Over at the Hayes Theatre in Potts Point, they do keep busy. It seems like every few weeks there's a new production opening; most recently, the musical High Fidelity, from Highway Run Productions & director Neil Gooding.
As with everything I've seen at the Hayes, the cast and production are exceptional - in a lot of cases, people have come straight from a much larger show to work in this ~100 seat venue, so there's certainly no shortage of available talent in Sydney, in every level of production, on stage and off.
And the reviews reflect that; so of course, the challenge for me is to make it look as good - or better - than it did on stage, so the images that go to reviewers underscore the points they're making about the production, in a positive light.
Speaking of light...well, LX designer Alexander Berlage warned me before rehearsal that there'd be a lot of saturation, and a lot of backlight. And he wasn't kidding - of course, this is a story about music, and a rock musical deserves a rock lighting show!
So the trick for me is knowing what my cameras are capable of, and what their weaknesses are - in terms of both brightness and saturation - and under a mix of traditional tungsten lights, and LED moving light fittings.
What I find is that digital cameras have a couple of weak points - they don't like too much red gel on tungsten lights, and they REALLY don't like too much blue saturation from LEDs.
So what I have to do is stay on top of the overall exposure of the image, as the scene shifts balance from one kind of lighting to the other, and/or a mix of both. I can do a lot in the RAW conversion process to hold back certain colours, but if the exposure's gone too bright in one channel, there's only so much that can be done to save it at that point.
It takes a fair bit of work to get that right, especially when the lighting states change as often as they do in this show (and in rehearsal, when things are sometimes changing on the fly, too) - so quite often the post-production on a rehearsal takes many times longer than the shoot itself did, to balance up the images to the point where I'm happy with them.
When it came down to it, though, I was happy with these; and the show itself worked well, too. It's always nice when the two go together - when the images and the show can both shine! It's on until Sunday 17 December, so if you've got a free night in Sydney, check it out...
High Fidelity by Tom Kitt and David Lindsay-Abaire, at the Hayes Theatre, Sydney
Starring Toby Francis, Teagan Wouters, Dash Kruck, Joe Kosky, Erin Clare, Denise Devlin, Bronte Florian, Zoe Gertz, Nicholas Christo, Jenni Little, Matthew Predny, Alex Jeans and Madison Hegarty
Director NEIL GOODING
Choreographer CAMERON MITCHELL
Musical Director ANDREW WORBOYS
Assistant Director/ Choreographer MICHELLE SMITHERAN
Production Designer LAUREN PETERS
Assistant Designer JEMIMA SNARS
Lighting Designer ALEX BERLAGE
Production Manager RYAN TATE
Stage Manager LAUREN TULLOCH
Assistant Stage Manager KAYLA FRENCH