Here in the BBC Classical Music Television and Proms Interactive team - we bring you the annual Proms TV coverage - for 2009, on digital platforms, we're rolling out an exciting new service: MaestroCam - press the Red Button and you'll be connected to the camera which is permanently pointing at the conductor.
There's no escaping the fact that conducting is a technical skill, and to make the experience even more interesting, we're bringing in three of the 'mentors' from last year's Maestro TV series, to provide a live commentary on what's going on - a bit like watching a DVD of a feature film where the director's commentary tells you what's happening and why.
The first of these concerts is tomorrow (Saturday 25 July) - Sir Charles Mackerras is conducting Elgar's Cockaigne Overture, Delius's rare masterpiece, Song of the High Hills, and Holst's Planets Suite. I'm producing the MaestroCam coverage for this concert, and earlier today our commentator Matthew Rowe (Katie Derham's mentor in Maestro) met up with our Red Button producer
Matthew is well-prepared and is a complete natural at this rather challenging task, reacting to Sir Charles's moves and offering a stream of fascinating insights into the technicalities of conducting these difficult scores. The sound is balanced so that you can hear the music clearly, yet Matthew sounds close by - intimate, even - giving a strong sense that he's communicating personally with each individual viewer. Importantly, he doesn't talk all the time - it's a question of striking a balance between allowing the music to make its impact felt while at the same time showing how the conductor brings it to life and keeps it under control.
As the rehearsal unfolds we take note of the fact that Sir Charles, who's in his 80s, after a total of ten hours' prior rehearsal on the programme, is concentrating on the sound balance in the hall: the hard work of the detailed rehearsals is behind him. As such, he is understandably conserving his energies and we expect him to be much more expansive when it comes to Saturday evening's live broadcast.
As this service hasn't been attempted before, there are no points of reference for us; and we decide on an important modification to our plan: for some of the pieces we will be showing the linear TV output as well as the MaestroCam; this is so that important aspects of the scoring - instrumental, chorus and soloist entries - can be viewed when Matthew refers to them.
We're all looking forward to doing it 'for real' on Saturday night. Coverage starts at 8pm on BBC 2. I'll be back on Sunday with another blog to tell you how it went from our point of view. Please use the Comment facility here to tell us what you think!
In the picture, you can see Matthew on the microphone and Rhonagh taking notes at the MaestroCam rehearsal.
If you wish to enjoy the Maestro Cam after the Proms then visit the Proms website. Each edition of Maestro Cam will be available on the Proms website until the very end of the season!