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Photographer captures concert with DSLR-mounted GoPro

By dpreview staff on May 23, 2013 at 18:20 GMT

If you've never had the chance to stand in the front row and shoot a live concert, Montreal-based photographer Pierre Bourgault has the next best thing. He attached a GoPro camera to the top of his Canon DSLR and recorded a seven-minute video of his shooting experience at a Dead to Me concert. He then combined the video with the actual photos he took at the concert, which you can see in the video below.

As you can see, concert photography is no easy feat, and involves a bit of pushing and shoving to get the shot you want. 

Since the actual photographs can be hard to see in the YouTube video, here are some larger versions that Mr. Bourgault took:

(Via PetaPixel)

Comments

Total comments: 76
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (10 months ago)

For those who are curious, another photographer shooting from the small balcony took a photo of me in the crowd shooting the video. I put it up as my cover photo on my facebook page, feel free to check it out (and like the page of course haha)

https://www.facebook.com/PierreBPhoto

0 upvotes
Slaginfected
By Slaginfected (11 months ago)

That was actually quite interesting and eye opening. Thanks for that, Pierre (and dpreview for posting this)!

I'm just a hobbyist with this (concert) photography stuff. However, especially recently, I ended up reading stuff from so called "pros", who only see their side of concert photography, without even being able to acknowledge that there are concerts and music scenes working quite differently to what they are used to / know of.

As a hobbyist I don't have no 3 song limit, sometimes the lighting is so bad, I have to use flash, some bands/scenes actually like this flash style; there are no photo pits, and money, well, as a hobbyist I don't get any money from that, anyway.

Seeing how you (as a pro) work and what the results are in circumstances closer to these I often end up with, I got a wee bit more self-confidence now in the things I do.

Keep up the good work, and using a GoPro cam for getting a meta-view on your work was an excellent idea! Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (10 months ago)

Glad it helped boost your confidence! Sure, shooting at arenas (which I also do) gives you great light with a well seasoned band that was an awesome stage presence, resulting in killer photos. But that's not always the case. I love shooting smaller venues and being closer to bands and fans as well...

We do the best we have with what we are given. :)

0 upvotes
Combat By Design
By Combat By Design (11 months ago)

That's a really cool idea!
Though in a little bit of criticism, the skeleton housing would have been key in this situation.

How did you mount it? (I apologize if someone already answered that question...)

Punk shows are a LOT of fun to shoot, there's always a good amount of movement and raw emotion going on.

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (10 months ago)

I only have two backs with the GoPro. It's the first generation and its the fully closed and partially closed ones. No real budget to get more gear (concerts dont pay that well, you do them because you love them).

It is mounted by using the GoPro tripod mount, which is then screwed into a cold shoe adapter that has two tighteners to ensure the GoPro stays snug in the hotshoe and another so it doesnt swivel.

0 upvotes
Combat By Design
By Combat By Design (10 months ago)

Ahh, I'm not familiar with the first generation, I had the HD Hero, and that came with an open back, and watertight back.

And I'm sure they don't pay super well. I usually just go to shows and snap away... post the pictures online for the bands to take as they please.

0 upvotes
Paulo Bico
By Paulo Bico (11 months ago)

My experience see in HD

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?v=486168041437617

0 upvotes
tleparskas
By tleparskas (11 months ago)

Bravo Pierre! As a concert shooter I reiterate - it's one of the most challenging and fun types of photography and the gopro footage I think shows accurately the process.
Every band and assignment is different so I can't see why people are judging the actual band musical content.
Sometimes it's soundboard, sometimes it's the pit - you make the best of it.
Some of my recent shoots: http://am580radio.com/photos.html

Tom L

1 upvote
Robin G
By Robin G (11 months ago)

Very nice Pierre. You captured a lot of great emotions in those pictures. Whenever I shoot concerts I mostly get awkward faces in stead of awesome ones like the ones you captured. Great idea to put your camera on your camera.

Can I ask which lens you used? You seem to get decent tele-zoom and wide-angle. Did you also use manual mode on your camera? A few tips on used equipment and settings are always welcome because I really like the looks of your photo's. Thanks!

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Thanks Robin. I used a 24-70 f/2.8 lens. I like to use 2 cameras in a show, but in a tight pit like that, it's kinda hard. While I try and get the best shot in camera, some of the images are cropped due to lack of mobility to get to the right spot.

I'd be happy to chat more about it all, you can check me out on facebook (facebook.com/PierreBPhoto) and we'll chat there :)

3 upvotes
DrElliotMcGucken
By DrElliotMcGucken (11 months ago)

Awesome idea and execution Pierre. Please do not mind the rather startling abundance of negative comments, as cool, new ideas and techniques are oft opposed in the arts and creative fields.

