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Old July 1st, 2012, 01:14 AM   #1
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Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

More of a general survey here, have you pleased EVERY parent with your dance recital video? Generally speaking, would you think there are always a certain percent of unhappy clients? I understand its hard to please everyone....
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Old July 1st, 2012, 01:57 AM   #2
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Hi Darryn

On my last one I shot dual cameras and had one wide and one following individual dancers..the teachers preferred just a wide shot throughout as they felt that the videographer couldn't give each child the same amount of "closeup" time and we might favour the better dancers over the poorer ones!!

The dancing academy did the distribution for me so I never got to hear any good and bad comments if they existed.

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Old July 1st, 2012, 03:54 AM   #3
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

I have done quite a few of these over many years and to be honest I never expect everyone to be satisfied as many doting parents will only have eyes for their own offspring and it's impossible to satisfy all those conflicting expectations, but having said that I get re-booked year after year.

For the first few I did try to be creative (read clever) with the shooting and editing by framing hard and tight on interesting close-ups and pacey cutting but I had a similar reaction from the principals as Chris, they wanted it to be full and simple. The problem with selective editing is that many are not selected and there's a good chance that those not selected will be unhappy.

Apart from those initial comments I rarely hear back any comments from parents - a few non-playing discs in the early days. However last year one of the schools forwarded an email to me from one of the children's mother. It pulled the video to bits with all sorts of picky comments. It turned out that the father was annoyed that someone from 'outside of the school' was being paid to do it and he was angling to take over. The school booked me again this year, make your own conclusion.

Last edited by George Kilroy; July 1st, 2012 at 06:43 AM.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 06:33 AM   #4
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

I think if I do the same year end concent in 2012, I will definately just keep all the little tykes in a wide shot so there cannot be any favoritism....I did last year's shoot free (the actual 4 hour performance) and relied on parent's orders to pay for my services...I think we sold 166 DVD's in total at $20 a pop so it was definately worth standing at the camera for 4 hours!!

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Old July 1st, 2012, 02:01 PM   #5
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

I've been shooting MUSIC recitals for a local music school for a number of years. Although quite a bit different than dance recitals since every 'performer' is a solo, I have heard from the school over the years of a few disgruntled parents. Mostly because their child performed poorly and they wanted the performance left off of the DVD.

The school provides the DVD as part of the modest recital fee ($25). When there were fewer recitals, I used 2-3 cameras. The third camera was a POV shot of the piano keyboard. Now that there are 10 recitals over two weekends, I'm down to single camera coverage. Since the audio is really important, I've decided to spend more time on that than the extra one or two cameras.

I've seen parents put their camcorders away and sit and really enjoy the recitals instead of trying to get the best seat or angle to shoot their child's 2 minutes (or less!) performance. Now it is only the new parents that insist on taping.
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Old July 1st, 2012, 11:17 PM   #6
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

I shoot a lot of dance recitals and the only complaint I get is a few don't like to pay my price. Comments like " Pay that much for something I could do myself ". I shoot with two cameras, one wide and the other for closer shots. The close shots are either slow pans where appropriate or catch the left half and then the right half for a few seconds, everybody is happy that way.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 03:32 AM   #7
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Hi James

On mine I set up the cameras and all the parents also set up their cameras too!! Then the dance recital host comes on stage and says, since this is a professionally filmed event and all the cast will have photos too, parents are not allowed to take photos or film the performances...!!!

They had no option but to pay $20 for a DVD..I figured that $20 was a small price for a 2 hour recital on DVD in cases with printed sleeves....what was your price they were complaining about????

Chris
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 05:00 AM   #8
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

In my experience the wide shot isn't so much about not showing more of one child but rather dancers and choreographers like to see the whole movement, arms and legs and the shape of the body. Also they make patterns (that's the lay persons term i.e. me) with the group and the way the group moves. At least that's the way it is with the older dancers I have shot (teens and up). I too tried to be clever early on and had to unlearn the music video style of shooting and editing.

Last edited by Damian Heffernan; July 2nd, 2012 at 08:10 AM. Reason: fixed typo
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 05:24 AM   #9
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Can't agree more. My main area is archive video recordings of theatrical events. It's essential to ask before each shoot because they might not have the same reason for needing the recording as you assume they do?

I did one job with 3 cameras, a centre fixed wide - framed to the proscenium arch, plus left and right cameras for clasps. I did the edit, submitted the DVD and invoice and they paid promptly. Two weeks later, they asked if they could have just the wide angle shot. I burned this off, took very little time and sent it off - no charge. It turned out later that like the dance video above - each viewer was looking for something for them. In my case, somebody was looking at the lighting design to determine if the result was good, and if the same LD should be hired again. Somebody else was listening for sound balance, a choreographer was looking at the blocking of the dancers - somebody else the scenery. My nice closeup full product didn't work for these people - they were not interested in the closeup - then wanted the whole thing. The closeup edited version was used on their website - well, 30 secs of the two hours, but the wide angle was distributed to all sorts of people. I now often end up with nothing to do, because I ask if they want wide static or closeups. It makes no difference to the invoice.

