BBC Click 1 June 2013 – Making of 45sound Matt Cardle Live Fan-Shot Video

On the first of June 45sound were featured on BBC Click. The performance we covered was of Matt Cardle and you can see the footage from that gig via this link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-uy1Uq…

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BBC Tech | Should music fans stop filming gigs on their smartphones?

An interesting read by Dave Lee, Technology reporter with BBC News from 11 April 2013

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Ugly scenes? Fans of Bring Me The Horizon film vocalist Oli Sykes on their smartphones and cameras. As fans filed into Webster Hall in New York City last week, a note from indie rock band the Yeah Yeah Yeahs wasted no syllables in laying down the law. “Please do not watch the show through a screen on your smart device/camera,” it said, along with some stronger words unrepeatable here.

During the gig, vocalist Karen O repeated the request, telling fans to take a picture right at that moment – but to then keep devices hidden for the good of those around them. On the web, news of the band’s defiance against the march of the amateur filmmaker spread – and was met with whoops of delight from many music fans fed up with seeing mobiles thrust into their line of sight at every public event. Many of them longed for the days when the only thing illuminating the crowd at a packed gig would be a sea of cigarette lighters, held aloft during the more tender moments – and not, as is now more often the case, the glow of the mobile phone. “I would never turn on a cell phone at any musical event,” wrote Roger Waters, former bassist and vocalist for Pink Floyd.

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“People behind you are like ‘put your phone down we can’t see’”

Bring Me The Horizon fan. “It would seem to me to show a lack of respect to and care for fellow concert goers, or for that matter the artist. “Apart from anything else, how could I possibly truly experience the thing I’d paid to see and hear, if I was fiddling with an iPhone, filming or twittering or chatting or whatever?” ‘Weak and distorted’

To make matters worse, the type of footage recorded at gigs tends to have, as one Guardian journalist put it this week, “audio quality that would make Simon and Garfunkel sound like Slayer”. Sophisticated as it may be, your smartphone’s microphone is only capable of capturing anything and everything immediately around it. But one company emerging from Dublin’s blossoming start-up scene thinks it has the answer – and appears to have record labels on its side. “What our unique proprietary technology is able to do is take the poor quality on-camera audio from fan videos, and we analyse that and can see the patterns, even though it’s very weak and distorted,” explains Cathal Furey, co-founder of the firm, 45sound.

“The technology takes those patterns and matches it against what we call a master audio recording, which would be a professional live audio recording [from the same gig].”

This clip shows original gig footage shot by a fan at a Deap Vally gig, and then the same clip with fixed audio provided by 45sound. From here, clips are re-uploaded with the high-quality audio, and in cases where there’s more than one recording of the same moment, fans watching the gig on 45sound can switch camera angles. In recent years, several sites have sought to make use of the swathes of fan footage recorded on a nightly basis. Apps such as Vyclone have been used by the likes of Ed Sheeran to “crowdsource” gig footage, with fans being encouraged to upload their recordings of Ed for it then to be edited together for the official music video. Another start-up, OutListen, gathers fan videos and, if there’s sufficient interest, will go to record labels after a big show and request the professionally recorded audio.

But Mr Furey believes it is 45sound’s audio-matching software which gives it the edge over rivals – meaning no human intervention is needed in order to whip the clips into a listenable state. “It’s all completely automated,” he says. “What we’re trying to build is a scaleable company. I’ll be happy when one day we do a thousand shows in one night.” Sony trial Vital to this scalability is in building relationships with record labels. To that end, 45sound has the ear of several companies – including Sony Music-owned RCA Records. One of their acts, Bring Me The Horizon, has been trialling 45sound on their latest tour – prompting fans to record their show and upload it after the gig. “It compliments the whole marketing plan,” says Justin Cross, head of digital marketing for RCA. “A lot of the artists we work with at RCA are live bands – if you’re watching someone’s video of Bring Me The Horizon and you can see for yourself how fantastic they are live, you’re probably going to want to go and see them.” As part of their trial with 45sound, Bring Me The Horizon’s vocalist Oli Sykes prompts fans during the gig to record one particular song. For those who hate people recording, it may seem an irritating, even inconsiderate request – but it is somewhat tactical, the 26-year-old tells the BBC ahead of the band’s gig in Bristol.

“When we did it in Leeds the other day it was almost like it got it out of everyone’s system. “Everyone filmed the song, and then everyone put [their cameras] down and everyone got back into it so it was cool.”‘Put your phone down’. Meanwhile, in the shivering cold outside the venue, Bring Me The Horizon’s fans are divided in their views of gig etiquette. “People behind you are like ‘put your phone down we can’t see’,” says one female fan. “I think people kind of like just want to just get into it without standing around with your arm in the air all the time filming.”

Another fan, male, has more enthusiasm towards the web’s possibilities. “It’s always good when people film it, you can go on YouTube and see it, and relive it, and see all the people in the comments talking about it – you can make more friends with that as well.”

