Tuesday, 24 November 2015

It’s time to stop filming at concerts! Or is it?

by Hermione Barrick

It’s time to stop filming at concerts!  Or is it? Are cameras and filming at concerts a part of the future and something that we must try to accept?

For whatever reason you are at a concert, as you are there you should throw yourself into the experience, so why film the whole concert?  This stops you from truly being involved in the music, right? Or perhaps you are a camera enthusiast, perhaps you live your life behind a lens, does that mean you are involved any less in your life?

Opinions are conflicted within the music industry; many well known artists have begun to request their audience to refrain from filming at concerts; Johnny Marr said in an interview that it meant that fans missed out on the sensory experience of live music, in their desperation to document the event for later. Additionally The Who frontman Roger Daltrey said:

"I feel sorry for them, I really feel sorry for them. Looking at life through a screen and not being in the moment totally – if you're doing that, you're 50% there, right? It's weird. I find it weird."

This issue has even found its way into the classical world of music, with one of the world's leading pianists surprising his audience when he stormed off stage because a fan was filming his performance on a smartphone.

However some believe that filming at concerts is the future and so we must embrace it; Sam Watt of Vyclone, a phone app that encourages audiences to film at concerts, said:

"Fans filming is now part of the concert experience, that is a just a fact, so we take that footage that people are filming at concerts through the app, they upload it onto the app, and then it comes back to them mixed together with everybody else who was filming. You end up with really fantastic content, artists should absolutely be embracing the filming at concerts and I can't see a world where artists who aren't embracing it are going to be able to carry on. I know it is quite a controversial subject, but in a year or two when everyone is filming, it is going to be hard for them to ignore and not utilise that content without suffering themselves."

Since they launched the technology in 2012, famous musicians have now utilised the technology, with Vyclone acknowledging Ed Sheeran, Madonna and Jason Mraz among those who have used their app to create videos of their own concerts, even encouraging fans to film certain songs during their live sets. Watt continued:

 "For the artists we work with, it enables them to have this content and see that fans are connecting and embracing and almost becoming part of the show. It definitely is part of the concert experience and filming at gigs is something people are going to have to get used to."

We could say that the issue comes with age, perhaps if you are accustomed to an audience waving lighters in the air rather than smart phones, this influx of technology must really change your experience as a performer or as a part of the audience. But the issue of age doesn't explain my own frustrations; when I am at a concert and dancing in a crowded space, there isn't room for me to enjoy myself and for you to hold a camera in front of my face, fine take a quick picture, but when you start taking videos we have a problem; I can't enjoy myself while I'm there, just because you want to enjoy it then and later. 

Therefore I began to  discuss this issue with with some of my friends, and the use of a Go Pro was suggested creating a useful compromise, as these can be strapped to your body or head. This removes the issue of obstruction, and your focus isn't on the screen for the whole time, therefore perhaps using a Go Pro is the compromise that need to be made, in order for all to enjoy the concert experience.

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