PetaPixel

No Cameras Allowed: Is it Real or Fake?

nocamallowed

‘No Cameras Allowed’ is an upcoming film that shows the journey of a guy named Marcus Haney who got into Coachella festival with a faked press pass and got exclusive film footage of famous bands.

After that, he got invited by bands like ‘Mumford and Sons’ to join them on tour. The film has gotten quite a bit of hype in the online photo world, but is No Cameras Allowed real or just a faked story to get some money out of kids who believe this is how the music photography business works?

First, watch the trailer if you haven’t seen it yet:

Which music photographer doesn’t want to shoot directly for bands and go with them on tour? Who doesn’t want to be a rockstar music photographer over night after shooting your first concert? Who doesn’t want to make a living out of concert photography?

Most of us want to live this dream, and No Cameras Allowed makes it seem so easy. You don’t have to be honest or hard working anymore. By faking Coachella festival wristbands, Marcus Haney snuck under security’s radar and filmed footage that he made in the photo pit.

The film trailer also shows that he went on stage to shoot exclusive footage with his press wristband, and that afterwards, bands saw his footage and immediately took him on tour.

Haney filming from the stage of a show, as seen in the trailer.

Haney filming from the stage of a show, as seen in the trailer.

I have been a professional music photographer for years now, and have been directly working with artists like Iggy Pop and The Prodigy. I’ve also shot hundreds of bands for international publications like The Rolling Stones, Nine Inch Nails, Miley Cyrus, Iron Maiden, Rammstein and Foo Fighters, to name a few.

I am also a tour photographer with the German band Shantel and traveled with them for the past year. My way of “sneaking” into the music business was to be honest to bands/managers, because that’s the professional way to do things. That’s what I believe, and if you’re doing things the wrong way in this business, you’ll be kicked out of it faster than you can click your shutter button.

First off, I want to make it clear that I’m not jealous of Haney, because I’m already in the industry. I just want to share my personal point of view because I think a lot of people who watch “No Cameras Allowed” will believe everything they see, and it could distort the reality of what it means to have a job as a music photographer.

#1: How to Get a Press Pass in the Real World

Press accreditation is basically an agreement with the band’s management that lets you enter the venue with your professional gear and take pictures of the concert. This generally means you need someone like a music magazine to get you access.

The magazine gets in contact with the concert organizer — companies that book bands and check with the management to see if photographers are allowed. Decisions need to be made on whether photographers get press accreditation.

In “No Cameras Allowed,” Marcus Haney faked wrist bands in order to sneak by security guards. That could be possible due to the fact that tens of thousands of wristbands need to be checked.

However, band management generally requires that photographers sign contracts before shooting the bands. They always check your publication, because big stars want big media coverage. How then, does Haney get into the photographers pit with a faked wrist band for faked media coverage?

#2: The Photo Pit

Once you get into the festival venue, you head into the photo pit. This is the dedicated space in front of the stage where concert photographers are able to do their job. In general you’re only allowed to shoot from the photo pit for the first three songs — afterwards you get kicked out of this area.

So, Marcus Haney might had the chance to enter with his video camera and film from there. I am a photographer and not a video guy, but where I live (Austria), even the biggest TV team is just allowed to film a couple of seconds and sometimes even without recording live audio.

This might be different in the US, but definitely there are strict limits for more famous bands (see the contract issue mentioned above). How then, did Haney get awesome film footage?

#3: On Stage Action

The trailer makes it seem as though Haney could enter the stage with his faked wrist band and shoot directly on stage. Here the film is going to be funny. I have shot on stage for bands like Iggy Pop, The Prodigy and Portugal. There is no way you can enter the stage without knowing the tour manager or the band.

A normal wrist band won’t do the trick — you’ll need an AAA (access all area) pass. We are talking about stars like Jay-Z in the film! You think everyone with a faked press pass can just go on stage and shoot there? If you have no direct contact to the band, you will be kicked out immediately.

Jay-Z, as seen in the trailer

Jay-Z, as seen in the trailer

#4. High Glossy Film Coverage vs. Analog Footage in ‘No Cameras Allowed’

In the trailer, Marcus Haney is using an analog film camera to cover the concerts. However most of the trailer shows high quality film footage shot from above (the shots might be from an aerial POV or crane), on stage action, and musicians smiling into the camera. Maybe he also faked a Coachella technician crane pass? Oh, and why is the film produced by MTV again?

