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


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Old December 9th, 2005, 06:58 PM   #1
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Any Dance Recital technique advice?

Hi!

I regularly video staged dance recitals (some casual, some not-casual) at various venues (e.g., a Unitarian church rented out--with stained glass wayway up high starting in daylight progressing to night (oops--my inner lighting annoyances coming out...), or a hotel conference center w/low ceilings). Mostly low-budget. Usually I'm way up high on my tripod (got a 10' Manfrotto), but sometimes I'm right up front with a wide-angle.

Anyhow, I see a lot about weddings, etc., with respect to learning. Does anyone have links to learning about shooting recitals, staged events, etc.? Currently I just use 1 camera (really love to have a 2nd at a different angle...)--mostly it's a record of the event. But techniques for spicing that up a bit would be appreciated. I've managed to get my computer hooked to the sound system last few events (to get a clean music track), and edit out bloopers, etc., but that's about it.

Also, something geared to the business end would also be handy. Sales taxes on resulting DVDs and services, copyright considerations, pricing considerations, etc.

It seems that the only school available for this type of thing is Hard Knocks U.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old December 9th, 2005, 07:34 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt Vanecek
Does anyone have links to learning about shooting recitals, staged events, etc.?
How about these for starters?

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=38448
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=45450
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=18431
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=5156
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=8525
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=6866
http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=34639
Boyd Ostroff is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 9th, 2005, 09:22 PM   #3
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I just started shooting recitals. The one thing I notice is that clients are different. I usually frame and zoom my shots for recitals following the action but for my next recital the client surprised me and asked me not to zoom at all. She wants one continuous wide shot.

So my advice would be to talk to your clients to find out what they are looking for and what they are expecting and what parts are the most important.

What tripod are you using that is 10 feet high?
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Old December 9th, 2005, 09:46 PM   #4
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Looking for more esoteric advice, I think

Boyd,
Those are all good links, and I have a couple bookmarked already. A couple you listed I missed somehow and provided some good insige. Lighting (seems to be the main thread for videoing staged events) is a pain, but my wife graduated Southwest Texas w/BFA in technical theatre. Between her and this dvinfo, I think we have that covered. I'm pretty comfortable with the technical side--I'm just itching to grow.

What I was mainly looking for was single-camera tricks to add more interest to the show. I don't have a 2nd camera (yet), and I'm trying to spice things up a bit. Single angle gets a little boring. I try zooming/panning, but I'm wondering if there's more I can do w/o getting another camera. One of the problems is that the events are typically continuous flow with a single intermission--not really enough time to change positions in between sets. Given that the shows are "for the audience," I cannot really bitch about that, though... I guess I'm seeking creative inspiration to work around existing limitations. Perhaps I'm already doing everything I can--just checking with those more experienced.

I'm also wondering how different filming recital events is from wedding events, from the business side. My friend and I are edging towards being a sound/light/video (hmm, a production company...) provider for a particular niche in the area. There's a bunch of business advice from a wedding standpoint, but I didn't see a bunch for recital/play video (most of it seems to be volunteer, which happens to be mostly my current position--husband of the dancer/teacher, etc....).

There doesn't seem to be a "how to setup a production company" manual. :( I've probably rambled a bit, but there are just so many things I want to learn--it's hard to frame thoughts cohesively, consistently, and concisely sometimes.

Thanks,
Matt
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Old December 9th, 2005, 09:52 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Zlam
What tripod are you using that is 10 feet high?
Manfrotto 3246 tripod w/701RC2 fluid head. Gets up above all the idio--um, nice audience members that rudely step in front of the camera--in the middle of an ongoing dance!!! The stepladder I sit/stand on is a bit uncomfortable, though....

The lanc controller I got for the camera really makes this work much better.

cheers
Matt
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Old December 9th, 2005, 09:54 PM   #6
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Are your events performed on more than one night? If so then shoot two or three shows with your single camera and cover things differently each night. This is how I've managed to upgrade our own archive videos. It requires a bit more work to edit, but is quite manageable.

Regarding the business side, be very careful to research the copyright issues before trying to sell videos of any performances. I know that this is widely done for school and community theatre shows, but I suspect there's a real copyright can of worms there...
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Old December 10th, 2005, 07:58 AM   #7
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As you've mentioned, your next step is a second camera. On EBay, you can find a used miniDV camera for $150 or less. Or, you can buy a new one for less than $300.

Set up one camera on the 10' tripod for the wide shot, and let it run unattended. Use your second camera for medium shots and close ups of the dancers and for audience reaction shots. Also, you could use your second shot backstage as the dancers prepare.
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Old December 11th, 2005, 08:10 AM   #8
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John's right - with stage stuff, the more cameras the better.

However, it whacks the budget up a bit - I do 3 and 4 camera shows where I direct crews using comms. A show is usually a week's work, including attending rehearsals, preparing shooting script, rigging etc. but the end result is usually worth it, especially if there's a lot going on. Nobody wants to have "their" bit missed!

Hope this helps
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