Improvizone

Cameras and freebies

Andrew Booker 2007-07-07 00:42:45

Never mind these ones on the right I took on my phone, Os has posted some great pictures at the 26 June 07 gig at Imbibe. Now you can see what we all look like. Yes, for the time being, I think this is a good thing. There are a couple of pictures of everyone playing, especially this one, which shows (L to R) Mike Bearpark, Tim Williams, Simon Laffy, me and Simeon Harris.

I've already uploaded two tracks from that gig, more to follow. If the event itself was a bit lacking in atmosphere this time, musically it turned out to be one the best, judging by the ratio of usable to unusable recordings. But it took us about 45 minutes to get up to cruising speed, and during that time we weren't going down too well. When you've got the audience making noises mimicking the playing in between yelling jokes at each other, you know it's not really working. Generally I think we were freewheeling and coasting a bit in this gig, the improvised compositions of last month giving way to extended linear... dare I say it... jamming [aaaagggghhhh!!!!]... but it was good bar background music, and did the job it needed do. Sadly, a couple of great sections went unrecorded, including a great trio section with Si and Sim, entirely through the fault of your scatterbrained host, but even then I came away with over two hours on disk. Amazingly, we stuck exactly to the schedule. This has never happened before.

Sticking to the schedule allowed me to get up and hand out out our newly-pressed free CDs. These seemed to go down pretty well, though I will be pleasantly surprised if these do much to help us consolidate an audience.

Making use of the daylight this time, I positioned three cameras around the room with the aim of capturing a good section on video as well as audio. I had one DV camcorder and two digital cameras capturing video onto memory cards. I promise I'll do better next time, because I completely spazzed this up. Firstly, I was so pleased with myself for remembering to switch on all the cameras when everybody started playing, I forgot to switch on the laptop audio recording. Secondly, the camera positions in the room were, erm, not great.

I put the camcorder in the only place where it could get a clear shot of everyone. Except I missed Mike off the edge. And then a couple of punters with senses of humour picked up the camera, introduced themselves, then repositioned it to point two a small group chatting somewhere away from the band. Super. I had one of the cameras (records 640x480, same as video, but only fits about 15 mins on a 1GB memory card) pointing at Tim and Mike. But because Tim was sitting forward, and is an exceptionally tall and imposing figure even sat on a chair, the image is all him and not much Mike. If you look at Os's picture, you can see the tripod in front of Simeon. Then I had the third camera on the wall behind me, pointing down at the drums, supposedly covering Simeon too, as he often looks in my direction when we play. That low-res camera (288x216, fitting over an hour onto 1GB card) was the most fun out of the three, though I would say that, because it was all drumming shots, but without having to look at my face at the same time.

I'll try videoing again this month, hopefully with some assistance this time from one or two non-playing regulars. The target is a YouTube piece, so the quality doesn't have to be super-HD, but I want it to look reasonably good. It is supposed to attract people, not scare them off. It's a bit dull when the cameras aren't moving. Maybe next time someone can hold the camcorder and, gasp, move it around. Yipperdie!

Also, hopefully next time the venue will not still have the carefully positioned work of post-modern conceptual art situated directly outside the venue behind where Simeon stands, and it will have been relocated to a breezy waste management facility somewhere immediately north of the Thames Estuary.

5th gig: 26 June 2007 at Imbibe, SE1 << | >> SE1 the posh flier