Introduction: Hello, I have been filming since 2001 with my first sony handycam camcorder shortly followed by a panasonic miniDV camcorder. I have always been fascinated with filming, not sure why. I had a lot of friends growing up starting their own bands, they all wanted to be filmed and make sound samples of jam sessions. Which followed by filming their first local shows. Which envolved to real concerts. Since I've started I have filmed over 500 bands in the past decade. That being said I have more than enough knowledge to share with others. I hope you learn something new reading this guide, Spent a lot of time on it. Thanks! -Tripp
Chapter 1: Securing a good filming seat
1.1: For Arenas
If you know it's going to be a sold out show, try to get tickets early. Some shows on livenation you can know pick the section you want or close to it. If there is a lot of empty seats and you don't like your own seat as in security near you or people in front or around you that are loud and annoying, you can always move your seat. Yes there is a risk that the people that bought those seats may show up. If so, just move over one or back a row where you feel confortable. Techinically they are "assigned" seats. But most cases, It's more of the "Honor System" as in no one really checks or gives a shit. I hardly sit where I'm suppose too, hence all the great footage.
These types are a bit harder to grab a seat you want depending on the show. It is hard to get a good shot here no matter where you are filming as in most cases everyone is standing because the seating is horrible. And if everyone is sitting, you will be the only douche standing with a camera in their hand being a bit obvious for security haha. Anyways, again pending on the show you may want to get tickets early and select your section ahead of time. Usually these types of venues they have an usher at each section to make sure you don't go around sitting where you want. Again if your seats are terrible you can always forge a backup using photoshop and changing the section number. I think now pdf's are protected so you can't edit them. If this is the case, print out the original copy. Re-scan it, re-open it and edit. If you know the show won't sell out, save a few bucks and get tickets outside the venue, There's always people that buy tickets in bulk and try to re-sell them less than face value just to get rid of them. If you got a good camera with a lot of optical zoom (digital zoom is ok but not recommended) grab lawn tickets if they are available and if you're on a budget.
Usually general seating. Some venues you can select to pick floor or balcony seating. If you don't know the layout by heart for the floor as in seating areas, railings, bars. I would suggest googling some images of the venue to get an idea. To secure a good filming spot you may want to show up early. If someone is in the way, ask politely if you can stand there to film, offer them a beer if they are of age. Most cases they will move over. If they are a dick, move along, they have other issues lol. If you know floor is to open to film in, get upstairs and try to find a spot where no one is in front of you but people are around you so it's not too obvious as you will prolly have your legs up on the chair in front of you, shooting a camera between them with a hoodie over you.
1.4: Common Bar/Club
In most cases just show up, These are usually a small show and never packed as promoters are usually lazy and let word of mouth do it's job and now facebook. But if it's a well known band, maybe you should grab a ticket early. Most cases it's usually 5$ more with fees, or sometimes cheaper for advanced sales. We will discuse this later, but if you do not have permission do not stand up front in the barricade due to pushing, shoving, mosh pit, security. Bars are all different. Sometimes theres side railings, or tables in the back, or a bar you can rest a camera on without anyone caring. Usually you can get permission from the bar owner/manager/band before the show where you can film with a tripod or up front with eas, we will discuse this further in the tips section.
Chapter 2: Getting in with Equipment/Gear
2.1: The most asked question i get, How the hell do you get in with a camcorder? This is the easy part. Once you start doing this a few times, your stress&anxeity levels will decressed and you will start walking like a pro with a camera under your balls lol. It may seem weird at first, maybe a pair of tighty whities might help secure the cam until you get more practive. You could use tape but once you get into the bathroom stall to take it out, it will sound like you haven't took a shit in a year with all the screaming you're going to make when you rip the hairs of your legs with tape (assuming you have hair). In any case just put it under your balls either around the corner, in a portajohn, bathroom, or if theres a lot of people around, and you don't give a fuck, just do it right before you get in line, or do it in line if you got the balls and squeeze your theighs. It may look like your pinching a load in your pants, or you fractured your ankle just go with it without trying to be to obvious. Again practice makes perfect. Especially when there is stairs involved. Option 2, if you got a girlfriend with a nice rack. Have her put the cam in her tities. They don't search there (or your balls) so you're safe. Now once you have entered the venue, Find the nearest bathroom, go into a stall, take our your gear and get it ready for the show so all you have to do is point and shoot.
Chapter 3: Filming Techniques
3.1 For Arenas
Once you've read Chapter 1, and you've secured a nice filming location (usually in the back, upper balcony), you are going to perfect the art of filming a concert without trying to be obvious to security. No you should already be ready to go with your settings set from your house or bathroom. Playing around with extra settings during the show can draw attention to yourself so try not too. I understand some audio levels or internal/external memory may have to be adjusted on the fly, do so with caution. If the house lights are on and you still need to get ready, again proceed with caution. Do it behind the seat, or under a hoodie or a hat until you are ready for the lights to go out.
Once the lights are out you only have a few moments to whip out the camera out of your pocket or wherever you have it sitting. If you have no in front of you and your in the back up top somewhere no where near security. Just put one leg up with a hoodie/hat on your knee if you want, and sit the cam on your other leg for a nice steady shot. Or pur both legs up on the seat in front, with a hoodie or shirt drapped over your stomach/hip and rest the cam in the middle again pointing at the stage. If for some reason you can't get a good seat by moving around, or to many people in front, dancing, jaming out and you want to risk it. Stand up and point and shoot. As long as you have a lot of people around you, it is hard to tell if anyone is filming. Just keep an eye out for security which in most cases will stay around the entrace of the staircases.
3.2 For Amphiltheatres
3.3 For Theatre/Ballroom
3.4 For Common Bar/Club
Chapter 4: Security, If you get caught
4.1: RUN! haha just kidding. If you are using SD cards, try to swap them out with an empty one. Or take it out and stuff it in your sock or somewhere. It's 50/50 depending on the venue and their policies. Sometimes they will ask you to leave, sometimes they will ask you to put the camera back in your car and come back. Most of the time they will ask you to stop filming and leave you alone. Whatever the case is, they are not allowed to take your camera, ever, no matter what they say it is illegal. They can only ask you to stop recording or leave the venue, that is it.
Chapter 5: Tips n Tricks
Legal: In regards to the legality of the Video Home Recording Act settled by Congress with the Home Recording Act (P.L. 102-563,106 Stat.4237, Codified at 17 U.S.C. 1001-1010) in October of 1992, no action may be brought under this title alleging infringement of copyright based on the manufacturing, importation, or distribution of a digital or analog recording medium, or based on the non-commercial use of such a device or medium. No rights are intended, expressed or implied. My ONLY preference is to trade. Your list or link to your site is surely invited. Any claims to and for the rights of any items on the site can be forwarded/requested and will be considered for removal. Furthermore, any artists who wish to have copies of any footage or/and wish to have anything removed from the site, please e-mail me.
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