EMPAC - Cally Spooner


The Curtis R. Priem Experimental Media and Performing Arts Center
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute | Troy, NY


"And You Were Wonderful on Stage"

Cally Spooner - Director


Giles Rounds - Studio Manager
Adam Weinert - Choreographer
Logan Kruger - Dancer
Kristen Foote - Dancer
Caroline Fermin - Dancer
Hai-Ting - Opera Singer
Jenny Minton - Singer
Rhiannon Drake - Singer
Rebecca Thorn - Singer
Chloe Turpin - Singer
Piya Malik - Singer
Victoria Brooks - EMPAC Curator, Time-Based Visual Arts
Ian Hamelin - Production Coordinator
Daniel A. Swalec - Lighting Director

February 2-13, 2013 | EMPAC Goodman Studio 1


On the final evening of Cally Spooner’s EMPAC production residency, in which she will be shooting her new film work And You Were Wonderful, On Stage in Studio 1, the artist invites you to be part of a live studio audience. A performance with multiple actors, dancers, and stage sets that attempts to integrate the process of filming into the production itself, the event will be live-streamed and take on the format of a TV variety show. Directed by the artist and technical team to provide laughter and applause, the audience will be integral to the film’s production as both audience and actor.

Using assemblages of theory, philosophy, pop music, current affairs and corporate rhetoric to write—and casts of arguing characters to help her perform—Spooner produces plotless novellas, disjunctive scripts, looping monologues, and musical arrangements to stage the movement and behavior of speech. Appropriating different performance genres, such as the Broadway musical, the television commercial, and the radio play, Spooner considers how dematerialized, indeterminate, unmediated performance can sit within the extreme visibility of entertainment and today's attention economies.

text and logo from the EMPAC website
photo by Daniel A. Swalec


Technical Project Notes:


Serving as Lighting Director, I was fortunate to be able to take the director’s vision of “typical tv studio light” or “film noir” moments and even a “sparkle” effect for the deployment of the ‘OOOH’ and create a light plot and lighting cues that helped her to realize her vision. The project was captured on 6 Sony EX3 cameras, four of which were on robotic tripod heads allowing full control from the facility’s production room, while two additional EX3’s were used, one mounted high up on a wall as the meta wide shot, and another on a tracked dolly operated manually. .

photo by Daniel A. Swalec dswalecphoto.com





I was able to draw from a variety of theatrical fixtures, relying on 1000w Selecon RAMA fresnels with barn doors and clipped-on frost to create a “studio feel” from the Meta or wide cameras. We also used some larger, ARENA fresnels on stands, and added fixtures on boom arms atop stands for front-fill in the “chat show” scenes, as well as in the “green-screen” set both for flexibility as needed, but also to add to the ambiance of the space. Some KinoFlo fluorescent banks provided a low-fill to the “chat show” and filled in any shadows under the chin, while two 4’ KinoFlo fluorescent fixtures provided a front fill in the “green screen” set..

photo by Daniel A. Swalec dswalecphoto.com





An array of Source Four fixtures lit the dancers that inhabited the “scaffolding” set while Source Four PARs and MR16 zip-strips provided a ‘wow factor’ with intensity and lens flare when the large “OOOH” was revealed behind the dancing space. The stage that housed the five vocalists was accented with pools of light from above on each microphone stand as well as front fill and back light from added RAMA fresnels. Overall fill in the room, mostly for the sake of the Meta (wide) shot was provided by a single 6kw space lights strategically placed around the projection screens flying overhead.

photo by Daniel A. Swalec dswalecphoto.com





Thanks to the lighting control infrastructure of EMPAC, the entire shoot was cued and played back from the Video Production Room two floors above the studio. This isolated room allowed me access to the monitoring capabilities and direct access to the director and producer while the piece was being created as well as during the live recordings.

photo by Daniel A. Swalec dswalecphoto.com




To download a PDF synopsis of my work on this project please click the download button below.