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The single camera audition... vs. the multi-camera audition
Old 27th November 2022
  #1
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🎧 15 years
The single camera audition... vs. the multi-camera audition

I do not suppose that multi-camera auditions would even be accepted, anywhere at any time by anyone. I get the concept of why that would be: with a single camera, unedited, there's no opportunity for chicanery, and I guess it's the most like if someone were standing infront of you, auditioning.

But I always set up a couple cameras-- the body shot, the close-up, the take-in-the-room... and I always deliver an edited, produced version, as well as the single camera mandated one.

And the difference between the two versions is staggering-- when you zoom in on the facial expressions, and fade back to the grandiose room, and put a pacing to the performance... man! I keep telling myself self, it's the exact same soundtrack! how can it be such a different experience?

And then there's that soundtrack... of course it's eq'd and compress'd and the levels adjusted, but isn't that a similar slippery slope? If the tone of the violin is really actually smoother than it was on the original capture, is that cheating? No? If in the room is was a tad sharp or the tonality wavering, but on the soundtrack it's sweetly mellow.... can I be accused of intentionally fooling someone?

This perhaps gets back to the mantra that all recording is a fraud-- it's not really happening, like real life really happens... but I guess the idea is supposedly it's not excessively fraudulent... right?
Old 27th November 2022
  #2
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Keep in mind that an audition tape is supposed to replicate the experience of a candidate standing in front of the admissions panel. It is not supposed to sound like it was recorded in Carnegie Hall. You want the playing to stand out, not the production values. It's not that you don't want to be accused of fooling someone, it's that -- if you succeed -- you've done the candidate a disservice. Here's why:

The best that comes out of a successful audition tape is that a prospective student will be invited to appear in person for a final round of auditions. That's probably going to be costly. Candidates will likely be heard one after another in a classroom or hotel conference room. If they can't deliver the goods, they'll be quickly dismissed and the next candidate called in. The acting "cattle calls" you see portrayed in movies? It's as brutal as that. If you manage to get someone an audition for someplace where they don't belong, you've cost them humiliation and an expensive airfare.

Let's review what the audition panel wants from this process. At a local university, they want to know whether the candidate plays well enough to be worth teaching. They'll rarely hear an entirely flawless performance; the point is to demonstrate that a prospective student posesses a reasonably solid foundation of technique and has worked hard to prepare for the audition; the inference is that they will be a diligent student in the future.

At the other end of the spectrum, everyone who appears in the second round of auditions for an elite conservatory will already possess impeccable technique. It's possible to play perfectly and still be passed over for admission. Winning a slot requires displaying uncommon musical insight and/or a special kind of charisma. That's what's needed to draw the attention of one's future teacher, because it's not only about whether a candidate will be admitted; it's about who on the panel will agree to have that particular candidate as their student.

That's a long-winded way of saying that you need to very careful about doing anything in post production that might be considered camouflage. It's tempting to add some nice reverb from a your Bricasti but beware: your client wasn't hearing that reverb in session and their playing won't match it musically. Better that they're heard responding to the actual room. Pick a nice one for the session but lean to the side of clarity in your mic placement. Compression? I think not. A player's natural dynamics and how they are employed are evidence of their musicianship.

By all means, produce a "prettified" version that will be fun for the player to share with family and friends; just emphasize that they must not submit it, lest their application be rejected for non-compliance with the rules.

David
Old 27th November 2022
  #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
I do not suppose that multi-camera auditions would even be accepted, anywhere at any time by anyone. [. . .]
Over time—within more forward leaning institutions and panelists—there will doubtless be movement away from old notions and unhealthy constraints. Meanwhile, talent speaks for itself.

Would any competent music teacher not immediately recognize both talent and potential in Jacob Collier after a single pass through In The Bleak Midwinter [10 cameras]?

Of course, it shouldn’t require more than one camera for a competent music teacher to spot that he indeed had talent and potential. But there is clearly a lot they wouldn’t see if that were their only view.

So on the off chance the review board doesn’t like the single camera audition, the talent will have your multi-camera production to put up on YouTube. . .where someone with more vision will hopefully see it.


Culture is not static. Neither always need be the processes by which talent and potential are recognized or judged.

