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Getting the Lighting Right for your Dance Concert

Have you ever gotten your Concert DVD and it’s too dark in places, or parts of the stage are really bright while other parts are in dark shadow?Lighting for your Concert can be very frustrating, especially when it comes to the DVD.

Getting the lighting right will totally change not only the live experience but also make your parents happy because they can see their kids.

So having videoed dance concerts for over 15 years working with many different venues and many different lighting operators here’s an attempt to give you some key points to help get the lighting right, and reduce the frustrations when you watch your concert DVD.

The first thing to talk to the venue about is to see if the lighting can be set up so you have a constant wash of white light on the stage. It must be even in brightness all over. So that means the brightness on the edges, or the back of the stage must be the same as the centre of the stage. This wash must not be flashing, but can be turned up or down for different moods.

Once they have this then you can add the effects over the top, such as coloured lights, flashing lights, smoke effects and so on. If the base is there the whole time your video will show everyone’s faces clearly.

We have filmed Breanna’s concert for about 10 years, and every year lighting has caused headaches. Last year the lighting crew nailed it. By working closely with the lighting operator we made sure the whole stage had that even wash, with effects over the top. Notice even when the wash is a bit darker you can still see everything clearly. The wash is even at the back of the stage the front, and in the centre.

Some venues don’t have their lights set up for an even wash, and you may need to ask to get this done before the show.

On the day if you are not sure, ask your video company to check the lighting before the show starts, and if possible make adjustments.

Sometimes people think you have to have it all really bright. That’s not the case it all, it’s the even wash that is important. A good videographer can adjust their exposure according to the brightness of the wash. However, if the lighting is uneven, or only coloured lights then you will have problems with the video.

What colours to use?

Firstly, you can use any colour as long as the white wash is there too. If you need to go for a certain mood and have the whole stage bathed in a colour, make sure it’s balanced with the wash. If there is too much, say green, the dancers faces start to look very wrong.

If you have a spotlight ask the lighting operator to make sure the spotlight is the same temperature as the wash, and only marginally brighter. This will ensure the dancers aren’t a funny colour and washed out.

The smoke effects are great, but just makes sure your lighting operator doesn’t go overboard. We have filmed concerts where you cannot see the dancers from all the fog.

Clearly communicating your needs to the lighting operator before the concert will hopefully make the final product shine. Also ask your Video Company if they can talk to the lighting operator and hopefully they can work as a team to deliver an amazing convert video.

Your concert is a crazy, hectic day, but if you put this one thing in place before the show, it will mean one less thing to worry about and make your DVD look great.

If you have any questions or we can help in any way, please feel free to give us a call on (02) 9620 1658

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