Broadcast Rental provides recordings for TheaterThuis.nl
The fact that the Corona pandemic can create beautiful things, becomes clear again in the case of TheaterThuis.nl. When the theatre had to close its doors and only a handful of visitors were allowed in, the future for performers, theatre technicians, and producers looked bleak. But since this summer, Broadcast Rental has been facilitating the recordings for the on-demand platform TheaterThuis.nl. This platform provides the artists with a stage and the audience can view their performances in their homes.
The existing platform ‘Voorstelling Gemist’, which already featured 400 hours of cabaret content, turned out to be a good match for the initiators of TheaterThuis.nl. By merging these two initiatives, a wide range of old and new shows were created, and enhanced with freshly shot mini performances from theatre “De Speeldoos” in Baarn. A mix of established as well as new performers from all possible genres will visit the theatre.
“We no longer focus only on cabaret, the most viewed genre, but also on theatre, singer-songwriters, musicals and even poetry. This is very entertaining and incredibly exciting”, says Raymond Geurtsen, producer at TheaterThuis.nl. “Everything you would normally visit the theatre for, can be found on TheaterThuis.nl. We have a diversity of formats for the short performances; For example, one performer plays a piece from his or her latest theatre show. Or an artist sings some familiar tunes or tries out something completely new. Thanks to these short segments, the viewer can get to know an artist in an accessible way.”
The recordings of the content for TheaterThuis.nl take place every month in “De Speeldoos” in Baarn. An experienced team is deployed for this. The technical realization of the five-camera recording is in the hands of Broadcast Rental. Since their brand new Fly-Pack was not frequently used as a result of the corona pandemic, an opportunity arose for TheaterThuis.nl to have access to this technology.
Broadcast Rental director Geert Paul Slee: “When I received a call to inquire whether we could provide the technology during the recordings for TheaterThuis, we immediately saw opportunities for our Fly-Pack. Of course, the set-up in the theatre is many times smaller than in the environment for which the Fly-Pack was originally designed. At the end of 2019 and early 2020, we used it in a number of large international productions, where it was no problem to line up 24 cameras.
“Our Fly-Pack is corona proof, an unintended advantage!”
“It is a complete production with a minimalist approach, and which requires minimal equipment. The necessary equipment is largely contained in two handy cases that can be transported easily. Now that we have been operational for several days, our Fly-Pack proves to be ideal for a quick and smooth set up behind the scenes of the theatre. In addition, the separate desks, which are designed to easily stack on a pallet so that they can be transported around the world by plane, can be placed at a considerable distance from each other allowing ‘one and a half meters’ distance. Nowadays, our Fly-Pack is completely corona proof, an unintended advantage”, Slee comments humorously. “In the future, when people are able again to sit next to each other in the old-fashioned way, the set will be compact and the footprint scalable.”
The setup in De Speeldoos has recently been completed. The technicians, production, hosts and artists are getting ready for the recordings; short takes from 15 minutes to 30 minutes. It’s a well-oiled machine. Two recordings a day are planned every month, featuring eight to ten artists per day. The booking of these artists is done by TheaterThuis.nl itself and provides increasingly unique and enhanced content for the platform.
“It’s a great way for up-and-coming talent to present themselves in these short takes and for established names to try something different,” says Raymond Geurtsen. “At this moment we will record a so-called ‘Musical Jukebox’, a format in which a musical artist is interviewed and he or she also brings part of their repertoire.”
Broadcast Rental engineer Arno Maandonks quickly checks some equipment before the recordings start. “The performances are recorded with five cameras,” says Maandonks. “One manned camera, a fixed overview shot and three PTZ cameras that are operated remotely by my colleague Jesper Bakker.”
Director of the day, Frits Schrijvers, sits next to the Broadcast Rental team in front of a switch panel. He alternates his place as a director with Job Robbers. “But I am always there; when Job is there, I’ll do camera.”
Gert Blom was appointed for the audio engineering. As a permanent technician at Veldhuis & Kemper, he has a little more time in his schedule due to the closing of the theatres. And that proves to be handy for this theatre production. Although all audio and video tracks are recorded separately by Broadcast Rental so that adjustments are possible afterwards in the edit, this is usually not necessary, according to Raymond Geurtsen. “We have a very skilled team, which is a wonderful luxury.”
During musical artist Anouk Maas performance of “What a Feeling” from the musical Flashdance on the stage of De Speeldoos, director Frits Schrijvers is swinging in his chair while giving directions. Despite the catchy tune, he is unfortunately one of the few dancing people in the theatre at that time. The audience in the theatre consists only of a few crew members.
“We look forward to a time when we can have a life audience again. That was the case in the summer and turned out to be a fantastic experience”, says Geurtsen. “But it is nice that we can continue to do this now, despite all the limitations. Hopefully the theatre will be completely full again this summer. It is wonderful that this initiative allows people to make a choice: go to the theatre or have the theatre at home!”