BEHIND THE SCENES: Interview with Chris Szuberla
Our reporter in the field, Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, goes behind the scenes of Distant Worlds!
Chris Szuberla, Tour Technical director, and editor of the video sequences for Distant Worlds: music from Final Fantasy Tour
CLAUDIA: You have to be really sensitive to the timing and pacing of the live music on the programs in your role as the video technician at the performances. It is almost like you are playing an instrument too as you coordinate the video sequences with the live music. How do you prepare the videos and coordinate them to the live music?
CHRIS: Before this concert tour started, a few of the videos already existed either as trailers, cut scenes, or music videos (mv). Many of these pieces of music didn’t have an mv so I combine in-game or cut scenes to fit with the music. Each of the videos is prepared in several different segments. During the concert, those segments are cued at different times to stay in sync with the orchestra.
CLAUDIA: Do you get artistic input from all of the DWFF team members regarding the video content?
CHRIS: I usually prepare a couple rough cuts and get input from the entire production team before the cut is finalized.
CLAUDIA: Have you been involved in any other types of production in the music industry?
CHRIS: I started in the music industry studying classical piano and worked as an audio engineer & programmer on films, tv shows, albums, and commercials.
CLAUDIA: What other video/live symphony productions have you helped to create?
CHRIS: I’ve worked on the live productions of Blue Planet Live and Barbie at the Symphony™
CLAUDIA: What is your favorite part of touring the world with the DWFF production?
CHRIS: I enjoy seeing new cities and meeting new people from all over, sharing the local food and drinks, as well as working with some of the world’s greatest orchestras.
CLAUDIA: What do you enjoy most about your job on the AWR production team?
CHRIS: The best part is working with the world’s greatest video game composer & on his music.
CLAUDIA: What is the hardest thing about balancing all of your different responsibilities?
CHRIS: With so many productions going on, it can be tricky to make sure they’re all done on time, but we manage.
CLAUDIA: I have heard that you are quite a gamer. For the Win…What is your favorite game?
CHRIS: I enjoy any game with a good puzzle. Simple games like Tetris & Lumines, or Lode Runner. I’ve been a fan of RPGs ever since I played Dungeons & Dragons at the community center as a kid, but my fav are RTS style games like Starcraft. The best part in those games are the voice effects, makes me laugh every time.
CLAUDIA: Who are your favorite composers, artists or groups?
CHRIS: So many ;-) In the classical world, I’m a fan of Ravel or Debussy. I love progressive rock, Rush, Dream Theater, and every time we do a show in Sweden for some reason Opeth is out of town. A few that I’ve been listening to lately are Lamb, Lou Rhodes, Goldfrapp, Ray LaMontagne, and Imogen Heap.
CLAUDIA: Do you get to interact with the fans while on the road?
CHRIS: Yes, of course it’s always fun to be out after a show grabbing drinks with Nobuo and then running into some fans.
CLAUDIA: What is your fondest memory of an audience’s reaction during a performance?
CHRIS: It was really neat to see everyone’s reactions at the first show in Stockholm. I especially remember at the start of Don’t Be Afraid. We took a chance with that song & let the audio from the game play and then the orchestra joins in with the battle. The audience was cheering on the orchestra, it was really fun.
CLAUDIA: How has this production changed your life?
CHRIS: Well, I never would have traveled so much. I never really was that excited about flying. I always drove around and traveled throughout the roads of America. This show has let me see different parts of the world, and I’m thankful for that.