It's the same with dance - if each parent wants their own child - then the only way is more wide angle and less closup. If, on the other hand, you are making something for youtube then the more arty way is the key. The biggest problem I have found is that asking does not always give you the right answer - because they often haven't a clue what they actually want. Some do - but many dance schools have no aesthetic opinion at all. When they are at a proper theatre see if they call the dressing rooms (proper theatre term) 'changing rooms' - check if they use theatrical terms such as up and down stage, stage left and stage right. If they don't, then their dance teachers are not theatre experienced, so may have no idea of how good it can look in a video with the lighting and good camerawork. They may not even have ever seen artistic dance videos - never take these things for granted. You can suggest things, but often they poo-poo them. They don't understand the difference between smoke and haze. Haze for the camera makes things look amazing. They insist the 'smoke' is turned off. They look at the lovely, dark blue, really emotive lighting and say can you make it bright. In many ways dealing with dance schools is like dealing with children - you need to explain everything. We had a video crew in a few weeks ago for a rehearsal - this is quite unusual. I had to go up to them and explain that the rehearsal they were seeing was NOT performance lighting - the teacher decided for the rehearsal, she needed it bright so she could see their faces - crazy ideas.

So I recon - the chances of making everyone happy are non-existent!
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 05:59 AM   #10
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Hi Paul

That's all right on the nose!! I guess if we can please most of the parents we are doing OK!!

This brings to mind Winston Churchill's famous saying which rings so true here "You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time" At least with the entire stage in shot you are unlikely to leave little Tommy out of the action...it may be a bit boring but at least everyone was filmed equally. Much easier to edit too as it simply then becomes a video record of the event

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Old July 2nd, 2012, 09:08 AM   #11
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Chris, I charge 35$ for a recital DVD's which includes Tax and shipping. All my recitals have a strict rule that no one else is allowed to film. I have had only a couple of complaints, most are very happy about the price and quality. I agree that the choreography is very important, my last recital a couple of weeks ago wanted the entire performance wide, as you said it was very easy edit. I have fought the fight with lighting and lost, I now just film what I see.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 11:07 AM   #12
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Harding View Post
This brings to mind Winston Churchill's famous saying which rings so true here "You can please some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time"
I think that you must mean the Abraham Lincoln quote "You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time."
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 11:47 AM   #13
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Good tips from all. Been shooting recitals for almost 20 years. At first, it was single camera. Little kids are lined up across the stage, I start wide, then zoom in and pan across (head to toe) so you can see faces, then back to wide. Got complaints that during the closer shot, parents were then missing THEIR child for those few seconds - they want to see EVERY MOMENT of the performance of their kid.

Moved to shooting TWO cameras, one wide to cover all kids, with second camera do the close-up pans, then the CU shots were inserted as Picture-in-Picture or Split Screen. When framing all the kids in a wide shot and positioning them in lower third of screen, the entire top two thirds of screen was wide open for the PIP image. Note the PIP is not on full time, but at least a couple slow pans across line up during each number so you can see who is who. Never closer than head-to-toe.

Parents have universally loved this over the years, nothing but good feedback. Using this method, they can ALWAYS see their child for the entirety of the performance on the wide shot, at the same time being able to enjoy same face-time via the CU shots. Everybody wins.

A couple of issues have come up over the years. One is, as I moved to shooting HD which of course is 16:9, I no longer have room to do a decent PIP as I did with 4:3, so switched to split-screen only for the two camera work. Next, as the kids at the studio grew older and got into more advanced classes, the choreography got more complex and they are running all over the stage. They no longer stand in a line and dance in place!

The last few years I've found it increasingly more difficult to shoot split screen due to the dancer's movements, so have reserved that style for the few "little kid" acts and the older kids get one camera that stays wide enough to keep everyone in frame at all time.

Years ago I knew another videographer that shot recitals, and he tried to get creative, adding slow-motion and stuff and that did NOT go over well at all. Do not mess with reality, as another poster mentioned about not doing the "music video style" of editing. Keep everyone on screen and keep it clean, they just want to see their performance as it happened. Rapid cutting between multiple close-up camera angles is nauseating and disorienting for kids recitals. Show it as an audience member would have experienced the show is the best advice.

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Old July 2nd, 2012, 02:14 PM   #14
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Thanks for all replies, helps me feel a bit better. Upon recommendation from instructor about previous years, I charged $30 including mailing. I shot 2 cameras, one full, one pan/zoom, during edit I tried to give equal time of all dancers best I could. Instructor said previous years has been 60-70 sales, this year sold 43, so not what I was hoping for, but still thought it was worth it.I also note that I am the 4'th different videographer in 4 years, so maybe this community is expecting a Hollywood production? DVD;s arrived at homes on Saturday and I have received the one complaint, hopefully its an isolated case of unreasonable expectations. My wife got me thinking last night with this:

" You have 16 excellent reviews from brides, all you need now is an unreasonable parent to figure out how to post a negative review and you have tarnished your reputation for $30! At least with weddings you only need to please 2 people"

I may not be able to do recitals if I need to get used to the fact that someone will always be displeased.
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Old July 2nd, 2012, 02:35 PM   #15
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Re: Dance recital, how many unhappy parents

Firstly I'd not be too surprised that the you never achieved the number of discs they quoted from previous years if my experience is anything to go by. Every school that contacts me always over remembers the number sold in previous years, even years when I've supplied them.

It sounds as if you deal direct with the parents and allow them to comment on your site. I stopped doing that some time ago, I only ever deal direct with the school taking one payment and one point of delivery. I don't include my business details on the disc, my transaction is with the school and it is packaged as a school production. If there are any complaints they must be directed at the school who in turn can then pass them to me if they think that necessary.
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