The Bookshop Band – live in … the bookshop!

After my recent video of Beth Porter and the Availables, I was asked to video a gig by another band she is in – The Bookshop Band, so called because it was created to play at evening events in Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights, an independent bookshop in Bath. This band consists of Ben Please on guitar, Poppy Pitt on harmonium, Bethany Porter on cello, and they all sing. The bookshop events over the last year were on the theme of “travels from your armchair”, so the band wrote songs relevant to the country/region of each event. This song is about a Brazilian character called Saci Perere who gets the blame whenever anything goes wrong.

Mr B’s Emporium of Reading Delights will be hosting another series of events this year, on the theme of Books Behaving Badly – check their site for more details.

You can buy the band’s CD in the bookshop or direct from the band’s website. This track (in fact, this recording) will be on the inaugural “The Bath Burp Magazine” CD, available in various shops and gigs around Bath shortly.

I was hoping to shoot rehearsals, using two cameras, but we ran out of time – the tickets sold out so fast that extra seats had to be added, and a second performance right after the first one! I did get some photos and a few closeup shots. I still wanted two angles if possible so I shot the first gig on my long zoom (from another room!) and the second gig with my wide-angle from the opposite side. Amazingly, the band played so consistently that the two recordings were almost exactly in sync!

So, I shot the whole video on my 5D Mark II, long shots on the 70-200mm f/2.8 IS L, wide on the 24mm f/1.4 II L. Due to utter lack of space I could only use a monopod to support the camera.

Lights: apart from a few practicals (e.g. the standard lamp behind the band) the room lights were off. I used my Datavision LED600 light as the key – it was perfect for this as it’s small (about an inch thick), doesn’t get hot, is dimmable (it was turned way down to keep the feeling ‘intimate’), can run off a v-lock battery (which avoided cables) and, at about 12inches x 12inches, fairly soft. However, the light is a bit green so I had to deal with that in post (it comes with a magenta filter which I should have used).

Audio was recorded on my Zoom H4n, on a shelf at the back of the room. We had another Zoom and direct recordings from the mixer but my Zoom performed beautifully yet again so we just used that.