Group 2

A couple of weekends ago Purple Camera Media was recruited to record a live performance show of a Take That tribute band named ‘misTAKE That’; this much like the previous weeks BEX Live, proved to be invaluable experience as the company begins to grasp exactly what is needed from live event filming and was a strong lesson in the importance of lighting!

We arrived early in order to figure out camera set-ups and met the band who are lovely group. We watched them perform their technical rehearsal and soon realised that their wacky dance routines would be a major aspect of the performance, which we needed to capture. We also discussed with the band over exactly what was needed filming and it was decided mutually that rather than record the entire 1½ hour set, we would record around 10 songs. This had many advantages for us as a crew because it meant we did not have to worry about battery life or the amount of footage we shot (and even if that battery had died we would have had time between songs for a quick charge) and also meant that we could concentrate more fully on each song.

So the concert began later than scheduled (my limited experience has led me to believe that live events never run on time) and we filmed the first four songs. We had two camera set-ups meaning that one camera (operated by team member Ashley) remained static throughout, getting coverage of the whole band and occasionally focusing on the singer in a key part. Whilst I being the more experienced cameraman was given the task of roaming in front of the band and capturing close-ups.

And so everything was going fine; the lighting on the stage was not perfect – the overhead white lights were not working meaning that coloured disco lights were constantly moving across the band; over-exposing their faces at points. This did not look terrible and we felt that it would give the videos a more artistic feel in post-production. The band performed their dance routines perfectly and during our first break I felt extremely happy with the way the footage was coming out.

Gary 1

It was during the next song we recorded that problems occurred; the band moved off the stage and began to roam around in the crowd (where there was next to no lighting). This proved extremely successful with the audience at the event as they soon found themselves able to sing and dance next to ‘Gary Barlow’. Unfortunately the movement from stage to crowd did not translate well onto the camera; being unprepared for such and with very little lighting our only option was to bump up the ISO, improvise shots and hope for the best.

Ashley made the decision to remain in the same position and go for a wider angles’ covering as many of the roaming band members as possible. This meant that he was behind the band for some parts but captured the essence of their performance fairly well.

Considering that I had been tasked with capturing close-ups I continued to do this; dropping the height of my monopod and using it as a make-shift ‘Steadicam’ (I knew this would work fairly decently having written about and tested low-budget alternatives to a ‘steadicam’ for my University dissertation). I then roamed around trying to capture as much as possible. I knew at the time and was proven correct in the early stages of editing that this would make for as much unusable footage as the useable stuff; however I was impressed to see afterwards that several moments looked incredibly professional.

Screen shot 2013-10-07 at 12.19.09

Fortunately after two songs the band returned to the stage and we where able to complete the rest of their set with very few problems; the gig did however over-run by half an hour – meaning we missed our last train home and had to get a taxi.

So over the next week I began an edit (which I am still undergoing) and was fairly impressed by our footage; another problem did occur in that the sound recorded by our sound recorder (which was plugged into the sound desk) was clipped and generally unusable – we did not factor in that the mix would be turned up for the performance, following the tech demo. But luck was with us with Ashley’s on-board microphone recorded audio which although not perfect picked up the bands performance in fairly decent quality and enough ambience to give a sense that the event was live without taking away from the performance; below is a before vs after screenshot making the difference obvious.

Comparison

So the songs which were performed on stage where consequently edited together and looked fantastic; the footage captured on my camera although it did look good had ten-fifteen seconds gaps that where unusable due to me moving to a new camera set-up – next time I film an event I will make sure to stay in one position per song and move the camera from there, reducing the times of unusable footage. I have also edited together one of the songs in which the band entered the crowd and the final product came out much better than expected; bumping up the brightness and turning the contrast down allowed the images to become visible (albeit it looks foggy) and the shots cut together surprisingly nicely.

To conclude I believe we did a fairly decent job with the filming of a live-event improvising well to produce good results. The videos should be live on the misTAKE That website (www.mistakethat.com) at some point in the near future and I will post a link when they are. If you do have an opportunity to see misTAKE That live I would highly recommend them as they are as close to seeing the real Take That at an affordable price as you can get.