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Shooting non-repeatable events: weddings, recitals, plays, performances...


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Old December 5th, 2011, 09:41 PM   #1
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Anybody here do dance concerts?

Hey guys,
Link below is to a dance from a concert I filmed last weekend.
Getting different feedback from different people about editing styles for this type of shoot.
My first cut was a bit like a music video, lots of cutting and transitions.
The client pointed out, quite rightly on reflection I think, that the parents who buy the DVDs want to see their kids, so if you always concentrate on the action there may be a few kids that dont get seen much, if at all.
So, cut 2 is below,
safe enough?
or still to busy?
Objectivity is shot right now for this genre, lol.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 08:23 AM   #2
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

15 years experience shooting dance concerts and recitals, and I'm a parent of 2 dancers. First of all very creative. Here is my take on recital videos. I'm shooting for various clients. Each parent wants to see their child, the choreographers want to see the entire dance with all dancers entering and exiting. My opinion is you still went a little too "music video". You have to remember that their may have been a child in that dance that, that is their only class and dance they are in. Others might be in many classes and dances. Also some choreographers will put the stronger dancers in the front, so they tend to be prominent on close ups. I like to think that I am documenting the event to be viewed later, not making an entertainment video. Here are some things that I do:
1. I have 1 client that just wants to pay for 1 camera. So during a recital performance I tend to zoom in when they bunch together in a group. Always fill the frame with dancers. Zoom out as they expand back out. On older dancers I will stay full unless there is a solo, duo or trio. Seasoned dancers want to see themselves head to toe so they can see every movement. Parents of younger kids want to see their kids faces. So if they are in a straight line, which a lot of times they are, then I will at some point zoom in and pan across the line head to toe in order to see the faces of all the kids. Depending on the dance and movement no more than twice. If they bunch up into a "picture pose" at the end, zoom in to show them all. Again this is for one camera.
2. For 2 cameras I have 1 in a very similar position as yours stage right. Then look for key points always staying head to toe on the wide and no closer than waist up on the close. I will still zoom in and fill the screen on the wide when they bunch up. I usually won't cut to close ups more than 2-3 times per dance, again depending on the content.
Suggestions: Stick with cuts take out the dissolves and any other transitions. It's just distracting in this context. Don't edit quick shots to beat of the music, it's not a music video. Watch the extreme face close-ups. Dancers want to see their bodies. I really liked your behind the stage looking down shot, that was a great idea. Just don't over use it. Be careful not to use it when something really important or cute is being projected toward the front. Something that might be cool is to edit a few of the dances like you did and offer them as bonus footage. So imagine you have a more straight forward cut of the dance but also the music video cut of the dance. I can see that working for dances like your example. Keep up the good work.
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Old December 6th, 2011, 02:55 PM   #3
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Thanks David, everything you said was almost word for word discussed with client last night.
She was ok with that second cut, but I will be cutting a lot more conservatively for the rest of them.
The kids loved it, but the parents are the ones that pay for the DVDs.
I have to find the happy medium where everyone is happy.

But on the plus side, after a day of feeling lost about where I was going with this, last night I got a call from one of the mothers who saw this preview (below). She was in tears saying how beautiful it was and if her daughter never danced again, at least she had this forever.
I love what we do :)
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Old December 6th, 2011, 06:24 PM   #4
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Thanks Guys

Useful info too!! I have one coming up on the 20th from 4pm to 9pm !! Whew!!

Gerald?? Do you charge for the onsite time and then for DVD's or just the DVD's ...any idea on what sort of prices are fair here??

BTW: Why is this in the Vegas Forum???? Surely it should be in events???

Chris
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Old December 6th, 2011, 06:37 PM   #5
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Hi Chris,
DVDs are going to be $40.00 of this concert with no charge to the Dance school. I'm very new to this so I dont know if this is average or not.
Sorry if its in the wrong forum,
I just post everything in here because I like the people that are always here, again sorry if its against forum rules. Ill try to branch out of my comfy Vegas pond and spend more time in the rest of DVinfo.
cheers.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:07 AM   #6
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Cool. Your next piece was very nice, some really nice close-ups. My only suggestion would be that when they are doing major body movements like arm swings, leg swings or jumps to try to show the whole body. Living with a dancer and dancer's Mom, you should hear them when they watch So You Think You Can Dance. They want to see the whole dance. Easy to remember, young no-to little technique, let's see those smiling faces, older - technique let's see the technique. You put in some really nice close-ups during her solo, you could really see her emotion. Here's a video of my daughter's solo from last year. It's just a single camera in the audience, but a dance college saw it and asked her to audience to go to school there.
Scotti - The Perfectionist - YouTube
Stoney D at DDCE performance - YouTube
Here's a clip of my son from the same show. These were taken from dress rehearsals, since they had someone else shoot the show. Not as creative as yours, but it shows the technique well. Take care. Once again, I really dig the up high in upstage shot. I wish I would have thought about that for some shows that I did. I might have to borrow it for future projects ;)
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Old December 7th, 2011, 06:45 PM   #7
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Thanks Guys

