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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old November 21st, 2010, 06:02 AM   #1
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Speed adjustment techniques

This question is about techniques rather than software. Last night I shot a wedding reception at which all the music was provided by a band which refused to sign our legal indemnity. The band performs "covers" of published works and I'm advised that recording them would have left us and our clients open to costs if the rights owners found out. The indemnity transfers all responsibility to the band.

That meant we shot only the dancers - from three cameras, all pointing away from the band. What we need to do now is to edit the dancers, many of whom were singing along to the songs, whilst the original artiste's recordings (which we can do legally in the UK under our sensible and very workable rights release scheme) are played so the result is as if a DJ had been playing the disk.

The thing is, of course that the band wasn't necessarily playing in exactly the same tempo as the original artiste's recording. We have the means in Liquid to adjust the speed of the video and software to adjust the tempo and not the pitch of the sound.

Obviously we want to keep the variation as minimal as possible which I suppose argues for using both means, sound and vision, but before plunging in I'd be keen to learn from anyone who's been in this position of workflow they'd recommend to achieve a match between picture and sound.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 09:20 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Philip Howells View Post
Last night I shot a wedding reception at which all the music was provided by a band which refused to sign our legal indemnity. The band performs "covers" of published works and I'm advised that recording them would have left us and our clients open to costs if the rights owners found out.
I know that I am not answering the question you posed but as you are in the UK isn't this exactly what the MCPS Limited Manufacture permits you to do?
Limited Manufacture Licence (LM) To quote their introduction on that page:-
The Limited Manufacture Licence is quick, affordable and grants you ‘blanket’ permission to legally use any music in your own CDs, DVDs or videos (and other formats) – that’s any music, from any genre, by any artist including the big names; from Elvis and The Beatles to Lily Allen and Duffy.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 09:30 AM   #3
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Good luck with that, you have completely over complicated your edit. In my experience it's practically impossible or not worth the trouble when it comes to cost vs time to get a perfect match. Next time film the band and worry about if you are allowed to use the footage later. You are recording events as they happen, how can you be legally responsible for what the band plays? Instead of trying to match the audio with visuals do a creative edit, who cares if the dancers are singing along? It's about the party/vibe.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 09:32 AM   #4
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Have a look at Twixtor RE:Vision Effects, Inc. : Products: Twixtor. I've just done a similar sort of thing, taking a live video and putting a studio track on top. It's pretty simple to do, once you grasp the basics. There are some good tutorials on youtube. It's compatible with a whole heap of stuff.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 10:30 AM   #5
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Thanks to everyone who replied so quickly and on a Sunday too.

Nigel, as a 30 yr contractor to MCPS my understanding is that the PPL/MCPS specifically doesn't licence live performances only commercially published recorded ones - that's why you have to get the second licence to record music in church - and remember it's not me that strictly has to obtain the licence to record from the owner, it's the band. However, my solicitor advises that if the rights owners wish they can also go after me and my clients as well as the band whichis why we ask them to sign this simple undertaking.

Nicholas, I care because I don't want to have to appear in court. Frankly I don't think the attitude you propose does the industry any good at all. Sorry.

Ray, thanks for the lead, however, I have that facility in Liquid (my NLE) already - what I sought was whether people adjust sound or vision first and by how much ie within what limits.

Everyone in the UK at least should be aware that song writers' rights are being enforced more aggressively than in the past; Lou Reed recently forbade Simon Cowell from having Susan Boyle perform his song "Perfect Day" on Cowell's recorded show. Incidentally she did get permission to perform it on a bravery awards show and didn't do a bad job although it might have sounded too much like a church hymn to Lou Reed. As someone who has made and published commercial music CDs and DVDs and always paid his dues (and breaking copyright is stealing however nonchalantly one dismisses the risk) I support the move. It's easy to argue that Paul McCartney doesn't need a few extra cents but there are thousands of musicians not earning the fortune that McCartney does and who depend on royalties and other fees.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 07:35 PM   #6
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Phillip I don't want to derail the technical question I haven't researched the issue but personally I find it perplexing that the court could justify going after you from a logical viewpoint? I don't see how we as cameramen are legally responsible for what music is being played while we record, the court might use your footage as evidence against the band? Surely the band will be liable? Makes no sense to me.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 10:38 PM   #7
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Nicholas, thanks for understanding the thrust of my question. However, this is the gist of the legal advice we were given.

You're right, the band would be the first place the rights owners would seek recovery. If the band had no money and weren't worth pursuing and they thought I or the client had any money (I know for definite one of those doesn't!) and they could show we knew what we were doing was illegal they might alternatively pursue us.

My problem is that I've recorded and published commercial CDs and DVDs and could reasonably be expected to know what the rights were.

