Beyond the Screen
It happens at every show nowadays, you are watching your favourite band up on stage only to see a smartphone pop up blocking your view. The unfortunate part is that while that used to mean they were taking a photo, it now usually means they are about to start recording the entire set.
Not being the tallest guy in the world, being able to see at a show has always been a bit of a challenge. The trouble is that there now seem to be dozens of people holding their phones up to record extended segments of every concert, making it next to impossible to see anything at all. I am there to see the band in person, not through someone’s phone screen.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not talking about those that pull out their phone to take a couple of pictures before dropping it back down out of sight. And I am not even judging those that capture the big moments of the concert, keeping their clips to only a couple seconds long. I am talking about the growing number of people I see holding up their phones to record minutes worth of every song that the band plays. At a recent concert I counted 8 people in my direct sight line recording the show, a couple of guys (the ones in the cover image for this article) even recorded the entire song. It just doesn’t make sense to me, why…
I understand that we live in a society where we feel the need to capture every moment we experience and share it with the people in our social networks. That is why I can understand wanting to take a few shots or a short clip, but what reason is there to justify recording the concert beyond that? The recording is more than likely going to sound (and look) really bad. Between the crowds noise and music blasting from all sides, it will almost never turn into a recording worth re-watching. And that raises the question, why would you even want to re-watch it? Certainly not to hear the song when you could simply listen to a high quality MP3 version, or stream it though your favorite music service.
So if it’s not to listen to, what is the recording for? Let’s face it, more than likely it will never actually be re-watched at all, especially if it is longer than a few seconds. Like most memories captured on cell phones, it will simply be forgotten about in almost no time at all. At the end of the day, a file isn’t needed to remember what you were there to take in with your own two eyes.
Maybe you want the clip to share with you friends on social media. Makes total sense, but not many people are going to care to watch a clip longer than 30 seconds of a concert that they were not at. It’s amazing that we have the technology to share the must-see moments, but posting an entire song is just overkill. I would argue that it doesn’t even need to be shared at all. Isn’t the moment more special if only the people standing in the room are able to experience it, giving you that “I remember when I saw….” memory?
Concerts are all about being able to see and connect with the bands that you love. To be in a room filled with people who have the same passion and love for the artist that you do. I would argue that watching an extended piece of that experience through a phone while trying to record it all, is a way of actually missing out.
All I can really ask is for people to be considerate of others in the venue. Consider if the clip is necessary, and what it will be used for before just sticking your phone up. If a longer clip is needed, maybe move to the back or the side of the venue. At the very least, take a look around to consider if recording will block the view for everyone else. Consider how it would feel if your view was cut off because everyone ahead of you had their phone out. At the end of the day the point of this just to be a bit more aware of what you are doing.
Most of all I want to know what YOU think! Is this a problem for everyone, or do I stand alone? Is there a reason to record I am not considering? Lets have a conversation in the comment section below!