5 essential tips for Filming Live Music Events

  • Epik Music Videos
  • 10 Dec, 2012

The phrase conjures up a whole host of great images: a guitarist, rocking out under purple lights; a vocalist, his face, dripping with sweat, screaming into a mic... whilst a crowd of the young and excited shout back his every word.

However, capturing a live music event is more of a challenge than the montage of memory would make it seem. It requires a lot of pre-thought, planning and attention to detail. But don’t get yourself down, we’ve got it all covered. Just follow our guide and recording your live music event will be a cinch!

1-Visit the venue beforehand.

It may seem obvious, but every venue is
different. If you rock up on the day without having even glimpsed the space in which you’ll be working, you might end up with a couple of nasty surprises! So, do your homework. Arrange with the venue to have a pre-show visit, where you can work out your basic options, and begin to plan your angles. Where’s your locked off camera going to be? Where’s your manned camera going to be? Etc. Etc. Trust us: it’s worth it.

2- Sound engineers are your friend!

When you’re recording Live Music, what’s the most essential thing to get right? Well, duh. Sound, of course! And who knows their venue’s sound capabilities better than you ever could? The resident sound engineer! Ideally, you’d like a live feed of the mix-desk going straight into your camera. The worst thing to do would be to spring this requirement onto the sound engineer on the evening of the performance. Instead, contact him in advance. Tell him what inputs your camera or sound recording device has, and he’ll almost certainly be able to work something out to ensure that you don’t miss a single note.

3- Don't forget the traffic

No, we’re not talking about setting off early to ensure you arrive at the venue on time (although that probably IS advisable!), we’re talking about people traffic. The last thing you want to do is annoy people with your camera placement and create bad vibes: make sure you put your cameras where you’ll get a great view and where you have no chance of blocking anyone. One of the best ways to work out traffic flow, is to visit the venue during a gig - again, it never hurts to do your homework!

4- Understand the set - understand the music

Don’t forget: If you don’t understand the music, your film won’t work. After all, you’re using one art form to complement another: make sure you know what goes with what! Listen to the band. Get to know their set, the music - how it ebbs, how it flows. Get some direction from them. Do they consider themselves punky and edgy? Or glacial, and aloof? Whatever their vibe, make sure you match it as best you can.

5- Match your cameras

Since, ideally, you’re going to be using two cameras, make sure they produce compatible images. For example, two Canon DSLRs will produce pretty much the same type of images, whereas if you mix a Sony EX3 and a DSLR, you’re going to have jarring post-production issues, especially in the grade. As ever, it’s best to try and make sure what you’re doing makes your life easiest in post. So, try and put like with like! Make sure that when you get to post production, your primary thoughts are on the edit and the grade, not rationalising two very different types of image.


In summary, there’s one universal rule to Live Music Event Filming: Plan. The more you do it, the better your final film’s going to be! It really is that straightforward. If there’s anything that can be done a week before, do it a week before. Don’t leave anything to the last minute - you’ll regret it!


NM, Epik Music Videos


Last modified on Wednesday, 16 July 2014 10:30
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