Anyone have experience playing trumpet on tv?

Discussion in 'TM Lounge' started by working-kirk, May 20, 2004.

  1. working-kirk

    working-kirk New Friend

    Mar 24, 2004
    Anyone have experience playing trumpet on tv or on camera?

    I am going to try to have a local cable access show in a couple of months and have been going in front of the camera practicing now. It is a lot harder than it looks. I see other musican and am amazed how smoothly they do it especially now I know all the distractions you face in a studio. So if anyone ever played on camera, tell us about your expereinces.
  2. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    The only times I have ever played on camera were all military band related, specifically when I was in the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps although I was filmed several times when I was playing Taps at funerals for the members of the 14 Quartermaster Detachment that were killed when the SCUD missile hit their barracks during Desert Storm. I was also on CNN and CSPAN numerous times when the FDC played White House arrival ceremonies, and various other shows such as the televised opening ceremony for the Special Olympics in New Haven, Connecticut, although I forget what year that was. Lastly, I took part in two Presidential Inaugurations so I was on TV for some of those events, specifically the Inaugural parade, and I played the Inauguration Ceremony for the current Governor of Maryland, which was televised locally throughout the state of Maryland.

    Nothing really prepares you specifically for being on TV. You are simply doing a performance that happens to be filmed.

    If I were you, I would focus more on the music and actually playing than worrying about the camera.
  3. trickg

    trickg Utimate User

    Oct 26, 2003
    That's probably because they aren't worried about the camera, they are just doing their thing, which is playing and performing.
  4. Tootsall

    Tootsall Fortissimo User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Yee HAW!
    Our community band sometimes gets taped by the local cable company for rebroadcast later... especially during our annual Christmas concert (the tape is aired as "filler" over the Christmas holidays). A camera really isn't a distraction... the "glass eye" is really no worse than knowing that an audience member is watching you... possibly with field glasses! You'll probably find that your face is in your music and your ears are on the group and when that happens, the camera "goes away".

    Of course, if they stick the lense of the camera "up your nose" it's a different matter but normally the zoom handles closeups and they don't want to get too close anyway since their mic is (usually) camera-mounted and they don't want to get it's input overloaded. Just treat it as "another one of those things".

    Polish the horns up as bright as they've ever been... it drives the cameraman nuts to have to deal with "flare"!
  5. working-kirk

    working-kirk New Friend

    Mar 24, 2004
    Maybe I should be more specific aboout the problems I am facing. I have been on camera before where people happen to have a camera. (And yes, people have tried to shove the camera up my nose. Not only that, they place the camera between me and my music, so if I am playing a difficult piece, I am unable to read.)

    I am in a studio surrounded in a semi-circle of six cameras. The cameras are about ten feet from me but they are constantly moving. I have my horn and playing music that is up on a teleprompter. I am wired with a lav mike and my horn is getting picked up by a shotgun mike. I have to dance a little while I am playing my horn but my movement is limited due to being wired up. There are also cables everywhere so I have to be careful I don't trip. If I decide to juggle my horn, I have to be careful not to hit the lights.It is so bright it is hard to see. As the main talent I have to take directions from the floor director. It is extremely hot. And while this is a close set, Eventually I will be taping in front of a live audience. (It is worse if I am in my chicken outfit because my visablitity is limited)

    I watch musicians on variety shows and am amazed at how natural and at ease they are. For instance Louis Armstrong on Dean Martin Variety show plays his horn, jokes with Dean, dance and sings and move around like he does if you seen film of his nightclub act and makes it looks so easy all at the same time. And this is live in front of an audience.

    It takes me several takes. I look scared, I look stiff. I miss notes. Believe me it is the hardest thing I have done so far musically. Performing in front of my first audience, that was nothing. Doing my music and comedy out on the street is easy comparally. Staging the photo shoots for my auction to make sure I don't get hurt, all of that is simple compared to learning to perform in a studio in front of cameras.
  6. Dr G

    Dr G Pianissimo User

    Nov 9, 2003

    Having had little or no success playing in front of cameras, I can only say that, " if it were easy, everyone would be doing it." They're not, press on!!! And more importantly, good luck!
  7. Lazorphaze

    Lazorphaze Piano User

    Feb 3, 2004
    just relax, and do it like you own the music. try not to be nervous.
    I have never played on TV, but I've played solos for concerts, and I bet it's kind of like that. Also, it's like auditions. You don't know who you're playing for, but go in there, try not to be nervous, and just kick butt.
    I did it for an audition awhile ago, and I did good, even though I didn't get in.
  8. tom turner

    tom turner Mezzo Forte User

    Oct 25, 2003
    Georgia, USA

    I was part of a TV special a few years ago performing a solo piece. The music was laid down in the studio weeks before they shot the video. Most of the time involved in doing this project was to do the video part of the shoot . . . which involved multi-camera shots with several different scenes and backgrounds, including the blue background that allows them to digitally insert a background behind you too.

    I'd recommend that you consider doing the same!

    Go into a decent studio and absolutely NAIL the music into a decent mic (I was recorded digitally on a Neuman U-87). This allows any overdubs the producer prefers and makes your performance flawless.

    It also frees you to "perform" on the video with more charisma since you are not as worried about nailing the performance again.

    However, it won't make the video shoot too much easier . . . for we shot multiple takes of each scene AND I was blowing my butt off on each take to assure that the music totally matched my playing . . . including the important part of totally looking like you are REALLY playing (which I WAS)!

    BTW, I've done several live things too, including having the cameraman on a motorized boom moving in near my face during a live solo performance in front of about 15,000 (as a soloist during a Billy Graham Crusade). All I can tell you is to practice and perform as much as you can so that stage fright can become something that you can manage and rise above!

    The more you do TV the easier it will become . . . just like everything else.

    Hope this helps!


    Tom Turner

    PS: With video lighting hot as you-know-what . . . if you can handle the heat in a chicken suit you are a better man than me. Good luck!!! :wink:
  9. FreshBrewed

    FreshBrewed Mezzo Piano User

    Nov 11, 2003
    Houston, TX
    Eliminate the teleprompter by memorizing the music. Wireless stuff will also help get rid of all those pesky cables. If you are wearing a hat, I suggest buying a thermo-tux. It fits in your hat and holds cool water. Soldiers in the desert wear them in their kevlars. It costs about 5 bucks. Make it clear to whoever is in charge that you need optimal conditions so that the taping is a success. They want you to do well because it makes them look good. Most importantly, have fun and do what you always do in a performance situation. Changing your routine can cause problems if you have been in a set routine for a long time. Good luck!
  10. SteelyDan

    SteelyDan Pianissimo User

    Nov 19, 2003
    Phoenix, Az
    Hi All,
    The last time I played on TV I fell off and demolished the entertainment center. Fortunately, my broken body protected my horn from any further damage.
    Ludicrously Yours,

Share This Page