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Subject: "Live versus non-live transmissions" Archived thread - Read only
 
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Conferences What's Happening Topic #724
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alison

02-06-00, 01:34 PM (GMT)
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"Live versus non-live transmissions"
 
   I thought I'd start this thread up now, and people may like to contribute after the Rambert broadcast has gone out tomorrow, but this question has been bugging me ever since the live broadcast of Coppelia from the Opera House in February: Is there actually any point in doing a *live* broadcast of dance performances, as opposed to showing the performance with some sort of time delay, even if only, say, half an hour, as some sort of safety measure? I know that the BBC's last-minute insistence on having the performance completely live at 7.30 (instead of the scheduled early 7.00 start - with a half-hour broadcasting time delay - so that people from outside London could get home more easily) caused problems for quite a few audience members, to judge by the number of seats left empty at the start of the third act, and wonder if such broadcasts actually add anything to the TV-watching experience. Obviously with musical competitions such as the Young Musicians one last week (although I have my doubts as to whether that *was* actually live), or the Opening Gala for the ROH, you would want to have those live, but is it necessary or advisable for other performances? Obviously a completely live performance would put extra stress on the producers, and presumably on the dancers as well.

Would readers like to comment as to whether they prefer completely live performances to be shown; "live" ones which have had a bit of editing to cover up any very obvious faults; "live" performances shown some considerable time later, which are usually manufactured from the best bits of two or more performances using the same cast; or studio performances, which have no pretensions to being live, but which frequently look better as they have been arranged to be seen by a TV camera? (I'm thinking in particular of the Royal Ballet's Winter Dreams and The Judas Tree, both of which looked very effective when filmed in the studio.)

What do you think?


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  Subject     Author     Message Date     ID  
  RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Helen 02-06-00 1
     RE: Live versus non-live transmissions alison 05-06-00 4
  RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Claire 02-06-00 2
  RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jane N 03-06-00 3
     RE: Live versus non-live transmissions eugene 05-06-00 5
         RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Claire 05-06-00 6
             RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jane N. 05-06-00 7
                 RE: Live versus non-live transmissions jonathan 06-06-00 8
                     RE: Live versus non-live transmissions eugene 06-06-00 9
                         RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jane N 06-06-00 10
                         RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Anneliese 06-06-00 12
  RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jeannie Szoradi 06-06-00 11
     RE: Live versus non-live transmissions alison 07-06-00 13
         RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Eugene 07-06-00 14
             RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Claire 07-06-00 16
                 RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jane N 07-06-00 17
         RE: Live versus non-live transmissions Jeannie Szoradi 07-06-00 15

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Helen

02-06-00, 02:53 PM (GMT)
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1. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #0
 
   As you suspected, the Young Musicians broadcast wasn't live - the actual final was held the day before. Because the TV broadcast was delayed by golf (and I won't say what I think about that),but the Radio 3 broadcast was at the scheduled time, you could listen to all of it on the radio,and find out the result, before you saw it on television.
I know this isn't strictly relevant to your thread!


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alison

05-06-00, 12:59 PM (GMT)
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4. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #1
 
   That was what I thought - my listings magazine had indicated that it had been recorded on the Saturday night. So much for BBC's much-vaunted "Music Live" programme, then.


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Claire

02-06-00, 08:06 PM (GMT)
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2. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #0
 
   Although you say that a live performance must be more stressful for the performers and producers than a non-live performance, I personally find them more exciting because I want to hear and see the faults of the performers. It makes it more human. There is also something exciting about seeing something miles away from where it is happening as the same time as the people who are watching it in the theatre. I don't particualery like "live" performances where the faults have been covered up through editing. It makes it false. Part of the excitment of seeing somthing live is to see how everyone copes with things going wrong.

It does not bother me if the transmission is delayed because it does not make any difference to what you see, but some of the excitement is lost as you can not imagine the audience coming in and getting ready for what they are going to see.


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Jane N

03-06-00, 11:18 PM (GMT)
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3. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #0
 
   I feel quite strongly that live should be just that - live as it actually happens in the theatre/opera house, warts and all. It is and should be a very different animal from a fully edited, cleaned up version. Both types of production have their own merits and draw-backs, and both should be available as widely as possible. (Indeed, sometimes you're lucky enough to get both options, if the production company has obtained the rights to release a video after transmitting a live performance.) However, I'm not sure about a deferred relay, especially if it's only been delayed by a short amount like half an hour. I can't see the point of it, as the time doesn't really allow for much 'tidying up', and I sometimes get the feeling it's a bit like edited highlights of a sporting event - they always seem to cut out the interesting bits and leave in the boring stuff.

