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Filming Musicals/shows


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#1 mystifyre

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 09:02 PM

This sprung to mind today and thought it would make a fitting and interesting topic for discussion. Do you think that West End musical productions should be professionally recorded and released on DVD, perhaps similar to that of the Australian production of Love Never Dies?

Releasing full footage of a show would probably cut the amount of bootlegging that goes on, would appeal to those who cannot afford to see these shows and experience them in all their glory/can't travel abroad etc, and many audiences would probably buy the DVD to remember the show in years to come so the filiming of shows would probably not affect ticket sales. After all, a DVD can never match the real experience.

What does everyone else think? Pros and cons?

#2 jamescrispy94

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Posted 26 October 2012 - 11:20 PM

I think it's only good when the show has more or less come to the end of its life like Love Never Dies has and Jerry Springer The Opera. Or the original productions that have stopped like the 1982 recording of Sweeney Todd (although the Chichester/Adelphi should have definately been recorded!). But say if a show like Blood Brothers was to be recorded, which a lot of its audiences are schools studying for GCSEs, then it would be easier to watch the DVD hence a fall in ticket prices.

#3 Matthew Winn

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 05:34 AM

I'd agree that recording a show probably won't affect sales. Cats was filmed in 1997 and ran for another four and a half years, and - though a slightly different situation - the film of Phantom of the Opera didn't stop people going to see the show on stage. If there is an attitude of "we'll see it on DVD and save our money" then it doesn't appear to be widespread among the people who are likely to want to see the show in the first place.

One of the problems with filming productions is that it's expensive and can be disruptive for the audience. To do a good job of it you either have to fill the theatre with cameras and annoy the audience, or you have to record the show without an audience and incur costs equivalent to playing to empty houses for a week. For smaller shows it can't make economic sense: the sales will never cover the cost of production.

And if you don't do a good job of it - by doing it on the cheap with a couple of fixed cameras at the back - then the results are almost unwatchable. Everything is too detached from the viewer; it's like standing in the street and watching the show through a window. Better not to do it at all, because a poor recording just makes the show itself look bad.
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#4 Lover

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Posted 27 October 2012 - 06:36 AM

You would never believe how expensive it is to actually film a show.

Matthew has hit it really - the sales will never cover the cost of the production. Cats and a few others are an exception to the rule. You either have to take it off the stage and film it - Nine, Joseph, Phantom, Les Mis (Soon to be) or leave it on the stage and restage to suit. Cats being one of the main. (Never seen JS the Opera)

Cats for instance is sold world over, and in fact, its even used for EPK footage for some countries until their own is recorded. In China, its been everywhere on TV until the Chinese show actually filmed their own a few days into the opening of their Chinese tour. So you can continue to make money off it .

However the costs for either are huge. Your not just talking about a few cameras filming it and publishing.

Contractually for sales, then you are going onto a commercial contract with the artistes, the band, technicians. Its a whole world that really cant afford to be explored.

Also - really how many buy DVD's now. Ok - im sure most of us do, but give it 1 day, itll be on the old tube, so you can see for free. Both potentially damaging sales to the main show (if still going) and sales of DVD's .

#5 Lynette

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Posted 28 October 2012 - 10:30 AM

I thought they were were doing recordings of plays and shows for posterity.  I don't know who ' they' are but wasn't this once discussed? Matthew's point about doing it well is very important. The recent Tennant Hamlet and the all black actor Julius Caesar are good on the whole but unless you make it like a movie , it doesn't work. The tv Histories are excellent IMO because they open up but not too much , keeping some theatricality. But I prefer to see a show in person or to see a proper movie. Interestingly, I saw the movie of My Fair Lady again recently. I had always thought this was pretty good but now I can't wait for a remake. So I think tastes change with the technology.

#6 Beth

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:10 PM

View PostLynette, on 28 October 2012 - 10:30 AM, said:

I thought they were were doing recordings of plays and shows for posterity.    I don't know who ' they' are but wasn't this once discussed?

I think the National Theatre does - don't they keep them in the NT archives?  But possibly just the quality of picture that you can see on the monitor in the foyer.

#7 peggs

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Posted 29 October 2012 - 10:24 PM

View PostBeth, on 29 October 2012 - 10:10 PM, said:

I think the National Theatre does - don't they keep them in the NT archives?  But possibly just the quality of picture that you can see on the monitor in the foyer.
Yeah they do and I think you can request to watch things but yes you may be right about it just being the monitor view. I like the idea of filming shows as you can then re-watch them although as noted above it isn't anywhere near seeing the real thing and the costs involved are lengthy. To my regret I soon forget details about things I've seen and just remember really liking them, it's amazing how something that can seem to burnt across you mind quickly fades. I suppose this means you can endlessly re set things you've previously seen but I'd like a better memory to re-live them.

#8 craftymiss

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Posted 06 November 2012 - 03:26 PM

Digital Theatre http://www.digitaltheatre.com/ film shows, very good.  I use them for teaching




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