Filming a Band Session

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    • #68431
      Avatarherestotheatombomb
      Participant

      I'm looking to try and start filming band sessions in the near future, basically just having a band come and play three or four songs and record it all.  I have very limited experience with video production but can edit on Avid, Final Cut, etc.

       

      Has anyone done this, or would anyone know the best way to go about this?  I have pretty much no equipment (still in school), but I would be able to get my hands on two (maybe three) Canon XF-100's and have access to Avid.  Do you think this would be enough? Do the camera operators tend to move around during a session or is it mostly stationary?

       

      Also, what do you think would be the best way to go about recording the audio, just completely separately with a mixer?

       

  • #208161
    AvatarDaniel Bruns
    Participant

    Hi,

     

    Nice screen name by the way. This is a big question! There are a lot of factors to consider when getting equipment. However, some of your questions are definitely answerable so I'll take a crack at those here.

     

    First, I want to address your audio capture. Basically, you're on the right track. I definitely think that recording the bands that come in to play with a mixer is the way to go. This way you get echo-free and clean sounding audio. Better yet, in the most ideal situation, you would want to record each band member with a separate recording device so that you could do the mix on your own later and have full control over each voice and instrument. This would certainly cost more and requre more equipment and constant awareness of each recorder, but would definitely give you the most flexibility. Again, the more realistic situation is to record the band from a "house" or combined mix from a mixer. Another idea is to have the artists play with a click track that can keep them on beat to thier original recorded song. In this way, you can just ask for their produced album and use the professionally mixed song straight from the CD.

     

    Going on to the cameras and editing system, I think you're all set to go with the three XF-100s and the Avid editing system that you mentioned. These tools should be able to get the job done in most situations. If you have three cameras and are still not finding the kind of shots you need after the shoot is over, you may have bigger problems on your hands! You'll need to speak with your cinematographers before the session starts and assign certain shots to them in order to be the most efficient. Even better yet would be to have a headset on so that you can talk with your other filmmakers over the noise of the band. This way you can give directions to them in order to avoid doubling up shots. Also, you'll want to speak to the band members ahead of time to see what kind of music they'll be playing and to familiarize yourself with it. Doing so will allow you to anticipate the beats.

     

    Lastly, you definitely want to make sure that the band is comfortable having your shooters moving about the room. There's no way to get a variety of great shots unless you move the camera around the room so let your shooters be as mobile as they want to be!

     

    Hopefully that helps!

     

    Dan

     

    P.S. Many editing systems come with software that automatically syncs your video with your audio in post. However, you'll want to make sure each camera is picking up natural, or NAT, sound during each session. Otherwise, the software won't be able to pair up your audio and video.

  • #208170

     

    I don't think that separate recorders are the way to go.  Rather, some sort of multi-track audio recording device would be far better.

     

    I guess it really depends on how much the music matters to your video.  Double system is definitely the way to go, but unless you really know what you are doing on the audio side, a good capture of a band playing live is not for the faint of heart, and this is coming from a guy who does exactly that for a living.

     

    You will need at least one, but preferably three camera operators, and you'll need someone to focus on the audio if you really want to do it right – especially if you decide to mix it live-to-2 as opposed to multi-tracking.  IMHO and YMMV

     

    watch videos of bands that you like, and then ask yourself "what shots will I need?  What angles?  How did they get those shots? How is it lit?"  You can learn a lot just by stealing with your eyes.

     

  • #208172
    AvatarDaniel Bruns
    Participant

    AndersonSoundRecording is right. A multitrack recorder would be best for capturing multiple instruments that you can edit individually later. I got a little too focused on the equipment that I often used in my last post. His idea is much more efiicient and practical.

     

    He's also got a great point about watching other music videos for ideas and inspiration. I do it all the time and would definitely recommend doing the same. Thanks for the post and good luck!

    Dan

  • #208174
    Avatarherestotheatombomb
    Participant

    Thanks for the advice, guys.

     

    After thinking about it over the weekend, and reading your responses, I think it will be easier to use my school's recording studio.  That way we have an engineer who will know how to get it sounding proper.  

  • #208176
    Avatargldnears
    Member

    Daniels sez, " . Better yet, in the most ideal situation, you would want to record each band member with a separate recording device so that you could do the mix on your own later and have full control over each voice and instrument."    I have reservations about this. Acoustic bleed between recorders ( audio tracks ) will be a problem. No two devices will run at the exact same speed due to minute differences in digital time base. Drifting errors will cause a phasing, " swishing " sound when the tracks are mixed together. The only way to eliminate this effect is to record all live audio tracks to a single recorder such as a MOTU or Metric Halo 8 track ( or more ) computer interface.

