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10 Things To Remember When Recording A Dance Performance

Here are 10 tips to consider when filming your dance videos or music videos, to help you maximize your creative potential and enjoyment.

Most important to keep in mind is being flexible during the day. Weather conditions change, directions can alter once you’re there, and locations might not behave as you expected, cameras could record at an unnatural setting or even malfunction, and the number of steps production transmits is ten times more than you thought so be prepared for any eventuality. Make sure you plan how to adapt with a cushion to fall back on! Let’s get started:

1. Rehearse

Practice with your dancers. I’ve had people inquire, “Can you just show up and make something?” and I reply, “Sure, but it will look exactly like the way we practiced.” In the case of dancers who are trained who are diligent, they will and will be able to deliver in the end if you make the effort to practice with them. Make sure you have a rehearsal space equipped with mirrors and sprung floors (most dance studios are equipped with mirrors). It’s essential to have adequate space as well as mirrors to allow dancers to work with one another and be aware of the direction their bodies are moving within the space. This will allow for precise movement (if this is what you’re after) and also cleanliness throughout the entire group. This is also how the majority of dancers are trained and how they’ve been trained. This way that, in the event when you remove the mirrors they’ve practiced moving alongside other dancers, and will be aware of where and how their bodies are moving in the space.

If you’re working with street dance and b-boys/b-girls/b-folx (highly recommended! ) The moves and the work are more fluid. Sometimes, mirrors cause a sense that you are self-conscious, which that you do not necessarily need. However, you should practice in a secure studio with wood floors at least once as well as in the studio in the gym. (I’ve performed some of my finest work in gyms!) Make sure to talk with the dancer and determine what they prefer to do. If you’re looking for an organic look at the time create the image you’d like to shoot, design the framing, provide dancers their own space and then let them roll with it. The magic of the moment can be created.

Rehearse the dance along with the DP and also include your choreographer. Make an animatic, or If you like it or style, a the storyboard. You should guide your DP to what moves occur at what times, so they can master it like dancers. Be aware (or request choreographers to make crystal clear) regarding cues in the dance. There are many DPs are comfortable with dancing and choreography, but if you can teach them to dance as if it were blocking and include them early in your choreography – your day will run more smoothly and you will be able to create thrilling work. I’ve used the code words “big drums”,” “big leap” and other things that are that are in the music or motion to describe the event that are easy to recall but not specifically dance movements. Communication is essential in filmmaking. The key to success or working with others is communicating in the language of the other party and communicating what you wish to say in order to convey the story in the way you’d like it to be told or capture the image you’d like to take. (Pro-tip Make sure you plan your shots in order to be able to match the events in your edits to create exciting cuts and an oomph – you’ll be grateful that you did! Cut in between the movement and before it comes to an end and not at the end of the sequence!)

2. Camera motion and countermovement are your best friend.

“Cinema” refers to “movement” It’s the Latinized term for the Greek “kinemat,” combining forms of kinema “movement,” from kinein “to move.” The intensity of dancing when paired with the camera is exciting when film is viewed, while musicals may become the cinematic version in any form. Inspire your choreographer to incorporate the dimension of their spacing and movements, instead of simply the horizontal space. Take advantage of Steadicam (my preferred choice due to its energy and speed). Jibs and cranes certainly create classic styles and movements, providing perspectives; but technocranes can be able to get into the action to provide a variety of framing options which can be changed quickly. Sliders and dollies are excellent for covering, and give an observant, objective look because they don’t have the ability to enter the dance but take a picture of the movement. For those with a smaller cost, Ronins as well as Gimbals can also be effective. The most important thing is to ensure that your technician is aware of how to operate the devices and is been prepared.

Make sure you practice moving the camera in towards the opposite direction of the dance. The camera should move towards the dancers as they are moving towards the dancers, and vice versa. Find out which story benefits you. Secure your position with intention. Be sure to move with the speed of dance. If the location is suitable shooting from various angles to ensure your footage is three-dimensional. Examine the way lenses compress space as well as the dance. Try various lenses with camera tests and inform your choreographer what lenses you’d like to utilize and the method you’re planning to frame so that they take up the entire frame and give you the depth you’re looking for.

