Video Tip | Preserving Dance with Video at Jacob’s Pillow
I recently went Live on Facebook to talk about my job as Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow.
I’m heading into my 16th Season as Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow. I came in as an intern in 2001 and was hired by my predecessor and Norton Owen, the Director of Preservation.
I learned EVERYTHING here!! Jacob’s Pillow is my second home. I kickstarted my career here, I got engaged here, I grew my team here, my kids grew up here… I love the Berkshires!
What exactly do we do at Jacob’s Pillow?
With our team of 5 videographers and 2 interns, we film about 350 hours per summer!
We film performances in the two main theaters – the Doris Duke Theatre and the Ted Shawn Theatre. We film outdoor performances on the Pillow’s campus and on the beautiful Inside/Out stage. We film the students who come to train at The School At Jacob’s Pillow (there’s a brand new studio called The Perles Family Studio that I can’t wait to show you more of!!!) We film interviews and pre and post-show talks.
We film everything!!!
What do we do with all of this video?
Norton Owen has been creating a treasure trove of it. He has collected all of the archives and put so much effort into making it as accessible as possible for patrons to come look at it – to read books, browse through photos, and watch past performances.
If for some reason you missed a talk with Misty Copeland (like the one that happened a couple years ago that was amazing!!), you’re able to come to Jacob’s Pillow and watch the entire video whenever you want!
We’re always thinking, “what do we want people to see in years to come?”
And THAT’s what is so inspiring to me!! That’s what I love to do – document dance. One of our main goals at Jacob’s Pillow every summer is to make all of what happens at the Pillow accessible for years to come.
It’s not always about the marketing. Our job is more than selling tickets and making sure the theaters are filled. It’s about the legacy that we are creating here.
Is there a way to watch performances at Jacob’s Pillow from home?
Something else that Norton Owen and the Pillow have been working on is Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive.
Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive is a website with a collection of 1-2 minute video clips from past and current performances at the Pillow.
These video clips give you a bite-sized look into the Festival. Not only are you able to watch your favorite artists, you’re able to discover new ones. You can watch pieces of world premieres. You can listen to the scholars read essays about interesting topics like Women In Dance.
I’m so proud to work on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive!
How do you use video to market the Festival?
My team and I work with Jacob’s Pillow’s Director, Pam Tatge and Abby Wood, Director of Marketing.
One of our main goals this year is to tell more stories – to capture how the Festival touches lives through dance.
An example of this is Ehprat Ashrie. She is an incredible artist. Her work blew up after she came to the Festival and she’s coming back this summer. We can’t wait to share her story with you!
Do you ever repurpose video at Jacob’s Pillow?
Something that I always tell my clients is that it’s not only okay to reuse and repurpose your video… it’s encouraged!
We always repurpose video at the Festival!!! An example of how we do this is the Season Overview Video.
It consists of highlights of the Festival and then it gives you a look into who’s performing – quick clips of each artist and company who will be taking the stage during the summer.
We use this video EVERYWHERE. It plays in the Welcome Center on a loop. It lives on Jacob’s Pillow’s website. It’s featured and turned into advertisements on social media, it’s even used as a commercial in movie theaters here in the Berkshires!!
Watch my full discussion on Facebook Live above, then get on my email list to get even MORE of my Video Tips!
Love Jacob’s Pillow? Follow the Festival’s Photographer (my husband!!!) on Instagram to see creative portraits with the dancers who come visit!
Photo Credit: Christopher Duggan Photography
Nel Shelby is Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow and Vail Dance Festival and is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.