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Where do I start in making a DVD?

June 15 2007 at 7:25 AM
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I want to make a DVD of me clowning. I have 11 or 12 clips on You-tube. But I'm not sure where to begin. I have a JVC camera and make movies by the program on it. PLEASE help any idea? Technical, varitey, ( bad speller) length,

Ribbons the clown,
Robin Bremer

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First things first

June 15 2007, 12:24 PM 

Well, first you should decide what kind of DVD you want to make. Instructional? Performance? If you are making an instructional video, your single camera can help you make a basic lecture-style instructional video. My favorite videos of this type also show clips of real performances, so you'll need to tape your performances and choose clips that go with what you are teaching. Also, if you know any other clown-ers (What is the right term?) in your area, it would also be great to include some clips of their performances for variety.

If you just want to make a DVD of your performances, that could be done one of two ways. 1) Set up your camera at each show and splice together different clips from different shows. Be sure to set the camera up at different angles and distances for each show or every clip will look the same. Or 2) Get a crew together with several cameras (of equal quality--not the crew, the cameras) and set them up at different angles and record a whole show. In the editing room, the different angles will provide the necessary variety to make a whole show work on DVD.

My opening advice: Do your research. Buy some DVDs in the style you want to do. I highly recommend Steve Taylor's "Humoring Your Dummy" as a great example of a lecture-style instructional video. Many performers have performance DVDs, so you'll just need to do a little searching for those. Analyze what you like and dislike about them and then make your DVD better!

We can get more detailed once I know exactly what you are going for.


June 16 2007, 8:09 AM 


It might be nice on a viewer's point of view to see the different puppets you have...or maybe the different routines you a bit of every single characters you have

Personally, I love to hear the sound of laughter The actual reaction from your spectators

Hope that helps



Re: First things first

June 16 2007, 8:19 AM 

Well said Robbie. Robin I was in over my head(again!) with some way to use ventriloquism; recorded sound effects, and a remote mike system. Last year Robbie gave me technical advice and it has all proved great!
I would add that my inclination would be to visit the visual department at a friendly high school or community college(yes I know it's late in the year). I believe a listening teacher has been known to allow a filming to be a project for a skilled student for a semester course. Just ask. The Humoring(ooh..that's hard to write without a "u",video is just superb.
Robbie, through Robin..again thanks. Ron

Tony Borders

DVD question

June 16 2007, 4:44 PM 

You asked a simple but important question. How to make a DVD.

Length: 30 minutes minimum, 40 minutes maximum. If you hope to sell copies people won't want to watch less than 30 and if you hope to sell more in the future then you won't want to give away anymore than 40.

Copyrights: Keep in mind that "Royalty Free" does not mean that you can use music on something you will sell. So your background music needs to be original. Also check into the procedure for giving credit to where credit is due. Example: A company that made your costume may want credit listed for "Costume by..." Axtell Expressions wants a copyright symbol, year, etc. listed for each of their characters. There is also a fee for using their characters on a video. Contact Steve Axtell through this website to find out the fee(s). Other puppet or clown prop companies may expect the same.

If it is instructional, especially in magic, then find out who originally designed the trick and whether the secret is copyrighted.

And you must get a video release for any volunteers in the program. I wouldn't pan a kids' audience with video either.
But don't be discouraged! It only takes a little time to contact the developers of the visuals or music you want to use to see how to best use their products for video.

Actual Shooting: There are SO many things that can go wrong with a live show shoot that I highly recommend a studio shoot for your first video. Then you can shoot a few minutes and watch it. Is your face in a shadow? Use a floorlight as well. Make sure the furnace or air conditioner don't kick on in the middle of the shoot. Test to see if your outfit is rubbing on your microphone making lots of noise.

A live audience is almost deadly to a video shoot. IF you do use a live audience make sure to have a mic that goes directly from you to the camera via a wireless signal, plus a mic on the audience. Then you can cut out coughs, turn laughter up or down, etc. Avoid having preschoolers in your live audience. They make too much noise at the wrong times.

The energy level for a video needs to be double that of a live performance. It just loses something in the translation from live to video, so really act up! Get a cameraman who can keep you centered without staying too wide.

You can add music later so you may want to tape the show without music. Arrange the props so you don't have to turn your back to the camera.

Things look better on video than in real life, (Look at actors) so that's a blessing. Black backgrounds make the front colors really jump out. For clowning that might be nice. OR you can just have nice props around the room.

