Question of tense usage

Mark Nornes amnornes at
Fri Aug 27 13:32:57 EDT 2010

There was synch sound technology and it very well have been shot that  
way. It was a bit expensive, which is why so many of the indie docs  
are shot with wild sound.

As for the coughs, they might have been recording with a shotgun mic.  
These are so directional that it would pick up little to no ambient  
sound from behind the camera.


(Sent from my iPod, so please excuse the brevity and mistakes.)

On Aug 27, 2010, at 1:15 PM, "Bruce Baird" <baird at>  

> Colleagues,
> Apologies for cross posting, and please pardon a question that is  
> slightly afield of Japanese Cinema.
> In my manuscript about butoh, I want to write about a 1972 dance  
> which is preserved on film strip by Ouchida Keiya (who is now  
> deceased and therefore not interviewable).  There are indications  
> that the film-strip is not an accurate portrayal of what the  
> audience would have seen in the actual performance.  For example,  
> the sound continues across cuts and there are a couple of places  
> where the sounds of stamping do not match the dancers' feet  
> stamping.  There are no coughs or people clearing their throats.   
> Thus it seems like the sound must have been added as a part of post- 
> production.  Colleagues in Japan tell me that given the limitations  
> of recording in Japan, it would have been very unlikely that in 1972  
> they could have recorded the live performance and added the  
> recording to the edited video, and made it match up as well as it  
> did (not withstanding the few stamping misses--most of the stamping  
> matches nicely), and that it is thus likely that they had to have  
> sound professionals come in and re-record the sound.
> I would normally describe the dance in past tense, but I feel that I  
> should be specific about that fact that I am really describing a  
> film strip (which may not be the same thing as the dance was).   
> Obviously the editing of the film strip and the recording of the  
> sound track also happened in the past, but somehow I have the sense  
> that since I am really talking about a recording of the dance rather  
> than the dance itself, I should use the present tense.
> So two questions.  In 1972 or early 1973, given the technology  
> extant in Japan at the time, does anyone have a second opinion about  
> the likelihood that Ouchida or any sound professional could have  
> used an hour long live recording, edited out coughs and throat  
> clearing, and matched it to edited dance footage with only two (or  
> three) obvious  glitches where the sound of stamping feet wouldn't  
> match the visual stamping feet?
> Two: Suggestions for what tense to use when writing about a filmic  
> image rather than the event itself technically?
> Thanks in advance,
> Bruce
> Bruce Baird
> Assistant Professor
> Asian Languages and Literatures
> University of Massachusetts Amherst
> Butô, Japanese Theater, Intellectual History
> 717 Herter Hall
> 161 Presidents Drive
> University of Massachusetts Amherst
> Amherst, MA 01003-9312
> Phone: 413-577-4992
> Fax: 413-545-4975
> baird at
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