Rock on! Keep on pursuing, enhancing, and honing your novel ideas and techniques! :)

Best,

Dr. Elliot McGucken

3 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Kind of you to say, thanks! I've been around the block for over a decade on internet forums (photo and non), so no worries about the negativity. Always happens. I take the emails and positivity from people and go from there haha

3 upvotes
DrElliotMcGucken
By DrElliotMcGucken (11 months ago)

Love your attitude Pierre. I can sympathize as I have also been criticized for shooting stills and video at the same time using various methods. The cool thing is that recently I published an 8-page article/spread in the 2013 Winter Resource Magazine which compared and contrasted various methods for shooting simultaneous stills and video titled "How Will You Shoot Quality Stills & Video @ The Same Time?":

http://45surfer.wordpress.com/2013/03/11/how-will-you-shoot-stills-video-the-same-time-methods-camera-mounts-and-9shooter-brackets-for-shooting-stills-video-at-the-same-time/

It was cool seeing it in print on all the newsstands and Barnes & Nobles around Los Angeles! The negativity at first surprised me, but I guess that's the way things are on the net. :) Maybe the net even amplifies it, granting a soapbox to all. But hey, free speech is cool, and the negativity goes down as the concrete results come in. :)

Keep on "doing" Pierre, as the doing always trumps talking! :)

Comment edited 2 minutes after posting
1 upvote
Nmphoto
By Nmphoto (11 months ago)

Well done Pierre, judging by the comments not many people have experienced trying to capture a live band in a shocking lit mosh pit. You have done a great job and i bet the band, their fans and anyone who has actually seen a live band, like what you have done. Just remember our clients love our work and they are the only ones that matter. Its just sad that photography forums are full of "D1ckHeads".

Comment edited 44 seconds after posting
0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Thanks for the kind words. I love what I do, and no worries, negative people who like to bring others down to bring themselves up rarely get to me. :)

0 upvotes
Ipsofoto
By Ipsofoto (11 months ago)

Well said Nmphoto. You have to remember that 90% of people on here are gear head nerds living in their mum's basement comparing pixel depths and noise ratios.

4 upvotes
ArcaSwiss
By ArcaSwiss (11 months ago)

Who can call that garbage music ? Dreadful !

1 upvote
Tilted Plane
By Tilted Plane (11 months ago)

I couldn't hear it. How can you tell??

0 upvotes
Carlos Echenique
By Carlos Echenique (11 months ago)

As my hearing is still intact, I unfortunately could hear it as well. Bleh.

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

lol... we don't always chose what we shoot. I'm actually a fan of the band... they do sound better than on GoPro audio, but if punk isn't your cup of tea, thats cool :)

1 upvote
Ipsofoto
By Ipsofoto (11 months ago)

Thankfully, there is freedom of choice so we don't all have to listen to what you like. Cool vid and photos.

1 upvote
Combat By Design
By Combat By Design (11 months ago)

There's really no reason to bash the band. This isn't an article about their music, it's about something original someone did with a camera.

And in their defense...if you honestly think their music is "awful" you clearly haven't listened to their album "African Elephants"

0 upvotes
laubjerg
By laubjerg (11 months ago)

Fun to watch, thanks!

1 upvote
daMatrix
By daMatrix (11 months ago)

Having an automated photo capture stream does not mean a result with great photos.

From his selection of photos shown here only nr 1 is good. The other show photographer failure of showing what he wants to express with the photos.

That said the video shows Pierre had a lot of fun at this concert in his own way and therefor the video is more interesting than the snaps.

1 upvote
Gerard Hoffnung
By Gerard Hoffnung (11 months ago)

You might want to head over to Pierre's blog and look at his gallery there.
http://pierrebphoto.com/blog/
I think some of the shots there are excellent and really capture the energy of the band.

2 upvotes
Lukino
By Lukino (11 months ago)

Yo Dawg, I heard you like cameras, so I put a camera on your camera so you can shot while you shot.

3 upvotes
groucher
By groucher (11 months ago)

I almost choked on my coffee laughing at the band. What a bunch of '70s throwbacks. Please include a health warning before posting anything like this in the future.

0 upvotes
Carlos Echenique
By Carlos Echenique (11 months ago)

Pictures and videos were good. Pity the band wasn't.

2 upvotes
MediaDigitalVideo
By MediaDigitalVideo (11 months ago)

Where any fans with mobilephone making video or photo's and send them directly ?

