Centre Stage for Cameras with All About Eve


Anthony Newton TV-Bay Magazine
Read ezine online
Download PDF
Download PDF

Taking its inspiration from the classic 1950 film, Ivo van Hove’s stage production of All About Eve, starring Gillian Anderson as theatre darling, Margo Channing, and Lily James as the eponymous Eve, retains the themes of ageing, celebrity and obsession. The piece, produced by Sonia Friedman Productions and Fox Stage Productions garnered stellar reviews during its recent run at London’s Noel Coward Theatre.

As with his previous productions including The Damned and Network, Ivo integrated live camera feeds into his staging, with a conscious choice to place operators onstage and in full view of the audience, creating a unique aesthetic. Production manager, Anthony Newton and video supervisor, Chris Jackson take us through the creative and technical thinking that brought Ivo’s vision to life on stage.

Creating a different perspective

“The set was designed with the cameras in mind, so we thought about how to incorporate them from day one,” begins Anthony. “There are several rooms within the main stage that are built and furnished in full detail, but that are hidden from the audience’s view; it’s only when the cameras go in to film one of the actors that we get to see inside.”

The production’s initial concept consisted of two roving cameras, with operators that move around the performers on stage. “From the first rehearsal, the operators were treated like additional cast members, making sure they could get the shots we needed, but without disrupting the flow of the scene,” Anthony explains. “It becomes like an elaborate dance routine as the camera plots its way around the action. We were able to collaborate with Ivo and set designer, Jan Versweyveld, and experiment to find the very best shots,” adds Chris.

In fact, the rehearsal process was so successful, it led to additional video elements being incorporated, including two ‘hidden’ cameras placed in a dressing room mirror where both lead actors gaze, with the live feeds mixed seamlessly into time-lapse sequences to show them ageing or morphing into each other.

As with previous productions, the team worked with Blackmagic Micro Studio Camera 4Ks for all four setups. The two roving units were paired with external Video Assists for monitoring, and rigged on Ronin M gimbals within Small Rig cages. This allowed the rigs to be lightweight but flexible enough to pull off some complex shots, for example, when the camera tracks Margo drunkenly struggling around the bathroom during a party scene.

Designing for minimal delay

Deploying a live system with very little delay in signal processing was critical, and Chris explains that rather than using a media server, the team opted for a fast production switcher and a HD workflow to handle the live feeds. “Signals from the roving units were transmitted wirelessly, and as much as we would have loved 4K images, it was a much more practical choice to keep everything to 1080p50, to make sure there was never any noticeable delay.”

Vision mixing and system control was done using Streamdecks running Bitfocus Companion, which allowed the team to build complex cues into a single button press. One Streamdeck was used to cut cameras and for playback control, where each page contained each of the cameras required for a particular scene. A second Streamdeck delivered system control, projector commands via PJ link, matrix switching and control for a series of HyperDeck recorders.

Effective live projection

As soon as Chris saw the set design, he knew that projection would be a challenge. “The matte red surface of the side and back walls was going to give us a very definite look, without any need for grading.”

The 10x4.5m back wall of the set became the main projection screen that needed to be filled. “It was almost an anamorphic aspect ratio, so with the cameras outputting a 16:9 image, we had some fairly heavy cropping and upscaling to fill the screen horizontally,” he continues. A bank of four stacked and blended Panasonic RZ120 projectors were selected as a solution that delivered minimal noise, and high luminance across a tricky projection surface.

“When it comes to digital glue, Blackmagic Design products make up a huge part in most of my theatre productions, and All About Eve was no exception, with relay monitors connected via Micro and Mini Converters, and our stage management team using the SmartScope Duo to monitor live feeds during each performance,” explains Chris.

“Originally, the director was going to call the camera cuts, but the mix of live feeds, effects and pre-recorded content continued to grow and grow,” concludes Anthony. “A flexible infrastructure, complemented by the micro cameras really helped the collaborative process with Ivo, because we knew we could incorporate more and more requests without the technology stifling the creative development of the production.”


Tags: iss138 | blackmagic design | micro studio camera | ronin | smartscope duo | Anthony Newton
Contributing Author Anthony Newton

Read this article in the tv-bay digital magazine
Download PDF
Article Copyright tv-bay limited. All trademarks recognised.
Reproduction of the content strictly prohibited without written consent.

