This weekend I had the pleasure of watching the new Radiohead Live in Praha DVD made by fans during the band’s August 29, 2009 concert in Prague at the Výstavištĕ Holešovice Exhibition Hall.
Being a concert fan who loves experiencing concerts through the eyes of fellow fans via mobile phone and hand-held cameras, this project was impressive and inspiring. But there a few things are missing that would make it even better.
I should tell you first that I understand how difficult such a project could be. And what impressed me the most was the editing job and the collaboration of the fans/filmmakers and how they were able to pull a team of 80 people together to create the DVD.
According to the site and other reports, the Radiohead in Prague DVD was made using several different cameras and shot from the vantage point of the fans standing in the crowd. The concert DVD, like my experience seeing and experimenting with Radiohead for the first time at Lollapalooza 2008, is a visual spectacle to behold. And since the film was officially blessed by the band and utilizes the official mix from the show, it’s also a sonic pleasure as well.
But There Are A Few Things Missing…
Now, I’m a “fan’s fan”. which means I was surprised that there wasn’t more fans featured in the DVD.
Certainly, this project is a great accomplishment. But it’s only a fan DVD because it was shot by fans.
And I think it could have been even better if there was more shots of the fans as they were awed by Radiohead.
I wanted to see the fan’s emotional expressions. I wanted to see quick snippets of fans talking about and emotionally responding to the show.
I wanted to see and hear what the fans felt and why this show was worth video taping and remembering.
I can go watch other Radiohead Live DVD or I can go watch any YouTube video of a Radiohead show and have the same effect.
So if a fan is going to make a DVD, I think it needs to focus more on the fans AND the band.
And most of all, I want to be told a story about this 2009 Radiohead in Prague show. And I want the fans who were at the show to use the video to celebrate this Radiohead experience by telling their story.
Easier Said Than Done
Now, I know telling concert stories with video is hard to do. But it seems like there was a fantastic opportunity to do it with Radiohead In Prague and it was passed up. Maybe it was because of time? Maybe the filmmakers didn’t see this as a storytelling opportunity?
Maybe we’ll see more footage from the makers that will include more fan shots or more info on why they chose the shots and multiple angles of the band that they did?
Was It Better Than The Beastie Boy’s Awesome: I… Shot That?
When I first heard of the Radiohead Prague project, I immediately thought of the Beastie Boys’ Awesome, I Shot That where the band gave fans video cameras and the freedom to shoot the band how they wanted to.
So when I compared the two, from a fan perspective, Awesome is much better.
But Awesome, was shot for a different purpose and I wish the Radiohead Live in Praha DVD had more elements of Awesome in it. And I’m wondering how the forth-coming Nine-Inch Nails Fan-made movie After All Is Said and Done will compare to this Radiohead fan-shot DVD.
And I’m sure telling a story or weaving a more direct fan experience into the Radiohead DVD would help make it more interesting, because the amount of video views drops off significantly after the first video in the YouTube playlist.
That said, using a site like Big Live could have made watching the concert footage that much more engaging and exciting as Radiohead fans connected and chatted during the show.
Yes, this is a special Radiohead moment captured on video. And yes, you should watch this if only to see how a team of fans came together to stitch a digital quilt of fans videos using different types of cameras, mobile phones and other media.
I just wish they did a better job at documenting the fan experience. Because I know fans want to tell their story. All you have to do is ask.
Another Smart Move By Radiohead
Like Chicago Tribune pop music writer Greg Kot discusses in his book Ripped: How the Wired Generation Revolutionized Music, Radiohead continues to be a innovate and wise leader in using digital and new media tools to empower fans to spread their music. And this, yet again, is a great project that Radiohead has deftly “blessed” to keep fans engaged as they work on new music.
An Encore of Questions
- What was the social media engagement like during the show? Are there any tweets or Facebook updates that we can pull into the project using sites like Recreate My Night to make DVD even more social and memorable?
- How many different camera did they use?
- What types of and how many cameras did they use?
- Why didn’t they include more fans in the shots?
- What inspired them to make the film?
Were You At The Radiohead Prague Show?
Download: Radiohead Live in Praha