We're using cookies to make this site more secure, featureful and efficient.

SCDDB Video Quality Classification

In the Strathspey SCD Database, video recordings of dances are classified according to their “quality”. This is intended to help users to figure out which videos are best suited to learn how to do a dance, and which ones are mostly there for entertainment value.

Note that this classification applies to the quality of the dancing shown, not the technical quality of the video recording and post-production. A video can be very well-done on a technical level but still show not-so-great dancing, and vice-versa. There are some caveats that do touch technical aspects of videos, which will be detailed below.

Generally we prefer dances done on their own to dances being performed as part of multi-dance displays. This is not because the system does not support jumping into the middle of a video (it does) but because dances within displays often get “tweaked” for better connections from the previous or to the next dance.

Classification Levels

The classification levels are as follows (in decreasing order of quality):

Demonstration Quality

The video shows the dance being performed by good dancers who have practiced the dance before. It is free of choreography errors and uses the suggested music for the dance. It could go up in a prominent place on the RSCDS web site.

“Demonstration quality” almost always means a trained team of dancers performing the dance for an audience (or camera), after rehearsals. Which is not to say that a class situation cannot yield DQ videos, but unless it is a very talented and able class one would generally not expect this to happen except with fairly simple and straightforward dances. The video must show all dancers in the set for at least one complete turn of the dance.

We’re fairly tough on the “suggested music” requirement. There are various videos in the database which would be “demonstration quality” except they use the wrong music. This is meant both as a matter of policy (a dance performance cannot be perfect unless it uses the official music) and to encourage those people who aspire to supplying “demonstration quality” videos to cross all the t’s. (Of course if a dance does not actually stipulate specific music then by all means pick something nice.)

If you’re a database editor about to approve a “demonstration quality” video and are not sure whether the music used is actually the suggested music for the dance, get help.


The video shows the dance being performed by good dancers, possibly in a social or class situation. It does not contain very obvious choreography errors (please point any noticeable ones out in the comment below). It would be useful for somebody wanting to learn to do the dance.

Generally, the idea behind videos at this level or above means that they should be useful to people who want to find out how a dance goes. This means that to be eligible for a “good” or “demonstration quality” rating, a video should show at least one turn of the dance (usually 32 bars or so) with at least one whole set visible so people can make out the choreography.


The video shows the dance being performed in a social or class situation. It may contain errors but does still give a reasonable impression of how the dance goes, to someone who has the instructions available.

“Reasonable” quality is what you get if you take a video of the dance floor from the balcony or mezzanine and you have five sets in view, with three doing the dance correctly and two doing something else (it may not always be the same three and two sets). Basically this means that if you have the instructions for a dance around you can identify those sets who are doing it mostly right, and any doubts about the instructions can be dealt with by looking at the video (possibly making a majority comparison).


The video shows people doing the dance and (hopefully) enjoying themselves. It makes no pretense of being of instructional value.

This is the sort of video that shows the foot of one set and the top two couples of another, and pans onto the band for a prolonged period of time in the middle of the dance. People are having fun and throwing in spontaneous “embellishments” that aren’t in the instructions, and that sort of thing.

Note that there are separate categories for “RSCDS”, “Ceilidh style” and “‘Reeler’ style”. This is supposed to improve expectation management.


The video shows a (computer-generated) animation of the dance rather than the dance being performed by actual people.

“Animation” videos are listed last not because we think they’re worse than “Informal/Social” videos, but because they’re “different”. We expect them to show the correct choreography. Animations often do not contain music and are not required to.

Blocked (don’t display, don’t re-add)

Some videos are so atrocious that indexing and displaying them does not provide a value to users of the database. Rather than ignoring them outright, we mark those “Blocked” so people can’t upload them again (inadvertently or to be persistent).


Usually the classification comes from whoever submitted the video to the database. All videos are vetted by database editors, mostly to make sure that they actually show the dance they are purported to show. (We like cute kitten videos as much as the next person, but for the purposes of the database we don’t want them unless the kittens are performing a Scottish country dance. All other kitteh videos are fine elsewhere on YouTube as far as we are concerned.) During the vetting, the database editor can change the quality level to something else.

If you do not agree with the quality level of a video in the database, feel free to “Submit a correction/addition” using the link in the “Navigation” box in the right-hand column of the video’s page, and state what quality level you would rather see and why. We’ll have a look and correct the database if appropriate.

We have several thousands of videos in the database and we do not presume to claim that every single one of them is classified correctly. We need your help, so do not hesitate to submit fixes to video quality levels (or indeed any other irregularities in the database that you can find). Thank you!

Recently seen

Sign in to see recent visitors!