fbpx

Live Production Look-Back: Peace Through Music

Live Production Look-Back: Peace Through Music

Our newest Live Production Look-Back installment revisits a classical music concert that we produced at DAR Constitution Hall in Washington, DC in the spring of 2014.  We shot with 12 cameras and produced a live-to-tape concert in front of dignitaries and world leaders.  Enjoy.

The Gist:

In May 2014, Broadcast Management Group was contracted to produce a live-to-tape classical music concert which aired internationally on PBS.  BMG was responsible for producing the entire event – meaning we had full ownership of all the staging, rigging, lighting, audio, and venue negotiation in addition to all the video production elements.  The program, titled “Peace Through Music”, featured an 80-person orchestra and 150-person choir and was a celebration of the canonization of Pope John Paul II.  The concert was conducted by renowned composer, Sir Gilbert Levine (known as “the Pope’s Maestro” due to his relationship with Pope John Paul II).

The Challenge:  

For this particular project, our client wanted to hire a director and AD who had extensive experience shooting classical
broadcast consulting, event production company, event production, live event production, video production, production companies, production services, live production, video productions, video production companies, live video production companies, video streamingmusic concerts and who had worked with Sir Gilbert on past occasions.  Both the director and AD were based in Germany and BMG was responsible for getting them to the states.  Collectively, they had put together one of the most detailed script books I’ve ever seen. They had the entire production mapped out – shot by shot – perfectly timed to each piece of music (some of the cuts were 1-2 seconds long).  Because the production was so meticulously choreographed, they wanted to make sure that each camera operator had a copy of the script book (as I recall, it was 100+ pages) and that each script book was attached to the camera tripod or pedestal in some manner.  This took some maneuvering.  We ended up having to consolidate the book by just printing the shot sheet for each individual camera position.  For a few positions, we had to have PA’s manually flipping through the script books during the live taping so they could follow along without missing any cues.  I think a lot of our camera ops were intimidated by the book, though no one wanted to admit it.  But it didn’t slow anyone down – we had a great show.  With a production this large and complex, it’s ironic that one of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to accommodate a request by the director.music concerts and who had worked with Sir Gilbert on past occasions.  Both the director and AD were based in Germany and BMG was responsible for getting them to the states.  Collectively, they had put together one of the most detailed script books I’ve ever seen. They had the entire production mapped out – shot by shot – perfectly timed to each piece of music (some of the cuts were 1-2 seconds long).  Because the production was so meticulously choreographed, they wanted to make sure that each camera operator had a copy of the script book (as I recall, it was 100+ pages) and that each script book was attached to the camera tripod or pedestal in some manner.  This took some maneuvering.  We ended up having to consolidate the book by just printing the shot sheet for each individual camera position.  For a few positions, we had to have PA’s manually flipping through the script books during the live taping so they could follow along without missing any cues.  I think a lot of our camera ops were intimidated by the book, though no one wanted to admit it.  But it didn’t slow anyone down – we had a great show.  With a production this large and complex, it’s ironic that one of the biggest challenges was figuring out how to accommodate a request by the director.

The Outcome:

I was positioned in the production truck during the taping and I was able to witness – firsthand – two composers:  One on stage, and one on the front bench.  It was a surreal experience to broadcast consulting, event production company, event production, live event production, video production, production companies, production services, live production, video productions, video production companies, live video production companies, video streamingsay the least.  The director was not calling cameras – simply snapping his finger when he wanted to cut to the next shot.  Some cuts were literally so quick he didn’t have time to verbally call them out.  Our TD was on-cue the entire production, never missing a shot or punching the wrong camera.  There were times when he wasn’t even looking at the switcher (or “vision mixer” as our German friends called it), he was following along in the script book and cutting cameras.

After the taping was over, the director gathered all the crew together inside the venue to thank everyone for their work.  He told that he felt as if was “working at home” – which means a lot coming from a director who does these type of productions regularly.

Want more?  Check out our other Live Production Look-Back for our global town hall with Hillary Clinton.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Contact Us

Your Name (required):

Production Date:

Subject:

Your Email (required):

Project Budget:

Your Message: