Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Pass the camera mic

To camera mic or shotgun mic or lavalier or boom, that is the question.

Recently, I had the opportunity to record a cypher with three unsigned but very deserving rappers on North 14th St. in Brooklyn. For the sake of convenience and quickness, I chose to camera mic.

It was done to promote a live show featuring these and other rappers that the Internets Celebrities were hosting. We wanted to see if the internets would respond to a youtube "ad" for a rap show in the real world.

Then, we dropped a second promotional video in which the same three underground rappers bowl with the Internets Celebrities.

These two clips were filmed with a 1-chip miniDV camera and the rhymes were spit right to camera mic - an aesthetic befitting rappers whose skills I think speak for themselves. Lights in the bowling alley would have been immensely helpful. But the streetlight that illuminates the rhyme sessions outside is more than enough in my opinion. I like it when shoots are that simple - when the event you're documenting does not need polish save crisp, clean edits and bold, straightforward type. The aesthetic affords mobility and saves time.

I used to fear the camera mic. It couldn't possibly produce working sound. Ambience would swallow up any elocution. I have discovered that is not the case. Yes, there are MUCH better ways to record sound but in the end, in a video that just has to get done and that you're making yourself, stressing over hiss and background noise is counterproductive. There are some videos that just have to get done and some events - like a cypher - that may actually benefit from an all around simplified vibe.

And there are some events that benefit from looking and sounding dope.

For something prettier and appropriately so, check out the actual show which was shot by Terrence Elenteny with two much nicer HDV cameras. Plus, the audio came out of the soundboard.

When you need to get it done, don't be afraid to go raw. If you've got the gear and the time to make it look good, by all means give yourself the best chance to apply the proverbial sunblock against the harsh light of a youtube compression.

Every video that strikes a blow against the misconception that live rap always sounds awful is very welcome in my opinion.

Oh Word will be dropping a live video of each rapper from the show over the course of the week. All quality.


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