#5. Legal Issues

There are also the legal issues. If he had to sign a contract that says you are only allowed to post your footage in the magazine you are have permission for, then he would get into big trouble. And if he didn’t sign any contract, then it’s not clear to me if he is even allowed to use his film footage to make a film out of it and make money from a commercial product.

How is it possible, that nobody in the bands’ managements canceled the project? Maybe they are also involved and are getting their share of money from this film?

#6. Marketing Gag or Real S**t?

When I first watched the trailer, I was instantly reminded of The Blair Witch Project (that fake horror documentary in which someone purportedly found video takes of students who disappeared in a forest and were killed by a witch). That film also got into theaters and had amazing success because it was a new and interesting approach to get people into the movies.

I had the same feeling about No Cameras Allowed. What if it’s just a great marketing move by the music and film industry to make the rockstar life of musicians more interesting?

#7: It’s a Slap in the Honest Concert Photographer’s Face

It doesn’t really matter if No Cameras Allowed is fake or real. What matters is the fact that Marcus Haney is getting respect from media and musicians for doing things dishonestly and illegally.

Scott Kelby mentioned this in a recent YouTube comment and received some nasty comments in return. What’s the message of this film? Do things that you are not allowed to do and get what you want by doing so? I think it’s a slap in every honest concert photographer’s face!

I know of so many people around the world that are great and honest guys. They live their passion as music photographers and give their best to make a living out of it. And then we get this film that tells you, “just fake a press wristband and all doors will magically open for you.”

Bulls**t!

I can understand why they would do this film for profit. Sure, the rockstar business seems to be a cool business and it should stay that way. I haven’t watched the movie and I definitely interested in what other secrets about the music business this film tries to reveal.

I guess it’s just another attempt to make the already struggling music industry a bit more the place that everybody dreams of. For me, Marcus Haney is just the puppet who fakes being the music photographer who can live his dream by faking wristbands. If the story is actually true, then congrats to him for being such a marketing genius.

Again, these are all just my personal thoughts on seeing the trailer for the film. I don’t know if this film is real or fake, but it seems like they worked harder to make sure this movie sells than to show the truth about being a real concert photographer.


About the author: Matthias Hombauer is a photographer of rockstars who is currently based in Vienna, Austria. He writes about photography at How to Become a Rockstar Photographer, where this article originally appeared.


Image credits: Trailer and all still frames by MTV/Marcus Haney


 
  • CatsAreGods

    Past the ethics of doing this, my concern is that the concept presented in this movie is going to convince a lot of people to forge all kinds of credentials for all kinds of events and this will end up getting Homeland Security or the like involved with eventual bad results for everyone.

  • Jeremy

    Snuck my way into my first show, sold photos to some media outlets and done everything legitimately since then and never had to “sneak” into a show again. So it is definitely possible for doors to instantly open. As long as you have the quality of work people are looking for they will want you. But why he continues to sneak into shows is beyond me. That makes no sense.

  • rivercityrocker

    Real convincing argument. Go on the defensive. That’s how to prove you’re not full of crap.

    Still wondering why Marcus himself hasn’t chimed in? His “uncle” has to do his arguing for him? Highly suspect.

  • rivercityrocker

    Having photographed festivals for nearly a dozen years straight, I know that there’s no way in hell someone flew a drone around without the security and festival organizers seizing upon it immediately. It’s pure BS.

    Whether it’s dangerous or not, it just wouldn’t happen.

  • JustJash

    and the trailer has been pulled… lol

  • AntiMediocrity

    “Documentaries are not considered commercial”
    True, but…
    Commercial endeavors cannot be legally called “documentaries” just to avoid legal responsibility. No one in their right mind would call what he did a real documentary, any more than the BWP movie was, ESPECIALLY when MTV was backing him financially.
    Plus you have the added stipulations for recording/using audio… which is an entirely different legal beast when it comes to privacy, proprietary, and copyright laws in the USA.

  • AntiMediocrity

    The real question is whom did he steal all of that footage from?

  • Aaron Paul

    just cause you are his uncle does not mean everything is real.
    Fact is, I am an official photographer and I own a magazine. I know how these festivals work.
    My pictures are used by some of the major artists around the world.
    Festivals would not allow footage that shows a lapse in security above.

    We aint fools. This is a marketing gimmick and it is making us hard workers look like dorks here.

  • Aaron Paul

    How about you pay attention on your old wife and not toy around here UNCLE ?

  • Aaron Paul

    Marcus Licker ?

  • Danny North

    Yes, very salty.