Ray H.
Old 27th November 2022
  #4
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
(...) This perhaps gets back to the mantra that all recording is a fraud-- it's not really happening, like real life really happens... but I guess the idea is supposedly it's not excessively fraudulent... right?
i wouldn't call it 'fraud' but i'm deeply convinced that no matter what (gear or technique is getting used), neither on the way in nor on the way out the experience of 'being there' can get captured or reproduced - that doesn't mean that one cannot convey a rather credible, convincing, flattering or moving rendition of a performance...

...but yeah, both a multi-mic and a multi-camera capture/mix can reveal far greater details and be way less boring than the typical a/b capture plus distant camera shot!

anyway, as in broadcasting, stick to the regulations which can be quite strict for auditions - and use a small sample of your advanced production skills as a calling card for a later, more ambitious and better paid opportunity.
Old 27th November 2022 | Show parent
  #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Rick ➡️
everyone who appears in the second round of auditions for an elite conservatory will already possess impeccable technique.
For piano? maybe... but for operatic voice? Not at all (even at the master's 2nd round auditions for top conservatories).

Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
But I always set up a couple cameras-- the body shot, the close-up, the take-in-the-room... and I always deliver an edited, produced version, as well as the single camera mandated one.

And the difference between the two versions is staggering-
This is amazing... I'd love to see one of your multi-shot tapes if one of your clients has them online.

I know a lot of people who have audition tapes made, and I am *almost* the only person I know who has set up multiple cameras for this. Honestly, I have had world class (truly!) opera coaches think it was weird that we were setting up a bunch of mics and a couple cameras, as nowadays a ton of opera audition tapes are made with an iphone on a selfie stick or a mirrorless camera (with builtin mics) on a basic tripod, clipping be damned. It doesn't make any sense to me---hundreds of thousands of dollars/scholarships and thousands of hours go into a good voice, but people still make a lot of really low quality audition tapes.

Unless you go to UCLA, of course, where there is often 100k+ of gear running in the room when they're taping, not to mention a bunch of music tech and film students shooting artsy B-roll and interesting bonus mic setups.
Old 27th November 2022
  #6
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
At the local conservatory there are very strict rules for producing an audition tape. One camera, locked down, and the audio cannot be "augmented" or "improved". There have been students who used some people from the film department to do their audition tapes and some students have had other students try and do some "post processing" to the audio but in both cases the student doing the audition runs the risk of having their audition tape tossed out for not following the rules...FWIW

In the "good olde days" the audition tapes were reel to reel or cassettes and ranged from someone laying a microphone on the piano to professionally done studio recordings and the faculty had no problems hearing the "true talent" no matter the media or the production.
Old 27th November 2022
  #7
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apotheosis's Avatar
I am at both sides of the table: I often record audition tapes, but I am also jury chair of the international harpsichord competition in Bruges.
I can only speak for myself, but I will always prefer to have 'enhanced' audio, in the sense of making it as beautiful as possible, instead of a dry Zoom recording, which technically is fine enough and can meet all requirements and do the job. Yet my listening will be more challenged and I will sense more fatigue from a worse recording than from a beautiful one, with some EQ and reverb etc. The better it sounds, the better it sounds. It is only that human.
If you take out the enhancement parameter, you should define the sort of acoustics and positioning of microphones. Because two excellent microphones in a bad hall will need enhancements while two excellent microphones in a splendid hall will not need that. Same with video.

I think we are slowly going towards, in these digital ages where a good recording is actually quite affordable, expecting a good audition video from all angles: performance, video and audio. If you are willing to spend time on finding a good location and perhaps invest a little money in good material and/or a good engineer, it proves that you are willing to go for it. A quick cheap recording with your phone does not prove that last step. And let's be honest: recording an audition tape can costs way less than owning a new iPhone.

In the end, it will always be the performance that counts, as it should be. But yes, a human jury will always be influenced by how things look and sound, too.
Old 27th November 2022
  #8
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🎧 15 years
There is a huge difference between enhanced audio VxS manipulated audio. (Pitch and Meter correction manipulation are clearly fraudulent sonic protocols)
Hugh
Old 27th November 2022
  #9
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🎧 10 years
What interests the panel is the calibre of the playing...not the acoustic surrounding the playing. A badly recorded sample that still permits the expressiveness and playing nuances of the candidate to shine through shouldn't count against them.