This is all very helpful indeed for me for my gig on 20th!!

Last year I did a Christmas Show and I had one cam up high near the sound/lighting cabin with a feed from the desk and kept that wide so the stage was covered and then my second cam was left of the stage for closeups ... that seems to work fine ...! This dance recital has to be done live so I need to also stay out of the way ..I was hoping to shoot the dress rehearsal then i could have got up on stage or even used the stedicam for solo dancers!!

Shucks Gerald!! I'm only doing mine for $30!! However over West we are cheaper than you guys anyway!!

Chris
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Old December 7th, 2011, 07:02 PM   #8
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Im doing one this week for $30.00 as well Chris.
Less cams in this one though.
In the past most guys do one cam for the same price anyway, I just want to try and deliver something a bit more high quality than what the kids are used to.
Im lucky I guess this isnt my primary source of income, so I can spend a bit more time on it.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 08:11 PM   #9
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Chris be careful about shooting the dress rehearsal. I use to do that and got burned a few times when dancers changed their costumes or in one dance during the rehearsal a dancer wore a knee brace but didn't wear it during the performance. It was funny I would sometime have to count the dancers on the large groups to make sure they were the same numbers during both performances.
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Old December 7th, 2011, 10:01 PM   #10
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

David, you must be proud, they are amazing. I cant believe that thing he does with his ankles, makes me cringe just watching it.
cheers
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Old December 7th, 2011, 11:21 PM   #11
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

A lot of times, when I'm in this situation, I'll give a timecode disc to the dance co. with a draft of my cuts (I do a first cut with my best guess as to which angle they'd want based on all the criteria you've all been mentioning). And then the dance co. will have one opportunity to list any times when I should default back to the wide cam. That process has been pretty simple and I've come to better anticipate what they'll want the first time.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 07:39 AM   #12
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Good points. Thanks Gerald. They work hard and I am very proud. My daughter is pursuing it for a college degree, while my son, well he's a typical 16 year old that wants to dance one day, become a chef the next and the day after that design and play video games for a living. :)
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Old December 8th, 2011, 05:19 PM   #13
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

I've shot a couple hundred weddings, but until yesterday I'd never done a school recital, etc. last night I shot a Christmas show put on by some elementary kids at a Montessori school, and I've never enjoyed shooting anything so much. I don't have kids, so it was pretty amazing and hilarious, of course.

I shot multicam though they only paid for a single camera, but I shot in 1080 24p as a lark, and it looks really good. I will try and post something later.
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Old December 8th, 2011, 06:36 PM   #14
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

Hi David

Yes, I have been caught out before now!! Especially if someone does a costume change or even a music change your are in big trouble!! These guys are having awards presented too so it's a live gig...I'll only go to the dress rehearsal to scope out the venue as I haven't shot there before!!

Jeff? I did a Christmas one last year and it was fun!! Running two cameras on my own was a big stressful but I enjoyed the experience!!

The feedback and hints here are really useful

Chris
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Old December 9th, 2011, 06:47 AM   #15
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Re: Anybody here do dance concerts?

I've just returned from shooting a dance concert.

All the concerts I shoot I am just hired as a camera operator and contracted for the editing too. I think it's hard to really vary the formula too much given the many constraints (live event, bad lighting, cramped spaces to setup, etc)

One idea I have though about lately, and I'm thinking of suggesting this to the client, is to setup a small unmanned camera down the front on either side of the stage, shooting at full wide. I think this would give a really interesting perspective, breaking up the monotony of the flat-looking images you get from right up the back of the theatre. The wider angle and perspective would allow for everone to be in the shot, but have a few dancers 'featured' in a way by being closer to the camera.
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