Yes or no? Camera phones at shows: Capturing the moment or just blocking my dang view?

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Oh, man, my friends on Facebook are going to love this.
So yesterday, we discussed a major pet peeve of mine, talking at shows. Clearly, as the comments attest, I'm not in the minority when it comes to being incensed by all this incessant, inexplicable chatter. The reaction to yesterday's post makes me wonder if anyone else is annoyed by the other things that annoy me, things like camera phones at concerts. Hate 'em. You with me? I know at least one dude is.

Speaking on behalf of those of us who are exasperated by the army of upraised arms that constantly and carelessly seem to obstruct our view to the camera phone-wielding masses: Would y'all please kindly knock it off already? Look, I get it. I know your friends on Facebook live to live vicariously through your random candids. But seriously, how many distant pictures of a band you can barely make out do you need?

What's that? Ah, yes, you're not just taking pictures -- you're shooting video. Even better. You do realize, though, that the audio on that one-minute clip you're shooting on your Flip is going to resemble a vintage transitor transmission being played through a blown speaker, right? Mmmkay. Just checking.

So what say you? Does this chap your hide, too, or are people like me who secretly harbor these seemingly petty annonyances just being self-absorbed curmudgeons and essentially sucking all the joy out of the whole concert-going experience? I tend to agree wholeheartedly with the take that Evan Mast of Ratatat recently gave the Edmonton Sun:

"I understand the sentiment. It's cool that people want to take a piece of the show home with them or show it to their friends or whatever. But I kind of feel like it would be more fun if they just enjoyed the show."


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16 comments
tiffiny
tiffiny

It's the people who spend the entire show snapping photos on their camera phones or point-and-shoots with flash.  The illuminated screen doesn't bother me- it's the flashing.  If someone obviously has a professional camera and looks like they know what they're doing, it's pretty rare that they cause a disturbance, in my opinion, of course.

eCurmudgeon
eCurmudgeon

Go Google Microsoft's "Device Manners Policy" proposal sometime (or the similar mechanism proposed by Apple).

The idea is that venues can designate their location a "No photography zone" (or similar "No phone calls except to 911 Zone") by transmitting coded signals to phones, digital cameras and other devices in a specified area. Sounds like it'd be a godsend to event venues, concert goers who want to just watch the show without dealing with iPhone cinematographer wannabees, restaurants, restaurant patrons who want to eat without dealing without other people's incessant yakking and the like....

Brains76
Brains76

TOTALLY with you on this! I wish I could carry a degausser all the time.

Dave
Dave

Wow. It must be tough being so uptight. It's a concert, or club gig, not a church service. Shows are communal events where a variety of people get together to share a common experience. Also a communal event where alcohol is served which affects different people differently. You have to know that going in, and getting upset that people talk or take pictures seems futile. A good percentage of the audience views the event as a social outing, which in essence it is.

Patrick Quinby
Patrick Quinby

Ha, I love it. This list of concert correctness can go on and on for me. Talking, camera phones, girlfriend barricades, the inevitable guy who tries to squeeze in at the last moment right in front of the view youve had for the entire show, the token drunk who always takes it too far, the people who consistently come and go in a sold out packed venue as if they cant stand to watch the band theyve paid to see for more than 10 minutes at a time, the guys who sings along a little too loud, etc......

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

... all things I'm not a fan of, now that you mention it. Haha. Thanks for weighing in, Patrick -- and everyone else, for that matter!

Nate
Nate

Make them stand in a taping section.  Or scoot back and stand against a wall.  It is annoying as hell to look at a glowing screen being held up in front of you.  I get so sick of people rationalizing why it is ok for them to impact others enjoyment at shows.  You are free to record, but why the hell do you have the right to bug the hell out of the people behind you.  Its selfish and rude. 

Nicholas Stock
Nicholas Stock

Thanks backbeatmod, I appreciate the response. 

