Newsletter - November/December 2014
Editor - Dave Rieger (can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 904.806.5481)
Learn Scottish Country Dancing – By YouTube
(This article was originally appeared the RSCDS publication Scottish Country Dancer - October 2014)
Graham Stanley (Melbourne) offers some tips for good dance videos:
It's amazing what you can find on Google. Google any one of hundreds of Scottish country dances, and along with Minicrib and other instructions for the dance, you will likely find that someone, somewhere has videoed the dance and posted it on YouTube.
In many cases, the videos can be quite instructive and will help you understand the patterns and formations of a dance. However, in other cases the dancers are
woeful, going all over the place. Often you will have a choice of the one dance being danced by different groups, so you can pick out the best and replay it several times to get the pattern.
Not all videos are helpful. In one, the photographer starts videoing one set then pans left part way through a formation, to another set which is having trouble. Apart from trying to follow a struggling set, the viewer loses the continuity of the formation. By the time the photographer finishes the pan left, you have lost a beat or two while watching half a formation in one set and half in another.
But you don't have to look far down the list in the Scottish Country Dancing Dictionary Scottish Dancing YouTube Videos to find some good examples of helpful videos. For example, scroll down to Antarctica Bound by the Charlotte SCDS Youth, where the camera is fixed and you can see all dancers in the frame and can follow their movements. Also check out Dumfries Rambler, produced by lain Hale; it also shows videoing from the head of the set so you can clearly see how the dance goes. You will find many other examples of good video techniques as you scroll through thelist — as well as many poor examples!
Why not have your group perform one of your own popular dances for presentation on YouTube? Here are a few tips to consider before you rush in.
1. Choose a dance which one four-couple set can do properly. It's very hard to learn a dance on YouTube if everyone is going wrong. So make sure that you rehearse the dance before rolling the camera. If your set goes wrong, stop and re-video so the dance is correct.
2. Ideally, fix the video camera at the head of the set with the lens open wide enough to capture the action on both sides of the set. This should give the best view of the dance. Other camera positions can be tried, but may make it more difficult to observe the whole dance.
3. Start videoing five seconds before the bow and curtsey so that you do not miss the start of the dance. Several videos start after the bow and curtsey and the viewer is not sure what he or she has missed.
4. Resist the urge to pan right or left to bring in other sets; it will only break up the sequence of the set you are videoing and lose part of the formation viewers will be trying to study.
5. Make sure that your camera is properly focused. Several YouTube videos are out of focus, and there is nothing harder than trying to follow a fuzzy dance. So check the focus before and after you video a dance.
6. Make sure that it is easy to identify the individual dancers in the set. There are some very good demonstration sets in some videos, but all the dancers are wearing the same costume, so it becomes difficult to follow the individual men or women in the set.
Once you have a video clip you are happy with, use your video making or editing program to add a title (name of the dance) and credits, and save to your video file. Then you are clear to upload your video onto YouTube so that Scottish country dancers around the world can share your dance.
Not sure how to do that? Then simply Google support.google.com/youtube/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answer=57924. Or else, have a teenager do it for you.
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