How to film a dance video in 10 easy steps

Published on 31 March 2020 at 15:57

Now that the Shimmy Shake Talent Search has gone digital, you have to make a video of your choreography. For some of you, this may be a piece of cake, something you have done times and times before. But for others, this may be new (and maybe a bit frightening).

Most important of all is: keep your video simple. Make sure we can see you, we can see your moves and we can hear your music. Just film it with your smartphone, webcam or camera if you have one. It does not have to be an artwork, but we do have to see clearly what you are doing.

To help you make your dance video, we wrote down 10 steps with tips and tricks, inspired by this video by dancer Anthony Chacon:

1. Think of a concept

This is a step you have probably already taken. What do you want to tell with your choreography? Which style do you want to blend into your fusion belly dance choreography? Once you have a solid concept, it is easier to make choices and to find out what really adds to your concept.

2. Start your choreography

Again, this is a step you probably have already taken. Although you may need to make some changes to your choreography under the circumstances we find us under right now. Although we want you to make a video, we still want you to consider the corona guidelines as stated by the Dutch Government/RIVM. So, do you want to do a duet? Please make sure to keep a 1,5m distance. This may look a bit weird, but we all know (and especially the expert panel) you keep this distance to stay safe.

Do you have a choreography where you use the whole floor? Normally we do applaud this and encourage dancers to use all the space they have! But for your video, you may need to limit your space a bit and make sure you will not dance out of sight. Make sure to do some tests and know the edges of your camera’s view.

During the Talent Search in Zuthpen we saw Fanneke, who had a clear Tango Fusion concept. Photo by Peter Slagboom.

3. Practice, practice, practice

Always a good idea. Plus, while in quarantine dancing is a great way to keep your mind positive and release your corona-stress.

4. Choose a location

This is one of the more exciting steps: where will you film your video? At the moment, we are a bit limited in places but this is also a great opportunity to explore your home. Maybe you are lucky and can film in your garden? Think about your concept and a location that may add to this location.

When you chose your location, make sure the lighting in this location is satisfying. When a place is too dark, it may be hard to see your choreography on video, and a very bright spot may have the same problem. If you have them, you can use lamps to make sure the light is perfect to shoot your video, but you can also figure out the best time to film in your location when the light is just right.

5. Choose what you are going to wear

This is an important part of your video and overall performance. Different dance styles ask for different clothing. In fusion dance, your costume is a way to show which dance styles you will represent. this also applies to your hair and makeup. Make sure everything works with your concept. This is one of the points our expert panel will give you feedback on.

The Dark Fusion concept from Emelia (Talent Search 2019) comes back in everything, from her movements to her costume.

Photo by Ben van Duin

6. Set a date, plan ahead!

Pick a date and time when you want to shoot your video. Even if you so a solo which you are going to film yourself. This date is a kind of deadline for yourself for your concept and choreography to be finished.

Do you live with others? Let them know when you are going to film! Then they can take into account when you are shooting and be quiet, or form a welcome audience!

7. Get everything ready the day before

This is another tip to get you ready and rested for shooting. Make sure everything is ready the day before you planned to go filming. Did you master your choreography? Is your costume ready? Do you know when the lighting on your location is perfect? Great!

This is also the moment to clean your location. Make sure everything that distracts from you and your concept is removed from view (is this is possible). So put away the newspaper that is lying around and make sure that you have a way to keep your cat or dog away while filming (if your darling pet is not part of the concept that is).
Oh and, make sure your camera, phone or whatever you will use to film is fully charged.

Our videographer Nelson films dancer Kira Habibi Lal for the Shimmy Shake Festival aftermovie (2019). Photo by Adriaan Kastelein.

8. Go to your location and film your video

This is the moment, zero hour. Time to shoot your video! You are prepared for this by know so everything will be fine!

You can film yourself using a stand or tripod for your camera, or ask one of your housemates to handle the camera. Either is fine. make sure the camera is aimed at you, so that your entire choreography is clearly visible. Oh and, even though there may not be an audience in your room while you are performing, we will be watching your video. So, dance like you would have done on a stage, make strong movements and have fun!

9. Make sure you have enough footage to choose from

Your video does not have to be a perfect production for the Talent Search, but you still may want to shoot your choreography a few times. Check if your music is recorded well and if all of your choreography is visible. If you have several versions you can choose between them, and sent the one you are most satisfied with.

It was impossible for Mar Gonzalvez and Izora Irene during the Matinée Mash-Up in 2019, but we do ask duets partners who are not housemates to respect the 1,5 meter distance in their video. Photo by Ben van Duin.

10. Clean up your location after you are done

After you are done and 100% sure you have a video of your choreography you are satisfied with, you are done! Let’s get everything back to normal.

If you do decide to film your video outside of your home (please, if you do avoid crowded places and keep a distance from others) make sure you take all of your stuff home with you. It would be horrible if you put all this effort into your video, and forget to take your camera with you.

Extra step 11. Editing

In the video above, Anthony speaks about editing your video. If you have awesome editing skills and want to use your video for social media as well, we are welcome to edit your video. But for the Talent Search, we ask you to send a clean recording. So, not too much editing and no special effects. You do not have to impress our expert panel with your recording or editing skills, they just want to see your concept, choreography and skill level.

But, if you know how to do it, you may edit out the part where you get yourself ready to start (but if you do not know how, we will not penalize you for this).

You can still sign up for our Talent Search!

Good luck everybody with making your dance video for the Talent Search! If you did not sign-up already, but want to join us after reading this article: you can still sign-up for April 19th, April 26th or May 3rd. Sent us your video 10 days in advance, we will send it to our expert panel and on your day of choice, you will get a private session with the expert panel to discuss your concept and choreography. It is also still possible to apply for coaching and a place in our Talent Show during the Talent Carnival in June! Click here for more information about the (digital) Talent Search.