Sunday, February 19, 2017

On making a DVD - Oriental Choreography with Khalida

Hello dear all,

In this post I'd like to share with you a bit of the process behind creating my latest DVD, 'Oriental Choreography with Khalida', in the form of a mini photo journal.

The finished result. See

After teaching choreography workshop in Denmark this January, the participants (and hostess) remarked that it would be nice to have more time to practice each section of a rather complex choreography.

This sparked the idea to create a 'combination-based choreography DVD' - where the full choreography is split up into combinations, which are taught separately and then combined chronologically into a full choreo at the end.

Preparations include splitting up the dance into evenly-sized parts, each about 2-4 x 8 'beats', depending on where the music repeats.

For this particular piece the choreography structure looks like this:

  • A and B are 2 parts of an intro, which could be danced with or without a veil, or skipped completely
  • CDCD is a section where 2 musical phrases/combinations repeat(the 'Shakira' and the 'Arabesque' combo in the DVD), once on the left side, and once on the right.
  • E is a 30-second taxeem
  • FGHG is a section where a transition/combination (F) is followed by a 'chorus' (G), then a bridge (H), and then the 'chorus' (G) repeats again.
  • I is the finale
After the structure was set, all that was left to be done was to divide each section into repeating logical teaching sequences.

The DVD/Choreographical teaching structure
With the theory completed, it was time for... dance practice. Much, much dance practice. With each section stepped and 'danced out' separately, with and without music, with and without instruction, with and without countng, and 'singing' the steps.

Paillettes and Veil - A post-practice still life composition.
Practical preparations
The morning of the DVD shoot was spent preparing filming makeup (enough, but not too much, with thanks to home-brewed coffee and natural light) and can-hold-a-full-day-hair-do (aka a wrap-snap n' go-bun for teaching, and a hopefully curly ponytail for performance) preparations!

Filming look - Lipstick to be added later
Recording Process
Recordings happened at my dance friend and student Sandra's beautiful home studio, where we were able to complete the full filming in one day (with plenty of takes) after a short warmup-session and rehearsal.

Camera and Studio setup - And also the top half of my face
Data Transfer
All of the filmed material was then carefully transferred to the main computer, and from there to a tiny USB drive (see below), which I was able to take home with me for editing the day after the shoot. Fast!
The Wonders of technology
The next step: Editification! Which means putting all the filmed clips in order, creating transitions, cutting away 'empty spaces', and adding titles or subtitles where needed.

This is one of my favorite parts of the process, as long as the software (in this case just plain WMM) is not too capricious, and providing I take time for 'movement breaks' (aka shaking out my limbs and head) regularly.

Editing - with my head in the woods.
Transfer to DVD
After all editing is completed, it's time for the DVD-ification. For this step (ie adding a main menu and basic chaptering, and creating an .iso file that can be burned to DVD) I use Pinnacle software.

This program tests my patience, quite literally, as the program likes to crash whenever I click too fast, so on DVD-ification day I tend to forego coffee in favour of tea. Patience.
Usually I create a PAL and NTSC version of a DVD, just in case.

Rendering... Tea... And Patience.
Testing and design/packaging
If rendering is succesful, I burn the first test-DVD. And after that, I test the test-DVD :) I usually create a cover design for the DVD beforehand, using Adobe Photoshop CS3, and I use simple paper sleeves for easy (light) transport.

The first Test-DVD. It worked!

Web shop, Gumroad upload and Packaging
After the official DVD-launch is done, I update the DVD web shop, start the upload to Gumroad for the downloadable/streaming version and send out the pre-ordered copies. For small batches of DVDs I've found a padded envelope works best.

The first batch of pre-ordered DVDs. N. 1 gets a sticker-heart!

Bonus packaging and Shipment
As a final step, after another good night's sleep, I get to preparing the rest of the DVD orders. All my DVDs (including the pre-ordered ones) are lovingly swaddled in a sea of colourful flyers for events, and then shipped to their (worldwide) destinations.

DVDs and flyer designs. I do like colours, and also fonts.

End result and sneak preview
So.. that's it. This is how the 'Oriental Choreography' DVD was born/created :)

To see the result in short form, check out the following youtube mini version:

If you'd like to order a copy, too, go here:

Hope you'll enjoy!

xx Khalida

PS: A little bonus to go with the new 'oriental choreo' DVD I've created a .pdf Document with Choreography Notes, for those who like to work with them. Enjoy!

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