  • Guest

    I find this whole article hilarious. Ever heard don’t judge a book by it’s cover? Maybe don’t judge a film by it’s trailer. I actually went to the opening screening in L.A., so I have seen it! The film itself explains how shots happened, how he went from sneaking in to getting permission, and pretty much explains all these things that are being questioned. Not a real person makes me laugh as well…he’s real. Went to school with a lot of my friends out here. Did a whole Q and A where he really clarified, and after talking to him he seems to pretty much be the guy he portrays in the film. Now the honestly aspect makes sense, and I can understand being upset on that level. That’s the only part of this article that you can validate before SEEING THE FILM. But his footage was beautiful, and he has the talent and drive. Not just anyone can do what he did, so “Oh you can just sneak into music festivals” is not the message of this film.

  • Rosy

    I find this whole article hilarious. Ever heard don’t judge a book by its cover? Maybe don’t judge a film by it’s trailer. I actually went to the opening screening in L.A., so I have seen it! The film itself explains how shots happened, how he went from sneaking in to getting permission, and pretty much explains all these things that are being questioned. Not a real person makes me laugh as well…he’s real. Went to school and was in a fraternity with lots of my friends out here. Did a whole Q and A where he really clarified, and after talking to him he seems to pretty much be the guy he portrays in the film. Now the honestly aspect makes sense, and I can understand being upset on that level. That’s the only part of this article that you can validate before SEEING THE FILM. But his footage was beautiful, and he has the talent and drive. Not just anyone can do what he did. “Anyone can sneak into festivals” is not the message of this film.

  • jon conrad

    and to all the others giving props to Mathias, its a well reasoned article and yesI agree with many of his points but dead wrong on almost all of his assumptions about the film and the events that transpired I watched it happen in real time.His parents were very concerned and called me regularly because I am in the creative field. This young talented dude has a lot in the pipeline stay tuned. No big movie Blair Witch Hunt here he’s the real deal!

  • jon conrad

    Saw the film last night with Marcus Haney’s parents. All real footage, all real events, the narrative was brilliantly woven together as any good story teller would. As for authenticity 100%. I know I fielded many of his parents concerned phone calls as the kid was off doing his thing. See the film then talk!

  • jon conrad

    Funny I posted on this yesterday and my post is no where to be found. Hmmm

  • jon conrad

    wrong, not even close. It is just as it is stated in the trailer.

  • jon conrad

    Wrong again MTV bought theTV and web rights after the fact.The movie lays it all out for you. The movie was made by Marcus with the backing of a few Hollywood producers who bankrolled post production for a big piece of the action.
    All of the footage was shot while Marcus was busting in to various events, all his or his buddies.

  • jon conrad

    De you are correct on all accounts, there is a reason Security is a minimum wage job.

  • jon conrad

    how bout young college kid ,broke,loves music and wants to go to coachella but doesn’t have two nickels. Not scripted in the sense that the events actually happened but yes scripted into a narrative supplemented with some cheesy but appropriate animation to fill in the blanks. As a young struggling artist you have to make a name for yourself somehow and the work does speak for itself!

  • jon conrad

    when you see the movie it will lay it all out there. you are trapped by your own narrow mind. where there’s a will there is a way. all of the shots were done by Marcus or one of his buddies who broke in with him. NOTHING was sourced.

  • jon conrad

    wrong legit 100%

  • jon conrad

    watch the movie he lays it all out there.
    btw you cant sneak into America either have you seen the fence?

  • jon conrad

    @rivercityrocker,@aaronpaul,seriously,see the Movie then come back and apologize!
    Matt is his Uncle, Ive known the kid since he was 6, I would guess he’s not responding because hes busy making things happen!
    Then again I could be the only 50 year old dude working for the MTV spin machine!

  • Fullstop

    Yes, I am trapped by my own narrow mind. Thank you for freeing me.
    I AM FREEEEEE!!!

  • jto

    The only money grab here is this article. You’ve made a seven-point argument about something you could figure out in seven minutes with a few text messages. That is, if you really are still connected in the industry. Iggy freaking Pop? Rammstein? Seriously? And who the F is Shantel??

    On a related note, is there anything less “rock and roll” than an old guy betching about the young punks not honoring the old ways?

    Now that you’ve had enough time to work your extensive connections and see the film before general release, maybe you want to write a follow up? Unless you’re watching the premiere of it next week like the rest of us…

  • Skvora Limitd

    On the flip side, if he came up with the idea for this kind of movie and got everyone on board, kudos in its own way. Now he DOES have access and capital to do quite a bit.

  • Drock

    you’re completely wrong with points 1, 2 & 3 or haven’t been to many festivals, that’s all i’ve gotta say.