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Bringing gigs home on your phone

With most mobile phones now sporting cameras of 2-megapixel resolution or higher, concerts have become fair game for fans keen on capturing the experience for sharing with fellow band devotees. But is the resulting footage any good? We took a phone to a gig to find out.

Rock up to any big music gig and scan your eyes over the crowd and you're likely to see a scattering of LCDs floating aloft in the darkness, raised like antennas to heaven.

With most mobile phones now sporting cameras of 2-megapixel resolution or higher that are capable of recording several minutes of video, concerts have become fair game for fans keen on capturing the experience for sharing with fellow band devotees. But is the resulting footage any good, or does poor audio and a low frame rate make for a woeful memento of a great gig?

We decided to investigate by grabbing a Motorola RIZR and fronting up to a combination live concert/Webcast hosted by Defhead.com.

Defhead is, according to its founders, "a virtual venue that defies time and space, reaching out to every corner of the globe, offering the people a credible and sustainable hub upon which they can launch their own live music revolutions".

The site handpicks local artists to perform a gig at an inner-city venue in Sydney. The concert is performed in front of a crowd of up to 200 people and simultaneously Webcast on Defhead.com at two bitrates via the Akamai network. Each shoot uses four cameras and features complex lighting effects, audio production and live high-definition video editing.

Defhead has hosted five bands thus far, beginning with Dappled Cities Fly in December last year. Monday night marked the performance of Central Coast group Something With Numbers, who are enthusiastic about digital song distribution, promoting their work on MySpace, and using online video to reach more music fans.

We used our RIZR -- which captures video at 15 frames per second and records for up to 25 minutes -- to captured some footage of the night. The clip below includes a chat with some of the music fans who rocked up to the gig, as well as a post-show backstage interview with Jake Grigg, lead singer of Something With Numbers.

Although video quality was better than expected, it just wasn't possible to record clear and vibrant sound via the teeny microphone. We dubbed most of the video with one of Something With Numbers' songs in order to spare your ears from the distorted audio that was captured during the concert, but you can hear what voices sounded like during the two interviews.


Thanks to Something With Numbers for allowing the use of their song, Chase The Chaser.