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What is Sounds Like Steel?

Sounds Like Steel is an independent documentary that takes a deep dive into what it takes for steel orchestras to compete and win in the National Panorama Competition. 

Filmed over 2 months in the run up to panorama, this documentary offers the closest look yet into the culture that surrounds our national instrument, and the positive impact that panyards have on local communities. Sounds Like Steel will release for free online, in Summer 2023.

Why make Sounds Like Steel?

Some of my most vivid memories from growing up in Trinidad are of walking up the drag, listening to bands prepare to play at panorama finals. To me, the chaos and energy of these moments has always perfectly encapsulated the spirit of Trinidad and Tobago.

However, when I moved to the UK, I quickly realized that there was very limited awareness of the instrument outside of Trinidad.

Furthermore, there are very few high quality recordings available online that capture the experience of a live steelband performance.

My goal is to produce a high quality documentary that promotes the culture of pan in Trinidad and Tobago.

Project status:

Filming is now complete, with over 90 hours of footage recorded, including over 20 interviews with pan historians, arrangers, band and community members, tuners, and soca artists.

The footage also includes live performances from several bands, the full making of a steel pan from an oil drum, and rarely seen moments from the arrangement process and preparations.

The documentary is now in the edit stage, with BTS content and clips being released weekly.

Engagement and feedback:

The behind the scenes content and clips have now received over 33 million views since the start of filming, gathering over over 400k hours of watch time.

About me:

My name is Chas Sheppard. I am a sound engineer and videographer, and I have been producing recorded content in the live music space for over 10 years.

For enquiries about this documentary please get in touch through my socials, or the contact form on my website's main page.

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