Comedian Marcus Brigstocke and Graham Lambert, from Inspiral Carpets on phones at gigs. For record companies like RCA Records, it’s a situation that requires delicate compromise, says Mr Cross. “From a label perspective, and my perspective as a fan, it’s something that’s just part of a gig now, you can’t get away from it. “On one side of things, it can be quite annoying for the fan that isn’t into doing this, but on the other side it’s helping to push the band.” But 45sound’s Mr Furey argues some events are just too good not to be widely shared. “I can definitely see that having a sea of cameras can ruin the experience. Ultimately the most important person is the person who pays for a ticket to go and see the show. “At the same time, I’ve been at other events where my first reaction is ‘who’s videoing this?’. Live music shows are an incredible human event – they’re very tribal, very powerful, very emotional.” So while the Yeah Yeah Yeahs join a select group of grumblers that includes the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Jack White and the Stone Roses – it is likely that the “sea of cameras” is here to stay, and not just at gigs. “I have that problem in general life myself,” reflects Bring Me The Horizon’s Mr Sykes. “I find a lot of people are documenting too much stuff… rather than just living it.”

Music fans can layer raw live footage with quality sound

We have had some great coverage in the last few months. Throw back Friday today with some editorial from JJ Worrall.

J J wrote the following in The Irish Times:

In the midst of the enormous burst of noise created by Belfast band And So I Watch You From Afar during their Whelan’s gig in November 2010, 45sound founder and chief executive officer Cathal Furey (below) had a lightbulb moment.

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Recording professional footage of the show alongside the band’s live engineer, Andy Coles, he realised “Half of the crowd were also filming with their own phones and cameras, and their footage would be every bit as good as our crew videos if they had proper audio.”

Furey had recently begun filming gigs while volunteering as a producer with the Galway Arts Festival, and the former multimedia lecturer says this experience made him realise “good-quality audio recording is the most important part of web video”.

After the ASIWYFA show, he sat down and began to think about just how he could provide greater audio performance for gig-goers determined to record footage on their phones.

“I haven’t really stopped thinking about 45sound since,” he says.

A few months later, he met digital audio experts Dan Barry and Mikel Gainza who saw something in his idea. The pair were able to work with some of Furey’s sample videos and master audio recordings to help develop the concept further and the resultant “audio matching system” that was created became the basis of the 45sound product.

‘Music accelerator’
The trio then tested a “very bare-bones system” at the 2011 Hard Working Class Heroes festival in Dublin before going live with a beta version in February 2012.

The following month, they received a massive boost when their efforts were recognised by the globally respected Austin, Texas-based South by SouthWest (SXSW) festival where 45sound was a runner-up in the “music accelerator” competition.

“Fans love to use YouTube for discovering new bands, and the bands love the idea of the videos their fans upload sounding like they should,” explains Furey. “Our audio-matching technology means that fans can upload almost any type of video camera from a show, from pro-level DSLR cameras to older mobile phones.”

All told, since its launch, 45sound’s audio-matching system has been tested during “two hundred shows in 14 countries across three continents” to continually improve the sound quality.

A mobile app was also created, with the team working alongside DIT lecturer and TunePal app creator Bryan Duggan to get it to market.

Funding-wise, the company has been “boot strapped” by support from Enterprise Ireland. And a private investor is set to come on board in the coming months.

Furey says that, having “reached the point where we now have a product that solves a pressing problem for the music industry”, revenue is starting to grow and they should be profitable “within months”.

The company has teamed up with the Meteor Choice Music Prize.

Furey says: “Basically people . . . can simply record footage of full songs or clips of a minimum length of 45 seconds. The next day, they upload the video to the 45sound platform.”

From there, they “layer high-quality audio of the corresponding tracks on top to replace the usual clamour of the crowd”.

Worldwide opportunity
“The result,” says Furey, “is high-quality, polished video, not created by a professional, but by a regular punter. We also weave together select clips of the fan-generated footage to create multi-angle edits.” Meteor offered cash prizes for those using the 45sound service and uploading their videos.

Furey and the 45sound team are now back in Austin for this year’s SXSW festival to meet US music industry executives to talk about the technology. And they are also in discussion for link-ups with “some major festivals and tours” this summer.

“Crowd-sourced video made easy is a massive worldwide opportunity,” says the company founder. “And we’re planning to reinvest our profits to keep growing the company aggressively. ”

Hard Working Class Heroes Digital

We are delighted to see that our friends at HWCH are shaking things up a bit and are adding Hard Working Class Heroes Digital to the mix.

We cut our festival teeth with Hard Working Class Heroes back in the day. 2011 was our very first trial run of 45sound.com and no-one had tried to do anything like it before, so a big thank you for team HWCH for all their support then and now! The then team of four worked
hard to get this basic version of our service ready in time for the 101 bands and all the fans at HWCH to try it out free of charge and we sure learnt a lot.

Now we have grown and HWCH is growing into HWCH Digital. Our support is guaranteed.

HWCH Digital is supported by and co-ordinated with the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), the Dublin Liberties-based company which aims to build high-impact new ventures through initiatives like Launchpad.

HWCH Digital is now looking for 25 tech companies in the entertainment sector who’d like to get involved and have access to mentoring, panels and tip sessions over the weekend, as well as having the opportunity to discuss their ideas with tech industry figures. Companies interested have until July 26 to apply online.

Get your entries in!

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