to the four walls, however I am inside the room with my camera giving them a view inside via my live feed. This is a huge pressure to get right. I have to improvise, make split second decisions, alter shots live, even if the play is rehearsed, the cast don’t necessarily have marks like they do in a film, so it can change show to show and the cast swap around too. My previous experience as a Cinematographer and camera operator, gives me the expertise and confidence to make decisions on the shots I can take.
I think this the future of theatre, more and more videographers are going to be embedded in the show or close around the stage edge, to bring those details and intimate moments to the audience. We will see more mixed media, projections and led walls, using the D3 software, a media server opens up so much opportunities for live video feeds.’