0 upvotes
InTheMist
By InTheMist (11 months ago)

Didn't the Fro do this like a year ago?

3 upvotes
tommy leong
By tommy leong (11 months ago)

professionally run concerts has a pit for security as well as for photographers.
THEY DO NOT need to jostle with the run.

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

not all venues have pits. Some bands ask to not have pits as the venue charges the band for the security personel and the installation of the barricade. In some cases, the venue imposes it (metal, punk and other more aggressive shows).

The smaller the venue, the less chances you have of a photo pit. The two biggest venues here have pits almost all the time... once you get into the smaller ones (with a capacity of 400-800 people), the pit isnt always there.

The one I shot as is probably 8th or 9th in terms of max capacity in the city, and i have never seen in a pit there.

4 upvotes
Gryfster
By Gryfster (11 months ago)

I think it was an interesting glimpse into a photographic experience I will never never do myself from someone who gets paid to do it. And it's marketing; which is important in every trade. Kudos to him for getting noticed and getting eyeballs and dpreview for promoting interesting things.

As for the quality, I am sure that over the 45 minutes he took way more pics and the ones showcased may not have been the most commercially saleable (I honestly have no idea but I thought some of them were pretty good).

2 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

As the other said, not the best, I do agree. But considering the conditions and the horrid lighting, they were fine.

As show photographers, we very rarely get full show access. The industry norm is 3 songs, which is what it was in the video. So I need to produce (depending on the media) from 6 to 25 usable images within 7 mins, in poor light, in a tight crowd. Images that are emotional, lack repetition.

Do I do this every night? Probably night 25. :)

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

And thanks for the kudos. In a photo world where subpar is the norm, it is hard to get noticed. And if I can actually get noticed by something I attempt to do rather than just posting up negative stuff on other people's recognition, I'm cool. ;)

0 upvotes
Eric Hensel
By Eric Hensel (11 months ago)

How many Photographers does it take to screw in a light-bulb?
Twelve --one to do the job while the other eleven stand around telling themselves they could do it better...

10 upvotes
Lukino
By Lukino (11 months ago)

I'm sending this to all my photog frinds right now!

0 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (11 months ago)

The most obnoxious part is that he probably was blocking other photographers from getting shots because he had his GoPro mounted on top of his camera. There's nothing worse than being stuck shooting alongside someone who has no concern for other photographers who are also trying to do their jobs.

Leaving your flash, video mics or in this case a GoPro mounted to your camera is very poor etiquette and things like this can cause fights at bigger events and festivals. I've seen it happen.

The example photos aren't exactly pro quality work either.

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Nope, out of the 6 other photographers there, 4 were up on the balcony and didnt brave the floor. I was down there with one other person shooting. No need to be schooled about etiquette, trust me on that one. ;)

And if you are worried about the fans, the ones there didnt mind... many were making room for me to actually work from, which is an odd thing that happens.

And not every show will give portfolio worthy shots. I totally agree, not my best.

3 upvotes
OniMirage
By OniMirage (11 months ago)

If I am getting paid to do a job I could give to shits about anyone else. I wouldn't go out of my way to sabotage someone's shot but if you can't be bothered to get around me to get your own shot while I am working the floor and different angles it's your own fault if you miss something.

3 upvotes
webrunner5
By webrunner5 (11 months ago)

Do you have a Clue how big a GoPro really is?

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (11 months ago)

@OniMirage: Of course you don't give "to" shits about anyone else. And that's why other photographers probably hate you. We all have to work together. When someone is lining up a shot and a stupid accessory pops up in front of their lens causing them to miss the shot that's YOUR fault.

I've seen people get flashes and mics taken out with one quick swipe of a 70-200 or even an elbow.

If you can't be bothered to have professional respect and courtesy in the pit then you don't belong there. In the professional circuit theres a pretty tight knit group. You pîss one off you pîss them all off.

Ask the photographer from Huffington Post who refused to take his mic off at Bonnaroo 3 years ago. He got blackballed. Hasn't been approved since. Ask anyone who shoots the festival circuit what happened to "Rat-tail".

3 upvotes
The Squire
By The Squire (11 months ago)

So a GoPro gets in the way? But a 70-200, is of course tiny and discrete, right?

2 upvotes
JDThomas
By JDThomas (11 months ago)

@TheSquire: Since you obviously have never been in a working photo pit let me break it down for you.

The 70-200 is mounted on the front of the camera. Since you're actively using it you are more aware of what it's doing. If you're shooting like you're supposed to (using the viewfinder, not live view), the camera/lens combo is the same level as your head. You have to shoot over people's heads sometimes. It's the nature of the game.

Now on the other hand, you have a GoPro/flash/mic on top of your camera. Now there's this useless thing that is extending above your camera. Making it harder for the people behind you to to shoot over you. You are constantly moving and every time you move you're either blocking another photographer or the same photographer who attempted to move to shoot around you in the first place.

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (11 months ago)

The other thing about the 70-200 is that more often than not it requires you to shoot from further back in the pit. So it's not as likely to get in the way.

Another scenario, which is worse, is standing next to the photographer with the extraneous gear on his camera. The photographer switches to portrait mode. Boom. The useless gear pops into your frame. Or hits you on the head. Or knocks into your camera causing you to miss a shot. The photographer with the useless gear is looking through the viewfinder, oblivious to what his accessories are doing. Although by this time he probably has people yelling at him.

So before you go posting snarky retorts maybe you should think things through?

1 upvote
cmoney
By cmoney (11 months ago)

Been shooting concerts and festivals for several years now. For the most part there's an unspoken courtesy with the regulars. Everyone knows the 3 song limit but if you have a great spot, you should also rotate out so someone else can get a few shots from there. When you're changing position be aware of what others are shooting and duck or wait till they get the shot. Things like that.

Like JDThomas said, it's a small circle for the most part. I've met photographers who've been shooting festivals for decades. If you constantly get in people's way or shove them you'll get your comeuppance for sure.

1 upvote
JDThomas
By JDThomas (11 months ago)

@cmoney: Exactly. You know the drill.

Here's a good example. A VERY famous photographer showed up at a venue during SXSW. He made it a point to drop his name and he told us all, "I'm (famous photographer), I will run you over if you don't get out of my way". All of us locals and festival shooters had a good laugh and when we went in the pit we messed with him a bit.

The point is that, we respect each other, we help each other out. It doesn't matter who you're shooting for. It's about how you treat others.

If you want to stick a GoPro on your rig, that's cool, as long as you're not screwing other people over in the process. It appears that Pierre B wasn't inhibiting others and thanks for clearing that up. Cheers.

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

You are totally right about getting in people's way. We are usually the same 10 in the pits in the bigger venues, and it is a very small community. We watch out for each other, duck under lenses, move when we can and don't hog spaces.

Walking in front of someone's shot (whether you have a GoPro, a 70-200 or a flash) is a huge no no.

Respect amongst photographer's is key and being mindful of others is huge. As is being mindful of fans! I always chat people up, apologize ahead of time for being in their way, saying I'll be gone in 30 secs. They pay the tickets after all.

And a little pot calling kettle black.. before posting remarks, get the facts ;)

0 upvotes
Edgard
By Edgard (11 months ago)

more GoPro Ads on dpreview

2 upvotes
GradyPhilpott
By GradyPhilpott (11 months ago)

I can't figure out why there are so many negative people on this site. Does it really take that much brain-power to understand what this video is all about?

Sure, there's nothing earth-shattering about the technique, but it is what is and I would think that photographers could just take it at face value, without all the obtuse, negative comments.

7 upvotes
jkrumm
By jkrumm (11 months ago)

I wish they would just turn off comments for these types of stories.

1 upvote
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

This is my first time checking comments here, this is really enjoyable. I agree it's sad that some people are just negative, but hey, makes me totally happy for all the positive emails and likes I've received.

The loud ones are always the sad, depressed and negative ones. Fact of life. :)

4 upvotes
scrup
By scrup (11 months ago)

Unfortunately with popular sites you will always have a handful of keyword warriors that spend more time posting comments than actually doing the hobby.

I thought the article was relevant and may give ideas to others that own a gopro as well. So good job.

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Sooooo very well said. A while back I spent more time on forums posting than I did shooting. Then I quit forums, and shot more. Made quite a difference ;)

0 upvotes
lap777
By lap777 (11 months ago)

He watched Jared Polin's videos? ;)

5 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

I've seen Jared do it, and I'm sure people did it before him. :) ... Jared was an amazing person a few years ago when I first started out in show photos. Heck, I was interviewed by him over Skype for one of my Montreal nighttime cityscape photos when he was much less popular than he is now.

0 upvotes
W5JCK
By W5JCK (11 months ago)

Big pile of poop if you ask me. The quality is as crappy as a smartphone video. Why not use the video capability on the dSLR and make a quality video?

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

W5JCK - I was shooting video for the few days before... this was for fun. The point wasn't to record the show with a GoPro, but to record shooting a show. Any ideas how to do it differently, givnig someone a camera POV?

