Video by Chris Blizzard

The Wheatsheaf
Oxford, UK
23rd March 2013

This is the first video we have featured here on gig-photographer.com. Chris contacted us and suggested we could open up the genre to post videos shot at gigs alongside images. We thought, why not? Along with the video Chris gives us some insight into his experience with having a go a video and puts a good case for giving it a try.

Over to you, Chris…

A quick search on my blog reveals no fewer than twenty four blog posts featuring Witney based band Black Hats (UK), three promo shots, photos from behind the scenes of a video shoot, photos from their performance and interview on BBC Oxford radio, and a video test from when I first upgraded my camera, and more. We seem to have an unspoken agreement, I let them use me for photos, and they let me use them as (mostly) willing models to try stuff out. Knowing how solid they are live, I thought I’d make a video. That’d be something different to try, and I always try to do something different when I shoot them. So, the plan (after a couple of e-mails) was to go to their shows in Reading, Swindon, and Oxford, and shoot a different angle at each so I’d have something to work with in the edit. As usual, I did something stupid that almost ruined everything.

Night two of the mini-tour, in Swindon, was when things went wrong. Having transferred, and backed up everything from the night before, I’d had a grey-matter malfunction. I quickly realised my memory cards were all left with my computer. A mistake I’d only made once before, but that was closer to home, and just meant a quick turn around to solve the problem. This was more of a disaster. I wasn’t going to be able to film the song, but since I always have my K1000 in my bag, the band still got some photos. The problem however, was that I wouldn’t have the footage I’d planned on.

Night three (or night four for them) was the main date, playing to the home crowd. It was also the official release show for their latest CD. So, with plenty of spare batteries, extra memory cards, and a new plan, I headed to the venue nice and early. I grabbed as much footage as I could without being a pain of the guys setting up, manning the merch stand, and anything else I could think of. They used the song to soundcheck, allowing me chance to make up for the missed show (having spent time working out how to get what I needed with only the two camera angles). I grabbed bits of footage of the crowd, and got what I could of them packing things away. I swear, knowing what kind of b-roll to shoot is a skill that’ll take me years to learn.

So the finished product uses none of the footage from the first night. As is often the case, when something doesn’t go to plan, the approach needs to be adjusted. This time, I decided that the video would be more focused if I just used footage from the one show.

So why did I do it? Why did I shoot a video, despite that not being my usual field? Despite the extra pressure, stress, and complication. To that I have two answers. One I had to think about, and one from the top of my head.

Media is changing. We live in a world where people are discovering more music via YouTube than they are via the music magazines. Whilst I believe well crafted photos will always be in demand, photographers who can turn their hand to video should it be required will be valued more than those who can’t. It makes sense to me to attempt to add it to my skill set, rather than whine about the changing state of the industry and rant about the value of a well crafted photo.

My first thought though, why make a video? Why not?

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