So I got a chance to shoot some live music last weekend, and it was really exciting. I was approached by a local group who wanted to create just some quick-and-dirty promo materials for their band, (The?) “Daybreaks”. They’re an Inland Empire-based rock group and make some pretty awesome music. I was invited to a practice/jam session they had over the weekend and shot a few stills and a good amount of video, which was their primary concern.

They’d seen a few live performance videos from other small bands online and wanted something created in the same vein as what they’d seen. The only video (yes, singular) they had was a simple one provided to them from a venue they had performed at recently. After taking a look at what they’d seen, I came up with some of my own ideas for the session.

Being that this was video, I started asking around among my friends, looking for a second camera/operator to assist with the shoot and get a couple different looks/angles. I was able to find one in my girlfriend’s brother, who is pretty new to photography, but is really hungry to learn everything about it. I was pretty excited about this — I have someone else to work with, and teach them some things (even if I have much to learn myself), but mostly because I haven’t done much multi-camera work (mostly in reference to post) or directing (if you can even call it that).

On the day of the shoot, I packed up pretty much all of my stuff. I even brought some speedlights, stands, triggers and umbrellas in case they wanted to shoot some stills. Here’s what I packed in my bags:

Think Tank Street Walker Pro:

Crumpler 8 Million Dollar Home

I also brought along my DSLR video rig and a tripod (though I never used the tripod).

Yeah, I tend to overpack — but I like to be prepared for anything rather than regret leaving something at home and wishing I had it, if even for just one or two shots. Most times I don’t end up using a lot of it, but I like to have the security knowing it’s there if I need it.

Once everyone had arrived at the venue, I explained that I’d start with a few stills while they got warmed up to allow me to get a feel for what i’d likely be using during the filming and also to explain to my second camera what kinds of things I wanted him to shoot and how to do it. It also gave me a chance to check levels and dial in the Zoom recorder. I have to say that I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with the zoom’s built-in mics since I’ve only used it with shotguns and lapels…I was honestly REALLY surprised at how clear everything came through. This thing is phenomenal. I had guessed that it might do quite a good job, having seen some tests with live music on youtube — it’s hard to believe how good the sound is from such a small (and relatively inexpensive) package.

Once they’d warmed up/practiced a few songs, We started filming, and everything went fairly smoothly for this part, so nothing to note here, really. I was mostly looking for a lot of snap focus and tightly cropped shots of the band members and their instruments.

Now, it may have been because both myself and the second camera were excited to be doing something like this, but I noticed we didn’t sit still for very long. It hadn’t occurred to me until I started trying to edit the footage and was seeing that both cameras would move at the same time, meaning transitions were going to be rough and I’d have to make excessive use of cross fades to smooth out the video. Overall, it came out OK — in my opinion. Here’s one of them (I use vimeo for quality, but haven’t purchased a subscription yet — so the rest are on my YouTube page.)

Some words on the editing — This is the first time I’ve really done my own multi-camera editing, so I made use of Pluraleyes to sync the cameras and audio. Previously, with one-camera shoots, I would manually sync my audio — which was never too much of a problem, but with multiple cameras and multiple takes, It can be a nightmare. Pluraleyes is a huge time saver here.

Other than that, there’s nothing much to note on editing, either. Just some cinematic color grading in Premiere and BAM, done.

About Bryan

Bryan Gateb is a Southern-California based photographer.