Don’t you just hate all of these live videos on YouTube (other websites with crappy videos are available)?  Surely I’m not the only music fan in the world that would like to see clips online that were in focus, had a passable soundtrack and didn’t look like they were shot by someone with a world-beating case of the DTs.  How many times have you clicked on something which is supposed to be an amazing performance by your favourite artist only to see a surrealist puppet show through the wrong end of a telescope with a soundtrack that has been hauled forcibly through a couple of flanger modules and then detuned for good measure?

OK, there’s a really simple message here.  Don’t film gigs on your mobile phone; it’s always going to look and sound terrible.  Despite all the hype, your phone’s terrible at recording complex sounds and taking pictures.  There aren’t any other circumstances where you would record a gig using 1 microphone which was 5mm wide and a camera with a lens which had been liberally smeared with the contents of the pockets of your 501s.

So now you’ve got the worst possible combination of sound and vision for your recording of that wonderful, unrepeatable live moment, what do you do with it?  Quality control kicks in and you automatically delete it because you don’t want anyone to hear or see your favourite performer drowned out by tuneless audience participation.  No, for some strange reason you decide that you want to share this with the rest of the world.  Here’s a piece of advice for you; go to bed and then look at your wonderful footage when you’ve sobered up.  If you still think it’s a good idea after a night’s sleep, then maybe it is.

It’s not a new problem; there are vinyl bootlegs from the 70s which sold by the barrowload although the sound quality was appalling (trust me; I’ve got some of them).  Most of the online live clips recorded on phones now and published online have worse sound than 70s bootlegs and we’ve had 40 years of innovations since then.  I’m not talking about suppressing anyone’s freedom to share their video clips, I just want to be able to find good quality professional clips without having to wade through hundreds of uploads that a five-year old would be ashamed of.  I was once lucky enough to see and hear an incredibly powerful and moving live version of “Many Rivers to Cross” (thank you Jeff Kazee) but that memory was almost destroyed forever when I found an uploaded video captured on a phone of about 90 seconds of the performance which some demented fan thought the world should hear.

But seriously, just think carefully before you upload shoddy footage of your favourite new band because that out of focus, distorted footage featuring random bodies wandering across the frame might just be the thing that puts off the critic or reviewer who’s just heard of the band.  There’s already way too much noise out there; don’t make it any worse.




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