Similarly if you can reduce slap echoes, excessive reverb or background noises, this is going to provide a more direct 'listener path' for the audition panel...and providing you've done nothing to pitch-enhance, dynamics-expand or compress or otherwise tamper with the DNA of their playing, you've allowed their work to be heard more clearly.

The aim of auditions is to provide a level playing field...so that candidates can show the best they are capable of. A multi-cam edit arguably adds nothing to reveal more about their playing than a front-on, full view of the candidate's playing fingers or mouth and posture.

If the submission criteria don't specify otherwise, by all means remove any impediments to the panel's appreciation of the playing...but err on the side of less manipulation rather than more, as too much information can be a bad and unwanted thing (for a panel)

Last edited by studer58; 27th November 2022 at 08:48 PM..
Old 27th November 2022 | Show parent
  #10
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Brent Hahn's Avatar
 
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🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
At the local conservatory there are very strict rules for producing an audition tape. One camera, locked down, and the audio cannot be "augmented" or "improved". There have been students who used some people from the film department to do their audition tapes and some students have had other students try and do some "post processing" to the audio but in both cases the student doing the audition runs the risk of having their audition tape tossed out for not following the rules...
A pro mixer/sound designer can pull it off. It doesn't have to have detectable reverb to be enhanced. Not saying you should.
Old 27th November 2022
  #11
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🎧 15 years
There is a much bigger market for video produced to attract bookings than to get music scholarships at a given institution. The more important question is : How important is an authentic, single camera unedited video shoot to convince promoters that they are watching the actual performance that can be expected on their stage. I learned more than 30 years ago that videos of high school players seeking basketball scholarships hinged around the whole game and not their highlights.
With the Bluegrass configurations I generally work with, single camera shoots can be very successful in displaying both the right hand pick technique and left hand work up and down the neck of the whole band's instruments all the time. This is particularly true when the musicians are seated to offer a clear view of all. The biggest mistake we often make is a confused notion of the real mission of the video work we do. Are fancy transitions and close ups, that we all can do, as important as an uncut authentic capture with the exact audio processing that will be delivered on the promoters stage?

I use a GH5 with a Lumix 12/35 lens and an Atomos V recorder with audio that is fed direct from my SQ5 deck with prime I/Os. There is no musician monitor cueing of any kind, they listen and play off of each other. This is the world of session ready musicians that I work with and their custom videos are designed to attract gigs, not CD sales.
Hugh
Old 28th November 2022
  #12
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
I've done some audition videos, and some "entertainment" videos. I've also found an interesting thing about the "entertainment" videos. It seems that the better the performance is, the less need there is for frequent cut aways, pans, zooms, etc. If a performance can stand on its own, there is little need for fancy editing. I can't see the need for multi cam editing for an audition tape. If the video is clear and well framed, and the audio is clean, there is no need for anything else. As others have said, it could have negative consequences--the greatest of which could be disqualification for perceived manipulation, even if the performance itself wasn't manipulated.
Old 28th November 2022 | Show parent
  #13
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn ➡️
A pro mixer/sound designer can pull it off. It doesn't have to have detectable reverb to be enhanced. Not saying you should.

You are correct.

One requirement that we got was to have time code on the screen at all times. I guess the people who were viewing the "audition" wanted to make sure there was no editing. The trick of course would be to record the whole audition without time code, do the editing and then insert time code in post. In another session they wanted a "large analog clock" shown on a music stand next to the performer to show that the audition tape was not edited.

In the "olde days" we had to sign a statement saying that the audio tape was not edited or enhanced.

FWIW
Old 28th November 2022 | Show parent
  #14
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Thomas W. Bethe ➡️
we had to sign a statement saying that the audio tape was not edited or enhanced.
this is still often the case around here...


___



[ca. 15 years ago, i got a call from a committee member, asking about specific details about a piano recording (which i did for a very ambitious and advanced student who applied for participation in an international competition) which he thought was too good to be true...

the technical conditions (or restrictions) were in fact almost non-existent, except for the prohibition of overdubs, and the student wanted me to exploit the technical possibilities at her own risk...
...which i did - first of all by finding a formidable instrument in a great room and an excellent piano tuner, and then by applying my craft to the best of my ability.

the recording was narrowly accepted after my assurance that everything had been done according to the rules, but the jury then was far less impressed by the result of the audition than by the recording... - in any case, it earned me a recording with the winner of the competition as well as with one of the jury members, his 'house orchestra' and several further contacts with soloists and ensembles for whom i still work today!]
Old 28th November 2022
  #15
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David Rick's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
I'm not actually opposed to using extra reverb, provided it a) makes musical sense, and b) doesn't affect the clarity. The purpose of an audition tape is to evaluate the player, not the auditorium. Note that I said using reverb, not adding reverb. It's important that the player hear what's being done and react to it musically in real time.

