Thursday, August 4, 2011

Fliming Dance for Youtube

You know those beautifully filmed dance pieces I always rave about in my Best of the Best posts about Youtube videos? I made my first attempt at one yesterday, and I think it was probably one of the hardest things I've ever attempted for dance. The dance itself took me about 30 minutes from conception to finishing choreography, filming took me at least another hour, and editing took me about four hours. It was absolutely insane, but the feeling I get from finally making my own piece of art just for fun is incredibly rewarding.

Now that I've done it once, I've got a few things I'd improve for next time.

1) Get someone else to film.
Yeah, you're probably saying "What? Daisy, how in the world did you manage to film it yourself?", and I'm inclined to ask the same thing. I've talked about my Flip camera before, but I also used my trusty Gorillapod - it's basically a super bendy tripod (so I could wrap it around a tree to film...I'm not kidding about the tree). I'll have a link below. But really, if you have someone to film, you can do close up shots of both of your hands - something that's impossible if you're filming yourself.

2) Film multiple runs of the same angle.
Granted I wanted to get it done quickly because I was filming outdoors and I didn't want the sun's angle to change too much, but I only filmed the dance 5 times all the way through from 3 different angles. Two of the times were completely unusable because the angle only captured part of my body at all times (tree), with left me with three shots to choose from. I reshot individual pieces of choreography here and there with hopes that it would all run together well, but I just didn't have enough footage to create a seamless sequence, which is kind of sad. If you don't have multiple shots from the same (good) angle, you won't have anything to choose from in case you make a mistake.

3) Have a good idea of what you want the film to look like before you shoot.
I didn't quite make this mistake. I knew I wanted to start off the film sort of normal, pedestrian with artistic filming, and make it a mini-story to run into the dance. But it's a good idea to make a list of the sequences you want to shoot if your film is going to be longer than 2 minutes. In mine, the dancing really only took up half of the time of the entire film and I knew what I wanted to do to start it off. Planning ahead made the actual filming so much easier.

4) Choose a reasonable location.
Don't do what I did. I chose a small space outdoors, meaning there were very few surfaces to put my camera on to film and I didn't have much space to dance in. My piece was site-specific (choreographed for a certain physical space), so I couldn't change it when I discovered the challenges, but next time I would scout out an area and plan out angles a little better before even considering choreographing or filming.

Remember your film doesn't have to look professional. You're an amateur (and if you're not, what are you doing here?!), and you're just having fun. Experiment, make mistakes, and have a blast - if you don't, you'll just be too scared to even start. I won't be publicly posting the link to the film I made here, but if you're interested, comment below and I'll get it to you.

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