Successful artists don’t get there by accident. It takes a combination of skill and really hard work to achieve success in any discipline. Just ask The Boss. “When it comes to luck, you make your own,” Bruce Springsteen famously said.
Rising music star Teddy Swims would know. After musical theater in high school, years playing in Atlanta-area cover bands, and posting videos on YouTube of him singing in his bedroom, his cover of Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One” went viral (145 million views since its premiere in 2019) and he got “lucky.” Warner Records signed him at the end of that year, and his continued hard work earned him spots on the late-night TV circuit and his first appearance on the Billboard Top 100 in June of 2023 with his single “Lose Control” from his most recent album, “I’ve Tried Everything but Therapy (Part 1).”
Teddy’s been on an international tour to support the album, playing at venues from large festivals to more intimate clubs across Europe, Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. And as any artist who’s riding a wave of success knows, a timely social media presence is essential to connecting with fans locally and globally.
Which is where photographer/videographer Bryce Hall comes in. With a background not unlike Teddy’s, his hard work, skill, and passion for covering live music events has likewise resulted in some “lucky” breaks. In this installment of Made in Frame, he took us on a backstage tour as he supported Teddy by giving him faster access to the fans using Frame.io and the Camera to Cloud workflow with the FUJIFILM X-H2S.
The school of YouTube
If Teddy Swims got his break by making YouTube videos, Bryce acquired his job skills by watching YouTube videos—while he was still in high school. “I’d go to school and do sports practice, leave early and drive an hour and a half to a major city and shoot,” Bryce says. “I’d do that two or three times a week and then by the time I graduated, I had some bands that were willing to take me on—and the rest has been kind of history.”
Bryce credits “the school of YouTube” for helping him learn how to operate cameras and edit photos and videos, and it’s one of the reasons he’s so game to embrace new gear and workflows. “I’ve kind of always been that way. Growing up, if I ever got anything electronic from my parents, I always threw the manual away because I wanted to learn everything myself,” he laughs. “And so I think that’s just transferred over into my adulthood to where I love looking up new things to learn online.”
Ten years ago Bryce met Jeremy (Jt) Tollas, whose Michigan-based band, Famous Last Words, was actively touring the country in vans, sprinters, and RVs. Jt was 20, Bryce was 19. Fast forward to 2023, which found Jt on staff at Frame.io as a Camera to Cloud partnerships integration specialist. Bryce, now touring with bands like Slipknot and Lamb of God, has continued to travel the world shooting photos and videos for social media, promotional materials, and documentary films.
Bryce was heading out on Teddy Swims’ tour and hit Jt up about Camera to Cloud. As a kind of one-man-band of image capture, the idea of being able to automatically have his photos available in Frame.io was instantly intriguing. And as a guy whose day job is all about empowering creatives through cutting-edge technology, the use case was just as appealing to Jt.
Bryce’s cameras of choice were the FUFIFILM X-H2 and X-H2S with the in-camera integration to Frame.io Camera to Cloud. When shooting photos, he uses either Frame.io or Lightroom to view and cull images. For quick video clips that have an ultra-fast turnaround (like for social media purposes) he’ll cut in Final Cut Pro, or for lengthier pieces (music videos or documentary-style shorts) he often chooses Premiere Pro. And because he’s traveling so much, he’s working exclusively off his MacBook Pro.
“The transmitters on the Fujifilm cameras work great if you have good Wi-Fi. So, if we were doing a photoshoot in a studio where we had dedicated Wi-Fi it was lightning fast. It would do exactly what it was intended to: shoot and be able to have management or the team on Frame.io seeing everything coming in—in real time,” Bryce says.
What many Camera to Cloud users have discovered is that connectivity is key to the speed of the workflow, and gearing up for the different venues and curveballs that a live tour can present requires some preparation. Or some on-the-spot ingenuity—which Bryce is no stranger to after being on tour for most of the past decade.
“It’s not a very controlled environment when it comes to having dedicated Wi-Fi, so that was the biggest challenge because every day was different. I was in Amsterdam and had a show with Teddy at an outside amphitheater, a beautiful, beautiful venue, but the only Wi-Fi available was back near the production offices, which was relatively close but not close enough to the stage. So I had to actually transfer all those images over. On the flip side, if I was doing an arena with dedicated Wi-Fi, everything moved relatively quickly,” he explains.
Bryce typically shoots RAW and JPG, preferring JPG for C2C for their more compact file sizes. Deliverables vary, especially for the social media outlets. “With photos, I send over all JPGs for the team to look at, and then if, for example, we want to use a photo for a poster, I will turn over TIFFs to ensure that we have the highest resolution possible for printing. For videos, most of the time I turn over mp4 files at either 1920×1080 for horizontal videos or 1080×1920 for vertical.”
Making it sing
For the majority of the tour, the Camera to Cloud workflow made Bryce’s job significantly easier. “In the past, I would run back and forth between the stage and my backstage area and dump footage as quickly as I could, editing as fast as I could, and running between both of those places nonstop,” he says.
The best part was it cut my time in half, and I was able to get back out for the second half of the show with our deliverables already handled.
