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Old May 9th, 2013, 05:50 AM   #1
Worst venue, best dancers...
Gerald Webb Gerald Webb is offline May 9th, 2013, 05:50 AM

Hey guys,
Just a share for the people that do dance related work.
These kids just amaze me, cpl of 15 year olds, and the rest are so young.
Thinking of donating a black backdrop myself next year, the dirty white thing is hideous.

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Old May 9th, 2013, 06:36 AM   #2
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Re: Worst venue, best dancers...

I"m shooting 3 dance performances this year and the performance level is very low, I can't dance but often feel I would just blend in if I would try. :) The group you shot however are much better then the dance teachers I shoot that do a performance of their own as well. They have got really powerful moves, I"m sure all will have a career in dancing and yes, that white backdrop is hideous.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 06:39 AM   #3
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Re: Worst venue, best dancers...

In my previous guise a a BTEC external verifier - I've seen large amounts of dance in schools and colleges, and this group of kids is not at all typical of the usual standard - and best of all, virtually all of them are putting in maximum effort.

I think that maybe if you want to buy them something, then a proper white cyc would be better. Black is always a problem, for a couple of reasons. Lots of modern dance wear features black tops and bottoms, and they'll just banish against blacks upstage. A very common problem. Sometimes people would send me DVDs of students, and All you could see would be the non-black bits. Especially bad when the auto everything the teachers use over exposes the non-black elements and you get a real mess - nothing like the quality of your recording.

I'd guess the space is also uses as a media space. Grey drapes on tracks were quite common a few years ago to be kind of neutral. Friendlier to the cameras, but not nice to look at!

Their lighting was also not exactly dance friendly. Lots of front light from odd angles so lots of weird shadows and no side lighting (important for dance where limbs frequently create odd shadows). Also no colour or movement, just illumination. Nice colourful costumes, yet all white light?

EDIT
Just read Noa's post. Sadly, although there's lots of enthusiasm, very few of these will be strong enough in the other dance areas for a career. A few have been to the old fashioned dance schools, run by the lady with the bun, called Miss Wendy or similar - you can spot those ones, but most I suspect have only contemporary/Urban-street backgrounds. Arms, hands and feet are the clues. Professional dance auditions are killers, and these still have a way to go to reach that kind of level. That said, two or three years at Laines or Birds would do the trick - if they can keep up.
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Old May 9th, 2013, 07:48 PM   #4
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Re: Worst venue, best dancers...

Yes the lighting and backdrop dont do me any favours. You are spot on about the front lights Paul, Ive had a lesson in manual camera settings just from this one venue. The kids go anywhere near the front sides of stage and the whole front of there body and face just clip white. So now I get one of the roadies to stand on the extreme edge right in front of the lights and expose to that. Makes it pretty dark at the back though.
I even made up a Picture Profile for my Z5 with a little more dynamic range to try to compensate.
First time I went there I had it on full auto I was in such a rush. It wasn't pretty.
Its funny they gave you the impression that they weren't that well trained, I guess its prob because this routine is just a bit of fun for them. There are a fair few of these kids that work professionally already and young Thomas has been picked up by the Australian Ballet. He scored 100% on one of his routines earlier in the competition (only caught this on my back up camera, lucky it was running)
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Old May 10th, 2013, 04:19 AM   #5
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Re: Worst venue, best dancers...

I'm in a meeting later today for a dance show, and the person is going to ask me about last year where as people went upstage they got very difficult to see. A result of her wanting to make sure the stage closest to the audience was bright. It's a big stage, and if she has it evenly lit (perfectly possible) then she cannot go out close to the audience, because then the lighting over the audience needs to be focuses short, meaning the next available on stage position has to be short too ..... and then there's a gap at the back. She could sort it with more equipment, and more cost - or losing some colours. Losing for example all the gold lighting would free up 8 or 10 fixtures that could then fill the gaps, by allocating some to red, some to blue and some to something else - but it's a compromise. She also also wants a white cyc, with saturated colours from the front, down low - as this creates huge dancer shadows on the cloth, and as the colours mix, you get new ones. A red and blue front light, colouring the cloth magenta, but where somebody blocks the beam, you get red or blue shadows. Add some green light and yellows appear, and then when multiple dancers block multiple beams, you get red,blue, green, yellow, cyan and magenta - which looks great - BUT the video people will hate it because the dancers blocking the beams will over expose - so the wide shots look great but the closeups look very odd. So today we will be talking compromise, and she has to decide if lighting or video are more important, because her budget cannot provide both. Last year one number looked very odd compared to others because one girl was photosensitive epileptic - red light was bad, flashing was bad - so they had a pretty, static and bright state that didn't change.
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