Jordan Allen are an indie-rock 4 piece from Manchester, England. Over the past few years they have developed a reputation across the country as performers of big tunes on big stages. This rise through the UK music scene saw them take on one of the biggest stages in Manchester in the form of Manchester Academy 1. Their support slot with the now huge Sheffield based band The Sherlocks was set to be their biggest night yet, so, that’s where we came in.
With the Manchester Academy show being their biggest performance so far, naturally the band wanted to capture the moment forever. We were brought in with the task of documenting the band’s full day, from preparing instruments and sound gear to the excitement of coming off stage. This idea was taking the live event concept to the next level.
Recording one set-piece event is often self explanatory in its format. If you are asked to film a piece of action, you film a piece of action. Whereas the vision Jordan Allen had was bordering on a documentary style of filming. With this comes the usual challenges of capturing live events with the added extras of unpredictability and the huge scope for changes to original plans.
Plan Of Action
The shoot itself comprised of a day of filming from lunch to late evening with two camera operators. A plan was put in place that would give a loose idea of what would be done. The sporadic nature of such a shoot does not lend itself well to planning, however, some form of skeleton plan is still necessary to ensure that key moments are captured. So in this instance the plan was based around activities and ensuring sufficient quality footage of all the necessary moments. The B camera would then mop up any spontaneous, unpredicted events and happenings. This two camera set-up is crucial for capturing quality footage and moments in such an environment.
We work with a lot of musicians and it becomes clear the more shoots of this nature we undertake, certain shots stand out as the ones to aim for. Taking this case study as the example we were looking to capture; casual shots leaving the studio, travelling shots to the venue that conveyed the feel of a journey, loading gear into the venue, footage from around the venue, pre-show build up, live show and post-show reaction. This might seem like an exhaustive list, however, when narrative and time comes into a shoot it is important that the timeline stays complete to ensure a clear development through the video.
Documentary Style Filming
As previously mentioned, the brief for this video developed the project onto the border of a documentary style filming. The band wanted to capture some impromptu moments to give the video a more intimate and real feel. This is where the importance of the B camera is so high. The shoot could have easily been done with one camera and all necessary footage would have been captured, however, this would have made the spontaneous clips we managed to grab that much more difficult. The B camera backs the main shooter up in the confidence that the main footage is being gathered and camera B then has the licence to film with more adventure and risk. That is exactly how the desired footage is achieved as the whole filming process plays out in a more creative environment.
The final big challenge when filming was the small task of a full live show within a full day of filming. This is where the planning is most important. Whereas the previous shots only needed mild guidance, filming a high action show straight off the back of this demands a high level of concentration and awareness of the filming environment. The stage and surrounding area had to be scouted out before the show and the crew and production team identified exactly what can be achieved, at what point it can be achieved and who would be filming what.
Challenges Of Filming Live Events
In the case of Manchester Academy 1, we were dealing with a venue that had a very large stage and held over 2500 people. Although this is a dream in many instances as it allows so much freedom on stage and provides extra angles, the logistics become all that more difficult when so much more space is available. To ensure depth was given to the video and high adrenaline action was conveyed, we identified key camera shots for the performance.
Firstly a roaming, on stage camera would offer intimacy with the band whilst also portraying the close proximity action. Secondly, footage from in front of the stage providing a view from the crowd and showing the band in all their glory. Finally, footage of the crowd’s reaction to provide that much needed atmosphere. These all combine to make a complete set of shots of a live performance.
Social Media Marketing Benefits
The final edit consisted of two main videos. Firstly a longer 90 second video that captured the day and could be used by the band internally and for PR when approaching agencies and labels etc. Secondly, a shortened social media friendly edit of 45 seconds. This is the ideal length for social media, especially on Facebook where the band saw it gather a combined 14k views over the times they shared it out. The combination of quality, professional footage of their live performance as well as the close up shots with the band made for ideal content to connect with the fans.
When it comes to promoting your act across social media, video is the number one way to do so. As seen for this example, fans love the close up nature of the video but also the professional quality portrays the level of the band. Video like this is easily sharable and attracts high levels of engagement. Not only are you left with a fantastic production that showcases your act and captures a special live moment, you have in your hands a highly effective social media marketing tool.
Want to work with Glacé Media? Contact us now to discuss how we can turn your video visions into creative realities.