Whether you’re at a concert every other weekend or only fork over money for tickets when U2 comes to town, you probably know how difficult it can be to record live music. Lucky for you, we recently partnered with the super-popular indie music blog (and live music recording experts), BrooklynVegan, to get exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and private concerts of some of the best indie bands around.
The footage we received from these Green Room Sessions were amazing and all shot exclusively on a Sony Bloggie® MP4 camera. I reached out to Bao Nguyen, one of the videographers on the project, who was more than happy to give us tips on how to create equally awesome videos of live music ourselves:
First things first, am I even allowed to film a live concert?
Due to the popularity of affordable pocket camcorders, fans filming video footage at concerts is more popular than ever. It is not always allowed though, so use caution. Make sure to check what the venue’s rules are, or more importantly how the artist playing that night feels about it. Some venues post that information publicly near the doors – sometimes permanently and sometimes on a show to show basis (based on what the artist wants).
You may also find helpful information in the venue’s FAQs. If you don’t have that information, film at your own risk. Many artists and venues just don’t care, but occasionally you’ll be in a situation where the security guard fights their way through the crowd just to stop you, and in some cases that could even mean they delete your memory card or eject you from the venue.
How do I make sure I get the clearest sound possible?
To get the best audio at a live performance, recording near the soundboard is your best option. You want to be slightly elevated above the crowd to avoid catching any unwanted conversations, but you don’t want to block anyone else’s view. You also want to make sure you always point the camera towards the stage.
It’s always best to have external sound, both as a backup and usually because the quality tends to be better for an external recorder. Most of the time at concerts though, you don’t really want to lug gear around so having built-in audio in a compact video camera is sometimes the best option.
A lot of the video clips looked like really cool music videos, how did you capture them?
Because of the Bloggie camera’s compact size, we were able to get some inspired angles and really get close to the musicians. This was certainly the case for our video of Street Chant where we rigged a Bloggie camera to the seat of the lead singer.
Any tips for us concertgoers with nosebleed seats?
The Bloggie camera has image stabilization, which was incredibly handy for the video shoots, and is equally handy when you’re shooting video in a large crowd. If you can, cover the light that emits from your LCD screen by cupping the camera as if they were binoculars. This helps to shade any light that may distract those around you.
Also, know that zoom can be your best friend to ensure an optimal image!
Finally, what is the most important thing to remember when recording live video?
Do not distract either the musician you are trying to document or your fellow concert goers! Having a small camera with a manageable LCD screen is the simplest way to avoid distracting anyone.
So, next time your favorite band is in town, arm yourself with a pocket cam and get ready to impress your friends with your newly-found live recording expertise.
In the meantime, check out the BrooklynVegan Green Room sessions to see footage of bands like We Were Promised Jetpacks, Polica, Idle Warship and more.
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