There was another variation on the live versus recorded performance on tonight, with Channel 4/Classic FM's simcast of La Traviata. A live transmission, but not of a normally staged production. I thought it was very impressive, and seemed to effortlessly bridge the considerable technical difficulties. Unfortunately, one of the major draw-backs with a truely live broadcast hit the transmission just before the end, although the loss of the sound and then the picture was, mercifully, very brief. It does, however, show the obvious vulnerability of a live transmission, even in this technologically advanced age. Even so, it was a very interesting, and stunningly beautiful production, and I'm looking forward to tomorrow's performances.


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eugene

05-06-00, 02:21 PM (GMT)
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5. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #3
 
   It is all very well to wish for live performances but it must put enormous stress on the dancer. They must live in fear on falling on stage in front of an audience of millions!

Also live is not very practical because if the dancer does fall it may make it difficult for the BBC to re-broadcast or put the performance on video. This is what happened with Kevin Mckenzie when he forgot to take off his leg warmers before the RandJ pdd.

I personally that that completely live performances put too much stress on dancers for too little benefit for the likes of us.

I remember when I argued that dancers and musicians should not get a share of revenue for TV broadcasting if they have to do no more extra work. I did make an exception for a truly live performance because of the extra stress put upon them!

I think the shooting of the performance over a few days is the best compromise!


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Claire

05-06-00, 10:03 PM (GMT)
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6. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #5
 
   I understand what you mean when you say that the BBC prefer to delay a broadcasting so that they can take out any errors and then be able put it onto video, but isn't the whole point of being in the performing arts is that you are willing to take a risk and make mistakes even if it is infront of millions of people, however embarrassing it is. Some people may not think it is the same, but every year the BBC broadcast live relays of every Prom concert that takes place. Maybe things are different for the radio, but the whole point is that it is completly live, the performers are taking the risk that things may go wrong.


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Jane N.

05-06-00, 11:05 PM (GMT)
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7. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #6
 
   Claire, I agree with you. I'm sorry, Eugene, but I was at one time an orchestral musician, and during a performance, I for one was concentrating so much on what I was doing for the audience in the hall that any other audience listening in or watching just failed to make any difference. If I made a mistake it didn't matter how big or little the audience was, I'd still made a mistake. You just have to learn to cope with the nerves associated with a live performance, and get on with it as professionally as possible. As for recording various performaces over several days, this can work out to be far more expensive than running the risk of someone falling or doing something stupid on a live broadcast. There is nothing to prevent the production company returning to cover a mistake deemed too bad for a repeat transmission or video release, if they have to, and there is always the chance, of course, that if the performers ARE more keyed up at the thought of a wider audience, you may get a much better, more exciting result. Sometimes you have to do things without a safety net, just for the experience.


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jonathan

06-06-00, 08:50 AM (GMT)
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8. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #7
 
   Quite agree, Jane - a performance is a performance. Live broadcast may transmit the mistakes, but it also enables whatever spontaneous magic or thrill is present to be transmitted too. There is a natural "adrenalin-curve" to a performance which is destroyed by piece-meal recording or editing.

In an effort to clean-up something the editor didn't like, you can get sudden cuts, close-ups, different camera-angles and so on which ruin the continuity.

For me, it's the "living on the edge" aspect of live performance that makes it interesting and exciting.


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eugene

06-06-00, 01:27 PM (GMT)
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9. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #8
 
   Perhaps we should ask the dancers how they feel about.

It is one thing for a musician to fluff the odd note because no-one sees who made the mistake and it is often "drowned out" by other notes or happens in the blink of an eye.

But if a dancer should fall on stage it is far worse for him/her particularly if it is a soloist. Everyone sees who falls and its is totally humiliating. It could seriously effect her career and her confidence. Alternatively it might encourage dancers to play it safe and give a very conservative performance.

Do not get me wrong. I would love to see genuinely live performances but at this expense!


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Jane N

06-06-00, 05:38 PM (GMT)
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10. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #9
 
   Eugene: I'm sorry to carry on disagreeing with you, but when you are the first flute, EVERYONE can hear a mistake, and see who you are - you do not get "drowned out" by anyone. In fact, I remember being told by my conductor that a certain principal flautist with an American orchestra lost their job because they'd badly fouled up an important solo during a concert, which he very kindly passed on to me just before I had to play the same piece at the Royal Festival Hall.

