Videodance Gift Ideas

Now that we’re over being thankful (in the States at least), and have shifted into consumer overdrive for Christma-channu-kwaan’stice, I thought I’d list some good gifts ideas for videodance fanatics (like me!). It’s hard to find gifts related to dance for the camera, so before you fruitlessly Google search, here’s a list to get you started:

Video compilations and DVD’s:

Dance for Camera Vol. 1 & 2:

Danceforcamera1.jpg danceforcamera2_dvd.jpg First Run Features has taken the lead in producing high quality video compilations of recent dance for camera shorts. I loved Volume 1, and refer to it constantly. Some favorites from this collection are Pascal Magnin’s Contrecoup and Annick Vroom’s RIP. Vol. 2 looks promising too with Motion Control by the Brit team Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie, and Mitchell Rose’s hilarious Case Studies from the Groat Center for Sleep Disorders.

Mystic Fire Videos puts out great collections of past dance film innovators. This is the place to brush up on your history. I recommend:

Thumbnail image for maya_deren_DVD.jpg Maya Deren Experimental Films
The complete collection of all of Maya Deren’s shorts. A must-have for dance film aficiondos.

Thumbnail image for Hilary-Harris-DVD-Cover2.jpg The Films of Hilary Harris
Four short films by Hilary Harris including his Academy Award-winning “Organism.” His film techniques are still remarkable today, and of special interest is his “9 Variations on a dance theme” featuring a beautiful young Bettie DeJong (of Paul Taylor).

Unseen Cinema: VIVA LA DANCE, The Beginnings of Ciné-Dance
Part of Anthology Film Archives’ incredible Unseen Cinema 7 disc box set.
The entire box set is a treasure for cinephiles, but VIVA LA DANCE
features dance in early cinema (1894-1946) with 33 films including some
of the earliest films ever made! This DVD will blow your mind!


Anarchic dance.jpg Anarchic Dance
by Liz Aggiss, Billy Cowie
This book compiles the history of performance & media dance makers Liz Aggiss and Billy Cowie. In addition to the full color book, there is an accompanying DVD featuring excerpts of their work both on stage and in film. Very entertaining and inspiring for videodance enthusiasts!
Making Video Dance.jpg Making Video Dance: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Dance for the Screen
by Katrina McPherson
A simple and comprehensive manual on how to make videodance. Great for dancers new to processes of film and video production.
MayaDerenbook.jpg Maya Deren and the American Avant-Garde
edited by Bill Nichols
As you can tell, I’m obsessed with Maya Deren. That said, this is a really intriguing compilation of essays by other film and dance artists about
the importance of her work in history. It also includes a reprint of one of her treatises “An Anagram of Ideas on Art, Form and Film” that is priceless.


I’m not much of a gearhead, but I do lust after new toys to make videodances with. Here are a couple that have caught my attention lately:

HV20_camcorder.jpg Canon HV20 HD Camcorder $899 (after rebate)

I got hooked on HD video after borrowing a HD camera from my friend to shoot “Fünf ‘n’ Twist” last spring. Even the little consumer HD camcorders deliver an incredible image, and they are getting cheaper and cheaper! I’ve usually gone with Sony, but this Canon has been getting good reviews, and I like that it takes hd minidv tapes, which is easier to handle than a hard drive.

Glidecam4000pro.jpg Glidecam 4000 Pro Stabilizer System
I found this while looking for a steadycam to rent online. This is a low budget alternative to a steadycam, and lets you do choreographic handheld shots. I also found some fun demo videos on the AllMobile video site. I would call this a videodance!

I realize I’m missing editing software suggestions. Any editors out there? Help us out and give us your wish list for videodance thingamajigs.

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6 Responses to Videodance Gift Ideas

  1. Videodance Gift Ideas

    Great, This is now on my Thorny Path.

  2. boris willis says:

    If you are just getting started and use a PC start with Premiere Elements. I started with Pennicle Studio 7 which was great to learn from because I had problems daily if not hourly with the program. It was a great learning tool. If you want something more powerful upgrade to Premiere Pro CS3 but it ain’t cheap, you have to really like someone to give it as a gift.

    On the Mac iMovie is a good way to start and upgrade to Final Cut Express if you want more features and Final Cut 6 if you are ready for Prime Time.

    There are other programs such as Avid Express DV and Sony Vegas. It is better to test drive a program before buying because even though you may like the features of a program, parts of it may drive you crazy. It depends on your workflow. For example I think Final Cut is a much better program than Premiere Pro but I work much faster in Premiere. For me time is essential in my ability to exit creatively. The latest version of Premiere is also on the Mac.

  3. Anna Brady Nuse says:

    Boris, Thanks for these great suggestions for editing software! I’ve never used a PC for editing, so your wide ranging expertise is much appreciated!

    I agree that iMovie is great, especially for the beginner. I used iMovie for 4 years before finally learning Final Cut. I think it’s better to start with simple programs and not use too many bell and whistles. Usually that stuff looks hokey anyway.

  4. Boris Willis says:

    TO all my friends. Anna has great suggestions if you are wondering what to get me for Christmas. I already have the Maya Deren movies btw.

  5. Shoshana says:

    Just wanted to share my enthusiasm about my latest video gift!…

    A producer who found me on youtube, sent me this Canon XH A1!

    But it SCARES ME! Too many buttons!!! eek!

    If any of you who read Anna’s blog & understand how to operate a camera such as this, you live in San Diego, and would be willing to tutor me, please feel free to email me. Soon!

  6. Wow Shoshana, what a great gift! For some good tips on how to shoot dance check out Article 19’s feature articles, they often write about how to shoot and edit dance videos. Here is one:

    Also check out, This is a really well designed site for the novice videodance-maker.

    I can’t wait to see what you do with this camera! Be sure to send me links to your videos, and good luck!

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