I'd love to have the newer GoPros that are higher quality, but alas, the life of a full time show photographer isn't one that pays much :)

10 upvotes
balios
By balios (11 months ago)

Because then it wouldn't be a video about a photographer taking pictures, from the point of view of the camera. It would instead be yet another concert video just like all the other concert videos on youtube.

2 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (11 months ago)

Yes, here's an idea: use a better camera like a m43 rig. Go-pro has a look, and it's not one that is right for every situation. (I still don't get why they don't make a model with a rectilinear lens.) Plenty of light body/lens combos to choose from and the Panny models don't have a clip limit.

2 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

I'm not hugely familar with M43 cameras, but figure most of those would be big and cumbersome mounted on TOP of my dSLR that I need to produce images.

I looked into the Contour cameras, but as i dont have that much free cash, settled on a used 1st gen GoPro :)

3 upvotes
LarsDalsbo
By LarsDalsbo (11 months ago)

Why would this get any attention at all? Not a new idea in any form and the result is horrible...

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

The folks here would have to answer that, I just did this video for fun and to help some of my students see how things go in a live shoot :)

5 upvotes
Arnold
By Arnold (11 months ago)

Seems like you are using a 24-70 lens. From the distance to the subject, some shots look like they were heavily cropped to get a really close shot images that you see here. Am I correct on my assumptions?

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

You are corret, I was using a 24-70, on a 5D3. I usually also have a 70-200 on a 5D2, but only go with 1 body in a tight pit. So I did rely on cropping for a few images, mainly some side view images such as the second one posted here. Depends on what you consider heavy, but about 30% of the image is cropped out.

I'm a fan of getting it right in camera, but sometimes, you don't really have a choice :)

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Why do this? More of a learning thing. I do sometimes get questions as to how it is to work live concerts. While I'd much prefer doing this at higher end venues and arenas, getting accreditation from bands for the purpose of learning is pretty hard.

And for the lens hood, it is a must when shooting shows, specially when I'm in a crowd and not a reserved photopit. Getting hit by fans happens all the time. I've lost a few lens hoods. I rather it be the hood than the lens :)

3 upvotes
makofoto
By makofoto (11 months ago)

Silly that he kept his lens hood on?!

0 upvotes
jurgvonschmurg
By jurgvonschmurg (11 months ago)

Perhaps, but comes in handy for determining that he's using a Canon 24-70 f2.8L. (Or he put a EW83F on some other lens for some reason.)

0 upvotes
balios
By balios (11 months ago)

You're in a dark room with lots of bright coloured lights coming from all angles, so it can prevent glare/flare.

Also, at a lot of these concerts you're getting slammed around by the audience (mosh pit) and the hood helps protect your lens.

5 upvotes
micahmedia
By micahmedia (11 months ago)

Nah, this isn't going to do much to fight flare. But it will do a lot to protect the delicate zoom mechanism of the 24-70.

2 upvotes
JohnMatrix
By JohnMatrix (11 months ago)

two questions:
1. why would you want to do this? (the end result is quite annoying to watch IMO).
2. why is this even 'news'?

8 upvotes
AK 77
By AK 77 (11 months ago)

Sir, you might be a seasoned pro an know all the trick of photography. I, on the other hand, am just an enthusiast and I welcome any opportunity to gain an insight on photography techniques and experiences of other photographers. Does it make me less important in this community?

2 upvotes
OniMirage
By OniMirage (11 months ago)

1. I found it reconfirming of the experiences I have had so not annoying for me.
2. Make your own blog!

3 upvotes
GuySonic
By GuySonic (11 months ago)

Using the most compact Go Pro Hero3 as wide movie capture on a super zoom or similar larger body camera seems a great idea for gorilla style documentary projects. What’s been typically lacking in these rigs is the capturing of POV high quality audio. Personally I use a custom head mounted stereo surround mic going directly into the larger camera external mic input, or usually even better, into a separate dedicated audio flash deck like a Sony PCM-M10 resting in a shirt pocket. For more examples of video + audio done in this fashion see links to GuySonicStudios YouTube uploads or my site page sonicstudios . com / videomic .htm

0 upvotes
PierreBPhoto
By PierreBPhoto (11 months ago)

Thanks for posting that! I totally agree with the crappy audio. Would of loved to plug into the soundboard and capture the actual show sounds, but the plugs were being taken by working video guys :).

1 upvote
Gunzorro
By Gunzorro (11 months ago)

Pierre -- Amazing, and very exciting to see how you capture the band in action. Nice still shots! I really appreciate your remarks here in the forum too. Love the punk/grunge scene, thanks. What ISO were you shooting the two cameras at? Thanks for the insight. Jim

0 upvotes
Total comments: 76