I edited from 3 nights of performance with 10 angles of HD video each. I started work on this project with the knowledge that I need to distribute to 3 different outlets: public television in the form of an Avid project with handles and separate layers for graphics and titles, HD master prores files for DVD and Blu-ray authoring out of house, and local cinema in the form of a blu-ray disc which I would author myself.
One challenge came at the very beginning of the show - what to do for a very long overture. Normaly we would cover the musicians in the pit, but the stage director had designed a look where angel figures that surrounded the procenium would be illuminated at different points in the music. Thematically this effect was important to keep. But it totally looked silly to cut back and forth between musicians and the angel figures. For one, they were only ever designed to look good from 50 feet away and didn't take a closeup well (this is a constant challenge doing video in live theater.) It's fine when you are sitting in the opera house to see nothing but a wide view of the procenium with the curtain in for 8 minutes, but on video this gets really boring really fast.
So what to do? I grabed stills from some of the better looking angels and added them on top of the wide shot. Luckily the curtain had a really nice red flame loop projection going on and the angels layered quite nicely on top of this. Taking cues from the music and from the stage directors original intention, I animated them in at key moments. A nice soft heavanly glow completed the look. Interspersing these with the opening titles it ended up looking quite cinematic and really gets the audience in the mood for the story to come.
It's a good thing that Robert Carsen's well-traveled production A) was chosen for videotaping and B) Blu-Ray had been invented in time to capture. The richness of color and subtle tints of Michael Levine's set designs provide a visual feast that few operas on DVD can rival, let alone match.