Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Gig recording at New Cross Inn

On Saturday I took the Canon XL1s and my trusty Panasonic camcorder sidearm down to the New Cross Inn to video tape two bands, Frau Pouch and The Explorer's Collective. Mark of the Explorer's brought another small camcorder for me to borrow, so I had a total of 3 camcorders to film the gig with. Pablo of the Explorer's brought his digital audio recorder that he uses for capturing gig audio so I could have a seperate sound recording.

I enlisted several helpers to man the two camcorders for me throughout the two sets, so I want to publicly announce a big thank you to the incredible Diana, Phil, Pablo, Steve and Lauren. I couldn't have asked for more! Further thanks are in order to Diana again for taking care of the transport and being super-amazing in general.

Basically we recorded the bands from three angles and did a seperate audio recording so I can put the results together in Final Cut. We recorded each set in it's entirety, with no stopping between songs so that the three video files would be easier to synchronise when editing. We didn't really plan or co-ordinate our filming angles but we have some audience shots we can use as a cutaway in case all three camerapeople were shifting positions or changing focus at the same time. I took the Canon and tried to get the main shotsdown at the front and I think the end result came out pretty good. I brought enough tripods for everyone but didn't use any as it was risky to put a tripod up in case it got knocked over by a drunken dancer, and having the cameras handheld gave us so much more freedom.

The audio recorder was placed up by the soundbooth to minimise crowd noise. The soundman (a helpful guy named Ben) recommended putting it behind the bar as the speakers were pointed that way, but I put it by the soundbooth so I wouldn't have to hassle the barstaff or fight through barflys between each performance. Pablo still has the sound recorder so I haven't been able to use the captured audio just yet, but the cameras actually did a pretty good job, much better than expected. There was some crowd noise but I couldn't hear specific conversations or yelled arguments, which was my main concern. The venue was very dark, the stage lighting would sometimes hit the band members, but often not, with people on stage right often shrouded in darkness. I turned up the gain on the main camera but this meant that a lot of images were grainy. As a result of these factors the video and audio is certainly not pin sharp but it feels accurately representational, and hell, I was never going for pin sharp anyway!

I spent most of the evening either frantically filming or waiting in the corner guarding all the gear. A friend's handbag was stolen a few months ago in the same bar and I didn't want to take any chances. The crowd was great though, lots of people I knew, so even though I was hanging around I was never bored. I have also never spent that long in a pub without drinking!

In the end the whole thing went unexpectedly smoothly, everything went to plan, we had complete support from everyone, the bands, the staff, the punters. There was never a second of stress during the entire evening, right up until I lost a camera bag but it turns out Frau Pouch accidentally took it home with them. But I have Suzanne's shoes so I'm sure I can arrange some kind of prisoner exchange with the Pouch People.

Here's the first edit, the footage of Frau Pouch. They needed some live footage asap, so I've rushed this one through.

The rest of the footage will have to wait until I've finished one of my current music video projects as my hard disk is groaning under the weight of all the footage.

Summary? This was a lot of fun! Just got word that Frau Pouch like the video too, so I'm damn happy right now!

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