What’s good STEEZY!

I am an aspiring dancer and want to start filming good quality dance videos, but don’t really know where to start when it comes to equipment, cameras especially. I was wondering if you had any advice about what cameras I should be looking into, or how I should be filming in order to make the dance itself look great.

Thanks!

Dear Aspiring Dancer Who Wants To Film Awesomeness,

Let’s start by addressing your questions with another question. What direction do you want to go with these videos? Are you looking to buy a camera to film yourself, classes, or maybe concept videos? Ask yourself these questions before you even pick up a camera. 

When you are thinking of what equipment to get, you have to consider what you are shooting because equipment is very situational. With those questions in mind, I’ll give you a bunch of very versatile, necessary, and cheap equipment to look into!

Basic Equipment:

Camera

Your camera is completely dependent on what you want to shoot. Are you going for something to just film in 1080p (HD) and only need to shoot from one angle? Or do you need to shoot a full-on concept video where someone actually mans the camera? The choice is yours, young padawan. For the former, some great cameras to look into for affordability and quality are the ones from the Canon Rebel series. I used a Canon Rebel T2i for the longest time when I started off and it had fantastic quality video for the price. Now, they have the T3i, T4i, T5i…you get the point. They keep adding to that series as fast as Apple releases new products.But if all you’re looking for something to shoot something straight-forward and on a tripod, you can just invest in a Canon Powershot! You’d be surprised at how good the video capabilities are for those little point-and-shoot cameras!

Lenses

Get a wide-angle lens. You want to show as much of the dancing as possible by shooting at a wide angle, so the viewers can see everything. A lot of times you can buy a bundle of for the DSLRs and get an 18-55mm lens. That should be versatile enough – 18mm is pretty darn wide!

Lights

Oh how it hurts my delicate little flower of a soul when people ignore lighting in their videos. Let me tell you – I could probably shoot a better video using an iPhone 4 using proper lighting than if someone were to use a Canon T5i and did not use proper lighting. (Side note: Lucky for us, phone cameras are amazing now, yay!) For someone starting off, I would recommend getting work lights – the ones you see in construction sites. The lighting is a lot brighter and harsher (which may not always be as good, but it’s way better than not having enough light).
Designers Edge and Husky are good brands to look into, but please do your research! There are a ton of crappy lights out there, so always read reviews. If you want to learn about proper lighting, definitely look up YouTube videos on it. Lighting can turn a production into one that looks like it’s worth thousands. But then again, if you’re just shooting class videos, ain’t nobody got time for lighting – just shoot and go!

Tripod

Yeah…these are awesome. Get one, unless you want to put a bunch of books under the camera or have your camera lean on that unfinished burrito you ate for lunch.

(Oh-You-Fancy-Huh Equipment):

If you’re wanting to get more advanced equipment then things to look into are sliders, camera stabilizers, and better lights. But these things cost a lot of money, so I recommend you don’t invest in any of these unless you’re getting paid to shoot videos!


How To Film To Make The Dancers Look Like BAMFS

  • Do not utilize too many close-up shots (unless you don’t want to show any dancing).
  • Low angles can make things look epic.
  • Camera motion should ALWAYS compliment the dancing.
  • Keep the camera stable unless shakiness works for the video. But it never looks as good as people think.
  • Light the scene well (again, look up lighting tutorials on YouTube).
  • Experiment – you’ll learn a lot more about what looks good that way.

Last Minute Tips:

Read The Manual For All Of Your Equipment

You have no idea how helpful it is to know everything about your camera. When I bought my first DSLR camera, I just left the manual in my bathroom so that every time I did my business, I would read the manual instead of playing Angry Birds or Candy Crush. It helped.

Research Before You Buy

Research the website you’re buying from, the equipment, then research what you’ve just researched! There are too many fraudulent websites out there that try to scam you – do your due diligence. Some sites will lower their prices a little to incentivize you to buy from them to save a little cash. Then they’ll send you a rock with a middle finger on it. Do your research.Some good companies to buy from are B & H, Adorama and Amazon.

Watch Other Dance Videos You Like

Try to see what other great dance videographers are doing to enhance the dancing in their videos.

Keep In Mind That A Good Concept And Execution Always Reigns Supreme

No matter how many effects you have, if the video does not have a solid concept, good dancing, or acceptable camerawork, the video will not turn out well. As my friend and fellow STEEZY Squad member once told me: You can polish a turd all you want…but it will still be a turd. So keep your ideas simple and executable, and I’m sure you will end up with a great video!

 

What do you like seeing most out of dance videos or concept videos? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts with us!

 

Actual concept videos are a delicate thing to pull off – any dancer could tell you that. To find out more on how to film a good concept video, click here