3. Fill in the gap

The freedom of dance on a stage can be thrilling and is possible to experience at its most pure in the presence of a black floor and curtains, but when filming, we have to be able to see more depth and texture to be able to engage the camera and keep the viewer’s attention. There is a way to fill in the gap and think of creative ways to create a frame. Atmosphere can be helpful to capture light to fill your space. It will give the illusion of a spacious area to fill your frame. The excitement of camera movements can make a big difference to make a space appear fuller by combining the camera’s angles, frames, and motion. Pick a scene that is filled with your frame perfectly (or in the manner you want) and is in line with your story. The most effective spots are outdoors within the natural world (read that they are often free if time the weather permits). Lighting can be a major factor in the majority of your image and the story. I’ve seen thrilling dances illuminated by the car headlights, as well as P!NK’s “Call You Girlfriend” is my personal favorite use of lighting from warehouses, along with the variation of the dances that meet the various camera angles and perspectives.

4. Make sure you punch in the camera

Depending on the type of film you’re shooting, make sure to get broad coverage first. But do not be afraid to shoot body parts that are just an arm, one leg, or just feet. Some of the best dance films don’t have any restrictions on framing to tell an underlying story. Watch the finale dance from Footloose It’s thrilling to watch when they show just their feet moving in the chorus because we are expecting to see a large of the dancers in the lead. They keep us waiting for the moment by showing only their feet moving. It’s exciting in the moment they frame back principals. Why? The characters have been fighting all through the film for their feet to move and this is what we see, in close. Parts of the body can express emotion, and cutting them in can create visual variety and makes it an integral part of your story, and you’ll get an excellent combination. (Other excellent examples include “Maniac” of Flashdance and the closing part of Girls Just Want to Have Fun.)

5. Stuntpeople gonna stunt

This might be saying an obvious point, however you need an stuntman for stunts, and get an athlete to perform gymnastics. There was a professional dancing gymnast, two dancers and a stuntman during the warehouse dance scene in Footloose. Ten points if you are able to recognize them. Gymnastics is a sport that gymnasts are trained to master and have a specific type of training. Stunt folx are skilled, trained and education, courage, and a willingness that which the rest of us do not. It is a certain degree of training and skill that is why, even if you have a dancer who is willing and able to perform one or two flips If you’re looking for genuine flying for several takes you should make sure you hire an athlete. If you are able to shoot and light it properly your viewers will never (ok but only rarely) be able to tell the distinction.

6. When you’re at a recording studio, look into the mirror

It’s enjoyable and opens the possibilities of space and possibility for you, particularly if you’re looking create a narrative or watch an individual’s reaction. Also, we get to see the perspective of the dancer – i.e. what they experience in a dance class and how we are absorbed into their world. This is Center Stage, that’s important as we can share and feel the joy Jodie Sawyer experiences in her jazz class against the pressure she experiences within the world of ballet. In this scene from Silver Linings Playbook, shooting into the mirror makes the room appear larger and expands the space beautifully. This scene from All That Jazz reflects the reality of working and the obsession of Joe Gideon with himself and work. the actor makes no eyes contact with daughter during the sequence while he only glances at her reflection to observe the way she’s helping him out with the dance. In Beau Travail the last scene shows Galoup confronting an uncertain future by dancing by the mirror where the mirror once reflected the woman he wanted to see in a crowd-filled club and the mirror is now giving him the illusion of infinite.

7. Keep practicing

It’s true that this may be not a popular choice for some filmmakers, yet I’ve seen some excellent ideas by not making it a priority to do so. For instance, the sequence that Fred Astaire has called “the greatest music and dance” sequence he’s ever seen in the Nicholas Brothers routine in Stormy Weather was done in one go, without rehearsal! It was possible due to their skill and their unique language dancing together. The camera remained wide, followed the two and worked. Don’t miss these chances!

