Behind the scenes creating virtual orchestra concerts: engineers and digital directors

Posted on: December 18, 2020

Brandon Cardley, video engineer at the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Aram Boghosian

“As recently as March, Brandon Cardley’s work as the Boston Symphony Orchestra’s video engineer was largely limited to small projects, like cutting clips of concerts for social media and marketing materials,” writes Joshua Barone in Thursday’s (12/17) New York Times. But during the pandemic, “ ‘We went from being a nice addition to the concert to being the concert,’ Mr. Cardley said… It’s an increasingly common story among American orchestras [as] ensembles … replace in-person performances with online programs…. In the process, media departments … have been the linchpins…. The Detroit Symphony was well prepared for the circumstances of this fall; Erik Rönmark, its vice president and general manager, said that it had been producing video offerings for almost a decade…. Features, like interviews with artists, are filmed and edited in advance. For the performance itself, Marc Geelhoed, the director of digital initiatives, … spends up to five hours studying a score before blocking the camerawork. Michael Vendeland, the director of the Cleveland Orchestra’s concert series In Focus … uses a spreadsheet to map out his shots—as many as 500 for a single concert.” Also included are projects by the New York Philharmonic, San Francisco Symphony, and Los Angeles Philharmonic.