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Thread: The Importance of Being Earnest - Act 1

  1. Default The Importance of Being Earnest - Act 1

    This is a stage play that I filmed as a favour to the stage company. I did the first act long before I did the second and third so I thought I'd ask for criticisms of each act individually. The first act is broken up into five parts. Each part is a video response to the previous part.

    The first part is here:

    Thank you and enjoy!

  2. #2


    1) The stage makes alot of noise when the actors walk. Perhaps a little EQ ; and a multiband compressor could reduce those nasty low frequencies.

    2) The audio sounded thin; like the mic(s) were a long way from the stage.

    3) The overall colour looks a little pink. Perhaps a little colour correction may help.

    4) Personally, I did not like to see too much of the stage floor. It looks like a stage floor; and looked like Wilde had set the play in a warehouse.

  3. #3


    Having recently filmed a stage play I understand the problems you had doing this shoot. Obviously the sound is an issue. I found the actors a bit burnt out in places which is another issue I had because of the stage lighting. I thought you had a nice variety of shots which helped to make it more watchable.

    Just one thing, don't cut to a camera until it has finished framing it's shot example 3:24.

    I thought is was a reasonable effort.

  4. #4


    I took the opportunity to extract the audio from the clip; and look at it in an audio editor.
    In addition to my earlier suggestions; I found the most helpful adjustments were:

    1) Remove low frequencies (e.g. anything below 150htz)

    2) Reduce the sibilance (I use Cubase's "De-esser", but it can be done using a mixture of other effects). Reducing the effect of the "S" sound certainly made it less jarring on the ears.

    3) Compression was very useful to reduce the wide range of volumes from the actors. Again, this reduced ear strain. However, this also tended to reinforce the background noise; which I guess is coming from the camera.

    4) The audio quality appears to change alot; depending on which camera (or camera position) was used. In effect; any mods to the sound might need to be done differently for the separate audio recordings.

  5. Default

    Thank you all for you input!

    I shot it with manual and constant exposure in an attempt to preserve the lighting effects of the show but I'm not sure that was the best idea since the stage itself wasn't lit particularly evenly. I also had the exposure just a tad too high so the brightest scenes were overexposed.

    Most (if not all) of the cuts that were made at inopportune times (such as before the camera had finished framing) were done because I'm not a very good camera operator. I had no other viable shot of the scene that wasn't moving. I should probably get some input on this issue 'cause opinions may differ in this regard. Obviously, some angles just aren't appropriate and can't be used. A moving, shaky shot is still better than a steady shot of people's backs. I also have the stage shot (you saw Act 1 open with it) which, in theory, I can always fall back to but I found that cutting to it was rarely appropriate. I was also concerned with continuity which sometimes made using the stage shot impossible in that regard. So either the cuts you're seeing are fairly optimal or I've put too much emphasis on continuity and shot theme (for lack of a better term)...

    Unfortunately, all I had was the mic on my camera so the sound capture is poor, although it is far better than I was afraid it was going to be. It never occurred to me that I could do some post-processing on the sound although I don't have any software with which to do it...

    Thank you all again for your remarks!

  6. #6


    Thats great advice from Paulears, What I did was go to a couple of rehearsals to familiarise my self with the story and basic positions of the talent. I then shot the play during the night of the tech rehearsals and then the following night of the dress rehearsal. This gave me plenty of footage to cut together.

    Shooting the play during the dress rehearsal also enables you to position mics nearer the action to reduce the amount of "room noise".

    Good luck if you ever do it again.

  7. Default

    I'm embarrassed to say that I did attend both dress rehearsals... and watched the dailies! It's just that it's a three hour play and I can't memorize exactly who is going to be where when, even after four viewings! I was hoping to be able to write down some sort of description of this to follow as I'm shooting but I found that to be a lot more work than I anticipated.

    Is there a standard way of plotting down a shot list (for lack of a better term)?

    I will undoubtedly shoot another play since I've done a couple of productions for this theatre company since then and I'm now the "go to" guy for videography, mostly because I actually get around to cutting the video and authoring the DVD. Most people just shoot the entire stage and pretend that's watchable...

  8. #8


    Again very good advice from Paulears. The way I did it was to draw a rough sketch of the stage and set. Then label the position of the talent and draw arrows of there movement. I also had a note book and made notes of important points of each scene, eg "Actor 1, having big emotional monologue", so I knew to have a close up of that.

    Unless you are the director of the play you can't be expected to know where everybody is supposed to be when and where etc.... So making notes of the key points really helped me. Do it scene by scene not the whole lot in one go.

    I had a tip from Gaffer about how to solve the lighting issue. He advise keeping the camera on manual iris control and as the talent moves from a dark point to a light point of the stage adjust the iris a little to keep the exposer correct for the talent.

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