To get the fundamentals of tango on the screen, I chose to scrutinize the dance like a science film.
Rather than chase the dancers with cameras, every shot was meticulously pre-planned.
A detailed storyboard was created, laying out every shot. Very tight camera work and extreme close-ups, some in slow motion, were needed to get into the couple's embrace, deconstructing it's core elements.
A dolly, jib arm and glide cam were used for some shots. Other shots were unattainable using conventional camera mounts. Custom camera rigs were engineered to attach the camera to the dancers, to move in any direction inches off the floor and to roll along with the dancers as they moved.
During much of the production, the crew was only Johnny Robinson directing, John Kelly shooting,
with Colette and Richard performing.
To shoot the Milonga scene, a dance had to be staged for the film. I choose the dance community of Ithaca New York and a hall at Cornell campus.
Without a budget to pay extras, the community had to be attracted to the thought of participating. This required much preliminary contact and involving some of them directly in the event. A performance by Colette & Richard was offered as enticement and free dancing between takes.
Five weeks of preparation, and 12 hours of set-up and tear down were needed for the 3 hour shoot.
The Heart Of Tango was shot with a single Panasonic HVX 200 High Definition camera in 720p 24. It was edited on a mac dual core laptop with Final Cut Pro.
Every scene was transfered to the laptop as it was shot. A rough assemble edit was done every day.
Some shots were retouched to remove objects or camera movement using Shake.
Music for the club scene was recorded directly on a mac laptop using Cubase and an XLR to firewire mix board.Production Stills
Producer, director, writer, editor: Johnny Robinson
Starring: Colette Hebert and Richard Council
Cinematography: John Kelly
Original score for Club Scene: Diego Garcia
Narration: Alden Stevens
Sound enginner for club scene: Paul Coleman
Visual effects (shake): Alan Michaels