@ Nate, the next thing you will say is that Tall People shouldn't be allowed to stand up front.  Where do we draw the line?  If someone is bugging/distracting you then move.  You are responsible for your own reaction to your surroundings.  I have given literally 1000's of people a glimpse of something they may have missed and I try not to bother others while I'm doing it.  But inevitably I will be standing by someone like Nate from time to time. 

nate5280
nate5280

Really, tall people?  I am talking about being polite.  This is golden rule stuff you should have learned as a kid.  Hopefully no one needs to explain to you that saying it is ok to be rude, because other people are responsible for dealing with it, is a really disgusting concept.

You state you try not to bother people,so you know it can bother people.  Great, if you really try not to bother people, you CAN succeed and then there is no problem.  Win-win.  The rant was not about people recording, it was people recording in a way that bothered people behind you, I think that was very clear   Be considerate, it is really not that strange of a concept.  Try not to spill your beer on people, lean over when you want to say something to someone instead of shouting over the band, pay attention as you walk to the bar not to step on toes or knock peoples drinks, and do not just hold up your camera right in the center of peoples view.

And I am really sorry if you have to stand by someone like me that asks you to lower the camera so they can enjoy the show.  Must be hell.

I think your 1000's of "fans" can live with a shot that has a few heads in it or is from a bit further back,  Keep in mind, the artist is the one on stage. 

Zx147
Zx147

lame lame lame lame lame 

Nicholas Stock
Nicholas Stock

Some of us are bloggers and we are not holding Camera Phones. It's a matter of being able to share the moment with those that could not attend. We live in an instantly gratifying social media world. Without videographers and photogs all of these amazing moments would be lost. I for one will record a song or two and that's about it, but I sure take a lot of pictures. I have had this conversation in various forums and the consensus is that yes it can be annoying but those same people who complain run to YouTube the day after a show to see what has been posted.And FTR I shoot on a Sony NEX-3 with a mini shotgun mic.  The audio is beautiful and the video is HD.Example: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Brains76
Brains76

If they can't attend get over it.Quit sharing your moments with me. Most of them are the suck. Even if you are 'considerate' other people may not think you are considerate. I do not want to be distracted by your huge LIGHT EMITTING DISPLAY while I am trying to watch a show.

Grow up. Get off your 'I am important cause I blog' soap box. I DON'T CARE.

Get over your 'instant gratification' lifestyle. Some times life is hard, deal with it. I have missed many shows I would have loved to be at but I am still alive.

Ian O
Ian O

Yes, but the point is: we don't need 20 or 100 people all getting their own version of the same bad picture. Your video is fine (and truly an exception) but I don't need to search youtube for another angle of the same song. VENUES should hire one person to capture quality audio/video of the show and put it on their website via youtube or vimeo or whatever. Bands don't have the money to hire someone. Venues/promoters do have the money and should use the footage to promote themselves and the bands' potential next show the next time through town.There is no reason to take a lot of pictures. How often do you go back through them and actually see something worthwhile? 5% I'd say. Sure, take some to jog the memory but unless you engage with and pay attention to the show, what's the point?I agree that things inevitably will be documented. I think we should value quality over quantity.

nate5280
nate5280

Good idea, or taping sections.  These work great.  You know if you stand behind it you will have a mic in your view, so you can make that decision when you show up  You also (should) know that if you stand near there you should try hard to not make too much noise.  I would love to see a no video outside a taping section rule.  Would have better videos AND better show experiences.

Kevin
Kevin

I agree with both points.  It can be annoying if someone is holding up a camera or phone for the whole show (especially when they are drunk and swaying back and forth), but to get some good photos and take a reasonable amount of video (a song or two) is alright.  I blog as well and try to situate myself where I will be obstructing the least amount of viewers.  I don't use a phone for photos, I use a camera.  But for video I actually do use an iPhone 4 and the video and sound usually turn out great!

backbeatmod
backbeatmod

Wow, Nicholas. The audio and video on that clip is exceptional. You're clearly an exception to the rule. Most folks I've seen are wielding iPhones. Thanks for sharing your vid and for weighing in.

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