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10 Days! 164 Pieces of Content ! "How to film a music festival"

Updated: Oct 24, 2023

Madness, James, War on Drugs, Sting, Boy Genius, Queens of the Stone Age + more in Halifax?

Written by Jamie Shelton.

August - We pulled up at Piece Hall in Halifax for our final ‘shoot and live edit’ date as a solid team of 3 after 3 months of drives, stay overs, late nights, amazing music and proper graft whereby we were in charge of capturing content for Cuffe & Taylor, an extension of concert giants, Live Nation as it happened and turning around edits on the spot for delivery on The Piece Halls socials. An area of work the 3 of us are well versed in but to an intensity we'd not yet experienced.

It was actually refreshing every time we got in the car to drive down to Halifax.

An uninterrupted hour to talk shop, express new ideas and play house music from Louis' new mix - much to the dismay of Andy!

The shoot was a delicate balance of spontaneity and reactive content creation mixed with higher end filming when the occasion called for it and upon reflection, we managed to engage The Piece Hall's audience with video that reached an audience stretching into the millions.

We wanted to share some tips on how to navigate an event like this coming from the perspective of a shooter/content creator.

It’s an opportunity for us to reflect with words our experience and hopefully share some insights that could be useful to a run and gun shooter or social content creator attending their first festival.

1 - Enjoy all the interactions. Positive and Negative.

Get to know the staff. Say hi to the security, the workers. You’re all part of the same cog. That backstage door will swing open much more smoothly when you’ve been letting on to the security worker. (As long as you’ve got the correct pass of course) and you never know who you’re going to bump into.

We were having a friendly chat with one of Dr Dre’s production staff all summer and we didn’t even know!

2 - Negotiate an on-site editor so you can shoot and they can edit what you’ve just shot. Don’t be afraid to budget up for an extra person and explain to the client why it’s a worthwhile investment for them to make.

Not only does it looks more professional on the day but the client will get so much more content and you won’t be swamped with edits between events because you can turn them around during your production day and more often than not get sign off in the room there and then. You need these type of quick turnaround content shoots to be created, posted and moved on from and there is an element of quantity over quality with some of the content. Accept that. Shoot it on a phone. Which leads us onto the next point.

3 - Use equipment that fits the brief. If it can be done on a mobile phone, do it on a mobile phone. Rule of thumb for me was, ‘if it’s going out on socials in 9:16 then use a phone. I came up against a constant situation where I was shooting interviews with my camera turned sideways because the talent was wearing a mic that was feeding into my camera. It was a massive hassle because I had all the manual controls to think about in-camera and the edit times were increased. Whereas for next time, I’m going to set up an easy way to send footage as it’s being shot to my editor through Wetransfers ‘COLLECT APP’ and use a RODE WIRELESS CLIP ON MIC which feeds directly into the phone.

4 - Make sure you are fed and watered. This is not about you just getting a freebie, although that is a massive part of it. If you are looked after in that department;

you’ll be happier on the drive down to the shoot every time.

Everybody else wants the free food so it’s not cheeky to ask

Buying breakfast, lunch and dinner out of your own pocket will hurt your profits A LOT.

You will 100% be more productive and deliver more content as you are ALWAYS on site.

5 - Take risks. We did a sign language video during our downtime which we didn't end up posting but it showed that we were constantly thinking outside of the client brief. They will appreciate the gesture even though the content might not make the cut.

6 - Use every opportunity to network. Wear your brand. Talk about what you are doing and what you want to be doing.

7 - Some talent are difficult to deal with. Some aren't. Remember that you aren't there to be friends with the talent, no matter how much you like their art.

Respect their distance but don’t walk on eggshells as it makes things worse.

If they need a lav mic clipping on, just get it done and ask them politely if you’re good to just do it. Read the room each time, keep emotion out of it.

That’s your lot. We like to keep things odd so you only get 7 points!

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