How Sophisticated is the AV Equipment in the Theatre?

No Comments

theatreWhen theaters first came along, nobody knew how much it would change in a century. While there has been vast improvements in picture and audio quality down the years, the trend today is now experiencing movies in a completely different way than before. Theaters are moving away from traditional audio and video equipment. Instead, the focus is on creating a more immersive experience for the viewer.

Today, theatre is about making use of technology in a big way. The innovations are being made use of both onstage as well as backstage as they need to compete with the technology which the user is used to in the digital space.

How has the Audio Visual Equipment Changed in Theatres?

Most productions and theaters now make use of video designers in a large way to help them with their theater productions. Theaters increasingly make use of virtual reality masks, computer animation and stop motion camera work. With hardware and software getting cheaper, even fringe theaters is able to utilize this.

The audio visual equipment used in 3D theaters is a lot different than before. The RealD 3D technology, which is used in theaters, use circular polarized light. This, when used with polarized glasses, makes the right and left eyes see different pictures creating better 3D effects.

Sound effects play a huge part in theatre as they help in unfolding of the story. They tell you about the action, and about how each of the events will unfold. They also help in manipulating composed or recorded audios. Most theaters, employ sound designers whose entire job revolves around this art of sound designing.

In movie theaters, MIDI and digital audio technology are used in a big way. Computerised theatre sound systems are also used in various plays and productions. Modern audio technology like the ones in can easily be integrated into live performances, which makes theaters offer a more immersive experience.

IMAX 3D uses larger screens and larger film sizes with Dolby Digital sound. Some other theatres use analog technologies, but that means that if the viewer doesn’t look straight at the screen, the 3D effects get lost. There are also digital projectors, LCD shutter glasses which are being used in today’s world.

Dolby 3D is another popular technology in use today, and uses polarized glasses which has multiple coatings and cut out specific frequencies of light. The lenses are curved which give better effects too.

How will AV Equipment change in the future?

With Virtual Reality coming in, it won’t be long enough before we have planetarium type shows taking over conventional movie theatres. When it comes to audio, these new theaters can be fitted with 64 speaker feeds which provide an amazing experience to the audience.

How good is the sound?

The EQ resolution is used for optimization for all types of playback content, and it is used even when the environment is acoustically challenged. The configurations provide I/O interfaces of the digital cinema and there is automatic calibration done so that the quality of playback is consistently at high quality.

These systems allow for individual amplification and equalization of surround speakers and also support bass management of subwoofers.

Categories: Backstage Tour

Stars’ Extreme Diet and Fitness Routines to Fit the Role

No Comments

how do actors prepare for roles

Jake Gyllenhaal’s ripped physique in Southpaw, Anne Hathaway’s slimmed down build in Les Miserables; stars have always taken their exercise and diet routines to extreme limits in order to play the part in films, but how do they do it?

Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis in “Black Swan”

Portman and Kunis have always had slender physiques, but in order to play cut-throat, obsessive ballerinas, the stars both had to drop 20 pounds. Kunis spent seven months training four hours per day, every day of the week, and drastically cutting back on calories, eating very small portions of a balanced diet. Portman, who was already a vegan, continued to eat many of the same foods, although in smaller portions. For nearly a year she trained with a former professional ballerina, spending up to eight hours, six days per week, doing swimming, cross-training, and ballet classes in order to get the ballerina physique.

Chris Hemsworth in “Thor”

When Hemsworth took on the role of “Thor”, he gained 30 pounds of muscle to transform his body into the God-like physique needed. To do this Hemsworth stuck to a strict eating schedule, packing away huge amounts of protein, rice and vegetables every three hours, even when he wasn’t hungry. It also meant spending at least two hours a day doing an intense work-out regimen of not just weight-lifting in his home gym but also aspects of Crossfit, martial arts and boxing. One surprising aspect of his get-fit routine? Sleeping, which he says was an important part of the equation.

Anne Hathaway in “Les Miserables”

Portraying a starving prostitute meant Hathaway had to drop 25 pounds through an initial two-week cleanse, followed by two weeks of a diet of two dried oatmeal paste squares each day. Why such a harsh diet? The actress needed to look near death, her character was dying from tuberculosis after all, so exercising was off the table.

Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper”

Cooper took on the role of the Navy SEAL with just ten weeks to gain 40 pounds of muscle. In order to pull of this near impossibility he turned to a professional trainer and began working out twice a day. Starting with basic exercises like deadlifts and squats he then moved on to traditional weightlifting techniques. To top it all off, Cooper ate a whopping 5,000 calories each day which included 5 meals, protein drinks and energy bars.

Beyonce in “Dream Girls”

Beyonce needed to trim down her usually curvaceous body in order to play the slim 16-year old in the film. In order to lose 20 pounds in two short weeks, the star turned to the Master Cleanse Diet, which meant eating no solid food and drinking daily 6-12 glasses of water mixed with lemon juice, maple syrup and cayenne pepper. She does admit to cheating a bit by drinking protein drinks and eating fish and vegetables.

Jake Gyllenhaal in “South Paw”

Aiming for authenticity, as well as a seriously ripped physique, Gyllenhaal worked with a professional boxing coach to prepare for the role. Starting at just 147 pounds, Gyllenhaal gained 28 pounds of hard muscle through running, jump roping, boxing drills, and weight training. All of that training had one benefit, an unrestricted diet with only one edict; lots of protein.

Don’t think you could get the same results as your favorite star? You’re probably right, but with good reason. While the stars worked with nutritionists and personal trainers almost round the clock to obtain these extreme results, they are nearly universally considered unhealthy.

Also read: Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough Sleep?

Categories: Theatre Thoughts

Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough Sleep?

No Comments

Acting in the Theatre can be Very Intense, do Actors Get Enough SleepCelebrities lead fairly fabulous lives but they are often hectic as well. They frequently have to travel across the country at a moment’s notice, attend parties at late night hot spots for publicity, follow rigorous and demanding schedules, etc.

So, it comes as no surprise that sleep is not always their number one priority. In fact, prescription medication and insomnia have often been the culprits in a number of high-profile celebrity deaths — this paints a vivid picture of how dangerous sleep problems can be if not treated responsibly.

Theatre Actors are the Gladiators of the Acting World

But, did you know that the lives of theatre actors are even more hectic? This particular profession is not for the lazy and requires a lot of passion, dedication, and a number of other hardy traits. Some of these include:

  1. Tons of stamina: Theatre actors generally work for hours at a time, rather than minutes like screen actors.
  2. Discipline: This trait helps these hardworking artists to get through rehearsal and memorize long sections of movement and dialogue.

Also, during a performance theatre actors must handle a number of responsibilities simultaneously:

  • Project their voices in a large space without straining or sounding like they are yelling
  • Act with their whole body rather than just their faces
  • Somehow deliver the same performance day in and day out, always ensuring that the portrayal seems new every single time.
  • Deliver believable performances in front of a live audience – there are no second takes.

There are some theatre actors who love live shows as they provide instant feedback. Still, there are others who dread it because the presence of the audience is a constant reminder that they’re acting — something that can be distracting if you lack the discipline and focus needed to stay in the moment while audience members react, answer telephone calls, smoke, take pictures, etc.

Theatre Actors and Sleep

Even though all actors make a lot sacrifices, sleep seems to be the hardest hit. Theatre actors, in particular, have to get up early for their day jobs and stay up late to get the chance to follow their passion. They also have to squeeze in time to memorize lines and run errands. When you finally take a minute to see how much time all these activities take, it’s easy to see why many theatre actors don’t get the 7 hours needed for quality rest.

Tips to Help Actors Get Better Sleep

Most actors seem to be handling their hectic lives well but, the truth is, they aren’t immune to the sleep-related health problems that plague us. But when you consistently miss out on sleep, it can lead to a wide variety of serious health issues like heart problems, diabetes, obesity, and more.

Thankfully, there is some good news to be had — it’s relatively easy to start getting better sleep. Some general rules of thumb include:

  • Shut down all electronic devices an hour or so before it’s time to bed go to bed. The bright light from the screens can negatively impact influence the ability to fall sleep.
  • Bedrooms should be quiet, cool, and dark. Also, they should only be used for adult activities and sleep.
  • Don’t exercise or have coffee when it’s close to bedtime.
  • Investing in a good quality mattress is highly recommended as there is nothing worse than lying on lumpy bed.

Previous post: Ten Things to Learn from the Royal Court Theatre Building Tour

Categories: Theatre Thoughts