Anything about Elvis
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Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:40 pm
Having read numerous posts on the speculation of the EOT filming one tidbit seems to be consistent. The fact that everyone seems to share the opinion that the Buffalo show was filmed without sound.
I don't agree - please review the following from "Careless Love":
"The idea was fro Abel to shoot this peformance on a little Sony videotape machine, then fly back to California and study the film for a day or two, rejoining the the show with a full camera crew in Hampton Roads, Virginia. Although Abel had thought he had seen everything there was to see on the "Mad Dongs and Englishman" tour, the fervour of the crowd, Elvis' own level of commitment and the audience's hunger for him, the "interchange" that existed between audience and performer, created a sense of energy and spontaneity that he had never experienced before. Back in Hollywood he transferred the tape to three quarter inch and ran it frame by frame to study the structure and choreography of the show, making a master sheet of the entire concert with the music laid out for the camermen."
I believe this was filmed with sound and I point to some of the above as evidence. in particular - for the consumer silent 8 mm cameras were the norm in 1972( ones with sound didn't debut until 1975- the industry would have had them a year or two before that) but in the industry they would be using full sound 16 mm (as they shot most of EOT on anyway and blew it up to 35mm) but to my knowledge there was never a silent videotape machine invented - what would be the point when the goal was to always have sound.
Looking at the above it would be hard to "study" the film for a few days if there was no sound and even harder to make a "master sheet of the entire concert with the music laid out for the cameramen"
And a final note - it would be hard to evalutate "the fervour of the crowd, Elvis' own level of commitment and the audience's hunger for him, the "interchange" that existed between audience and performer, created a sense of energy and spontaneity" with silent footage.
I believe that the buffalo show existed with sound - whether it still does is another matter.
Tue Jul 08, 2003 8:54 pm
This is an interesting viewpoint. My own interpretation of what was published in the Guralnick book was that Robert Abel was referring to his own experiences of watching the actual live performance, when he made his comments about the “interchange”, and not the filmed recording.
I also thought that the “music” comments were meant to identify Elvis’ movements during certain songs to the camera crew, so that they would have a better understanding of how to follow Elvis during the professionally filmed shows. Something they wouldn’t necessarily need sound for.
Having said all that, your own interpretation of these events also seems feasible.
Tue Jul 08, 2003 9:13 pm
one point on your post:
"I also thought that the “music” comments were meant to identify Elvis’ movements during certain songs to the camera crew, so that they would have a better understanding of how to follow Elvis during the professionally filmed shows. Something they wouldn’t necessarily need sound for. "
I have to disagree - how could he identify certain movements during cetain songs for the camera crew to have a better idea without sound? He certainly would need the sound to match the movements. Unless he had a fantastic memory (after only ever seeing elvis perform once in Vegas in Feb 72 and and in Buffalo) to remember all the detail needed to prepare for a major film production. Which i think is unlikley.
Tue Jul 08, 2003 11:15 pm
I based my thoughts on Robert Abel assuming that Elvis would play a similar show in each city, and the silent film would be sufficient to allow the cameramen to get a reasonable idea of how he was going to move around the stage during various parts of the concerts. Of course even if the Buffalo film did have sound, no two concerts are alike. Elvis would always throw in something different from time to time, and this is also true of the April ’72 tour, so the filmmakers couldn’t possibly have prepared a 100% correct choreographed version of the set list, although I agree it would have helped. Your original post raised good points, and I hope more people contribute to the thread
Wed Jul 09, 2003 12:04 am
I just re read The Final years in order to make up my own mind, but it's inclear, maybe someone with technical knowhow could tell us whether a Sony 3/4 inch videocamera has sound on it automatically or not!?
Wed Jul 09, 2003 6:11 am
The information from Guralnicks book relating to the filming of On Tour seems to have come from Jerry Hopkins 'Elvis the Final Years'.
Abel spoke to Hopkins about the Buffalo show and mentions using the video to study the music as well as the moves....
"I took a 3/4 inch Sony portapack with me when I previewed the show in Buffalo to videotape the concert so we could study the MUSIC and study all his moves. Abel says so that when we went into shoot we'd know the entire choreography of the show. We knew that by the time we got to San Antonio and the music started it'd be so loud we couldn't maintain communication with any of the cameramen."
The 16mm film from the Hampton Roads concert that Abel showed the Colonel had no sound so maybe thats been confused with the Buffalo footage?
"Hampton Roads April 9th they rehearsed camera moves during the matinee and filmed that night then Abel rushed the film to Hollywood where he had it developed, meeting the Colonel the following day in Charlotte to show it to him without sound on a 16mm projector. The Colonel said he'd watched us and he'd gotten reports about us and that he was confident we were doing a superb job. He said he'd misjudged us and we could shoot anything we wanted up on the stage and he didn't want to impede us and we had his blessings. He went into a long rap about how many people had ****** over Elvis in the past and he was the only one who'd looked after his image and how careful he'd had to be. Now the colonel barked ending the monologue I want you to go out there and make the best Elvis Presley movie ever made!"
Abel said they shot about 50 hours in all for On Tour. And Jerry Schilling did a 2 hour interview with Elvis.