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Old June 25th, 2006, 01:17 PM   #1
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What is the "ideal" shutter speed for a live dance event?

I will be filming a live dance event, and was wondering if anyone has any recommendations on what the ideal shutter speeds are for dance.

It will be live (belly) dancing on a stage, from one to 5 dancers at a time, indoors, with a live band behind them.

I favour the manual setting (manual everything, really) and I may use my wide-angle lense... maybe...

I am fairly novice, so am very open to advice from my experienced (and professional) peers.

Many thanks in advance!
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Old June 25th, 2006, 04:57 PM   #2
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60 is pretty standard for DV
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Old June 25th, 2006, 07:58 PM   #3
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Manual exposure, in my experience, is an absolute must. There have been a few situations in my experience (mostly when the lens is at a wide angle setting) where the "stage" or "spotlight" auto setting might produce a better balanced image.

Be sure to white balance beforehand. I've found asking the light technican to provide a warm stage wash makes things a bit easier for me in post.

If there is any fast movement I favor 1/60 interlaced as the slowest shutter speed. Indeed, I have yet to use a faster one.
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Old June 25th, 2006, 10:55 PM   #4
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If you only have one camera going I think wide angle for a dance performance is a bad idea. Dance performances are rarely if ever shot with a wide angle lens. A cut here or there maybe but never the majority. And as others have said 60 is a good speed.

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Old June 27th, 2006, 10:43 PM   #5
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I think lens focal length really depends upon your client's needs.


Dance of any kind is a linear art form, encompassing a progression of movement from beginning to end. Most choreographers I have had the opportunity to work with might want a static, center stage, wide angle shot of the entire piece for record keeping. The intent is to document the movement for other dancers, not entertain. It is about the only way I can imagine a single camera could satisfactorily cover the demands of dance.

Capturing the focus of dance activity and the dynamics of movement is altogether different, and the more camera angles the better. Because the stage is one kind of performance environment and the camera's view a much different and restricted environment, multiple cameras are a necessity to capture the dynamic storyline of movement. One must always have a combination of wide, mid and clos-up angles available for editing at all times. I always have at least one camera set for wide angle capture. I need that angle to establish the beginning of each piece and find I will often need to return to it to re establish a frame of reference for the video audience.
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