Technological Advances in Brass Band concerts?

Discussion in ' User Reviews' started by 2007besson2052, Mar 12, 2007.

  1. I am a drummer as well as a Euphonium player and last year went to a large drum exhibition in London. The same month I also went to a gig of a band called Delirious. At both of these hugely successful events, the performances were supported by VISUAL aids which made a massive difference. :clap:

    They both had a projector with a camera attached. This was just a basic video camera with a lead connecting it to the projector. This zoomed in and showed, in detail, the band members playing. This is fascinating for people watching! I'm sure you agree. Why couldn't this happen with brass bands? There are so many small details to watch of a high level brass band playing.

    I believe this would also attract a younger generation of brass band followers. They could see more, enjoy the sound and visual experience of the concert! The equipment could be bought for a lot less than one instrument or hired for a concert.

    What does everyone think? I know bands like Black Dyke don't have any trouble packing out a concert hall, but maybe other good bands which aren't quite that good, could fill more seats with a younger generation.
  2. DublinBass

    DublinBass Supporting Member

    I think the first steps have been taken with some of the major brass band contests (WMC, Euros, English Nats)...but alot more could be done, not only for the "younger" generation, but for those of us that really want to see the fingers moving!
  3. Yeah exactly: fingers moving, slides moving, expression on faces and even seeing people apart from the front row. Poor tuba players so rarely get viewed from the audience!

    Modernisation has to be a benefit to bring in the next generation, from attending concerts to playing themselves. Even better, maybe a local business would be interested in sponsoring the projector hire, perfect opportunity for advertising as most people would be looking at the screen where a logo and web address could be dispayed too...
  4. brasscrest

    brasscrest Active Member

    I have no issue with multimedia techniques being used during concerts as long as the presentation does not overshadow the music. I've been to far too many concerts (of various kinds of music) with "extras" that distracted the audience from the performance of the musicians rather than focusing their attention on the performers. The point of attending a musical performance should be the music, not what goes on around it.
  5. Yeah i totally agree. In my suggestion, the screen would do nothing more than show what is going on on stage, a live video stream which would give the audience a better view from different angles that they otherwise wouldn't be able to see from. Also in greater detail.
  6. floppymute

    floppymute Member

    Yup - and we would be able to see if the trombone slide fully crossed the line!!
  7. Ha, and when the Basses take a big breath all together leaving a big gap... Or the audience could see WHO stopped and took the big breath...
    BUT, of course it would mainly be positves that were viewed.
  8. Alan MacRae

    Alan MacRae Member

    Nice idea, but... huge screens cost a lot, talented camera crews to shoot the live stuff cost a lot, too, and rightly. This may be too cost prohibitive for most bands.

    So, hire a couple of large plasma screens/ projectors a few hundred pounds; hire a couple of cameramen at a couple of hundred pounds each; hire a director to select feeds, another couple of hundred. The cost has just gone up from £150 for hire of a hall to way over £1000. Ticket prices up accordingly, and our dwindling audiences will dwindle further.

    Also, as has been said, it would need to be the right feed... none of this ballet dancing going on during the New Years Day concert in Vienna, just close ups of playing, fingers working overtime etc.
  9. Not true. A large TV scren isn't need: Only a projector, possibly a blank screen to project on to if a big wall isn't free. The camera can be pretty much any video camera which usually someone in a band would have. And only one camera is needed. It doesn't matter too much about the quality of the recording, because it's only the live streaming which is needed. There is usually a video output on a video camera. I think the projector hire would be the only cost!
  10. tubafran

    tubafran Active Member

    Sounds like a great idea but probably more realistic cost wise and more suitable than "live performance" filming is the use of Power Point projections running along with the band.

    Computers and the software are accessable to most people and lots of halls now have digital projection facilities. Get some photographs and video files that have some relevance to the music being played and it really should be considered as an enhancement of the music. For performances of Last Night of the Proms stuff - have the words on the screen to sing along too.
  11. Alan MacRae

    Alan MacRae Member

    So who would operate the camera? You would need somone familiar with both the camera and the music. A good knowledge of the programme to know where the close ups need to be (there is no point in pointing at the soloist in tutti passages, or the cornets in Serenade for Horns etc). I still maintain you would need at least 2 cameras - one pointing at the soloist the entire time would be pointless during rests, so you would need at least 2 - the other one aimed at the tutti sections/basses/percussion whatever. And therefore a switching system to alter the feeds (as just simply moving the focus/aim would look very amateurish at best, probably worse than having nothing at all - might even make the audience suffer motion sickness!! Just look at myspace or youtube for examples.

    The switching would then need someone to control it. 3 people, 2 cameras, a switching system, and a video projector isn't cheap either!
  12. Point taken. 2 cameras, switch for scart about £10 from Argos i think. Any follower of the band could do that, i don't believe payment is needed. A husband or wife of a band member i'm sure would know the music from hearing it at a practice so could operate a camera
    The pictures or words idea I believe is becoming more common.
  13. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    I think both sides of this debate are relevant, entirely relative and totally dependant who we are talking about.

    If you are a 'name' or a wealthy sponsored band, then of course a production crew and professional equipment may be available; however if you are not so well off - as in the case of most of our bands, then a combination of supporters / banding friends and 'home' gear could also do the job very well and make for a much more interesting 'performance'. If a local band wanted to do this and needed the services of someone who knows the music and how to operate a camera - I'd most certainly volunteer.

    Both sides of the debate here work... there's certainly no need not to do something based on what level of equipment is available.
  14. Baritonedeaf

    Baritonedeaf Member

    The NMYBB did this in a concert fairly recently, using a supporter and a handy cam on a tripod projected onto a wall - he was able to pick out soloists and show percussion and basses who perhaps would not have been visible. he was in a stationary position to one side, so it was not perfect - but it got the job done and was well recieved by the audience.

    It also had the added advantage of a recording with half decent sound - could be useful for websites etc.

    When feasible i think it is a great idea. Horses for courses though - no point in paying a production company, director, camera crews and sound technicians for a park bandstand is there! :-D
  15. PeterBale

    PeterBale Moderator Staff Member

    Whilst in general it can be helpful, it can also back-fire on occasions. The Salvation Army have used the video/big screen at their Gospel Arts concerts at the Royal Albert Hall for severl years, and it can enhance proceedings, particularly with the drama and dance elements.

    I recall a few years ago, however, when Canadian Robert Venables appeared as soloist and had a bad day at the office: he did not do himself justice, and his discomfort was magnified for all to see, making me at least feel quite embarassed for him. Also, it is not always a good idea to see vocalists' expression at several times life size!
  16. TheMusicMan

    TheMusicMan tMP Founder Staff Member

    In those circumstances Peter, while I too would be embarrassed for anyone having such a bad day at the office... if they can't take the heat, then don't go into the kitchen I say.

    Soloists are soloists because they can perform very well under pressure. I appreciate that everyone has an off day - but that's nothing really to do with enhancing the concert/performance using technological aids, but is everything to do with not being prepared for what you should be prepared for.

    All the more reason for ensuring one is prepared... ;)
  17. Tpascoe

    Tpascoe New Member

    I have seen this used very effectively by the Chicago Staff Band at our congress meetings. It is fascinating to see the whole band and great for us finger watchers. Another interseting view is from the back of the band showing the conductor. It can be very interesting to see those facial expressions. I enjoy the benefit of this, but agree that one must be careful not to take away from the music. I have also seen some fascinating video displays that go along with the music. The good ones enhance the music, not distract from it.

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