  • #208177
    Avatargldnears
    Member

     

    " After thinking about it over the weekend, and reading your responses, I think it will be easier to use my school's recording studio. That way we have an engineer who will know how to get it sounding proper. " As soon as a shoot requires more than two microphones and a single camcorder, it gets very involved very quickly. Sooner or later you're going to have to bring in others who have specialized expertise and trust them to deliver. I had a friend in Austin who was experimenting with the idea of being able to record a live band directly to DVD and to sell the DVD to the band before they " got away ". He quickly learned that lighting was a massive problem; that a one camera static shot was more than boring; and that a feed from the PA console wasn't always reliable.

  • #208178
    Avatarherestotheatombomb
    Participant

    Hmmm any tips on lighting?

  • #208182
    Avatarpaulears
    Participant

    I'm thinking walking before you start running. Live bands with multiple cameras is very difficult to do properly. The audio recording needs to be done by people experienced in it, and although with the right kit it's easy to do the recording, you'll have lots of hours of work getting the mix for an entire gig sorted. It' a major project. You need to think sync with the cameras – drummers are quite good – so a big drum thump makes sync not really a problem. 

     

    If they have the tracks recorded, it's far easier for them to mime.

     

    Lighting depends on what equipment you have. You need face light – so the usual thing is to have specials on the band members so they are lit, but then have as much colour, movement and effects as you can grab on top.  We do it quite often, but it's really quite complicated and time consuming. Our favourite way of working is to record the live show with three cameras out front – audio going from the direct outs of the desk to a computer via firewire. Then we leave everything set, and come back the next day, and replay the tracks we recorded and they mime, while we do all the clever onstage closeups and arty stuff – with no audience . These cut together very well. 4 songs took about a week to mix and edit.

  • #208202
    Avatar79fvideo
    Participant

    I appreciate the insights here. Two questions: 1) Any thoughts with cables–both for the audio/video equipment and the musicians themselves. I've been in settings with XLR cords strewn everywhere and trying to get around those with dolly shots is impossible. 2) Any recommendations on how to handle capturing clean audio from a live drum kit?

  • #208212
    Avatargldnears
    Member

    " I'm looking to try and start filming band sessions in the near future, basically just having a band come and play three or four songs and record it all. "    Is this a one-off?  . .  an experiment? . . . Is this an attempt to avoid paying a professional to do a professional job? . . . Are you looking to cultivate a niche market, specializing in making band videos?     How you answer these questions and other questions  ( to yourself ) will have a great deal to do with how you should approach shot layout, lighting, sound recording, etc. Do you expect to produce a video which will stand up in comparison with professionally produced videos you see on TV? Making a successful music video requires years of experinece, loads of ingenuity, an experienced crew, and a clear picture in one's mind of what the " client " wants. You simply can't read a handful of magazine articles, buy a couple thousand dollars-worth of gear, and expect to produce a worthy product.

  • #208204

    On the audio side, use subsnakes to cut down on cable clutter and simplify your runs.

     

    There are many ways to capture live drums.  Your approach will depend on:

    – the style of music

    – the number of channels/tracks you have available

    – your ability (or inability) to contain the sound of the drums in the room

     

    Getting them "clean" is simply a matter of proper gain staging on your drum mic's and getting good isolation on your other open microphones.  Getting them to "sound good" is a whole other story…

     

  • #208225
    AvatarBrian
    Participant

    Even with 3-4 cameras, you'll want more coverage than that so multiple takes are the only way to go.  Everytime the band plays live, there will be small changes in tempo.  I'd get the band to record the track and bring it in if possible and then lip sync.  Otherwise, subtle changes in tempo between takes can complicate the edit.  If that isn't an option, lead vocals, bkg, etc on one take, then do instrument shots, hands, sticks, etc on subsequent takes.

     

     

  • #208180

     

    you can still get phasing any time two microphones are not placed properly with respect to each other and their respective sources.  However, if you are monitoring everything from a single recorder, you at least know what it is all sounding like together.

    Using the recording studio is an excellent idea, and will give you a chance to make new friends in a parallel discipline.  Good luck!

     

     

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