Chip's Technical Blog

Tech commentary of thoughts, challenges, how-to's, and the mundane.

The “No Camera” Rule

Tonight we were at the LeAnn Rimes concert, in which there was a posted no-cameras sign at the entrance gate. As you will see later when I post 2-3 of my own, you might expect that this rule is not well enforced.

So what’s the problem? Of course, the problem is that you can’t buy a cell-phone anymore without a camera, just about. Thus, unless you are going to either check every cell phone, or not allow them at all, you aren’t going to keep cameras out of the concert. (Of course, these cameras are also small, so unless you plan to use a metal detector, you probably won’t notice the cameras [cell phones] anyway.)

Thus, it follows that there were a LOT of people taking pictures at the concert with their cell phones. Throughout the concert they would walk in front of the first row (between it and the stage) and pause long enough to snap a picture. This of course was very annoying for those of us in the first few rows. There was also no attempt on the part of security to prevent or curb this activity. After all, what are you going to do, short of making people cross the venue at the back?

So accept as a given that people will have cell-phone cameras. It no longer makes any sense to prevent the use of the vast majority of consumer-grade cameras, which are only marginally better than the current generation of cell-phone cameras. And not surprisingly, there were people using those as well. Oh, and the bigger ones too—no, not so big that they were bigger than someone’s head, but still quite big. People were also not shy about it as you might expect, quickly snapping the photo and then hiding the camera so as to pretend they didn’t take a photo. No, they would walk right to the front with their quite-obvious-camera, and take a picture, complete with flash. Oh heck, why stop at just one. Get another one while we’re up here, in case the first doesn’t turn out.

The woman seated just in front of and to the side got a bunch of pictures — many quite good (I know, because it was impossible to avoid watching her LCD screen as she setup the shot, took it, and then checked its quality. It was, after all, being held over the level of all our heads while she did so to avoid anyone in the audience being part of the photo).

So, I think the time may have come to abandon the no-cameras rule, since it is so clearly not actually applied. Instead, we should be thinking of ways to make the cameras less obtrusive during the show. Perhaps have a place people can go to shoot their shots which is out of the way of the main audience. Perhaps have a song break where you tell everyone in the audience to get their photos out of the way now, and then ask them to put the cameras away and enjoy the concert. Coming from the artist themselves, seems more likely to be heeded anyway. Perhaps tell the audience they can take photos but to NOT use a flash. Some of them still will, but if you couple it with a reasonable explanation of why you shouldn’t use a flash, I think many people will respect it. Also, have a big sign posted indicating that shooting photos is acceptable for personal use, which still lets you crack down on those trying to make a buck off their concert shots, while allowing those people who you really can’t stop anyway shooting a photo to post to Facebook.

After all, those Facebook photos are probably doing more to promote and benefit than they are to harm.

[Review: it was a good show, and the third-row center seats were excellent.]

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