Dancers are willing to give it their best and then go back particularly young ones however, sometimes the first performances are the best. (See the Nicholas Brothers!) If there’s street dancers and b-boys, bgirls, or b-folx, then you don’t wish to miss any fun! The dancer’s performance and the setting typically, you’ll have five great takes before the dancers begin to feel exhausted. After ten, they’ve exhausted them and are experiencing diminishing returns. I’ve seen some amazing directors who wear the actors out by having them take 75 times in order to obtain an exact performance. Don’t do it to dancers. They’ll lose their lines, their feet begin to ache and muscles will fatigue and injuries could start to develop and nobody wants this. Do it in five steps and ensure that your wide/master is exactly what you want you want it to become. Then start with that so you have everyone on the same page when they’re fresh. Then , you can cut into. If you’ve been practicing (see # 1) your dancers are all set to go.

Dancers who are good at their job are meticulous and well-trained. They be able to perform the routines they have been practicing. Dancers can provide you with the energy, rhythm and sensation of joy and excitement and will provide a great coverage when you give them simple guidelines and guidance. In auditions, I try to examine not only the style, but also the technique. Or in the case of street dancers, make adjustments to know how quickly and efficiently they can adapt to the set, if needed. This skill is vital to make your day.

8. Set the pace

Be sure that the track to which you practice and shoot is the pace at the level you’d like your final result to be. This is a simple thing to do, but it’s vital to be able to communicate on the front in your organization. Also, if you intend to utilize the .wav file for your final version, make sure you shoot the .wav and not the .mp3 that you might already have. They’re not as full of amount of information and don’t exactly sync. It’s okay; I’ve saved you from a lots of pain. Seriously, as hard as you want to when it’s in the camera and you’ve got it in the can, you cannot change the frame’s tempo to change (unless you’ve taken it at a different frame rate, in which case you’ve planned it). Be sure to carry playback in your bag and have someone else manage it. Somehow, people tend to overlook this and it’s extremely crucial. (I’ve been on shows where the production team ends with it being sucked out of the car speakers.)

Be aware of your requirements regarding sound on the day. Prepare an thump track when recording live audio. Learn your dancers by doing this using as few elements as possible on the set, the better, because the set is already a brand different environment. If you’re thinking of filming this way, then go for it. Dancers are amazing and they can do it! According to the documentary The Movies That Made Us on Netflix, Dirty Dancing was practiced to other tracks and planned to shoot using a click track as permissions to use the song were taken away. Muscle memory is the most powerful memory that the body has – dancers’ bodies are able to recall a beat if they’ve practiced enough.

9. Safety first

Examine your floors and make sure they’re swept and there are there is no sawdust, nails or water. Moving on the floor on carpet or visqueen is dangerous and could cause injuries. If you fall in the process that you turn, your feet will stop and knees will continue to move. Everyone doesn’t want this. Shoes are essential – put your dancers wearing the correct footwear for the surface. Make sure they are tested before the event. If you’re planning to build and you can construct floors that are sprung it will provide more runs and endurance during the day. It also is much more secure, but it’s not always feasible. Be sure to regulate the temperature in the building. Make sure your temperature is warm enough to ensure your talent is able to shine. Muscles get cramped when it’s cold, and your dancers risk pulling muscles. Give them the time (and enough space) to warm up prior to shooting.

10. Have Spaß!

Dance is fun. It fills up the frame , and it keeps things flowing in your videos. The choreography of the camera and movement is beautiful that is truly become a part of it. try to find your preferred angles and movements. If you are able to use a monitor, make sure you have one that your choreographer can use. They do not want to be looking over your shoulder, and it will can give them a better chance in making adjustments quickly. Saves you time. Makes your day. (And theirs!) Let’s go!

Are you in need of professional filming? Contact the team at Dance Show Filming today.