Tips for Competing on Video

Are you preparing to compete on video for an upcoming event like ILHC? Or maybe you’re recording a performance for a virtual show. Either way, we have a few tips to help make your competition entry or performance as successful on video as possible. 

Here’s a video that Jo put together talking about these main Tips for Competing on Video – 

You can also watch this chat with Kevin about Tips for Performing and Competing on Video – it’s a little fuzzy in places so consider listening to it as a podcast!

Location

Really think about your location. You need a comfortable location where you can have control of music and any other external sounds. Of course, you also need a good floor, and don’t forget about the importance of lighting. A dance studio is ideal but otherwise, a good living room or even a dojo can work. If you’re filming outdoors, keep in mind that you won’t be able to control sound and other surrounding elements, though outdoor locations can often add some visual interest for performances. For a competition, better safe than sorry; we recommend filming indoors when the stakes are high. 

Lighting

Good lighting is so important for video. Nobody likes to watch a poorly-lit video, and when it comes to competition, poor lighting can make it difficult for the judges to see and fairly judge your material. 

Make sure you are well-lit with no strange shadows across your faces or dance lines. You don’t want to put in all of the effort of filming your routine only to find that poor lighting made it difficult to see some of your key dance elements. Also consider your backdrop; if you’re wearing black clothing with a black wall behind you, your movement will be lost. 

You might even consider bringing extra lighting to your location. Make sure your camera is picking up the lighting consistently throughout the video. Check how your camera is reading the light and depending on your device, you may be able to meter your lighting to set it for consistency for a clear view throughout your performance. 

Camera

You need a good camera. Usually you want to film in HD unless the organizers have requested otherwise. A good camera makes a huge difference! Luckily, phone cameras are getting pretty darn good these days but make sure to do some testing to ensure your video isn’t coming out fuzzy. 

You should also be filming most competition footage in horizontal format. If you’re planning to share your performance on Instagram Stories, Reels, or TikTok you may decide to film an additional take in vertical format, but usually horizontal should be your default. 

Music

Here’s something you may not have considered: make sure your music is playing on a separate device! Download your music onto another device so it’s not playing on the same phone on which you’re filming. And don’t rely on the internet to stream your music! You don’t want any music interruptions or a poor internet connection. 

Also, make sure that the music can be played loudly and clearly enough so that you can hear it and so that it can be picked up nicely by the camera. There’s nothing worse than performing to low volume music!

Costume

What are you going to wear to showcase your best work? Think about your dance lines and how the clothing will either complement or impede your dancing. If you’re going to be spinning, would a flared skirt or jacket help accentuate your turns or will too much material drown out your dance lines? 

Practice in your costume first to check for any wardrobe malfunctions. Will your shirt come untucked? Will your hat fall off? Is your blouse flexible enough under the right arm to accommodate most turns? Don’t leave these things to chance. Think it through before you perform. 

Breathe

Take the time to breathe and enjoy the process! Center yourself before you start so you’re in the right mindset to dance your best. And find joy in the process! The judges and audience will be able to tell when you’re in the right positive space. 

Do you have any other tips for competing or performing on camera? Let us know in the comments!

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