Last Year's Dance Season
For dancers, recitals are their time to shine, to impress and bask in their success. For families, it’s the time to see all of the hard work their loved one has accomplished over the past year. And every year, we commemorate these moments for them.
Tonal Vision regularly films and edits the performances of about 15 area dance companies. We've been working for some for more than 15 years. In 2022, we produced videos for 36 dance performances, all involving multiple cameras and extensive editing. For some dance companies, we sell DVDs and flash drives directly to families. For others, we ship the finished videos to the dance company or provide digital downloads for families.
Last year (2022), school performances were finally back to pre-pandemic (2019) levels. From the chart below, you can see that 2022 invoices were about the same as 2019 but the number of recitals we filmed increased substantially. This is because many dance companies are now offering only digital downloads, which don't cost additional, rather than DVDs or flash drives.
For us, the recitals begin in March and gradually increase through May — then the deluge the first half of June, when about half occur. Having so many recitals in a 2-3 week period strains our internal resources. We start planning each year in January, assigning videographers as we learn the schedule and developing a list of equipment to buy or rent for the upcoming season. Under normal conditions we aim for a 3 week turn-around on videos, but the June recitals accumulate and require months to finish. For these, we assign “estimated ship dates” to give ourselves reasonable deadlines and to allow clients to know when to expect their videos.
There’s always pressure to do more with less, and we work really hard to make our processes more efficient and effective. We’ve developed training videos for almost all our equipment. We’ve set up systems to ensure videographers come prepared with all the necessary equipment in good working order and that our dance company clients know what to expect. We constantly work to streamline the editing process. At the end of each dance season, we have a team meeting to solicit ideas for improvement while the work is still fresh.
Editing dance recitals is no easy task either. The first edit includes cutting clips, syncing and mixing audio and creating smooth transitions that show off the best dance moments. The editor then adds titles and credits. Finally, she watches each number again to make sure there are no problems and the performance is as smooth as possible. Next, a second editor reviews the edited video again and color corrects all the camera shots so they look good and match each other. A graphic designer develops the DVD case inserts, the DVD labels, the flash drive inserts, and the flash drive labels, as required for the particular performance. When all this is complete, we upload a copy for the dance company and duplicate DVDs and flash drives as needed.
Although it’s a lot of work, we all enjoy the thrill and excitement that dance season brings us. We love the talent that the dancers bring to the table. And if we can’t experience a particular show in person, post production allows us to get the full view of what the talent in the area has to offer.