Usually I use my own gear and do studio based videos however I've been thinking about going around my state and getting a crew together with video cameras to film some of the live concerts around the area. I hope to make some money out of all this too to cover gas prices as well as tape stock.
Thing is, do I need a press pass for this type of work? What's the proper way to go about getting one? What are the advantages of using a press pass?
In the UK there's a voluntary scheme.
For many events a press card doesn't mean anything - nobody seems to ask for them and it won't get you in the door. You need to apply to the event organisers/promoter for a pass which usually involves proving who you work for and that your work has been formally published.
There may be something similar in the US.
For the type of work you're talking about (concerts), a press pass will be as much use as a chocolate teapot, you need to apply to the organisers direct and explain who you are, what you want to do and where the footage will be shown. The problem with concerts, is that there copyright considerations for the band's music - and if you'll make any money from distributing the footage. PR people are only interested in letting you in if they think you can get them maximum publicity, if you can, it's those people you need to talk to, just flashing a press card at them will have no effect. I've had several types of accredited press passes over the years issued by UK journalist organisations (NUJ, BAJ), the only time I ever had to show it was when I wanted access to Downing Street (UK Prime Ministers residence), more often than not, mentioning I was press was more of hinderence than a help (being herded into 'pig pens' with 100 other guys and no room to swing a cat let alone a camera), on the occasions I've approached organisers direct I've had a much better response and they've bent over backwards to be accommodating.
I can read this another way, I think from your posts that you're a media student or the like and that you're asking about local gigs (ie non pro touring bands)
If you're after filming the local music scene then you wouldn't need a "pass" although I've seen amateur video guys logo'd up as if they were on U2's world tour.
If you have a local music web site for bands/PA/lights then you could make some contacts and try to get in with a venue to do showcase videos.
Once you've done a few, it's easier.
If you're doing live gigs then running wild cameras with a multicam programme is the way to go, but get a feed from the desk for one camera, don't forget to also record an ambient audience track to add in, and don't stop any cameras unlewss you have to.
Getting a proper multitrack recording of the gig will obviously be of benefit.
You may fall into local H&S problems but common sense can help, you may need public liability insurance and over here, running on batteries can save a load of time compared to PAT certificates that cover mains equipent.
Thanks for the info everyone. Yea I'm not going after large artists, just local smaller groups/gigs.
In the past I've been directed by my college to record a few local artists playing at parks and such and we usually would use Canon XL2s with audio recording to one camera direct from the board, the other two on tripods and the such capturing ambient sound and rolling until the tapes ran out.
an example of that type setup:
I would love a TriCaster and some HD cameras but that racks up a price tag I just can't pay right now and I've tried VidBlaster however that program really eats up resources on even the fastest desktop I have. For now, the best way to get this done is with DV cameras as that's mostly the type of gear I and my friends have access to.
the trouble with Tricaster and live mixes is the possibility (certainty?) of cocking it up.
with wild cameras, there's always the option of another angle, unless the crew are leaping about like numpties.
I do live mixes but only for slow predictable things like ceremonies (projected onto 20 foot screen and web cast) and where the installation time is worth it.
A mate does a lot of concerts at the Royal Albert Hall - classical stuff and it's easier to shoot on loads of EX cameras and mix in post than lug coms, cable and mixers all over the place.
I'd try to get in with local promoters, venue owners and PA/Lighting companies.
Just remember a press pass exists to show the authorities you are an accredited member of the media, but the music and events industry use a laminate system, where crew and the artistes all have specific passes to go access certain areas - these are distributed on the day by the production manager, or assistants and even if security know you, or sometimes even if it's your own venue, having the wrong pass won't let you in! Obviously with smaller bands all you need is something to get in, and often a big camera and piles of kit get you through security much better than a card. I've been asked for mine 3 times in 4 years, but showing it and walking through security without stopping does seem to work.