Sunday, January 23, 2011

Video Recording

Before you test for a black belt in my style of martial arts, you have to make a video of the eight highest-level katas* and send that video to the grandmaster so he and his assistants can check that you know your stuff.  Since you are making the video at a time and place of your choosing and you get to erase any mistakes, there is no excuse for it not to be perfect.  Everyone knows that testing conditions can make you look bad because of the stress and chaos, so the videos are a chance to show you at your best.

It took me four hours today to produce about eight minutes of video.  I made all kinds of stupid mistakes in front of the camera.  Part of it was that I had gone on a trip to train with a Master yesterday, and he and his wife, a fifth-degree black belt, told me to change and fix a lot of things about my techniques.  Trying to remember those changes often made me mess up other things.  But part of it was the result of trying to look good for the camera.  Having that electric eye watching you and mercilessly recording everything can mess with your mind.

I have a much better understanding of why filming movies and TV shows takes so long, and why they need so many takes for each scene.  I was doing a fairly simple routine of things that I had been practicing for months, without any interference from anyone else, and it would still require up to half a dozen takes to get them right.

* A kata is a specific sequence of techniques designed to make it easier to practice all of the things you should know how to do.

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