3 Tips For Filming Live Video

 If you're in an unsigned band and your live performance is solid there's a good chance you've contemplated the fact that people at your shows always say how good you are, it's just getting people there in the first place that's the problem! This is reflective of the wider grassroots music scene and the many challenges we all face. One thing that will help is a well put together live video.


In the example above we edited together a short teaser clip for 1 in Five rather than a full live show or even a full song, just to entice people in to future shows. To do this we had to work with the band overcome the 3 most common challenges every musician faces when they make a live video without a proper film crew... 


1. Firstly, lack of film. Most of the time when people film you at a gig they're standing in one place, and they may only film for a short while. Preparation is key here. Single out a friend, relative, or even just a random fan and ask them to film the gig (offer them beer that usually helps). But don't just leave it at that. Ask them to film it all, and get them to move around a bit so you don't just have 1 angle to work with later on.


2. You probably don't have a decent camera. The camera 1 in Five uses is actually ok, it has it's limitations as does any camera but it's pretty good and easy to carry around to gigs. But most of the time you're going to be filmed on someone's phone - not great quality. However, with the proper tools a good editor can increase the quality of the picture, reduce stabilisation issues and cut the footage up so it looks good. The one BIG thing to remember though - ALWAYS make sure the person filming films landscape. Portrait videos always look terrible and no amount of editing is going to take the audiences attention away from that.


3. Getting good quality sound. Short of standing towards the back and using the zoom, or having a camera/phone that controls the amount of gain coming in sound will always pose a problem when filming a live gig. Most of the time however the sound can be edited down from an ear crushing wall of noise into something more akin to how you actually sound on stage. The aim here is to remove the harshness from the sound, make sure there's no clipping and give it a basic master rather than do anything that affects the purity of the performance (in other words we don't do overdubs and effects!)  


In the 1 in Five video we made sure the band got lots of footage and got the camera operator to move around a bit (they actually filmed the whole 45min set and we used bits of it in other videos too as part of the EP launch). They used the best camera they had available, which was ok, and we made the picture look much better. Finally we made sure the sound was actually reflective of the gig and not just the wall of noise most cameras pick up automatically. Add to that some ident's, the usual editing flourishes like speed, quality filters, and in this case black and white to tie in with the bands website and other assets and you have a quality live video clip. Easy x

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