We talk to Marcus Lin (aka Gaijin: The Outsider) about the making of his short behind-the-scenes video of being a gig photographer.
Are you primarily a stills photographer?
Honestly, I do a bit of both, stills and video. I came from a video-based background and then eventually picked up photography. First covering events, and then eventually concerts and gigs. I like to work with different mediums (video, stills and audio) because it allows more freedom of expression, at least for me.
What was the idea or motivation behind making the video?
My original intention was to “re-live” my experiences in the photo pit. Also, I’ve had a lot of people ask me what it’s like to be a gig photographer, so I decided to give them a look from my perspective, or at least a view from my camera.
How did you shoot it? Was the ubiquitous GoPro involved?
Most definitely! I had a GoPro lying around that was bought for another project, but the idea was scrapped, so I decided to make use of it. In addition, I had a steady-cam gimbal so I mounted it to my chest using a customised GoPro chest mount. Certainly wasn’t easy carrying two cameras worth of gear and a GoPro with a steady-cam gimbal. About five of the cuts in the video were made with the chest-mount gimbal and the rest were using the GoPro hot shoe mount. I used a GoPro Hero 4 because of its 4k function – this allowed me to do a zoom on the video in post, when it was needed, since I was only editing in 1080p.
Most music videos are made in the editing? How long did it take to cut together compared with shooting time?
The footage took over a month to shoot and consolidate, and the editing took slightly over six hours – spread over two days, as there were other deadlines to meet.
How did you decide how long to make it?
After reviewing all the footage, I usually do a first cut with all that I’ve chosen along with a basic audio skeleton. I usually start with a basic duration of either 30, 60 or 90 seconds. The first cut was considerably longer and eventually got shortened to what you’re seeing now. In short, because it isn’t anything commercial, I get to focus more on how it feels to me (as an audience) and decide what is a right duration.
With the proliferation of phones at gigs/concerts (usually in the wrong aspect) does keeping the video to 90 seconds lend itself to viewing on a portable device more than a longer piece would? Can you see a place/market for such short films to be made available that capture the essence of a concert, but professionally shot and edited?
With regard to the question, I believe that any video, unless it’s slated to be a long-form, should be kept short, concise and exciting in order to engage the audience. Viewership on mobile devices only makes it more convenient to reach out to the target audience and does not necessarily mean that their interest in the video is only limited to a certain duration. After all, I believe most of those who are viewing the video would most probably be those who want to see such content in the first place and would naturally return to resume watching the video should there be any interruptions (barring network difficulties of course). That said, like I mentioned earlier, this is also largely based on content and how engaging the video is. In short, I believe there are more factors than simply just duration of video to consider when reaching out to mobile viewers.
I think in terms of marketing, short films of a gig could be used for marketing singers/bands who are trying to make a name out there. This could help create awareness and sell for their next upcoming gig. However, it creates a conundrum for singers/bands with a larger market share who are releasing DVDs as it may affect sales eventually. For both sides, monetizing such a venture could prove to be challenging though, as the expectation of fans have increased over the years, possibly due to apps such as Instagram. One possible avenue could be, instead of focussing more on the gig segment, to focus more on the ‘behind-the-scenes’, as this has been proven popular with a multitude of audiences.
See more of Marcus’s work: