Adagio Ballet: The Making of a Better Ballet Video

Client Name: Adagio Ballet
Type of Project: Video Production and Editing
Project Goal: Web Videos of Performances
Tools Used: Sony & Nikon Cameras and Adobe Premiere
Crew: Jim Folliard, Don Napoleon, Heather Wright
Date of project: December 2013
Location: Northern Virginia
Price Range: $5,000 - $10,000
Results: Improved Viewing Access and Distribution

Keep a High Quality Memento of Your Child's Performance

We all love to watch our children perform. They are our little stars, brilliant and shining on the stage, small and precious under the glare of the bright lights. As parents we try to capture the moment by getting video and taking pictures of the performance, but somehow it’s just never good enough. The sound is terrible, a woman’s bouffant is taking up half the screen and the video quality is grainy. “Is that Lily or Sylvia?! I can’t tell!” whisper frantic parents.

This was the problem that Adagio Ballet and their dancers’ families were facing. While the Arlington-based premier dance studio had been shooting its own recitals, it was clear that the videos left a lot to be desired.

What the dance instructors wanted was a high-quality video that properly displayed their dancers’ talents—a video that could be easily shared and displayed on their website and social media accounts. Luckily for me, they hired Gearshift.TV to film both their winter and spring performances.

Benefits Beyond Beaming Parents

Goal #1 for the recital videos was giving the parents the ability to watch and share just their child’s performance. No longer would they need to fast-forward through an hour of performances to catch their child’s two minute dance. The videos I shoot, format, and edit are available to the parents of the dancers as part of their class fees. This way everyone has access not just to the full-length video, but to the segments that feature their children.

Recital Videos are a Great Marketing Tool

Goal #2 was to give Adagio Ballet and the dance families the ability to more easily share the dance videos. With short, easy-to-watch video clips, proud families can share the videos, which, at only about two minutes, are more likely to be watched. This has helped Adagio Ballet gain exposure. Each shared video is like a free advertisement for the studio. It shows the quality of the performances and the care the studio takes to preserve the memories of each and every child.

What I Love About Making Videos for Adagio Ballet

The thing I like the best about shooting the recitals is that they are a live event. You get one chance to get it right, just one chance to get catch all of it, so I get a little bit of adrenaline each time I arrive on location. I know that I need to be on my game for two hours straight, to train all of my focus onto the stage, to each shot, each dancer. While this is a bit stressful, I love it. It keeps me on my toes!

To ensure I get all the shots (and to relieve my stress a bit), I run three cameras. One camera is down closer to the stage. I run this camera myself and it allows me to get a tighter shot of the dancers. The two cameras up higher get long range video and offer not only a different perspective but a safe cutaway shot, should a dancer leap out of the tighter shot. They are my footage insurance cameras and I’m always glad to have them.

I also work with crew members Don Napoleon and Kat Smith to take pictures of individual dancers and dance classes backstage during dress rehearsal. My love of photography is second only to my love of video, so I’m always happy to have a job where I get to do both.

If you’d like more information on how to make the most of your next live event or performance, call 703.962.1270. It’s time your performers shine the way they deserve.

Jim Folliard
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Founder, Director, Cinematographer, Photographer & Editor