You need three sources of light (at least). One source casts a shadow on the background. Two sources gets rid of the shadow but makes you look flat against the wall. A third light, placed behind you, shinging toward your head, gives depth and outline to the shot.

making a DVD

June 20 2007, 6:12 AM 

Wow!! thank you for all the help so far, this is very exciting. I already have clips on You-tube ( about 13) and permission to use them from everyone in the shot, but not written premission. Some where done in nursing homes they all knew I was taping and the staff and clinits ( bad spelling) gave premission. Is that good enough? Do I really need written premission? I would have to find all these people. Are any of these clips good enough to start. Could you look at them and tell me if they are of the right quality ( boy I sure am a bad speller) light, angle, technic, If some are not good enough give me advice on what needs to change, so when I sent up my camera I will know what to do right. Experience is good, but so is your experience so I dont make the same mistakes over and over again.. I try to tape everything I do, so I can use it later. I might never have a chance at the same shot again, and I hate for my inexperence to get in the way. I am gona get a 2nd camera as soon as I can to get shots of the audience responds.

A studio sounds good but isnt the real thing more engery, because the people are genunin. I know I am funnier when I have a live audience.
I have to get Axtell premission to use their puppets in my show on a DVD. I never knew that and pay a roytalty. How do I do that?
The video would be paralling my booklet series, "Ribbons Beleive it or not"
Not really teaching but informing while clowning and using ventriloqusim. Basicly what I do when I minister in Churches.
Will I see any of you at the conVENTion? I'd love to meet you.
Please continue to give me advice. Thank you so much all of you for your help. As you can see I am excited to begin this project... but no experience.
Ribbons the clown
Robin Bremer

Tony Borders


June 23 2007, 7:33 AM 

To do a live taping you should have one camera on the audience the whole time, one on you as tight as possible the whole time and one that covers a wider area (Full body shot) the whole time. This will give you the best editing capabilities. You would use the wide shot as the main one and then edit in the tight shots and audience reactions when possible.

You could have a show with signs up that say you will be taping. Choose your volunteers ahead of time and get the parental permission for using their child on the video.

Announce again that if anyone does not want their child in the video as part of the audience then you have a section where they can sit and enjoy the show and that section will not be in the video. (Choose nice seats, but on the side and tell the cameraman not to tape them.)

Keep the permission papers on file for as long as you have the video.


Live Studio Shoot

July 5 2007, 11:14 AM 

It really seems like a studio taping may be your best alternative. In a studio, you can best control sound, lighting, cameras, backdrops, etc. (Of course, when I say studio, I don't mean a professional sound stage; I mean a closed, controlled room environment of some kind.) I also agree that an audience helps with the energy, but Tony is certainly right that live audiences can kill your audio, especially since consumer-grade cameras pick up mostly high frequencies (i.e. kids' laughing).

So, this is what I suggest:

--Prepare a decently-sized room for the performance. Set up and test everything before you get an audience in there.
--You'll need three cameras (of similar quality): 1) On the audience, 2) Wide to Medium on you, 3) Tight on you. Also, consider having people behind each camera, so that shots can change during the performance.
--Mic yourself and plug that mic directly into camera 2. Mic the audience and plug that mic directly into camera 1. (This sound scheme may cause you some trouble in the editing room if your software cannot do layers of video. If so, you can probably get away with mic-ing only yourself directly into camera 2. Hey, if your room is good, you may be able to use the audio on the camera's mic. Try all of these things out before you tape the whole show. ***Sound is always the main issue for things like this***)
--Once everything is set to go, invite your friends, family, and/or neighbors to be in the audience. This way permissions will be easier to obtain, and you will still have an audience to keep up the energy. PLUS, the audience will be in a controlled environment--better for audio and video.

With everything ready beforehand and with a typical show atmosphere created, you should have no problem performing as usual. (Just forget the cameras are there, and it will look and feel fine.)

Good Luck!

Tony Borders


July 5 2007, 10:39 PM 

One more thought. Some churches are already set up for multiple cameras, and of course for mics, etc. Perhaps you could barter a 2 to 3 night kids' crusade in exchange for the master's of the videos. They may even edit them for you! This won't necessarily be easy to get because the sound guys are probably volunteers and may not have the evenings open. Good luck!



July 6 2007, 7:00 PM 

Fantastic idea, Tony!

A church with everything set up would be a great option. They will have already done the experimenting to get the best quality they can. If you can make a successful barter, you may just have it made. Ventriloquist/comedian Taylor Mason has a DVD of his show that was shot in a church--perhaps he made a similar deal. (The DVD is titled "Here We Go.")

making a dvd

July 10 2008, 5:17 AM 


Putting video clips on You-tube

July 10 2008, 6:49 AM 

To put video clips on You-Tube is easy. First tape the clip then make a movie out of it with "movie Maker" or whatever program comes with the camera. Open an account with You-tube or God-tube then press upload. It will ask you to title it and give tags (how people find it) and tell what it is about. Then upload it and wait. Hope that helps
I put together 30- 40 min DVD of my favorite clips on You-tube and God-Tube and because I am in the process of becoming a nonprofit 5013(c) ministry (2 to around 6 months time) I give it away as a thank you gift at the time of a show for a donation of $20. or more.
I will go to the studio to have one done, but I am not sure when. When I do I will sell it. I want it to look professional and just be fun.
Ribbons the clown

Thanks guy for all your AWESOME advice.

Ribbons the clown
Robin Bremer

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