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Tips on How to Film a Dance Performance

Here are 10 important things to remember when you shoot your dance sequences or music videos in order to make the most of your creative potential and enjoyment.

Most important to do is being flexible during the day. Weather conditions change, directions can alter once you’re there, the location may not behave as you expected, cameras could record with errant settings or even malfunction, and the number of stairs that production transmits is ten times more than you thought Be prepared for any eventuality. However, plan ahead so that you know how to react as well as have something you can bounce off! Let’s get started:

1. Rehearse

Get your dancers to practice with you. I’ve had people inquire, “Can you just show up and make something?” and I reply, “Sure, but it will look exactly like the way we practiced.” In the case of dancers who are trained who are diligent, they will and will be able to deliver when you are willing to practice with them. Make sure you have a rehearsal space equipped with mirrors and sprung floors (most dance studios are equipped with mirrors). It’s crucial to have enough space and mirrors in order for dancers to collaborate together and understand how their bodies move within the space. This will allow for precise movement (if this is what you’re after) and hygiene throughout the entire group. This is also how the majority of dancers are trained and the way they’ve grown. So that, in the event when you put away the mirrors the dancers have already practiced their moves with other dancers and will be aware of where and how their bodies are positioned in the world.

If you’re working with street dance and b-boys/b-girls/b-folx (highly recommended! ) The movements and the work are more fluid. Sometimes, mirrors create a sense of self-consciousness that you do not necessarily need. Make sure to practice in a secure studio with wood floors at least once and in an exercise studio located at the gym. (I’ve performed some of my finest work in gyms!) Talk to the dancer to determine what works best for them. If you’re after an organic vibe On the day create the image you’d like, think about the framing, and give dancers their own space and then let them roll with it. Magic can happen.

Rehearse the dance along with the DP and your choreographer. Make an animatic, or If you like it or style, a create a storyboard. Find out from your DP to what moves occur at what times, so they can master it like dancers. Make sure you are clear (or request choreographers to make as clear) about the cues used in the dance. It is not the case that all DPs are knowledgeable about dance and choreography, but if you can teach them the dance as though it were blocking and get them involved early in your choreography – your day will be more enjoyable and you will be able to create thrilling work. I’ve used the code words “big drums”,” “big leap” and other things that are in the music or motion to describe the event that are easy to recall but not always dance moves. Communication is crucial for filmmaking or working with others is communicating in the other’s language and communicating what you wish to convey so that you can convey the story in the way you’d like it to be told or capture the image you’d like to shoot. (Pro-tip Make sure you plan your shots in order to be able to match the events in your edits to create exciting cuts and more oomph. You’ll be grateful that you did! Cut at midway through the movement and before it comes to an end and not at the end of the sequence!)

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2. Motion and countermovement of cameras is your best friend.

“Cinema” is a reference to “movement” It’s the Latinized version of the Greek “kinemat,” combining the word kinema with “movement,” from kinein “to move.” The power of dancing when paired with the camera is exhilarating in film and musicals may represent the best cinematic version that can be found in the genre. Inspire your choreographer to incorporate the dimension of their spacing and movements, not only vertical space. Take advantage of Steadicam (my personal favorite due to its speed and dynamism). Jibs or cranes are able to certainly create classic styles and dance moves, offering perspectives; but technocranes can be able to get into the action to create a range of framing options that are easily altered. Sliders and dollies are excellent for covering, and give an observant, objective look since they aren’t able to get inside the dance but record the dance. For those with a smaller cost, Ronins as well as Gimbals can also be effective. But, the most important thing to do is ensure your technician is aware of how to operate the devices and is created.

Make sure you practice moving the camera in towards the opposite direction of your dance. The camera should move towards the dancers as they are moving towards the dancers, and vice versa. Check out which of the benefits will benefit your story. Secure your position with intention. Be sure to move with the speed of dance. If the location is suitable shooting from different angles so that your footage appears 3D. Examine the way lenses compress space as well as the dance – test different lenses on camera and inform your choreographer what lenses you’d like to utilize and the method you’re planning to frame so that they complete the frame and respect the depth you’re looking for.