The easiest way to accomplish this is by using a second pair of ambience mics. The player is already hearing that hall signature and decay time; you're simply balancing the direct / reverberant sound ratio. (This is standard operating procedure for me on documentary location recordings.) You can time slip the secondary pair and equalize it as needed, while leaving the primary pair unaffected.

What if you're working in a studio that lacks a sufficiently natural acoustic? Time to break out a Bricasti or Quantec. (Lexicon would be a dead give-away.) Here's the key point: The performer must wear IEM's to hear and react to what's being done. Take the time to choose a musically-appropriate patch and strive to make the IEM mix sound a natural as possible. It's important that the performer hear their instrument at the same volume as if they weren't using in-ears. (Have the player pop them out to check.) The recorded mix should still sound "close" because the panel wants to hear every detail of their playing. The player's IEM mix should be even closer sounding , to mimic what they normally hear when performing. Neither constraint prevents a nice-sounding deliverable.

Those of you who've followed my Reverb for Live Performance thread know that I've been experimenting with exactly this concept. I'm currently logging most of my practice hours wearing in-ears. I've found that working in a nice acoustic -- albeit virtual -- actually makes me play better. It feels more comfortable to perform in a good acoustic; I'm more relaxed and my playing is more expressive. If I were submitting an audition tape done in my living room, I would absolutely do it this way. My studio experience on the far side of the glass supports this as well. I've learned to ask the engineer for exactly what I want in my cans because it makes such a difference in how I play.

David
Old 29th November 2022
  #16
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Old Foof's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Here’s a data point.

An oboist I know asked me if I would be willing to make an audition recording for her high school senior daughter, also an oboist. Daughter was applying to Julliard, and Mom had been recording her with an iPhone.
Mom found a small church venue, and I used a single Lumix GX85 for the video, and picked my most oboe-friendly mics (Rode NTR ribbons) to record- no EQ, no compression, no reverb, or other tricks- just the oboist and the mics.

She was accepted!
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #17
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Foof ➡️
Here’s a data point.

An oboist I know asked me if I would be willing to make an audition recording for her high school senior daughter, also an oboist. Daughter was applying to Julliard, and Mom had been recording her with an iPhone.
Mom found a small church venue, and I used a single Lumix GX85 for the video, and picked my most oboe-friendly mics (Rode NTR ribbons) to record- no EQ, no compression, no reverb, or other tricks- just the oboist and the mics.

She was accepted!
I’m very interested to find out what the video or audio specifications were for this audition…did Julliard supply the applicant with do’s/dont’s requirements or guidelines to follow… did you have to sign a declaration that the final submitted file was unedited ?

I’d expect Julliard to have specific level playing field remote-audition submission specs ?
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #18
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Old Foof's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
I’m very interested to find out what the video or audio specifications were for this audition…did Julliard supply the applicant with do’s/dont’s requirements or guidelines to follow… did you have to sign a declaration that the final submitted file was unedited ?

I’d expect Julliard to have specific level playing field remote-audition submission specs ?
I recorded Daughter pre-COVID. Here are the current oboe requirements:
https://www.juilliard.edu/arm/music/...-pre-screening
Note (from their website):
"Quality

Please note that submitted prescreening recordings do not need to be filmed in a particular setting. Videos filmed in a practice room, a living room, a concert hall, a recording studio, or any other setting may be submitted. 
Recordings must be genuinely performed by you. 
Recordings must not be edited, nor should any effects such as “reverb” be added.
Play back and check your entire recording for any distortion or excessive “buzz”.  
If accompaniment is required, ensure that it does not drown out your playing.
Review your recordings before uploading to ensure that they are of good quality and represent your best work to date.
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #19
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2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Foof ➡️
... to ensure that they are of good quality ....
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #20
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Foof ➡️
I recorded Daughter pre-COVID. Here are the current oboe requirements…...
Thanks for that Julliard detail…it strikes a good and instructive balance between alerting candidates to potential quality traps, while not scaring the bejesus out of non-audio obsessives …with needless techno-babble and off-putting stringencies.

