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Concert video submission guidelines

Announcing the Vic Firth Concert Percussion YouTube Channel: A NEW avenue to watch hand-selected videos and to get YOUR performances seen by the fans of Vic Firth!

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At Vic Firth, we’ve been at the forefront of offering the most entertaining and educational concert video content to a world-wide audience for over 15 years. With the advent of our new concert percussion video channel, we hope to EXPAND our offerings to include much more!  More great performances, from the standard literature to exciting new pieces from the world’s best composers and artists.

concert-channel-vid-ex1To achieve our goal of reaching a large number of concert percussion fans, WE NEED YOUR HELP!

While we love this diverse genre of music, there are limitations in our ability to travel the world to film. But fortunately, in today’s rapidly advancing technological world, recording self-generated high quality video is easier than ever.

We know that you spend hours of practice time perfecting new music.  We also know that many recitals and concerts have limited reach. If you’re willing to spend just a little more time and effort to produce a nice video of your performance, we can help bring it to a much larger audience!

If you’d like to be featured on the Vic Firth Concert Percussion channel, we’ve put together a list of submission guidelines that will help produce a video that you will be proud of for many years to come!

Thanks for taking the time to read these suggestions.  If you have ANY questions, please feel free to send us an email and we’ll do our best to help guide you through the process!

JUST THE FACTS

• Please use Vic Firth products exclusively

Even if you have a non-Vic Firth mallet that is “just perfect” for your piece, we unfortunately cannot feature your video on our channel. Let us know if you can’t find a Vic Firth product that meets your needs and we’ll do our best to work with you!

• Schedule a separate video shoot instead of recording a live performance

Live performances are difficult.  Beyond the extraneous noises that an audience can produce, being nervous from performing in front of friends and colleagues can often result in small mistakes. By scheduling a separate time for video recording, you can take a few runs at the piece to get your best performance (and you can place the camera/s closer to the instrument).

• Frame the shot appropriately

If you’re shooting from a single camera angle, then it’s important to get as “tight” of a shot as possible (zoomed in on the instrument/s without any extra space in the shot). In the age where a high percentage of viewers watch videos on a mobile device, you want to make sure the audience can see you.

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We like to frame shots slightly off center because it adds visual interest. Of course, a clean stage without extraneous instruments is also a must!

• Avoid panning & scanning / zooming

Getting a smooth pan or zoom is difficult, even with great equipment.  Unless you’re using a second camera for “B roll”, it’s almost always best to have a steady still shot.

• Great audio quality is a must!

Many recital halls are set up to record audio, but the problem is that they are (usually) mics hung from the ceiling.  That may be great for choir or string orchestra, but for most percussion pieces, it results in a muddy recording with not enough clarity.  Try to get mics as close to the instruments as possible or use a separate “Zoom” recorder and mix with the video track in post.  Avoid using built-in camera mics – they are almost always unacceptable for recording music.

concert-channel-vid-ex4• Record in a spot with plenty of light

Here’s a general rule of thumb: the cheaper the camera, the less well it handles low light situations. To make up for the cheap sensors, cameras will substitute artificial light, resulting in a ‘grainy’, out of focus video.

Generally, concert halls have plenty of light, but try to avoid placing the instrument in dark spots on the stage. If recording outside of a concert hall, try to find a place with good natural light.

MORE VIDEO Q&A

Do I need to record a multi-camera video?

No! Everyone loves multiple camera angles, with gorgeous close ups and moving shots, but is that necessary to enjoy a performance of a great piece of music?  Our answer is that the quality of the music and performance comes first – extra videography just makes for a higher level of presentation.

Do I need to perform the piece perfectly?

Not all the music we truly enjoy is absolutely perfect. In fact, some of the world’s best recorded performances are notable because of the passion and musicality – not because they are without flaws. If you feel great about the recording and want to show it to the world, then chances are so will we!

How does Vic Firth get those note-perfect performances?

The truth is, a multi-camera shoot provides opportunities for the artist to perform a few takes of a piece & stitch it together. In almost every video we produce (or are given), the performers have multiple edits that are covered up by switching camera angles.  Granted, it does take a little more effort, but often this is the best way of getting a near-perfect performance on video.

If you’re not capable of editing a multi-camera video shoot with multiple takes, you may consider this suggestion: Record the audio first, then add the video on top.

Many of our artists do this – and you can too!  If you’ve ever wondered how they’ve gotten such great sound out of their instruments while performing on the roof of a warehouse, it’s by using this trick:

FIRST: Produce an audio recording just as you would if you were making a CD (it’s often easy to find someone to help you with editing and mixing an audio track from multiple takes).  Add a ‘count in’ or click where necessary to help with the next step.

SECOND: Set up for your video shoot in whatever space you want, put in some “in ear” monitors, hide the cords and perform to the audio recording! Without the pressure of having to play the piece perfectly, you can concentrate on looking great and having fun!

FINALLY: Replace the audio track of the video with the recording (minus the click).  If you’re new to this, ask us for guidance – or send us both the video and audio tracks separately and we’ll do it for you!

As long as you played in time with the track – and didn’t make any huge or obvious mistakes – no one will ever know.  And we won’t tell ANYONE!  Promise.  :0)

Can I send you my video and have you edit it for me?

In most cases, it will depend on the nature of the performance (length, potential audience reach, etc) and whether we can fit it into our production schedule. Even though it may LOOK like we have a full video department, in reality there’s only two of us doing ALL the work for the digital marketing department!

If you have trouble finding a student or colleague who can help with the filming & editing, please contact us and let us know!  We’ll do our best to work with you.

HAVE ANY QUESTIONS WE HAVEN’T ANSWERED?

Please let us know! We’ve been doing this a while, so feel free to use our (hard earned) knowledge to help. A 5 minute conversation or email can often save you a lot of effort in your video production!