APAP 2013 Nel Shelby Video & Christopher Duggan Photography

Every January, dance companies all over the city (and beyond) gear up for a hectic week of showings, panels, meet-ups and workshops at APAP in New York City. This year at FOCUS Dance’s Dance Meet, I gave two workshops to dancers, company managers, and choreographers to teach them about creating their best video to attract funders, presenters, audiences and more.

It was so much fun!

Here is some of the information we covered over our four dance video sessions at New York City Center. I hope to continue to give these workshops in new spaces in the future, and I’ll keep you all informed of upcoming events!

Dance Video Workshop 1: 1080P WHAT?!

My first workshop went over the basics of creating video for dance, and included:

  • Video formats and what they mean
  • Questions to ask your videographer
  • What cameras are best for filming dance
  • How to handle video after your show
  • Making it look good on the web
  • Archiving your footage

One of the most important things to remember is to plan ahead! Always be thinking about what you’ll need video footage for before hiring a videographer or filming yourself. Are you just archiving for future rehearsals with the cast? Do you need close shots to make a sexy promo or trailer? Think about these topics way before the show and you’ll be much better equipped to create great work.

A Nel Shelby Productions dance video of Carolyn Dorfman Dance Company: an example of shooting in HD with great side lighting & two camera angles

Companies in attendance even suggested thinking about how performance lighting may affect the quality of your dance video. Have a conversation with your lighting designer prior to tech in order to make sure you can balance achieving the right mood and getting great video.

Dance Video Workshop 2: I Needed It Yesterday!

My second workshop talked more in-depth about creating promotional dance videos in addition to documenting your dance performances, and included:

  • Talking with your editor
  • Timelines and expectations
  • What works best for presenters, funders and online applications
  • Using your video efficiently and effectively

I showed a lot of examples, and talked through the different ways my clients and I have tackled dance video for grant applications, presenter samples, ticket sales and institutional overviews.


A Nel Shelby Productions example of using existing company footage (even footage in standard definition) to create a dance company promo for Bryn Cohn and Artists

TIP: If you’re doing it yourself, downloading Squared 5’s free MPEG Streamclip software is a HUGE help. You can rip footage off of DVDs, save footage in new file types, and create in and out times…just be aware that you still need an editing program to make titles and transitions!

Need Your Own Video Workshop?

Drop me an email if you are interested in booking a workshop for your company, studio or venue!