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NancyHJohnson

Camera Panning

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Hi, I have a question for those of you who know something about the making of ballet videos. During some particularly challenging part of a dance (such as the many entrechat quatres in that first variation of Grand Pas de Quatre), when I see the camera suddenly switch from a shot of the dancer's feet to the dancer's upper body, it makes me think that the dancer probably blew it in some way right then. Dancers are human, live performance is nothing but dynamic, and stuff happens. I don't mean to imply anything bad about any dancer, but just want to know if this is often what's happened. Does anybody know? :blink:

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Combine a tomfool director with a damfool editor and you'll get this effect. Usually, they think they're going for visual variety in the running of the image, but they're spoiling the effect of a great brace of whatever step is being performed in many repetitions. The late Emile Ardolino did not subscribe to this folly. Clive Barnes once took Paul Czinner over the coals for similar camera funny business. He did admit, however, that at least the director did not cut to the trombone player!

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Sometimes it is deliberate, though -- an attempt to enhance a dancer's speed or virtuosity with a little extra assistance, shall we say. :thumbsup: I think it was Leigh who pointed out on another thread the interesting way Herbert Ross had of cutting away from Leslie Browne after every fourth fouette......

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I agree: while visual variety, especially in a long ballet, is necessary to relieve the audience eye, close-ups of any kind should always be chosen judiciously. Never when the full movement (as in entrechats) needs to be seen.

I often think that sometimes the camera operators are under-rehearsed. When you think about it, they need to dance the frame around the dancers...so they need to rehearse thoroughly so as to anticipate the needed change in frame...and to do it smoothly! No director or editor can make up for bungled shots.

Really looking forward to Altman's Company for these very reasons! Cinematographer Andrew Dunn is one of the best...I have high hopes.

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