3. Fill in the gap

The freedom of dance on a stage can be thrilling and it can be seen at its most pure in concert , with a black stage and curtains. However, on film , we must be able to see more depth and texture in order to keep the camera’s the viewer’s attention. It is possible to fill in the gaps and think of creative ways to create a frame. Atmosphere can be useful for capturing light when you wish to fill in the space. It gives the illusion of a large area to fill your frame. The excitement of camera movements can make a big difference in making a blank space feel incredibly full by combining cameras angles, frame, and motion. Pick a scene that is filled with the frame beautifully (or in the manner you want) and is in line with your story. The most effective places are within the natural world (read the rules: usually, they’re free before the weather permits). Lighting can be a major factor in an enormous amount of your photo and story: I’ve witnessed amazing dances lit by the cars’ headlights as well as P!NK’s “Call your Girlfriend” is one of my favourite uses of lighting from warehouses, along with the diversity of the dancers meeting the various camera angles and angles.

4. Click In on camera

Based on the subject you’re shooting, make sure to get broad coverage first. But do not be afraid to shoot body parts that are just an arm, one leg, or just feet. Some of the best dance films aren’t afraid of framing the scene to tell an underlying story. Take a look at the last dance in Footloose It’s thrilling to watch when they only show their feet moving in the chorus because viewers are expecting to see a large of the main characters dancing. They keep us waiting for the moment by showing only the feet moving. It’s amazing as they dip back into principals. Why? The characters have been fighting all through the movie to get their feet to dance , and this is what we see, in person. The body parts are expressive, and cutting in adds visual interest and makes it an integral part of your story and you’ll end up with an excellent combination. (Other great examples are “Maniac” in Flashdance and the closing sequence from Girls Just Want to Have Fun.)

5. Stuntpeople gonna stunt

It’s probably stating something obvious but you need someone to perform stunts, and get a gymnast who can do gymnastics. There was a professional dancing gymnast, two dancers as well as a stunt person, during the warehouse dance scene in Footloose. Ten points if it’s possible to identify them. Gymnastics is the sport gymnasts train in and have a specific type of training. They also possess the skills, training and education, courage, and a willingness that to do things that the rest of us can’t. Dance requires a particular degree of training and skill and, while you might have a dancer who is willing and able to perform one or two flips If you’re looking for genuine high-flying in multiple shots you should employ the services of a gymnast. If you can shoot and then light it correctly your viewers will never (ok but seldom) recognize the distinction.

6. In a studio take a shot at the mirror

It’s fun and can open the possibilities of space and possibility particularly if you wish for a tale to be told or observe an individual’s reaction. Also, we get to see the perspective of the dancer – i.e. what they might observe in their dance classes and how we are absorbed into their world. This is Center Stage, that’s important because we are able to share the sensation of the joy Jodie Sawyer experiences in her jazz class as opposed to the stress she faces within the world of ballet. In this scene from Silver Linings Playbook, shooting into the mirror makes the space feel larger and expands the room nicely. The scene in All That Jazz reflects the reality of working and the obsession of Joe Gideon with work and self-interest – He doesn’t make eyes contact with daughter during the entire scene while he only glances at her reflection to see the way she’s helping him out with the dance. In Beau Travail the final scene depicts Galoup facing a bleak future by dancing before the mirror, where the mirror once reflected his dream woman in a club with a large crowd and the mirror is now giving him the illusion of infinite.

7. Get ready for your rehearsals

It’s true that this may be not a popular choice for some director, however I’ve seen some great ideas that weren’t doing it. For instance, the sequence that Fred Astaire has called “the most amazing music and dance” sequence he’s seen The Nicholas Brothers routine in Stormy Weather was done in one shot, and without rehearsal! It was possible due to their skill and the language they created dancing with one another. The camera remained wide, followed the two and worked. Don’t miss these chances!

