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Author Topic: Recording audio and video single-handedly at a small (possibly crowded) club  (Read 1419 times)

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Offline if_then_else

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Hi,

I'm looking for some best practises from those who have already recorded both audio and video single-handedly at small club / bar shows.

One of my favourite bands has two shows coming up in my area (one in-town, one out-of-town). Three years ago, I already taped and filmed them at some medium-sized venue (capacity ~250-300) and they were so pleased with the results that they released the matrix recording as an official download album. So, for these two upcoming shows, I was given the green light again by both the band and the local promoters.

The thing is that these forthcoming shows will take place at some very small, living room sized clubs (capacity ~50-60).

I was told that at least the second (= local) gig might be crowded. There's no ticket pre-sale but you'll have to request some advance reservation with the promoter. As already mentioned the auditorium is rather on the small side. Moreover, the stage is also quite small for the 5 band members: 2xguitar, bass, drums, keyboard/synthesizers/percussion.

https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/4509968/lu_stage.png

Room height is about 9 ft. As far as I remember, there's no viable option to clamp my gear to a truss/pipe. Actually, there's some mount for a projector on the ceiling but that's dangerously close to the (rather loud) air conditioning system. Stage-left, there's some space to mount a small tripod for filming. However, the corresponding angle is pointed. So some band member(s) might obscure the camera's view on the others. The two PA stacks are pointing inward and there's a risk of distortion if you're too close to them. The band plays a mix of post-rock, post-punk, psychedelic rock and krautrock, so at least at some points of their set it might get very loud.

I have two sets of cardioid mics available (phantom-powered Line Audio CM3s + low sense modded AT853s) and might get access to the soundboard as well. I'm going to use my Sony HDR-CX550VE for filming. I have a K&M 20800 mic stand and two video tripods to choose from: my Sony VCT-60AV and the much taller and sturdier Feisol CT-3471 Rapid. Also some Manfrotto super clamps.

So where/how would you you set up your audio and video gear in this specific situation: loud gig, crowded club show, space is an issue, minimum obtrusive (if possible)?

Thanks in advance for your comments.
« Last Edit: December 26, 2014, 09:43:45 AM by if_then_else »

Offline 2manyrocks

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can you record them somewhere else?  there doesn't seem to be much room to work with.  I am also not sure that the band would be served well by being shown playing in a tiny space even if the video and audio turned out great.  Is this the image they want to show fans of a crowded tiny stage. 

if you record for the challenge of trying to pull this off, of course you already know stage lights at the back of the stage facing the backs of the musicians will make video difficult.
 
Unless your camera can shoot very wide close up, you might look for a wide angle adapter lens or find a second camera to shoot from two angles. 

If the club will let you screw a mount to the wall or ceiling, that might give you more flexibility. 

Use gaff tape to secure your cables so nobody trips.

Would wish you luck, but in this case wish you a miracle instead.

Offline if_then_else

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I agree that I should primarily focus on getting the audio (matrix recording) right. Video is more of an added bonus to me. It's not intended for public distribution anyway but just for documentation purposes.

If memory serves, it's the fourth time they play here - with all kinds of different venue sizes (capacity ranging from 50 to 600+). They used to play at a (now defunct) club with a very similar layout in 2010 and appear to have enjoyed it. Possibly even because it was such an odd place to play.

Also, I'm well aware of the backlight issue (and, unfortunately, there isn't much that could be done against it). It's either shooting video from the stage lip (stage-left) or from the back of the venue with the backs of people's heads on the view frame. Moving around with the camcorder or the dslr will be a no-go in this tiny room.


I might try my luck with a mic stand next to the soundboard and some double articulated arm clamped to my video tripod (or truss, if any).

BTW: I already had my accreditation to record the last full production show of the tour (at a movie theatre in Florence) in November but that gig was canceled at short notice. So, something is always better than nothing.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2014, 11:19:47 AM by if_then_else »

Offline 2manyrocks

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2 cameras increase your odds of getting something useable.  2nd camera can be set for that unusual position.  If WiFi controlled, also avoids crowd issues.  I saw one video featuring the drummer mid song.  They had positioned a second wifi cam shooting from behind her over her shoulder.  With the backlight you face, could give you use able video. 

Offline if_then_else

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Thanks again for your kind advise.

I could use my Pentax K5-ii dslr with a wide-angle lense as my 2nd camera. It's great in low light, but imposes other restrictions (MJPEG format, file size, manual focus, no wi-fi control). So, I'd have to use my shoulder mounted rig and leave the microphone stand unattended in the meantime.

The more I think of it, the more I realise that it will be pretty difficult for the band to squeeze in all their equipment onto the stage, too. There's a decent chance that at least one band member might have to set up his gear in the room. I've seen this kind of situation before at the other (similar sized) venue I had mentioned in my previous post.

So, after all, I guess it's going to be the safest thing to clamp the camcorder to my microphone stand and to film from the "far" end of the room (which will be approx. 6 meters from the stage lip).

BTW: This is some footage of the band. Not my own recording (and it certainly suffers from other issues), but just to give you an impression.

http://vimeo.com/98751174

Offline 2manyrocks

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Not sure I'd leave my equipment unattended.  Too easy for it to disappear in a crowd.

Some folks will clamp a second camera somewhere and let it run even if they had to restart because of the file limit on some cameras.     I have had an instance where I did this and ended up liking the "B" video better than the "A."  The B camera was shooting closer in and gave a much better perspective than the A camera further back.  But I knew going into it that I would have the A camera video whether the B camera worked out or not.  The A camera gave me continual video and the B camera gave me some close up perspectives to toss in. 

If you try shooting B camera from the side, at least the band can sort of keep an eye on it and maybe it would give you the additional camera perspective to make things interesting. 

Have you looked at the clamps and rigging thread?  Lots of good ideas there.  http://taperssection.com/index.php?topic=151303.0

« Last Edit: December 28, 2014, 06:39:50 PM by 2manyrocks »

Offline if_then_else

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Thanks for your suggestions.

I might ask the host of the event, a local radio dj, to keep an eye on the 2nd camera and (if necessary) to give it a restart.
I had promised him a copy of the footage anyway, so he should at least have some interest in a decent recording.

Thanks also for the heads-up regarding the clamping and rigging thread. That's where I got some of the inspirations for my rig. ;)
The thing is that the layout of the venue doesn't leave you with many options.

OK, I'll see how it goes. Still three weeks to go till the event.

 

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