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How to film a dance performance?

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How to film a dance performance?

Postby Gerlinde » Tue Nov 12, 2013 12:54 pm

My daughter is a teacher. She choreographed a dance performance with her students. She asked me to film the performance and create a video file that she can submit for an audition.

I have only one camera (Canon HV30) and a flimsy tripod. I also have a wide angle lens. I could use maybe my Panasonic Lumix FP1 in addition?

I don't have any experience how to do this and would appreciate some advice.
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby John 'twosheds' McDonald » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:01 pm

Attend at least one rehearsal, especially one towards the end of the "we're still working on it" sessions.

Absolutely mandatory to attend the dress rehearsal. With luck you will capture some good material for the final production.

My suggestion would be to mount the Lumix (I am assuming it does video) on the tripod for a fixed viewpoint and hand hold the Canon to give some varied shots - even better if you are allowed to move around, knowing that the 'fixed' camera is doing it's job so that you have a fall back. The likely challenge is capturing a continuous and useable soundtrack.

Having done something similar for my daughter when she was taking part in a dance performance (she was twelve then; now she is 38!) but using stills only, I was pleasantly surprised at what I obtained. Not stunningly perfect but good enough to sell a lot of (photograph) copies to lots of parents. :-D
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby sidd finch » Tue Nov 12, 2013 2:23 pm

Maybe asking permission to tape the dress rehearsal and see if they could go through the routine a couple of times so that you can record all your b-roll footage.

That way if the stage and lights are the same you should be able to mix the footage with the live performance and have a nice video. I would also suggesst that if you do get the chance to record the dress rehearsal use the music track to sync all your video angles. That way the performance will look seamless.

I am assuming a the music would be pre-recorded. Last in edit mix in the recording with the performance audio. You will get the ambiance of the evening with a great mix on the music.

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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby Gerlinde » Wed Nov 13, 2013 12:36 am

Thank you, John and Sidd, for your ideas. Unfortunately there is not much time to prepare, the performance is Wednesday morning. :-8

My suggestion would be to mount the Lumix (I am assuming it does video) on the tripod for a fixed viewpoint and hand hold the Canon to give some varied shots


Yes, the Lumix does video. It records 1280x720 mjpeg format. That would be OK, the only problem is, it will only record 2gb and then it shuts off. I estimated I would have to restart it every 12min.That would be a pain.

My daughter has a Nikon DSLR, that records video too. Although I'm not familiar with the camera, I will probably use it as stationary camera. I ran out and bought a 2nd tripod.

I will have access to the music should something go wrong with the sound recording. I have 1/2 h to set up before the audience of 350 people shows up. :eek:

Wish me luck...
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby TreeTopsRanch » Wed Nov 13, 2013 1:38 pm

Doesn't that Nikon have a time limit also for video?
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby Gerlinde » Wed Nov 13, 2013 4:13 pm

Yes, you are correct. I found that out after I downloaded the manual.
So the performance is over, I got some footage. I ended up using only the HV30. The tripod I bought yesterday is as crappy as the one I already had. It's a Monfrotto (MKC3-H01). It says on the box: compact lightweight movie kit. It has a pistol crip with a quick release, and the head seemed to move very nicely on a ball point. That is until you actually attach the camera. The HV30 is relatively light weight in my opinion, but there was no smooth operation at all. I took it of the tripod at one point and use the monopod.
The wide angle lens wasn't a big success either, but I did not see that until I reviewed the footage afterward. I thought I had a great spot to setup the camera, right next to the school's professional camera. I made the mistake to zoom a little closer sometimes and I guess that is a big no no with the wide angel lens, or let's say with the cheep one I have. The picture is sharp in the middle, but gets fuzzy on the outside.
The sound recording worked well, I was more concerned about that. I learned some stuff....

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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby sidd finch » Fri Nov 15, 2013 9:40 am

Wow that is a tough one sorry about that. I hate it when you get all jazzed up to do something and you run in to issues. I was going to suggest that some of the new smart phones take pretty good video footage that could be used as an extra set of eyes.

You could always rip the school DVD and mix in your footage too.

Back to the drawing board :)

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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby Gerlinde » Fri Nov 15, 2013 11:07 am

You could always rip the school DVD and mix in your footage too.


Exactly what I was thinking! But, guess what, they did not record anything.... :eek: They only use the $$$$ setup to project to the big monitors left and right of the stage. I could not believe it. What a bummer.
I'm stuck with what I have and have to make the best off it. ](*,)
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby Gerlinde » Mon Dec 02, 2013 12:35 pm

There is a happy ending to this story... :exc:
My daughter was able to talk the professional camera man into making her a copy of the footage before it got deleted. :TU:
It was not full resolution, he converted it down to a weird size:

Info.JPG


I had some trouble combining the 2 different file formats, but it turned out ok in the end. I used Magix MEP 2013 Premium, since it offers dual camera editing. A real lifesaver in this situation. It will automatically line up the videos based on the sound track and you only need to click on the monitor of the footage you want to use. Here is a demonstration on how it works. Once you get used to how to do it, it works great!

Funny thing is, although the footage from the professional camera looks really, really great, the content on the other hand, is not really that professional looking. :no:

He had sections where he completely missed the action onstage. My daughter said he had seen the performance before and should have been better prepared.
So that made me feel a lot better about my filming disaster. :-

My daughter was thrilled with the result, especially since I was able to also pull some freeze frames from the footage that she can use for the yearbook. She had also hired a photographer, but he never showed... :mad:
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Re: How to film a dance performance?

Postby momoffduty » Mon Dec 02, 2013 10:36 pm

Glad it all worked out Gerlinde. That does look like an odd size! At the Uni there are several pro cameras going to show up on the big screen, but no saved footage. I think the Uni could make a killing on DVDs to all those grads.
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