creative process

Behind the scenes July Video Project

Oliver Endahl

Hey everyone,

Today I wanted to share some of the process of the July Video Project. 

As you recall, I posted 1 video every day during the month of July to the Ballet Zaida Instagram, Facebook & YouTube accounts.

As I revealed after all the videos went online, all the videos were shot using an iPhone 6S Plus. 

The reason I used a smart phone to film the videos was to show you that anyone can make beautiful art, & that doing artistic endeavors is not out of your reach. 

To film the videos, I used the basic "Camera" App that comes pre-installed on the iPhone. (There are various video recording apps for the iPhone available, but I chose to use the basic camera app because I wanted to use the app everyone had access to.) 

There are some videos where the camera is totally still and only the dancer is moving, but for the videos where the camera is moving around the dancer, in order to stabilize the camera and achieve a smooth gliding effect, I used a Glide Cam HD 2000 

During the indoor video shoots, I would put on some music, give the dancers a general direction, and have them move to the music playing. (The music I played during the filming was not the music that was eventually featured in the videos)  

I played a lot of Ólafur Arnalds. This was fun, because on top of my verbal cues giving the dancer some guidance, the sound of the music also gave the dancer a general mood. If the song was slower & more solemn, the dancer would move more in that way. 

What's also nice about shooting in-doors is that during the video you can continuously give verbal cues to the dancers as they move. So for one shot you can be like, "Get back to back & utilize your port de bras" (port de bras is a ballet term that means "an act or manner of moving and posing the arms") Then after a bit you can say "Now separate & try some leg extensions" as featured in this video below. 

If it was an outdoor shoot though, like this one on the beach, I would tell the dancer some verbal cues before we started filming and a general vibe, but then during the filming the dancer couldn't hear me due to the waves and the distance. So we would shoot a take for 60 seconds or so, and then I would jog over and give her a new cue before starting another take. 

Also, moving for both the dancer and the camera man outdoors is no easy task. I found just walking while filming is incredibly difficult, much less dancing gracefully. 

For each video, I would film around 5 - 15 minutes of footage.

After arriving home from the shoot, I would offload the video onto my computer and use Final Cut Pro X to edit it.

The editing mainly consisted of me chopping up clips and putting them in various orders. So if I filmed a clip that was 60 seconds long, I would watch the clip and cut it down to 5-30 seconds and then place it in my main timeline of the video, along with a few other clips.

Once I had a few clips I liked lined up, I would experiment with overlaying music. This was my favorite part, because you can have the same clip of dancing and put it to one piece of music, but then you can try a different piece of music and it will completely change the tone and vibe of the video. 

Other than putting the clips in a specific order that had a good flow, the rest of the editing to the videos is very minimal. Once again, I wanted to showcase that you don't have to have professional camera knowledge, or intense video editing skills to make beautiful art. Everyone can do it. The editing to the videos I did was just a small contrast boost. 

(I'm familiar with Final Cut Pro because I've used it in the past, but you can definitely use other movie editing apps such as iMovie to create great videos) 

The music for the videos was a mixture of myself, Joshua Piper, and Benjamin Stewart. Each of us has a unique style that you can really hear through the music. 

All the music from myself, Joshua and Benjamin is available to download for free. Just visit our SoundCloud pages and you can download all the music from there. The reason we gave away all the music is because we want people to download it and experiment with making their own dance videos.

I actually started out by making music through Garage Band on the iPhone. (There's some songs in those videos I made entirely through the app) 

The July Video Project was a really fun event for me. I had a blast working and creating with all the different dancers. One video in particular was created a little later on during the project, but I'm a huge fan of it. Here's a bonus video featuring dancers Sarah Hay ( @SarahHayOfficial ) and Christian Novopavlovski ( @NovoPavlovski ) The music is Waltz in C Minor by Joshua Piper. Available as a free download at his SoundCloud.

All of you can make amazing art, and technology has made it easier than ever to create. Try and experiment with things. Take photos, make videos, make music, just experiment & have fun! You've got nothing to lose. 

-Oliver Endahl


Buying less, giving more

Nicole Voris

A few weeks ago I talked about my wardrobe and my attempt to own less and love more. 

Sustainable Fashion

Oliver and I have been attempting to own less "things" and embrace minimalism.  We don't claim to be experts at all!  We own way more than 100 items.  We can't fit everything we own in a backpack.  We can't fit everything we own into our car!  And we didn't become minimalists at 21.  We look at this as a continuing project of learning to buy less and let go more.

