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Old 12-09-2011, 11:05 AM   #1
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Whistles & Cameras at Pow Wows

Pow Wow Protocol Question:
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Is it Okay to film or photograph a drum being Whistled at a Pow wow?
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I have seen these videos on YouTube,

but it is something I do not do myself.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:50 AM   #2
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No cameras during whistles. Arena directors will usually have someone to tell you to stop recording.
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Old 12-09-2011, 03:55 PM   #3
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When streaming we turn all cameras off.
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Old 12-09-2011, 11:41 PM   #4
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Cameras usually get turned off, capped, and rotated in a direction that is not facing the drum or the arena.
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Old 12-10-2011, 11:01 PM   #5
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There were a lot of whistles at Cabazon powwow in Indio this year. So, yeah I stopped the video.

I put in more filming time overall, to make sure I had plenty of footage to choose from afterward.

The best sound is right at the drum, but the camera angle on the dancers gets narrowed.

When you go up high above the bleachers, you get echo and reverb from speakers or off of acoustic surfaces.

In the bleachers is too much people noise, kids crashing around, etc. non-Natives stomping their feet LOL

So, down on the floor, I have the camera on a pole mount, and use a fisherman rod support to steady it on my right hip. That way the LCD screen is above my eyes about 18 inches.

Bit of a workout, having to stare up while glancing around for the next scene coming.
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Old 12-11-2011, 12:28 AM   #6
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Amigo, you ought to check out a portal recorder that has XLR inputs like the Tascam DR-100. You can take that and set it up by the drum and get great fully manual uncompressed audio that you can play with later on in editing.

I can imagine that it's quite a work out. Try wearing a Stedicam outfit; you're back will be killing you for days afterwards.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:32 AM   #7
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Tools...

I'm sure AK will agree. Sometimes, it's really difficult to get close to those high caliber drums. People standing 4-5 deep trying to record.

AK...you need a 'backpack apparatus' with a telescopic camera pole to get above the crowd when you're down on the floor.

We'll mass produce them and get rich!
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:58 PM   #8
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Question Question

So why does every one turn off cameras during the whistles? What are whistles and the meaning behind them?
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Old 12-12-2011, 01:29 AM   #9
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Eagle Whistle Carriers

http://ww.ammsa.com/node/26319

The spirit of the drum
Windspeaker

Author: Pamela Sexsmith
Volume: 21 Issue: 3 Year: 2003 Page 29

Drums are highly regarded by First Nations people and they consider them to have a spirit of their own. Since early times, the drum has symbolized the circle of life and the heartbeat of Mother Earth.

"Having a drum will humble you and open your eyes," said Gerald Okanee, lead singer of Saskatchewan's Big Bear Singers. "Some people can hear one song and it will change them for the rest of their lives."

Okanee said drum songs are made to be shared in ceremonies given to the people by the Creator.

"Some honor the spirits of the ancestors and ancient traditions. Others just make you feel good, such as the intertribal. Sometimes you can't be too serious. You are celebrating life and powwow singing is a good way to express it," said Okanee.

The drum and the eagle whistle are the most revered of musical instruments among the Plains Cree.

If the drum is the heartbeat of Mother Earth, it is the eagle whistle that sounds with the breath of the Creator.

One of the rarest and most special tributes that can be made to a drum is when an eagle whistle carrier blows his whistle on it.

An experienced dancer will hear a song that he really likes and dance towards that drum, blowing his eagle whistle to keep the spirit of that song alive.


Other men's traditional dancers will go and support him by dancing stationary in the area around that drum.

Spectators stand to offer their energy and support. The drumming and singing intensify until all the energy of the entire powwow is magnified and focused on the drum, the dancers and the eagle whistle carrier.

It is a high point in the powwow, a powerful spiritual experience.

"What I know and can talk about is that the eagle whistle can be blown on a drum for a number of reasons," said Okanee.

"Someone can be sick and the family will ask for a drum and a song to pray to the Creator for help. It could be blown for a friend who needs their spirits lifted up. People can also blow a whistle on a song because it is a beautiful song. For those five or six minutes, it brings us that much closer to the spirits and God and no one can take that away from us. For that five minutes it is all about you, the Creator and the gifts he has given us. We believe that the songs that lift people's spirits, and are worthy of an eagle whistle, come directly from the spirits," said Okanee.

As a lead singer, Gerald Okanee enjoys singing songs from the traditional, rather than the contemporary, streams.

"We sing very old, original style songs, as well as word songs that we know were very special. The original style of singing was basically harmonic sounds. That is why we do not sing in the contemporary style. We believe that word songs were strictly ceremonial, reserved for returning war parties or successful hunts that celebrated victory and plenty for the whole camp. We keep them for special dances and events. Some competition songs are considered ceremonial, such as a slow dignified sidestep for the old-time jingle dress dance, the sneak-up for men's traditional dance or a fast beat for men's fancy bustle," said Okanee.

Early drums were often pegged to the ground with four decorated willow staffs that had sacred rattles attached to them to accentuate the sound. Ancient drummers sat on the ground on a bison robe, connected to the Mother Earth.

Traditionally, there is a man called the drum keeper. His job is to tend the drum and make sure that it is never left alone. He also make ssure that nothing is done to disrespect the drum, keeps it clean and never allows it to touch the ground.

"There are special blankets that are given to the drum specifically for the drum. The spirit of a drum is like a person; you have to keep it warm. It is part of the family and the sole purpose of a drum group is to honor the drum and treat it as you would your fellow singers," said Okanee.

Drums and drum-making reflect all that is traditional in Indian country-respect for the animals, trees, sacred plants, fire an the people you want to sing for.

The creation of a drum is an art form handed down from father to son.

