11 Tips for Filming Better Fire Videos

Fire Dancing Video
Artist: GlitterGirl
Photo: Fototaker Tony

From time to time the question of shooting quality video comes up and we get asked what to do to assist in the process. We took some time to share these 10 tips to help you film better fire videos:

  • Wear a costume that will show up well in the low light. Things to consider include having lighter colors on parts of the body you wish to accent so the camera will pick those body parts up better for the video. For more information, see 10 Tips for Creating a Fantastic Fire Dancing Costume.
  • Use horizontal videos rather than vertical ones. Vertical videos waste an enormous amount of screen space when uploaded to youtube and it’s often easier to capture a performance landscape than portrait anyway.
  • Film from the audience perspective and perform to the camera. Backstage and side stage videos rarely do a performance justice particularly for artists who are conscious of the planes when they perform and are intending to create a particular look. In fact, it’s often the case that the downstage center view is the best. It therefore makes sense to position the camera in the location bound to provide the best video quality which can mean putting the camera among the audience to whom you perform.
  • Want a higher quality video that looks like a performance but isn’t? Find that you perform better in front of people than you do on your own? Here’s a great trick: invite people over and perform for them. Use their audio on your sound track and you have a live performance set. It adds to the quality of most videos because of the enthusiasm an audience conveys while helping you to perform better.
  • Don’t use autofocus when making low lighting videos with either fire or LED. The camera tends to go in and out of focus which makes for an unpleasant watching experience and lacks in capturing a quality video.
  • Find a location with ambient lighting. If no external lighting source other than the fire is available in the location, bring lights to the location. Make a fire, light caldrons, using camping lanterns, point your headlights at the dancer — whatever you need to do to add more lighting will help in capturing the video which will almost definitely be too dark by the last quarter of the video without external lighting.
  • Do use a tripod if you’re attempting to capture a clear set that isn’t a hand held look. If you want to have something that isn’t shaky and doesn’t give the viewer a headache, a tripod goes a long way to cultivating that clean look.
  • In 2015, anything less than high definition is a poor investment of your time. With phones that capture HD footage and allow you to upload them to the internet directly, the investment is worthwhile for the serious artist, if only to capture through time videos as a log of progress in one’s practice.
  • Be clear on your objective when capturing the footage. Remember that the context of the video will inform the content of what to film. Consider if you’re trying to create an educational, inspiration, informational, promotional, satirical, historic or some other type of video so as to maximize your filming time.
  • When shooting footage, be conscious of the best framing for the video. For example, if  you’re trying to capture the feel of the performers, the full trails of the tools take on less importance and framing a tighter shot makes more sense. In contrast, if you’re trying to give a complete understanding of the full scope of the performance, artists and set, consider capturing footage of the full stage to encapsulate the whole of the experience.
  • When considering your objective, you’ll want to note who might be watching this video later and how the back drop you’re using may impact things. In some instances this may be irrelevant, such as when you’re trying to simply develop a quick informational video. In other contexts, like a promotional video, you’ll want to put your best foot forward and create a video that showcases you in environments like those for which you wish to get hired. No matter what the location, consider the backdrop and if it allows you to convey what you want to share about your work. Remember, if you’re poi are green and you’re working in front of some green shrubs and bushes, the back drop doesn’t provide much contrast so the audience can see your prop well.

If you’re looking for more coaching as on becoming a professional performer, try our $13 for a 13 minute private with GlitterGirl in celebration of our 13 year anniversary! 

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