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Learning Boundaries

By Amy Harder

This article is 11th in a series on learning to use video monitors for puppetry. So if you’ve just linked in here, you might want to check out the Video Monitors lesson index to get the whole picture.

In television puppetry, no traditional puppet proscenium is necessary. The screen frame becomes your stage and provides you with new boundaries all around to consider and utilize. What some may see as limitations, I see as wonderful new opportunities with a wider range of possibilities than any traditional stage performance. Puppets can stand just off camera and lean into the shot. They can drop in from the top and appear to be hanging by their knees. And, since puppets can walk right into a scene, there’s no need for those sometimes awkward staircase entrances that are seen so frequently in traditional stage performance. We like television puppetry.

In the next few exercises, we will explore the limitations and possibilities of working within and around the screen. By now, you should feel fairly comfortable working with the reversed image of the monitors and you should have a pretty good grasp of bringing your puppet’s focus to the camera. You’ll need those skills before moving on… so go back and have a refresher if needed and we’ll meet you at our first boundaries exercise, Memory Lane.



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