The job of the tour content person is sometimes as simple as doing social media, and other times as complicated as making sure all of the press outlets have what they need to post their show reviews each night. “Or sometimes the artist management would take photos and say, ‘Hey, we’re going to print this photo to include it in Teddy’s vinyl pre-order and use them to upscale the preorders.’”
The new workflow not only largely eliminated the need for Bryce to do all that running, it also enabled him to produce the work more quickly and more efficiently—all on his own.
“It’s a huge advantage to have Camera to Cloud because what I can do now is if I’m with the headlining band—let’s say they’re playing for 90 minutes—I’ll shoot for the first 25-30 minutes and if everything’s uploading to Frame, I can scan those images really quickly and make a mark on each one I like and right away move it into Lightroom, do an edit on it, and then put it right back into Frame so it can be shared with the team who will ultimately come back and pick those photos later,” he says.
One particular example of Camera to Cloud that stands out for Bryce was during Teddy’s London show. “We had a magazine outlet that wanted to showcase exclusive photos directly after the show ended, so I needed to give them final photos halfway through the set,” Bryce says. “The venue had an outstanding internet connection and I was able to run around and shoot a ton of photos from different vantage points and immediately had the photos on Frame.io, ready to review, so I could make my selections and get edits uploaded in time. The best part was it cut my time in half, and I was able to get back out for the second half of the show with our deliverables already handled.”
Bryce is a self-proclaimed over-shooter. “I usually shoot a few hundred photos a night, some nights more than others. I want to make sure I don’t miss anything.” Which is yet another reason why the ability to quickly cull images is so vital to his success.
For Teddy’s tour specifically, Bryce was giving his team somewhere between 20 and 30 images, as well as clips for TikTok, Facebook, and Instagram reels. “Those were mainly small blurbs,” he says. “Teddy’s a very big personality, so if he said something funny backstage we’d take that clip, apply a little color grade on it, edit it very quickly and put it into a Frame.io folder as another option for them to use later on.”
The eye of the artist
What made the process more streamlined for Bryce and for Teddy’s team was that because he had immediate access to the images he was able to give them only his selects from which to choose.
“They might say, ‘Hey, shoot the first 30 minutes of a show and then get us 10 photos that we can post right away on Billboard’s site,’ so when everyone gets out of the show and is on their phone on the way home, there’s already an article written about it ready to be seen,” Bryce says. “I would go back to the room and they would already have their final selects in mind.”
Not only does Camera to Cloud save everyone time, it also empowers Bryce creatively. “I only give them my top selects because they trust me as the content creator and as the photographer to know what’s gonna look right and what’s gonna sell the article or sell the experience they’re trying to portray. There’s so much on their plate that the majority of the time that they have to connect and I’m just the final piece to get an article put together. So if I had a few clips in mind I already liked, I would just transfer those over and work on those instantly. Instead of having to take, let’s say an hour, I was getting it completed in 20 minutes.”
The future of festival work
During the pandemic, content creation workflows changed dramatically. Born out of the necessity to conquer the obstacle of distance, techniques that enabled or reshaped remote workflows have since become more commonplace for creators looking to conquer the obstacle of time. News gathering, live sporting events and, as we’ve learned from Bryce, live music events can all benefit from cloud-centric workflows.
In 2021, metal band Slipknot resumed their annual festival, beginning in their home state of Iowa. “I happened to be there and their management asked me to come along,” Bryce says. “They were, like, ‘We want to get content out in real time all day.’”
Bryce was shooting solo on that tour, relying on good old sneakernet to keep things moving. “The two stages were side by side, and when one got done playing there was about a five-minute break before the next act started,” he says. “Some of the opening bands only played for 20 minutes, so I’d do 10 minutes of their set, run back to the production office and dump all my footage, get together one or two photos, and then run to the other stage to start on the next band. I did that all day and we were successfully able to give them what they needed to post. And I remember at the end of the day one of the managers said, ‘I can’t believe you do this alone and do such a good job.’”
Bryce laughs. “At the time, I thought, ‘What if I had a team of two other people with me? What could we accomplish?’ Fast forward to Frame.io and Fujifilm and I realized how this could speed up a workflow to the point where you wouldn’t need a team—you actually could do it yourself.”
I can’t believe you do this alone and do such a good job.
On this last tour with Teddy he discovered that his hunch was correct. “To be able to take this to a smaller festival and be able to compete at the level that some of these major festivals are not even doing yet with their content teams would be a complete game changer.”
What success looks like
Success for an artist like Teddy Swims means several things: bigger venues, more attention to his work, and the freedom to push the boundaries of his creativity.
Which is pretty much what it means for Bryce, as well. But beyond that, as the technology develops we can be certain that he’ll find new ways to push the boundaries of his workflow.
Our mission at Frame.io is to empower creators of all kinds by making technology more accessible. Seeing a creator like Bryce embrace the technology is all the more gratifying because we want others like him to be inspired to follow their passion for capturing the moments and stories they want to tell.
We can’t wait to see where the road leads Bryce and Teddy next. And if you’d like to hear more about the process and workflow in even greater detail from the man himself, check out our Frame.io Live session with Bryce below.