Related Interviews
  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019: New Atem Mini

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019: New Atem Mini

  • Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

    Blackmagic Design 2500NIT HDR Video Assist 126 with BRAW Blackmagic Design at IBC 2019

  • Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic Design Pocket Cinema Camera BMPCC 4K at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Ultimatte at IBC 2017

  • Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

    Blackmagic Design Resolve 14, ATEM, URSA Mini PRo and more from IBC 2017

  • ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    ATEM TV Studio Pro HD from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

    Davinci Resolve 14 with Fairlight from Blackmagic Design at NAB 2017

  • Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

    Blackmagic Design at IBC 2016

  • Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

    Cintel Film Scanner: Blackmagic Design at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

    Blackmagic Design with the new ATEM Production Suite at IBC 2013

  • Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

    Blackmagic Design: Products at NAB 2013

  • Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

    Blackmagic Design at NAB 2012

  • Blackmagic ATEM Constellation 8k at NAB 2019

    Blackmagic ATEM Constellation 8k at NAB 2019

  • Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16 at NAB 2019

    Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve 16 at NAB 2019

  • Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

    Blackmagic introduces Blackmagic RAW (BRAW) at IBC 2018

  • Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic ATEM Television Studio Pro 4K at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

    Blackmagic Davinci Resolve 15 at NAB 2018

  • Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic MultiView at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

    Blackmagic and Fusion at IBC 2014

  • Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic URSA at NAB 2014

  • Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

    Blackmagic Studio Camera at NAB 2014

  • Autodesk at NAB 2013

    Autodesk at NAB 2013

  • Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

    Holdan and DaVinci at BVE North 2011

  • Blackmagic at IBC2011

    Blackmagic at IBC2011

  • Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ronin at BVE 2014

  • Atomos with the Ronin on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

    Atomos with the Ronin on BroadcastShow LIVE at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ronin at IBC 2013

  • Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

    Atomos Shogun and Ninja Star at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

    Atomos Operating System at NAB 2014

  • Atomos at NAB 2014

    Atomos at NAB 2014

  • Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Samurai Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

    Atomos Ninja Blade at BVE 2014

  • Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

    Atomos Ninja2 Recorder at IBC 2013

  • Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013

    Atomos new Samurai Blade at IBC 2013


Related Shows
  • Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC

    Day 3 of BroadcastShow at IBC


Articles
Taking a Stand at IBC - The Future of Exhibiting Clouds
Julian Wright If you’re reading KitPlus you probably don’t need us to tell you that, each year, the IBC Show attracts 1,700 exhibitors, each parting with a significant sum of money for the privilege of touting their wares from the darkened halls for five whole days. For the last eight years Blue Lucy has been one of these exhibitors and the show has always more than paid for itself in generating new business, as well as the less directly-tangible benefits from partnerships and networking opportunities.
Tags: iss140 | blue lucy | ibc | cloud | iabm | Julian Wright
Contributing Author Julian Wright Click to read
MEDIAPRO leads across the audiovisual value chain
Marc Andreu Valls

MEDIAPRO is a leading independent production company in Europe’s audiovisual market. Offering a full slate of technical and creative services, our portfolio includes everything from content production, to post production, to media and digital asset management, to the acquisition of sports TV rights, and the distribution and broadcast of television channels. We currently have 58 offices spread across 36 countries on four continents.

Tags: iss141 | signiant | mediapro | media shuttle | transport | Marc Andreu Valls
Contributing Author Marc Andreu Valls Click to read
Class: Pragmatism In Engineering
Bruce Devlin - new A couple of years ago, Hermann Popp from ARRI came to me and talked about putting MXF in ST 2110. My initial take away was that his proposal felt like exactly the right way to solve the problem he presented, but was completely counter-intuitive to the IP Engineering purists who would push back on the concept of double wrapping the content.
Tags: iss140 | mxf | st2110 | smpte | hermann popp | ip | Bruce Devlin - new
Contributing Author Bruce Devlin - new Click to read
A Place For Placements - TVFutures
Luca Di-Maio I've been interested in media all my life… making short films with my mates in Windows Movie Maker when I was little... I never really knew where I wanted to go career wise, but I knew I always liked video production. So it will come as no surprise that I chose a degree that would provide that outlet, and I hoped that dedicating three Years to studying BSc Television and Broadcasting at the University of Portsmouth would turn my fantasy career, into reality.
Tags: iss140 | portsmouth university | avid | nle | media composer | Luca Di-Maio
Contributing Author Luca Di-Maio Click to read or download PDF
Creating A Signature Look With Lighting
William Hellmuth As an LA-based DP, I view my role as a narrative storyteller. For me, cinematography is not just about getting some nice images – it’s about telling truths. I love being able to weave a story with imagery and capture something that’s real, whether through performance or visual symbolism. Lighting is one of my most important mechanisms for capturing those moments of truth.
Tags: iss140 | litepanels | gemini 2x1 | led | William Hellmuth
Contributing Author William Hellmuth Click to read or download PDF