In a digital show, things are run a bit differently. Take all the live work our performers have practiced over a quarter’s time and attempt to capture all the beauty and nuance in one single recorded video. Especially virtually, we should give more appreciation to the unsung heroes of the show, who work to make sure all the technical aspects are up to par. Among the team, meet Celine Tsoi (Audio Engineer), Ryan Puterbaugh (Video Editor), and Zev Marx-Kahn (Vocal Director).
Celine has toured around the world in a choir for quite some time but decided to take a visit to the other side of the stage. With previous experience mixing for her acapella group, she was referred by her friend Kinjal to help out. Compared to her other audio work, she loves how much more organized the process is. When asked “What’s the coolest aspect of working on pre-recorded clips vs. miking live sounds,” she replied “The power to change the recording :)”
Before Covid, Ryan mostly acted, but had some experience running lights, calling cues, and building sets when the crew was shortstaffed. He’s excited to get back to it, but in the meantime decided to help out with video editing. When asked “What has been the most time consuming part of video editing?” he replied “Subtitles were definitely the most time consuming part, but I discovered a much more efficient way of doing them with .srt files that should really speed up the process. So now it's probably going to be aligning the dancers to the correct beats in the large numbers like The New World.” Here are some of his other comments on working virtually: “As an actor, in-person tech rehearsals were a pain, simply because there often wasn't much for you to do. The few times I was a techie though, those rehearsals flew by because of how busy the whole crew was. Opening night of an in-person show was always a rush, especially hearing the murmuring of the audience die down right before the curtain opened. I don't particularly dislike any part of the online process, but it does constantly remind me of what things used to be like, and sometimes that makes me a bit sad. But hey, we'll be back in person eventually!”
As vocal director, Zev views it most challenging not being able to work with singers in person! “I can’t hear them as well as I’d like to over zoom. But they’ve been so amazing and made my job pretty easy overall! I’m so proud of the work they’ve done.” Virtually, he has been able to take advantage of making piano tracks of all their harmonies along with the cast album to help learn the score and saving lots of time teaching music in rehearsal. When asked “What’s something you won’t take for granted again in the future?” he replied “I will never again take for granted the ability to work with a live band and other live singers! It totally changes the game to lose that in-the-moment interaction.”