Filming a dance recital

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    • #37205

      I’ve been filming dance recitals for a company for a couple of years now. I am using a VX2100. I just leave the focus on auto, which is usually ok, but it gets problematic when the lights go on/off. It gets blurry while the lights are turning on, cutting of a second or so in the beginnings when I edit.

      I would rather not use manual focus for the fact some performances use the whole stage. Especially when I am not really good at using it. Would it be better to keep the focus on infinity?

      Any suggestions would be great!

    • #164854

      i would suggest to you that you get comfortable adjusting focus manually, it’s not that hard once you do it enough. If you have to zoom in say for a soloist or to capture an expression, you have to adjust focus from infinity. Practice Practice Practice. the more you practice with your camera, the better you will become and the happier you will be with your product.

    • #164855

      The studio likes to keep the shot wide, without any zooms, pans or anything. They like to keep it that way to see the formations and transitions between dancers. So it’s basically point and shoot. I’m just concerned about the auto focus always readjusting itself when the lights fade in/out.

      I will practice on my manual focus though for other types of videotaping.

    • #164856

      If you are always keeping a wide shot, turn the auto focus off, have someone stand center stage, zoom in on his or her face, and set your focus. Now your focus is set for the center stage and ready to go. If you are 30 or so feet back from the stage, all performers should show good focus the entire recital with out changing your focus. At the very least you will only need to make minor adjustments.

    • #164857

      I know from working with choreographers in the past that they want to see the whole figure of the dancer and in dance facial expressions aren’t of any value unless of course it’s your kid up there on the stage. So a full shot is called for in order to see the full expression of the body…easy to focus on wide lens. Like someone mentioned if you target certain spots of the stage and set pre-focus marks on your lens it’s much easier to keep manual focus even in dim light. I know that’s what they do in Hollywood because all pro cameras are manual. Keep it up, sounds like you’re doing great job.

    • #164858

      I’m just really scared if it comes out blurry. I’ll be farther back than 30 feet. Maybe 60? I will be right next to the control room so I can receive the audio feed.

    • #164859

      that’s where the practice comes in. The concern you have is if you are in a dark auditorium and the stage is brightly lit, you will have a devil of a time getting a picture that doesn’t look fuzzy due to the lighting differences. If you have auto focus on , it will try to adjust focus every time the lighting changes or when there is changes in numbers, i.e. stage full of dancers, then the curtain or an empty stage where you shoot the back curtain. That’s where practice comes in, learn how to adjust the iris, shutter, gain, focus. Practice Practice Practice the quick way to set your focus is to zoom your lens in to it’s max at the center of the production, focus on that and carefully zoom back out. If your backfocus is good, it will be in focus at wide. some cameras have a real issue with back focus, so I always suggest that you zoom back out slowly as to maintain that focus lens position.

    • #164860

      I’ve filmed a couple of recitals before for a family friend and I found its better to stay as close to the stage as possible. That way you have less of a chance of people from the audience walking in front of the camera.

    • #164861

      I wasshooting dance competitions with 1 camera years ago. So I can share some of my experience.

      Set yourself on a riser (a stage, few boxex, couple solid desks with a plywood on the top, etc.)

      Bring the power and hook up to a monitor or a TV, so you’d be able tocontrol your focus, color and iris on a big screen with no sweat. I had toshoot tournaments for hours, so using TV monitorhelped a lot.

      Use manual focus. Broadcasting TV cameras are not equipped with auto focus, so how do you think the cameramen keep it in focus? Only manual. But again, if you have to stay wide, as the dancers usually want it, you will have to adjust it only once before the show and never touch the focus ring agian.

      You may need to show individual dancers or couples as well as a wide show of a recital. Get a clear idea before the show, if this is the case, do you have to spend equal time on each dancer or should you focus more on some and less on others. You may become someone’s enemy if you don’t spend enough time showcasing them.

      FAQ Video

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