I look at it like someone trying to get healthy and lose weight.  If they do a crash diet and lose a ton of weight quickly, they are more likely to put weight back on because their metabolism slows down and crash diets aren't sustainable.  If someone really wants to change their health they need to eat healthier, exercise regularly, and let the weight come off because they've changed their lifestyle.

I view this the same way.  If we had gotten rid of everything at once and paired down to 100 items each we probably wouldn't have made the correct choices on what to keep and what to give away.  We wouldn't have fixed the problem of buying something every time we were slightly inconvenienced or every time we went to Target!!  

Our living room/kitchen.  Since this photo was taken we got new huge teal throw pillows! The bright colors make me super happy! Yes, we bought something that wasn't a "necessity,"  but they make me smile every day so it felt like an important purchase.

Our living room/kitchen.  Since this photo was taken we got new huge teal throw pillows! The bright colors make me super happy! Yes, we bought something that wasn't a "necessity,"  but they make me smile every day so it felt like an important purchase.

Over the last year and a half we have gone to Goodwill at least once a month.  We went today to donate a step stool that took up way too much storage space and we never took out because it was such a pain.  When we first discussed getting rid of it I thought we could get a folding step stool, but I realized this morning that we don't actually need one.  Oliver is tall enough to reach everything we need and our chairs are very sturdy if I'm desperate.

I also donated some kitchen gadgets that I'm embarrassed stayed over the last few purges. Why did we have three whisks?  Why did I have a bunch of baking tools despite the fact that I haven't used them in over 2 years?  Why did we have gimmicky gadgets that served no real purpose except creating more dishes?  We don't have a dishwasher so the least amount of dishes used is extremely important!

Again,  we don't claim to be experts, but over the last year we have learned a lot about what we actually need and what takes up space in our home and headspace.

Having less allows us to have more free time, to save more, and to be more creative.  Not constantly seeing clutter in our living space helps us declutter our minds to think more, be creative, and figure out how to bring our artistic ideas to life.  

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Ballet Zaida Films

We are currently working hard on new Ballet Zaida films.  We are excited to film them in the new year and to get them out to you soon.

The work we do with these pieces is very exciting.  We use original music, concepts, and choreography.  We are lucky to know so many talented people and to be able to bring so many great artists together.

Throwback to behind the scenes photo of Nesoi film shoot. 

Throwback to behind the scenes photo of Nesoi film shoot. 

Since our artists live all over the country, these are not produced in a traditional manner.  We rely on cell phone video, email, and text to get the choreography and music back and forth across the world.  Then we all come together for a few days to rehearse and film.  We feel very fortunate that we live in a time that this type of art process is possible. 

If you'd like to watch the first four films we released and learn about some of our composers and choreographers check out our film page

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Creative Process

Oliver Endahl

Today I want to talk about what I call "The Creative Process". 

I talk to many people, and a lot of them have creative ideas. For example, let's use writing & photography as creative ideas. A lot of the time I'll ask people if they have ideas pertaining to their hobby of writing or photography, and of course they do. Some people will want to write a book, or a screen play, & some people will want to do a photoshoot with a concept they've recently thought of. However a lot of people never act on these ideas. 

The reason for this is because they think they need to have the whole idea mapped out ahead of time. They need to feel they understand the idea completely, & from my experience, it's almost the exact opposite. 

When doing something creative, I find it's always best to just start. Once you have an idea for a novel, just start writing it. You can write any scene from the novel, it doesn't need to be in the correct order. Or if you have an idea for a photoshoot, don't wait a few months and try to plot it out 100%, get some people together and try the concept as soon as you can. It doesn't have to be perfect. Once you start writing or photographing, you're going to learn at a rapid pace and quickly figure out what's working with the idea, and what's not working. 

When I started Ballet Zaida I only knew that I wanted to spread the word about ballet and that I wanted to use photography and the internet to do it. I wasn't even aware that Instagram would be Zaida's first source of popularity. I began the project using only Facebook. (Instagram was either brand new, or hadn't even come out yet at the time.) It was through trial and error and just attacking idea after idea to figure out, not only what was the best way to run a photoshoot, but also the best way to post the photos to the internet, so they would be seen by the maximum amount of people. 

This process continues on forever. So if you have a creative idea, go after it. I bet you'll be surprised with the results. 


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