Online Video Making Guide for Belly Dancers

Online Video Making Guide for Belly Dancers


Welcome back to the Business of Belly Dance series Part 2!


Last week Georgia shared with us a really comprehensive guide to hosting events with celebrity dancers. If you missed it, check it out here.


In the guide, she mentioned you should have a photographer/videographer record your events.


This is really important for many reasons:


  • Share the great memories with participants after the events!
  • Review and figure out what you can do better next time!
  • Use the images and footage for promotion next time!


Plus, as I mention in my ebook, “Belly Dancer in Business: Practical Tips on Online Marketing & Business for Artist Oriented Minds”, I highly recommend that belly dancers share their performance/instructions in video format. Unfortunately, text and images don’t showcase your dance or teaching style as well as videos do.


And one of my book readers said, “I’ve been trying to create video content for my website, but can’t figure out how to approach it.”


I think there are 2 parts to this problem. One is the technical aspect. What equipment to use? How come my footage looks so dark? Why do I look so awkward in videos?


And there’s another problem of protecting your copyright. How can I share my choreography online and stop people from copying my hard work?


So in this video, I’ll tackle the technical aspect of creating videos as best I can. And in my next week’s video, I’ll share with you my experience and tips on protecting your copyright online. Let’s get started!



Sign up for my newsletter to get tips on sharing your performance video online! (+ a free eBook “Introduction to Business of Belly Dance”!)


Here are tools mentioned in the video:


(NOTE: Some of these links on this page are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission if you purchase items using these links. This helps me keep creating free posts 🙂 You won’t be charged any extra fees. I want to be open about it so you can make an informed decision 🙂 )



Canon EOS Rebel T5i (newer model than mine)

My shotgun mic (Canada only)
Shortgun mic (Similar)

Smartphone adapter for tripod

My tripod (Canada)
Similar (cheaper) tripod

My umbrella lighting kit

Video Editing Software
Adobe Premiere Pro




First, you can’t have footage without a camera. Luckily, today, we don’t have to spend lots of money to get a decent camera. In fact, any smartphone camera today would be good enough for capturing your dance performance or even creating instructional videos.


I’ve been creating video content for 4 years now, and I started off with a phone camera. Then I moved onto using an HD camcorder, and last couple of years I’ve been using a DSLR camera Canon EOS Rebel T4i (Newer model here (affiliate)).


Canon EOS Rebel T4i


I love my DSLR camera, and I have a shotgun mic (similar one for outside of Canada (affiliate)) that I can plug into the camera when I need my voice to be picked up really clearly, but this one is optional. The DSLR camera allows me to play with things like aperture and ISO and what not.


Shotgun mic Tech Pro


Having said, if you are starting to film footage, start with what you have. 


Below is the comparison. These are snapshots from footage taken by my Samsung Galaxy S7 (left) and Canon EOS Rebel T4i (right).


Samsung Galaxy S7 vs DSLR camera canon eos rebel t4i comparison


As you can see in the above image and also in the video, the quality of footage is not all that different especially if the videos are watched at the regular size on web browser or on mobile.




If you’ll be filming yourself, the only thing I recommend you invest in is a tripod and the right adapter which usually comes with the tripod. Adjusting the angle of your phone camera by leaning it against something usually doesn’t work and gets frustrating.


I use this tripod that I got for about $80 CAD, but there are some cheaper options out there. Here (affiliate) is a similar but cheaper one.


Tripod Optex


It came with this adapter for a regular camera, so you just screw it in and set it up on the tripod.


How to attach a camera to a tripod


Or when I film with my phone camera, I use this smartphone adapter (affiliate). I set up my phone with the adapter like this.


How to attach a phone to a tripod


And I can record myself or my tutorials by myself 🙂




If your footage looks dark, you need more lighting. And likely, you need more lighting than you think you need.


If you are filming indoors, the best lighting is daylight. Not the direct sunlight, but indirect sunlight. Just by standing by the window, you get most of the lighting you need.


If you are shooting in a dark studio, you may have to bring in extra lighting. First, turn on all the lights you have. Even a desk lamp or a floor lamp is helpful. Mirrors and white reflective walls help too.


If that’s not sufficient, you can invest in an inexpensive set of lights like this. This set was about $75 CAD (US link; Canada link. Both are affiliate.)


Umbrella lighting


This one comes with a stand, a light bulb and a white umbrella. The set has 2 of tall stands and 1 smaller one without an umbrella. You can place these lights wherever you want, and you can get strong light on you or flip it for softer light.


If you are shooting footage outside, the best time to do it on a sunny day is at sunrise or sunset. During the day, the sun will be too bright. Or you can film on a cloudy day. 🙂


Your on-camera personality


If you’re demonstrating your teaching style in your video, your on-camera personality is very important. Even if you are being your normal self, you’ll appear a bit tired or not enthusiastic on camera. 🙁


It may feel weird talking to the camera at first, but remember there are people watching you on the other side.


So up your energy, smile and present yourself at your 120% 🙂


Video editing software


If you’re comfortable publishing your raw footage as is, you can go ahead and do that. But chances are, you’ll want to at least to cut out awkward silence, or re-takes, or maybe you want to add a little music.


Again, luckily today we have access to free video editing software.


For Windows, you can download Shotcut for free, and for Mac, you can use iMovie for free.


I’ve used both, and they are both great for simple video editing like cutting some parts out or adding music or even adding a little transition effects.

Both Shotcut and iMovie are easy to use, and you can find lots of tutorials online.


If you’re thinking to step up your game, I’m using Adobe Premiere Pro, and I highly recommend it. There’s a bit of a learning curve at the beginning, but once you understand their language, it’s pretty easy to use and it’s a very powerful tool. 😀

Sharing (is caring!)


Now finally, once you publish your video on YouTube, Vimeo or Facebook, remember to share it. Many people post their videos on YouTube and wait for people to come and watch… which doesn’t work usually. You spent a lot of time creating your videos, so you have to promote it so lots of people can enjoy what you created!


And focusing on entertaining many people is important here. It’s scary to share your videos at first, because some people may not like your videos or say mean stuff. But remember, there are lots of people out there who will enjoy your videos so much.


So email the video to your friends and students, share it on other social media like Facebook and Instagram. Don’t be afraid to get their feedback. People will tell you what they like, and you’ll figure out your strengths and know what kind of videos to create in the future.


Hope this guide was helpful, and you’ll be inspired to create more videos! And next week I’ll share with you tips on protecting your choreography online. Sign up for Sparkly Belly newsletter below, so you won’t miss it!


Click here to sign up for my newsletter & get a free eBook “Introduction to Business of Belly Dance” 😉


Thanks for reading, and keep sparkling! 😉


P.S. Add this pin to your resource board 😉

Online Video Making Guide for Belly Dancers

  2 comments for “Online Video Making Guide for Belly Dancers

  1. Lydia Dorosh
    August 27, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    Thank you, Mao. This is the thing I have zero experience in.

    • Mao
      August 29, 2017 at 1:36 pm

      My pleasure, Lydia! 🙂

Comments are closed.