Most folks should be able to negotiate that path without anxiety …on the basis of those guidelines
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #21
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🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Foof ➡️
excessive “buzz”. 
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #22
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1 Review written
🎧 5 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by studer58 ➡️
Most folks should be able to negotiate that path without anxiety …on the basis of those guidelines
...and on the basis of relatively deep pockets i suspect?

(this is not necessariliy critique: i'm just wondering)
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #23
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🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by deedeeyeah ➡️
...and on the basis of relatively deep pockets i suspect?

(this is not necessariliy critique: i'm just wondering)
Well, you're not going to Julliard with 'shallow pockets' (unless on a full scholarship).
Old 30th November 2022 | Show parent
  #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
Well, you're not going to Julliard with 'shallow pockets' (unless on a full scholarship).
Classical students certainly have to be creative if they need to work their way through school—an unfortunate, but ever present, condition educational institutions seem unable to solve.


Some create music videos as a side hustle.

Ray H.
Old 1st December 2022 | Show parent
  #25
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Thomas W. Bethe's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by RayHeath ➡️
Classical students certainly have to be creative if they need to work their way through school—an unfortunate, but ever present, condition educational institutions seem unable to solve.


Some create music videos as a side hustle.

Ray H.
And it gets much worse AFTER they graduate...FWIW
Old 6th December 2022 | Show parent
  #26
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🎧 20 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Foof ➡️
"...Please note that submitted prescreening recordings do not need to be filmed in a particular setting. Videos filmed in a practice room, a living room, a concert hall, a recording studio, or any other setting may be submitted. ... Recordings must not be edited, nor should any effects such as “reverb” be added..
I would interpret this last one as extreme pressure to NOT record in the living room but go out of my way to find a nice church or concert hall. I can't add any reverb, but I can go to a cathedral and move my mics back.


Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson
I get the concept of why that would be: with a single camera, unedited, there's no opportunity for chicanery,
Four minutes of long shot of the student playing his instrument. Cut to student's foot tapping, cut back to long shot.
Old 7th December 2022
  #27
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surflounge's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
I do not suppose that multi-camera auditions would even be accepted, anywhere at any time by anyone. I get the concept of why that would be: with a single camera, unedited, there's no opportunity for chicanery, and I guess it's the most like if someone were standing infront of you, auditioning.
too much subjectivity deciding how to mix multi-cams. When you are sitting in an audience at a performance, you get one angle of the performance. Drives me nuts when some idiot keeps cutting to another camera or closeup. Stop playing god with the editing.
Old 8th December 2022 | Show parent
  #28
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Well... I'd say this is definitely a "well..." case here....

If I were to deliver a video of a concert that had one long view of the stage, beginning to end, I doubt not that would be the last concert I'd do for that customer, and if word got around, my career'd be over by tomorrow night.

It would be criminally tedious, leave it at that.

Video editing is not so much playing God, as you ARE God: making the rough places plain and the crooked straight and moreover crafting a narrative that guides the viewer through the emotional landscape of the piece. Done right, it enhances the audio experience by providing vital cues, at just the right moment, of the ecstacies, the agonies, the cheap thrills, and the hard-won thrills, that the musicians are living through.

True enough, a patron in a theater is sitting in the same place throughout the show... but their attention is constantly shifting... focussing in on a soloist, or taking in the whole stage, or a duo, or whatever the moment calls for... THAT is what the video seeks to emulate.
Old 8th December 2022 | Show parent
  #29
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jimjazzdad's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by joelpatterson ➡️
...a patron in a theater is sitting in the same place throughout the show... but their attention is constantly shifting... focusing in on a soloist, or taking in the whole stage, or a duo, or whatever the moment calls for... THAT is what the video seeks to emulate.
And the in-person audition judge(s) sitting in one spot focuses on the performer exclusively and THAT is what an audition video should emulate.
Old 8th December 2022 | Show parent
  #30
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joelpatterson's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by jimjazzdad ➡️
... the performer exclusively...
Yes indeed, and hopefully I've made my peace with the requirements of audition videos, as opposed to a concert video...

And yet, it might also be the case that in person, the auditor will zoom in visually on the performer's expressions, to the exclusion of their feet on the floor and the room behind them? Or, maybe not....
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