Video Supervisor

  • Video Supervisor

During preproduction of a live show, the video supervisor is the right hand of the projection designer and will eventually be tasked with maintaining the design once the show opens. This person is a veteran video technician who exhibits excellent leadership skills in conjunction with technical proficiency.


Duties

The video supervisor on a theatrical production is responsible for overseeing the work of the video technicians and video camera operators. This person may also take on an administrative role as a department head, tasked with preparing and monitoring the video budget and payroll. The supervisor is chiefly concerned with the smooth operation of all video and projection elements during a live performance; to that end, he or she will observe crew members’ work in show and give notes for improvement. The video supervisor will also track the progress of maintenance and repairs to equipment, and delegate assignments to technicians as necessary. In some cases, he or she may be assigned a show track as a camera operator or video switcher and will typically learn all video positions, so as to be prepared to step in for another crew member. This person is also responsible to the projection designer in ensuring that the design integrity is preserved during the life of the production. When in rehearsal with the designer, he or she is the liaison that delegates work on the installation and leads the load-in.

Skills & Education

As a crew chief, the video supervisor is expected to learn every position in the video department and be the resident expert on all video and projection equipment used in the production. This requires a firm understanding of camera operation, video switchers, media servers, and projectors. He or she must also be competent in troubleshooting gear and making repairs to electrical equipment. The video supervisor should be experienced in the use of video editing software like Final Cut and Avid products. A college degree in video production or film is recommended, and specific training as a video camera operator is expected. It is also necessary to understand the techniques of videography; courses in still photography are beneficial.

What to Expect

The look of video elements in show and proper function of related equipment ultimately rests on the video supervisor’s shoulders. As such, this person should take care to properly coach technicians within his or her department and act quickly to correct poor performances. Veteran technicians who are new to the supervisor rank may find it uncomfortable to be in an authority role, inflicting disciplinary actions on their crew, but if the show looks bad, the supervisor will be the one getting an earful from the stage manager and technical director. If the designer makes a surprise visit to check on the look (which they spent months perfecting) and finds the visual elements have been butchered, you may not have the burden of authority for long.

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