ARRI, Mobile TV Group Back New Venture Revitalizing Streamed Concerts

Wide+Close launches with the aim of giving live music a cinematic feel

Billie Eilish
Christopher Polk/REX/Shutterstoc

A new venture looking to bring a fresh approach to live-streaming concerts has gotten the backing of hardware heavyweights ARRI and Mobile TV Group.

Wide+Close is launching with the mandate of shooting music performances with film cameras and cinematographers in order to give the content a more cinematic feel.

“We want to take concert filming back from the broadcast TV people and put it in the hands of filmmakers, where it belongs,” said Wide+Close founder Kenny Stoff at a launch party held Thursday at ARRI offices in Burbank, Calif. “We want to bring the artistry back like the great concert films of the past.”

Stoff is teaming with his longtime collaborator Ryley Fogg to form Wide+Close, which will get financing and equipment from ARRI, the Munich-based camera giant, and mobile-unit operator Mobile TV Group.

ARRI president Glenn Kennel praised Stoff for bringing fresh thinking to capturing the concert experience. “This is one of the areas we’ve been thinking about for some time,” he said. “Kenny Stoff and his enthusiasm for covering concerts with cinema style is really exciting, and this is a great opportunity for us to support that.”

Wide+Close’s new backers were won over by an in-market test run conducted earlier this year at Coachella, where AEG Studios head Raymond Roker commissioned Stoff and his team to capture and live-stream the event on YouTube for festival host Goldenvoice.

Now the hope is Wide+Close will be able to utilize the same high-tech techniques for concert buyers ranging from streaming services to TV broadcasters. Wide+Close shot the Billie Eilish concert at the Greek Theatre earlier this month.

Stoff is a veteran director and cinematographer whose work ranges from documentaries to commercials, but has developed a specialty shooting some of music’s biggest names, including “Sonic Highways,” an HBO docuseries featuring Foo Fighters.

He is driven by the notion of restoring the emotional connection to the viewing experience he believes is often lost by traditional broadcast concert programming. Said Stoff, “Music is not a spectator sport. It’s not a sport at all, and it shouldn’t be shot like one.”