Dancers are willing to give it their best and then go back particularly young ones however, sometimes the first performances are the best. (See Nicholas Brothers! Nicholas Brothers!) If there’s street dancers and b-boys, bgirls, or b-folx, then you don’t want to miss any of the magic! Based on the dancer and the stage typically, you’ll have five excellent takes before they begin to get exhausted. After ten, they’ve exhausted them and are experiencing diminishing returns. I’ve seen great directors who wear the actors out by having them perform 75 takes to achieve an exact performance. Don’t do the same to dancers. They’ll begin to lose their lines, their feet begin to hurt and muscle fatigue can occur and injuries could start to develop which is not what anyone wants to happen. this. Do it in five steps and ensure that your wide/master is exactly what you would like you want it to become. Begin with that first to ensure you can get everyone in as fresh as possible. Then , you can cut into. If you’ve practiced (see # 1) your dancers are at their best.

Dancers who are good at their job are meticulous trained and well-trained. They will be able to perform the routines they have been practicing. Dancers can provide you with the energy, rhythm and feeling of freedom and energy and you’ll be able to get a fantastic coverage if you provide them with basic guidelines and instructions. In auditions, I try to look at not only the style, but also the technique. Or for street dancers, offer adjustments to know how quickly and efficiently they’ll respond and adjust when needed on the set. This skill is vital for making your day.

8. Set the pace

Be sure that the track to which you record and practice is the pace at that you would like your final product to be. This is a simple thing to do, but it’s vital to be able to communicate on the front in your organization. If you’re planning to utilize an .wav file for your final version, make sure you shoot the .wav instead of the .mp3 that you might already have. They’re not the same quantity of information and they don’t sync as precisely. It’s okay; I’ve helped you avoid a lots of pain. Seriously, as hard as you want to when it’s in the camera it’s impossible to change the frame’s tempo to change (unless you’ve shot it at a different frame rate, in which case you’ve planned it). Be sure to take playback with you and have someone else supervise it. Somehow, people tend to ignore this, and it’s very crucial. (I’ve been on set where the production team ends in removing it from the car speakers.)

Also, be aware of the sound requirements for the day. Make sure you have the thump track, if you’re recording live audio. Practice your dancers in this manner with as little new equipment as possible on the set, the better, as the set is already a brand different environment. If you’re considering filming this way, then go for it. Dancers are amazing and are able to take on the challenge! According to the documentary The Movies That Made Us on Netflix, Dirty Dancing was practiced to other tracks and planned to shoot with a track as permissions to use the song were taken away. Muscle memory is by far the strongest memory of the body. dancers’ bodies can recall a beat if they’ve repeated enough.

9. Safety first

Examine your floors and make sure they’re clean; there are no sawdust, nails, or water. Moving on the floor on carpet or visqueen is dangerous and could cause injuries. If you fall in the process that you turn, your feet will stop and knees will continue to roll. Nobody wants this. Shoes are essential – put your dancers the proper shoes for the floor. Make sure they are tested before the event. If you’re doing a build and you can construct floors that are sprung that will give you more runs and endurance during the day. It also is much more secure, but it’s not always feasible. You must ensure that you control the temperature in the building. Make sure you keep your temperatures warm for the best talent. Muscles can cramp when it’s cold, and dancers are at risk of pulling muscles. Give them the time (and enough space) to get warm before shooting.

10. Have great fun!

Dance is fun. It fills up the frame , and it keeps things moving in your films. The choreography of the camera and movement is stunning that is truly become a part of it. continue to explore and find your preferred angles and movements. Also, if you’re able take advantage of a screen to your dancer. They do not want to be looking over your shoulder, and it will provide them with a better chance in making adjustments quickly. Saves you time. Makes your day. (And theirs!) Let’s go!