Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Zooms in Dance Covers and how to properly use them

So this tweet popped up in my twitterfeed recently and it had me thinking about my own editing. When I work on a new video, and it has multiple cuts (ie. different angle shots from the same take, a zoom shot with a out shot, multiple takes, etc.), those type of videos for me tend to take some time because I take GREAT care of how I edit a video.

I'm one of the rare people outside of Japan who films Dance Covers for others. Not that there is a lot of them in Japan itself, but that I actually put in well over $2000 USD so far into my equipment. Mind you, back when I started filming covers in Feburary 2012, it was also to improve my gear for my main hobby at the time - Cosplay Photography. It really was last year around April 2013 that I really doubled down and bought my second DSLR camera, bought a 50mm and recently a 35mm fixed focal lens specifically for Dance Covers so I can deal with low light situations. When I filmed those early covers, my inspirations back then were videos such as Apricot's "Heart Beats" video - where even just the one shot was magical.

Even back in 2012, I had experimented with Zooms. With, well, cringe-worthy results. I wouldn't work on multiple angles until I started watching the early Cozmosse videos and got my 2nd camera. Though, it isn't the Cozmosse videos that I really took after with my style - another Twitter friend of mine, Treetopfan (remember him?), had mentioned he didn't like their videos because it used an excessive number of cuts - something I actually agreed with. Furthermore, my own Mom actually chimed in on my videos with one simple statement - "I love the dances, but I can't see their faces."

In style, I would say I took a lot from Seeking Expressions (the guys behind the scenes for Cozmosse) - but I actively wanted to have my style look very different from them as well. It would be around this time that my favorite Odorite dancer - Makoto (馬琴) would come out with a new video. I'm sure I've mentioned this somewhere before on the internet, but Makoto is the one that hooked me into following Japanese Odorites (it was her Ren'ai Circulation that brought me in). So it would be natural that a Makoto video would be the one where when I saw it, I knew that the answers to my own developing style were right there. 

This video from a editing standpoint is a masterpiece to me. But the one major influence this video gave me to apply to my own work is this - every piece of effects, zooms, camera movement had one singular purpose. That purpose is to show off the dancer/s and ALL the talents of that dancer/s. Every cut was to show off how amazingly beautiful Makoto is but it only zoomed in sections where there was minimal movement. Every effect was to enhance her dance and add color but not be a distraction.

That - right there - is what I try to achieve in my own videos. I want to show off the dancer, their dance, and everything else about them that you can see through the lens. There are times where I fail, and times where I wish I had done better - but I always strive to this ideal. There have been times where I used to hate certain filming techniques then saw them in the back end and ended up liking them. I'll admit, there are videos I feel completely satisfied with - that there really isn't much I could ever add to those videos. I myself still feel there is much more to learn - especially editing. But there is always new songs, new dances to film - and I love to make these videos where people will see them and (hopefully) come away impressed. 

So when you see the dance videos I have worked on next time, give some thought on why I chose to use the shots that I ended up using. Maybe you'll be surprised by what answers you by yourself may end up with - and maybe you could then apply those answers to your own dance covers.

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