Online dance tournament - how to organize it to delight the participants?
When the pandemic rages, it's better to stay home. If you want to go out, remember to keep “social distancing”, take the mask with you, and protective gloves are not a bad idea too. This situation has a great impact on the dancing industry. The dancers lost their motivation for training, environmental integration has died, and the organizers of the dance competitions wrung their hands. Everyone knows that it’s impossible to organize a dance tournament during the pandemic. But, are you sure? What about the online dance tournament? Here are some practical tips on how to start organizing a tournament online.
Online dance tournament - where to start?
You’re probably wondering what an online tournament may look like? You can’t imagine this kind of event without hundreds of dancers in the sports hall, thrilling competition and great emotions on the dance floor. Are we able to organize an online event that, at least partially, can arouse the emotions of viewers? How to deal with the limitations of the Internet? When you organize an online dancing tournament, start by thinking about a few basic things..
Who are you organizing an online competition for?
This is probably the most important question during the whole organization. In the current situation, the instructor doesn’t always spend time with his pupils. Some of them generally suspended their training. That’s why you should forward your invitation to the dancer’s parents (or dancers themselves), not to their trainers.
Obviously, one does not exclude the other, but I know from experience that in the case of online dance tournaments individual requests work better than those sent to a school or organization. Remember to include the approval for the individual applications in your regulations.
How to conduct qualifications for the dance competition?
The best option is to receive recordings of performances from participants. Organizers are often confused about what types of recordings they should allow - could it be a video from the previous tournament that took place on stage? If so, how many seasons back do we allow? Or, maybe the current recordings from home, training place or from somewhere outside will be better?
The first option will give you more applications. However, the current recordings will increase the competition, and the emotions during the competition will be greater.
If you will decide to accept current recording, reserve in the regulations that:
- the dancers record their performances on their own
- the recording has to be in one shot, without cuts
- the recordings have to be sent to the organizer in the selected category
You also need to decide if the candidates can dance to their own music or if you want to give them a specific track, just as on the classic tournament.
What recordings to accept during qualification?
How to record the performance? Where to send them? You’ll probably get these questions from candidates. That’s why you have to consider what technical requirements you want to set for recordings.
The quality of the recording
Of course, the recordings must be of good quality. However, it should be enough for the participants to use their smartphone. Today's phones have cameras of sufficient resolution to shoot a satisfactory video material.
Some people skip this aspect, focusing only on the presentation, but poor sound quality spoils the overall perception of the performance. Therefore, suggest that dancers use musical equipment that produces clear sound on the recording. You can also advise inserting the original background music when editing the recording later, as long as the dancers have the appropriate technical skills.
Where to send the recordings?
There are a couple of options here. Consider what is best for you. I will show you what advantages and disadvantages each solution has and which method I prefer.
I vote against. You will quickly fill your inbox with files, which can often weigh up to 500 MB.
Candidates can upload the recording to their YouTube account. All they need to do is sign in to their Gmail account. Viewing such a recording is simple. I recommend uploading the video with the status of unlisted, so only people with a direct link have access to it
Downloading YouTube videos to your computer is possible, but it can be troublesome. You can use the free app ClipGrab. However, keep in mind that the speed of such a download is fairly moderate.
You also need a Gmail account here. Remember to share such a file appropriately. It is important that the file is available to everyone with the link. The co-organizers often exchange recordings with each other, so giving basic permissions may not be enough.
The main advantage of this solution is the high download speed.
This is the most-chosen option among candidates. The download is fast but has a time limit. With free accounts, you have to download the recording within 7 days of uploading it. After that time the file will be unavailable. Despite this limitation, downloading is very convenient and I recommend this solution.
Mediafire and other file hosting services
I do not recommend them. Either slow download speeds or other download restrictions.
How to submit an application for a dance tournament?
You can use classic cards, but I encourage you to use the online registration system KARTAZGLOSZEN.PL. The system makes it very easy for participants to send the application, and it gives you one place where you keep all documentation, including start lists and payment control.
The system also includes a module for managing dancers' recordings. It is enough for the participant to attach a video link to his presentation, and we, as the organizer, will receive an ordered list of all performances with attached recordings for download.
KARTAZGLOSZEN.PL will allow you to comprehensively manage the organization of an online tournament. You will save time and avoid mistakes.
How to organize refereeing?
You can connect with judges remotely. However, in this case the reception of the performance by the judges will really depend on the quality of the Internet connection.
You can also send the recordings to the judges in advance so they can check them before the tournament. But it’s not the same…
At the moment, I believe that the safest solution is to gather the judges in one place and present the recordings on the projector.
Should we introduce a leader?
Nothing stands in the way of engaging the leader who will announce the performances. The rules remain the same, except that we speak "to ourselves" without direct contact with the audience. Of course, the host can respond to the comments of viewers watching the broadcast. Remember to provide the presenter with a USB-connected microphone to the computer.
How to broadcast?
What would a tournament be without an audience? To make it easier to track the competition in real-time, you should ensure the appropriate setting of the event. What to use? Of course, you can use the camera on your phone and share the image on Facebook or YouTube. But you can do it better 🙂 Use a free OBS app.
OBS makes it easier to control the transmission. It is a powerful tool:
- You will prepare separate scenes.
- You will be able to display the original recordings of the dancers on one screen, and the judges will have a separate preview with sound on the projector.
- In the corner, you will place a view from the camera directed at the judges.
- You will add the logo of the school, sponsors and partners.
- You will display animated boards suited to the situation during the tournament (e.g. referee briefing, technical break or announcement of results).
- You will connect an additional microphone to the computer to record announcements of the speaker, while muting the judges.
- You can play music during the breaks or a background music during the announcement of the results, which boosts the atmosphere 🙂
The possibilities are huge. You are only limited by your imagination.
If you are interested in using the OBS tool, let me know in the comment - I’m going to prepare material that will help you handle your first online tournament using this program.
What online platform to use?
You can broadcast on Facebook or YouTube. Unfortunately, we have a lot of limitations here that can completely affect our event. When we run performances with background music, there is a risk that our broadcast will be blocked due to suspected copyright infringement.
I recommend using Twitch. It’s a very popular platform among gamers. Computer games were broadcast there many times, so it’s an application checked in combat. In addition, it doesn’t require registration from the viewers.
It’s only the organizer who has to create an account.
What else to remember?
Although it’s obvious, I’d like to remind you - without good internet we cannot think about broadcasting the dance competition online. A permanent cable connection must have a decent upload speed (upload, at least 6-8 Mbps).
Can you use mobile internet? This is a very risky solution because its capacity depends on many external factors, e.g. range, weather, or the load on transmitting devices, the so-called BTS stations.
Online dance tournament - it can be done!
In my experience, it’s possible to organize an online dance competition. And it can be emotional. Therefore, don't hesitate to try. Hope these few tips help you. Of course, these are not strict rules that you have to follow. Rather, it’s a collection of thoughts born of practice.
Do you have your own experience in organizing an online dance tournament? Do you want to ask about something? Let me know in the comment.