CPD

Filming performances

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series 10 Minute CPD

Filming performances has become a part of our lives in these Covid-19 days. It is something we have had to quickly learn and embrace but something that might be here to stay. Filming performances can be tricky and in this 10 Minute CPD I am going to share a few quick tips.

Why?

Why is it that we are filming performance – Covid is the answer course! But I actually think that we should start to think about why we might film them int he future. Filming a performance means that you can share it with others more easily. It also means that students get a chance to try performing in a different setting & environment. Filming performances also gives you a chance to think a little more about production and spend more time editing the sound.

Filming is maybe best suited to smaller recitals or performances and mustn’t stop live concerts in the future. My feeling is the a good mixture of regular filmed performances & live concerts is a nice mix.

How?

My thoughts here are not focussing on the multi-person choir & ensemble films that peioope have produced. I have not gone down this road as I don’t have the time or skills.I am focussing more on filming a performance live and then editing after. I want to offer some thoughts on how you go about this and what you need.

My first thought is that you don’t need anything over the top to make a filming session work. You can simply use a phone or tablet and the microphone that comes with that. These devices are powerful and have great cameras and microphones. This is often good enough for Youtube or Streaming online. A tripod is therefore all you need, and some kind of mount for you phone. I have used the Manfrotto Smartphone clamp over a number of years and it never fails me! I am lucky to have a lovely iPhone 12 Mini with plenty of storage, so I just use that!

But if you want to up the quality then you might like to add in some microphones and record the audio separately to the film on your phone. The audio is pretty good on my iPhone but I have also used mics and added the audio in the editing process. Make sure you you add a clap at the start so that you can sync the audio and video later. I managed to get some funding from school to buy some great mics and a sound card. I have used these a great deal since purchasing them, recording straight into Garageband on my Mac:

Mics & Audio

I have two Rode NT1A Mics and a Focusrite Scarlet Audio interface. The Audio interface is essential as you are then able to record the mics straight into your computer or laptop. It is a really easy process. All you will then need is a pair of mic stands as the mics come with XLR cables. XLR cables plug into the mics and then into the Audio Interface – easy and straight forward. Using two mics will allow you to create a stereo recording.

I then use Final Cut Pro on my man to edit the film and audio together. There is an amazing audio sync process with Final Cut that picks up on the clap at the start and syncs the iPhone film with the external audio. This saved me so much time and has great results! There is an education bundle for Final Cut that also come with Logic Pro.

Student Producers

You might be concerned that this all sounds a little completed. In some ways it isn’t simple, but in some it is. Plugging everything in and getting it all sorted is relatively straight forward. Editing requires more skill, but it isn’t so hard that it is impossible. Filming performances is however a good way to get Student Producers involved! Pick some students that are good with tech, or at least interested, and get them learning and doing it all. This is a great opportunity to work with students who may otherwise not be actively involved in the music department. It will save you time and effort and give a good learning opportunity.

If you want any additional help or support then don’t hesitate to get in touch! Enjoy filming performances!

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