Ask the Experts: HD Cameras
June 1, 2016

There are so many HD cameras out today. What do you use to shoot class footage with?

If you need a quick video of rehearsal to post or share, your phone or tablet is more than enough. But if quality is an issue, consider picking up a high-definition point-and-shoot.

For me, the biggest issues are the width of the frame and the quality of a wide-angled video—does it look too fish-eyed? Are the edges blurry? The standard-size lens we’re used to seeing is 35 millimeters, but for shooting in a smaller room, something at least 28 mm is much better. (The fewer the millimeters, the wider the shot.) Today, point-and-shoots like the Canon Powershot have a lens that can go as wide as 24 mm, though they tend to be pricey.

If you’re considering spending money on a camera, try getting a better lens for your phone instead. Moment Lenses has the highest rating, and for $100 (mobile lens, mounting plate, extra adhesive) you can get top-of-the-line wide-angle shots without blurring or bending the image. If quality isn’t your top concern, there are plenty of options between $15 and $25. CamKix offers a set of lenses with a mini-tripod for $40.

A camera isn’t just a tool for you—it offers many new angles (pun intended) for your dancers to approach dance and choreography. Students these days are used to seeing the world through a lens, so I prefer the camera be in their hands. Whether it’s just documenting a moment in class or having them create a dance for the camera, I want to give them the chance to be creative in as many modalities as possible. 

Barry Blumenfeld teaches at the Friends Seminary in New York City. He is an adjunct professor at New York University and on faculty at the Dance Education Laboratory of the 92nd Street Y.

Photo courtesy of Barry Blumenfeld

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