"The maker of a drum must possess knowledge in the cleaning, tanning and stretching of animal skins. The type of hide affects the overall tone. Rawhide from elk, moose and buffalo are used for large powwow drums, while deerskin provides a taut, flexible covering for the smaller hand drums. In ancient times, they used to hollow out a tree trunk for the rim of the big drums," said Okanee.

The hand drum is a more personal instrument in which there is one voice, one song, one spirit.

Hand drums are used with a personal approach that is deeply religious and ceremonial for the sun dance, ghost dance, prairie chicken dance, and sweatlodge.

All drums can be painted with the drum-maker's personal totem or the drum group's logo.

When a drum is completed it is passed through the smoke and consecrated by an Elder.

"Traditional drumsticks are made of wood, leather and rawhide lacing. Modern drumsticks made of fiberglass are sturdier and hold up better on a punishing powwow schedule."

"Over the course of the week, the weather plays a large part with the effects of temperature and humidity. When it gets too cold the drum tends to go flat and loosen up. Tuning by way of fire tightens up the straps and hide, giving the drum a higher pitch and tone."

"I have been fortunate and blessed to have great teachers and Elders to learn from and guide me in the way of the drum. I am always ready to share my knowledge and initiate our young ones into the same style and way of life," said Okanee.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:33 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe's Dad View Post
Tools...

I'm sure AK will agree. Sometimes, it's really difficult to get close to those high caliber drums. People standing 4-5 deep trying to record.

AK...you need a 'backpack apparatus' with a telescopic camera pole to get above the crowd when you're down on the floor.

We'll mass produce them and get rich!
I use a monopod. The camera I use as a remote control that I can attach to the bottom of the monopod. I can use that to zoom in and out.
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:17 AM   #11
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Amigo-007 has it figgered out!
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:54 AM   #12
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Thumbs up Article

Good Article AMIGO, Thanks.
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Old 12-12-2011, 02:24 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe's Dad View Post
Tools...

I'm sure AK will agree. Sometimes, it's really difficult to get close to those high caliber drums. People standing 4-5 deep trying to record.

AK...you need a 'backpack apparatus' with a telescopic camera pole to get above the crowd when you're down on the floor.

We'll mass produce them and get rich!
Forgot about that... LOL, been there a few times.

As Paul said a monopod works great, probably will get tiring after awhile to hold it but it works, done it for a few shoots of crowds. A jib would be nice but not very portable and would probably get in the way at a powwow.
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:39 PM   #14
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http://1stwebbing.com/Marine_Harnesses.html
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This is the type of harness I use to carry the mini-boom I have my Canon Vixia mounted on.

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Old 12-12-2011, 09:13 PM   #15
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My SONY tripod has remote controls for Zoom & Start/Stop built into the handle. However, my SONY cameras are out-dated now, Standard Definition only good for outdoors with good sunlight. Too bad since they are so small and simple to operate! Then with SONY DVD Direct burners, just pop the memory stick out and start making DVD;s on the the spot.

My Canon Vixia is giving me superior HD video, but lacks the SONY ease of use features. I turned my Targus tripod into a mini-boom supported by a hip-level harness (in the post above). As far as Zoom & Start/Stop, the Vixia came with a small wireless remote.

All my videos now are processed with iMovie on MacBookPro. Getting better all the time LOL

On the sound kit, yes I will invest in that Tascam unit.

Maybe National Geographic will give a shot at Intern? I just read article about NatGeo filming wildlife at a waterhole in Africa, and the hyenas were eating the remote-contol cameras. Sign me up!
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:11 PM   #16
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Might as well refi your house and get a Stedicam while you're at it or take the cheaper route and get a Glidecam system... LOL.

If you go with the Tascam unit then you might want to invest in a nice shotgun mic so you can get better directional sound. The onboard mics are decent and are a great start.

I can get you an internship, your first tasks are to get me a coffee with cream and sugar and clean my lenses... hahahaha just messin'.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:22 PM   #17
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.
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Check this out, I snuck in my compact SONY DSC-HX9V to JR's comedy gig, took some HD footage
.
http://youtu.be/Md6XYl3dn2k
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<iframe width="560" height="315" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/Md6XYl3dn2k?rel=0" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:21 PM   #18
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I'm going to tell on you Amigo! LOL, just kidding. So where is my large coffee and my lenses are not going to clean themselves!

Back on topic.

Its annoying yet funny how a lot of people when they are told to stop recording for this reason or others will pull the camera away from their face and hold it at their side till you walk away and then pick it back up OR they get all snotty with you about why they can't record.

This one time years ago at Schemitzun we were sitting in the bleachers next to a northern traditional dancer who had sat his stuff down and propped his bustle up. A little while later these older women who had been down in front came back and saw him with his stuff and wanted to snap off a few pictures. They walked up and pulled out their cameras and he put his fan in front of their lenses and they were like "We don't want a picture of you, just it" (pointing at the bustle). He told them no and they got all huffy about it and turned around and sat down. We reached over to them and had to give them a lesson on etiquette - they still didn't give a rats butt.
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:39 PM   #19
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I think the SCIC Garden Grove Pow wow Committee was charging a camera fee at the entrance. I agree with this, and it is a good moment to run through protocol when they pay up.

It was like $50.00 per "big lense" camera.

Of course, cell phones with cameras would pop out all over then. Everything was so simple before electronics LOL
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Old 12-13-2011, 08:46 PM   #20
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I can see that working a few years ago but now the SLRs are getting tiny. My hacked Panasonic GH1 doesn't have a mirror in it so it's small and they make "pancake" lenses which are only like as big as a small focus ring. And there are more and more of these popping up everywhere. Add to that the fact that even tiny point and shoots are taking pictures and video of stunning quality. Cell phone still take pictures and video that, in my eyes, suck - but not for much longer.

I agree things like this were so much easier before technology.
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