How do deal with the question “can you just record the gig for us?”

More often than not, someone at every gig will ask you “hey are you recording this?”. What you answer will depend who is asking, when they are asking, and why they are asking…

As a general rule, I recommend recording all gig mixes to tape for your own private viewing afterwards. It’s a great way to learn, and it can also be very encouraging to see that things went better than you thought. It’s generally a good idea to mention this to the organisers, in case they have any issues with that. You should explain what it is for, and if they seem concerned you can offer to do a ‘no sound’ recording.

If, prior to the gig, the organisers are asking YOU to record the gig then you need to set the right expectations – explain to them that you are doing IMAG, and not recording. if they want a recording of the gig then they need to pay more for the extra cameras and crew that will be required. Also alert them to the need to get artist permissions. Check what they plan to do with the tape and who will have ownership of it.If, during the gig, the artists ask if you are recording this, you should probably say ‘no, not really – just saving the screen mix just for our own reference’. if they then say, ‘can i get a copy?’ the safest thing is probably to say ‘let me check’, unless you know from the organisers that they don’t want this.

If, just before the gig the organisers ask you, ‘oh, by the way, can you record this’ The answer should always be ‘we’ll try, but we can’t guarantee anything’ even if you KNOW you can record it, its still safer to allow for problems and set the right expectations.

If a member of the public, or the crew, or general hangers-on ask, at any stage, if you are recording the show The answer is probably to say “sorry, no recordings will be made available for this show”. This is the safest way to avoid any pleading for bootleg copies, promises to check with artists etc. It’s just not worth getting into this hole.

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