The audience is transformed to the moon through the lighting and background created by those behind the scenes. Photo by Andy Henderson

Behind the lights: students, staff work hard to create Tunes

September 25, 2017

Lights. Cameras. Action. All of these words get us in the spirit of Tiger Tunes. If you are familiar with the event, then you are probably already counting down the days because it is one of the biggest weeks of the year for Ouachita.

A few things that come to mind when hearing the phrase Tiger Tunes are JPAC, the stage, clubs, alumni and family. Tiger Tunes is something that brings many people together across campus. However, there is a side of Tunes many don’t consider.

Have you ever noticed the exciting light display that corresponds perfectly to each show? Or maybe you’ve picked up on the music that makes every show unique. Also, have you thought about how cool it is to be able to see Tiger Tunes from your seat in JPAC, or just as easily livestreamed from your very own computer? These are all essential pieces to the puzzle in making the Tiger Tunes show so great.

As Tiger Tunes season approaches, everyone is preparing for the 2017 edition. Students are perfecting their choreography and musicality while family, friends, faculty, potential new students and so many more are purchasing their tickets and getting excited. However, there is a side of Tiger Tunes we may not be thinking about. The technical side.

Sophomore Geoff Hartley is in charge of video-directing Tiger Tunes. Essentially, on the last night of Tiger Tunes he and his crew have the responsibility of broadcasting the show over livestream in addition to recording the whole thing for people to watch later via Vimeo. So whether you missed the live show or just want to watch it again, that would not be possible without Geoff and his tech crew.

During the show, the tech crew comprised of practicum students at Ouachita will have 3 cameras set up in different locations prior to the beginning of the show. They also have a video director who chooses which cameras go live and when, a switcher who executes the changing of cameras and camera operators.

“We had a good team last year. We had solid camera operators and a great switcher so it was very fun,” Hartley said.

Dr. Ozmun, who is in charge of the students that work as a part of the tech team, schedules time for students to come in and watch shows during rehearsals and makes sure they have everything down properly. He then lets the students continue their work, as they are all passionate about the technical side of Tiger Tunes.

“I’ve been on this side of live production all my life. I come from a large church where every weekend we have three services and however many cameras it takes, which is pretty much on the scale of Tiger Tunes every service so it comes naturally to me,” Hartley said.

The students not only work hard but enjoy what they are doing. They are learning and strengthening their skills while also becoming closer with one another. Hartley describes this as an experience on the other side of the coin because usually people do not see the side that the tech team sees.

“People don’t usually think about this side of things. When you watch a movie, you generally don’t ask yourself how the movie got produced or how the audio people interacted with the camera crew. You only think about the movie. It’s the same things with a play or Tiger Tunes,” Hartley said.

It’s a different feeling from what everyone else is experiencing, but it’s a worthwhile feeling. It is their craft and their way of bringing out the best in the performance. They are enhancing the show and showing it in the best possible light that it can be. Ultimately, they want the people watching to see the best show that they can.

The tech crew not only has the production of the show to think about, but everyone watching.

“There are a lot of people watching. There are alumni and also students that can’t make it to the live show but still want to see it. Whether they see it on the livestream or in a post online, we want to give them the best experience that they can have,” Hartley said.

In addition to the responsibility of reaching every possible audience, is the pressure of being accurate and precise. In order to keep everything organized, the crew usually tries to have all camera operators, switchers and the director watch at least one show beforehand so they can know exactly what they want to do when they stream the live show.

Hartley describes a live show to be a blessing and a curse because you only have one shot to get it all right. However, it’s only there for one second so if a mishap does happen it doesn’t last very long. The downfall is that nothing can be edited in a live show. Hartley explains that a few mistakes are to be expected but they aren’t ever a huge deal because things do move so quickly with a live stream.

Just as with the live stream for Tiger Tunes, the same goes for any broadcast, concert, or any show that the production crew deals with. They are well prepared and know exactly how to handle every situation. They work to have good communication amongst each other and the take notes on what the director wants them to do. They also hold a tech meeting before any action takes place in order to get on the same page.

Each show is unique and has different spots that can be highlighted and enhanced. It is the tech crew’s job to make sure every individual need is met. That means they must anticipate everything that is about to happen in every show so that they don’t miss any special moments.

The whole crew does their homework and makes sure they know what to do for every show. They make the entire show come to life on stage.

While everyone else is getting in their costumes or taking their seats to watch, the camera crew is preparing in JPAC. Setting up cameras, taking notes, taping down cables and watching shows beforehand are all part of the preparation. Knowing the movement of every show is also essential.

Whether you are laughing and clapping for your favorite shows from your JPAC seat or from your computer, experiencing Tiger Tunes is a fun Ouachita event. However, knowing the hard work that goes into the behind the scenes action makes seeing the show even more enjoyable. Next time you find yourself attending another Ouachita Tiger Tunes show, be sure to look closely at the cool lights, sounds and camera action. Now that you know what truly goes into making a great Tiger Tunes show, you are ready to enjoy it at its fullest potential.

By Emily Brosius, staff writer

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