The first time I toured in America I went into a supermarket to buy some supplies for my hotel room fridge and was amused to find a product called “EASY Cheese,” with the immortal strap line “Better than real cheese!” I strongly doubted that and quickly headed for the next aisle. Now, twenty something years on from that moment, I’m occasionally hearing people say that rehearsing a choir via Zoom and making split screen choir videos could almost be as good as rehearsing in the same room and performing actual concerts. These people have clearly never sung in a choir or attempted to make a spilt-screen choir video. (Perhaps they also believe that easy cheese really is better than real cheese, who knows?) As someone who has been rehearsing choirs via zoom during lockdown and who has sung in a many a split-screen video, I thought I’d try to explain to anyone who might be in doubt about the difference between this and the real thing what it’s really like. Thank you for listening.
To: The Teams
Date: 24 June 2020
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,
Due to the current Covid-19 crisis, we are unable to resume our normal schedule of training sessions and matches. Until we have word from the Association that we can resume, we will be following the new training guidelines.
Please read these instructions carefully:
- Find a quiet space outside, preferably on grass but tarmac will do.
- Make sure you are not going to be interrupted for the duration of your training.
- Bring everything you’ll need to play your game – e.g. balls, racquets, stumps etc. – and wear your usual games kit.
- Set up your iphone on a tripod (if you don’t have a tripod, pile up tables, chairs etc until the phone is the same height as your face).
- Important: make sure that the device is set to landscape, not portrait.
- Start the video and practise playing your sport in front of the camera, being sure not to go out of the frame at any point.
- Stop the video and watch it to make sure that you are staying with the frame.
- Also, check that the light is right. (Too much light and the video will be over-exposed; if the light is behind you, you might be silhouetted; if there’s not enough light, we won’t be able to see you clearly.) Experiment with different angles and settings until this is correct.
- Now you’re ready to make your video.
- Set the video running and play your sport for 3 minutes, uninterrupted. N.B. In order for the video to look convincing, you will need to make it seem as if you are training with someone.
- After 3 minutes, stop the video and watch it all the way through to verify that you are staying within the frame, that the light is correct and that there are no unwanted background noises or interruptions.
- Repeat steps 10 and 11 as many times as is necessary until you are satisfied that your video meets all of the above requirements.
- Once you are satisfied with your video, simply put it in the dropbox (link below). N.B. You will need a strong wifi connection for this.
Once all of the players have submitted their training videos, Management will assemble them into one film which will be shared via Facebook at a later stage. If this proves as successful as we anticipate, it could eventually replace actual training.
More reading on the future of choral singing in the UK: