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Betcha Bottom Dollar

Last weekend was my wife’s big school production of Annie. The 7th and 8th graders have been working months to perfect the play and they were ready to go. I’ve helped with the school play for the last four years as a stage manager. It’s pretty exciting to rush props and sets on and off stage and ensure each of the performers have what they need when they get on stage.

Last year we put on a stellar performance of Guys and Dolls. Everything went great on stage, the problem was backstage. It was hard for the cast to hear what was going on so they would all huddle on each side of the stage causing nothing but trouble when it came time to move props on stage. People in the way, people raising their voices too close to the stage; it was a mess that only people backstage would ever notice. I was determined to not have this happen again this year.

The solution was a simple XCam2, two audio/video receivers and two of the school’s TVs. I placed a wireless camera above the stage looking down. It gave us a totally different view which made it really fun for the kids but more importantly gave us the audio offstage. So the cast huddled around the TVs rather than the sides of the stage leaving open a clear path for my stage screw to take care of business.

Next year I’ll have to record the XCam2’s video. It would make for a great Easter egg on the DVD. We also used an appliance module to turn the lights on and off on the Christmas tree for scene’s 10 and 11. After the play a few parents asked me about my “gadgets” like I was George Jetson or something. I’m pretty sure this December I’ll be making house calls to setup their lights. I didn’t have the heart to tell them it’s so easy.


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