Live streaming and recording concerts allows for some pretty creative problem solving. It seems as though everyone in the industry uses different equipment, different software, different platforms. But what everyone agrees on is that the more camera angles you have, the more engaging the broadcast will be. Watch any televised sport and take notice of the number of cameras used and how quickly each shot lasts. Everything is quick: quick cuts, quick graphics, quick motion. It keeps us alert, and you can’t help but keep watching.1
This is something I struggle with when broadcasting a concert, especially one leaning heavily on classical music. The value comes from the music, and the video should not detract from that aspect (more on this subject in a later posting). However, that does not mean that all concerts should be broadcast with a single, static, wide shot in the back of the hall, or be audio-only. Based on emails that I’ve received after a couple of concerts, people HATE single camera broadcasts. Zoom, pan around, do something...anything!
While we have stepped up our production game (we’ve had a few four-camera broadcasts this past year), I’ve always been frustrated by the lack of creativity and flexibility we can have in our selection of shots. There are only so many places you can put a tripod and camera in a concert hall withoutit interfering with the audience or performers. So for the average broadcast, I use two or three cameras. One wide in the back, another in the back I can use to zoom in on the performer, and when a large ensemble is performing, a camera on stage facing the conductor. Without the infrastructure in place in Eisenhower Auditorium or Esber Recital Hall, there's only so much we can do.
Despite stockholders feeling a bit skeptical about the action camera company, I've decided to put some time, effort, and money into incorporating the magic box into my productions. I'll touch on more specific uses in a later posting, but it's not hard for one to imagine the possibilities. It's so inconspicuous that it can be placed on stage and I don't think anyone would notice. If only recording, it could be placed nearly anywhere to provide footage that I just cannot get with typical broadcasting equipment. Additionally, the lack of fiddling (it has ProTune but the options are still limited) allows me to just throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks, if you will. Sometimes thinking too much about camera placement and the resultant shot will stop you from trying in the first place.
I'll be writing more about the specifics of the GoPro and how we plan on using it to reach a wider audience, and will start using it for concerts beginning with tomorrow's Centre Dimensions performance. So be sure to tune in to get a perspective on performance that only we can provide.