I have no doubt that just as hundreds of wedding producers put their clips on their websites and on Vimeo etc loaded with copyright-protected music and take the risk that no-one will come after them, I'm sure that 99 times out of 100 ignoring this risk would be OK. The question is whether I want to be the 1.
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Old November 21st, 2010, 11:29 PM   #8
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Nigel, as a 30 yr contractor to MCPS my understanding is that the PPL/MCPS specifically doesn't licence live performances only commercially published recorded ones - that's why you have to get the second licence to record music in church - and remember it's not me that strictly has to obtain the licence to record from the owner, it's the band. However, my solicitor advises that if the rights owners wish they can also go after me and my clients as well as the band whichis why we ask them to sign this simple undertaking.
The LM Licence of course is for licencing the music that you record & use on the the limited number of DVDs that you produce for your client (that's why it's called Limited Manufacture). That licence enables you to use any music live or recorded it doesn't matter whether it's a live band, a DJ at the reception or music you dub on later.

The music played by the covers band at the wedding reception does not need to be licenced (or strictly no fee for a licence is payable) as a wedding reception is defined as a private family event. See item 10 on this list of exemptions Do I need a Music Licence?
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 12:40 AM   #9
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Philip this is a heck of an undertaking you are attempting, but it seems you already know that. I had often thought about trying what you are proposing, but didn't get around to it. Then I spoke with the lead singer in a band I have worked with extensively. That is when I learned often times they alter given covers to "fit" them and their style of play. One specific song they jacked from a 4/4 to a 3/4 and I hadn't even noticed. My daughter who is a big fan of that artist's work didn't catch it either. I have since found out this band often does that with the covers they play, altering and adapting making a straight sync to original almost impossible and have it come out right.

As an experiment and I have no clue how well it may or may not work. But instead of jacking the audio, why not try to jack the video speed to get it closer to what you are syncing to ???
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 02:39 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by Nicholas de Kock View Post
Good luck with that, you have completely over complicated your edit. In my experience it's practically impossible or not worth the trouble when it comes to cost vs time to get a perfect match. Next time film the band and worry about if you are allowed to use the footage later. You are recording events as they happen, how can you be legally responsible for what the band plays? Instead of trying to match the audio with visuals do a creative edit, who cares if the dancers are singing along? It's about the party/vibe.
Amen to that brother!
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 03:46 AM   #11
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Nigel, thank you for pointing me towards that - I've left an email for my solicitor and asked him if he was 100% sure about his advice. I'll let you know. It would have profound difference for me. Many thanks.

Chip, thanks for the advice - perhaps the only advantage I have here is that of 30 minutes recording I on;y need to work on a couple of songs so at least I have some latitude. Also,of course, if Nigel's clarification clears up the matter of permissions, it could be an exercise too far. Thanks.
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 01:23 PM   #12
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Well I am pulling for Nigel's fix, it sounds a lot easier and quicker than mine. :-)
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Old November 22nd, 2010, 06:42 PM   #13
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Nigel, I'm not giving chapter and verse for the whole industry but the advice I have is that the item to which you refer applies, as you stated, to the playing of music not the recording of the performance and we are recommended to maintain our position regarding bands.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 01:23 AM   #14
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Nigel, I'm not giving chapter and verse for the whole industry but the advice I have is that the item to which you refer applies, as you stated, to the playing of music not the recording of the performance and we are recommended to maintain our position regarding bands.
Philip, if you hire 100 lawyers you can get 100 different legal opinions but you continue doing what you are comfortable with. I would just say that I have never heard of any other event videographers in the UK demand that a live band at a wedding reception sign such an legal indemnity (perhaps others can chip in?).

It seems pretty clear to me that the band doesn't need a licence to play copyright music at a private family event & the LM licence allows you to record the music that they are playing.

BTW I am amazed that any bands are prepared to sign such a document if it's given to them when they turn up at the gig. I am sure that I wouldn't in similar circumstances.
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Old November 23rd, 2010, 02:41 AM   #15
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Nigel, it seems to me you're going round in circles. You drew my attention to an issue which was never raised; of course people can play copyright music at a private party. My point was whether the LM agreement covers the recording of that performance - we (my solicitor and I) now agree it does.

However, many bands I've recorded (all have the document well before the gig) also get at least one complete set recorded for their own interest. If they're prepared to sign our indemnity they can do what they like with it other than broadcast (inc the net) That's a gesture of thanks for letting us record them warts and all and also for cooperating with feeds etc. I've only ever had one problem and that's the one that started this thread and that was technical, not legal.

Bands actually care that people are prepared to make an effort to make them sound good and respond positively. I even had one singer/violist/flautist playing the music at a civil ceremony recently who was concerned enough about a bum note (actually two or three) that at her suggestion we got together afterwards and overdubbed the section.
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