Recording Dance Recital Videos

The little star :-)
Stefan Cioata / Getty Images

Recording dance recital videos can be challenging. The best view is generally a wide shot, with the whole stage and all of the dancers visible, yet every parent wants to see a close-up shot of their child's beaming face. In addition, the intensity and the color of the lighting can create all sorts of issues for even the best camcorders. And then there is the sound - for optimal audio you need to get a balance between a clear recording of the music, and natural sound from the feet on stage and the audience cheering.

In short, producing dance recital videos can be very challenging. But with the right equipment and the right preparation, you can create something beautiful that will be cherished.

Preparing to Record a Dance Recital

If you are producing this video professionally, with the intention of selling it to parents or the dance studio - you should prepare for your video as much as the dancers prepare for their performance.

If you can't attend a rehearsal, show up to the performance well ahead of time so that you can scope out a location and figure out your audio and video setup before the audience starts arriving.

Setting Up Cameras to Record a Dance Recital

I highly recommend using two cameras to shoot a dance recital. This way, you can use one to get a wide shot of all of the dancers, and with the other, you can get close-ups of each of the dancers. Then, during editing, you can mix the footage together so that viewers can see the wide view of the whole dance, but also get to see their individual children.

Unless you have two producers - one to monitor each camera - you'll probably want to set the cameras up right next to each other, ideally in the center rear of the theater, slightly elevated so there won't be any heads blocking your view. 

White balance both of the cameras at the same time so that the footage will match, and be sure to check the exposure on both throughout shooting to make sure that they are both properly and similarly exposed. Otherwise, you'll have to spend a lot of time in post-production on color correction - and that's best avoided!

Recording Audio at a Dance Recital

The most important sound for a dance recital video is the sound of the music, and the nice thing about this is that you don't even need to record this at the event! You can just get a copy of the recording that was played, and sync it with your footage during editing. If you blend it with what was recorded on your camera you get a nice balance of high-quality music and natural audio from the performance.

Or, if you have to audio inputs in your camera, you may be able to plug directly into the sound system at the theater and get a clear feed of the music. This will save you the step of syncing the audio during editing.

Dance Recitals are Long

I've made videos at dance recitals that run for well over four hours! For this kind of event, you need lots of batteries (or the ability to plug your camera in) and lots of recording media. A comfortable pair of shoes will help too!