Or what about opera/concert hall singers. Again, I can distinctly remember a soprano getting lost towards the end of a RAH prom performance of Beethoven's 9th symphony, and completely missing an entry. There's no way back from that one, and everyone knew that her voice was missing when it should have been soaring over everything. As the performance was on broadcast on the World Service as well as Radio 3 and was also televised, that audience ran into millions worldwide. She just had to carry on as if nothing had happened. What's so different about dancers?

Lastly, I notice that the poor person who's career and confidence could be so badly affected was a "her". Don't the men make mistakes then, or doesn't wearing leggings on stage, or mishandling your partner count?


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Anneliese

06-06-00, 10:39 PM (GMT)
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12. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #9
 
   Eugene, I assure you that people DO notice who has made a mistake in an orchestral concert! In all orchestral sections apart from the strings there is no doubt about who made the mistake even on radio - and I can think of instances when I've been able to identify from within the concert hall which string player has screwed up.

Back to the point at tissue: I don't want to see a performance edited to death - I want emotion, sparkle, life, pzazz. I've never been moved to tears by a studio recording, but I have by a live broadcast.


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Jeannie Szoradi

06-06-00, 06:40 PM (GMT)
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11. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #0
 
   If it's marketed as a "live broadcast" it should be truly live. (Sorry to disagree again, Eugene!) One can imagine the many moments that would be re-done, if the dancers were allowed to "fix" a mistep after a live performance, for editing prior to a broadcast. Just last year, it was a thrill to see NYCB's SWAN LAKE in "live-real time" manner & realize that a junior ballerina was asked minutes before the telecast to step in for the injured prima-ballerina! Had PBS been allowed to tamper with that broadcast, then I fear that Odette/Odile would have been danced -- by hook or crook -- by the choreographer's wife...thanks to multiple 'takes' until she got it right.

In America, the world of televised figure skating exhibitions includes lots of multiple 'takes'. The shows are filmed 'live' then, once the main show is over, audience members are given the option to remain in their seats to watch the re-takes of missed jumps & the like...so we never-ever see, say, Oksana Bayul flub that triple-flip jump. Heaven forbid that this sort of crap would enter the world of serious performing arts, such as ballet or opera!


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alison

07-06-00, 12:55 PM (GMT)
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13. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #11
 
   Now, that *is* interesting, Jeannie - does that bit about the skating refer merely to true exhibitions, or to the professional-style "competitions" which actually seem to be more like exhibitions as well?


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Eugene

07-06-00, 02:40 PM (GMT)
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14. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #13
 
   Sorry but I am not convinced that fluffing notes in orchestra is the same as a dancer falling down!

However I would change my mind about live transmission if dancers were polled and indicated that they would not have a problem with it. I should point out that I have only speculated on what dancers think. If my speculation is correct then I would argue that benefits of live performance are not in proportion to the problems that may be apparent.


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Claire

07-06-00, 09:49 PM (GMT)
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16. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #14
 
   Maybe this arguement is a bit far fetched, but it is a fact of life that dancers fall over occasionaly. If people who are not theatre goers only see performance on TV in which things never go wrong, won't they be rather dissapointed to find out that these things do happen? Also, not all music is orchestral. There is a lot of chamber and solo music which is performed live. It is definatly noticeable when things go wrong then.


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Jane N

07-06-00, 11:36 PM (GMT)
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17. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #16
 
   CLAIRE: I entirely agree. Basically, however well rehearsed any artistic performer is, and however much practise a sportsperson puts in (as lots of sports have a performance aspect - e.g. ice skating/dancing, gymnastics, etc.) we are all just human beings, and we get things wrong sometimes. It's precisely that element of uncertainty and pushing one's abilities to the limit (and sometimes over the limit) that makes the difference between a run-of-the mill performance and a great one. Personally, I would much rather see a daring, courageous performance that contained some flaws, than a "safe" and "very conservative" but otherwise perfect one. I also know which type of performer I would have more respect for.


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Jeannie Szoradi

07-06-00, 09:12 PM (GMT)
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15. "RE: Live versus non-live transmissions"
In response to message #13
 
   Alison - That happens only in exhibitions...such as the Harvard Univ. "Jimmy Fund", the various Robin Cousins-produced specials, "Too Hot to Skate," "Rock n' Roll on Ice," & such.


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