This week I had my first meeting with my mentor, in the meeting we talked about; organization, what makes a good video, camera angles, crossing axis’s, audio, and finally, she taught me how to use the software better.
The first thing that I asked her was “what is a common mistake that a lot of people make when they are starting?” She told me that the most important thing you can do is to stay super organized. I can relate to that from experience because back in grade 7, all my files were messy, I had thirty documents named document and one or two folders. At the end of the year, we got a lesson on staying organized and since then I’ve had all my documents named and in folders inside of folders. But from what she taught me, I’m still not organized enough, she showed me her files and they were labeled with the media type first and then what the file is. Here’s an example of the last project that I worked on thanks to what she taught me.
Next, we talked about what made a good video specifically for mountain biking. She told me that the most important thing in a good video is that it has a good flow to it. If the video is going to be fast-paced then it must stay a fast-paced video, you can’t switch to a slow-video. Again, I agreed with her because if I was watching a high-speed jump trail video on YouTube and it switched to a slow video of a green trail then I would probably click off the video. After all, there’s a time and a place where I would want to watch a slower video and if I clicked on a faster video then the chances are, I didn’t want to see a slower video. She said that you should also try to avoid using jump cuts, but mountain biking videos can be a little more forgiving with them. A jump cut is when the video seems to go forward into time for example, if I’m mountain biking in one place and then suddenly, I’m in another place. Finally, she told me that the video should seem flawless which can be achieved by using those strategies as well as having proper transitions between clips, camera angles, and other things that we didn’t talk about in our meeting.
The next thing that we talked about was, what camera angles I should use while filming. She said that the more camera angles I can get the better. She told me that my safe shot would always be a wide-angle shot which I could get by setting up a camera at the bottom of a feature or else someone holds the camera. Another common angle in mountain biking and skiing is a POV shot which I can get by mounting a GoPro to my helmet or my chest. Because getting five or six different shots from different places can be hard to get with one camera, she said that I should do the feature multiple times and get different angle each time, for example, a tripod on the ground, POV, follow-cam, one beside the wheel and one from the handlebar looking back at the rider.
The next thing that I asked her about was crossing axis’s which is where you show the same video twice in a row but from different angles which is the only time we disagreed. I only asked her about it because I’ve seen it look good before and I had a few places in mind to try crossing axis’s. She told me that it wasn’t a very good idea to do that unless you could pull it off like Quentin Tarantino does, which I obviously can’t but I’d seen it look good many times before on YouTube. We came to an agreement that it would be able to work for certain features if I did it properly so that’s something that I want to try and play with on a certain feature on Eagle Mountain once I can ride again.
After that, I asked about the audio for a video. She said that what audio you choose would depend on the speed of the video but that something like Green Day might work nicely. Again, in the past, I’ve noticed that a lot of bike park edits have rock music somewhat similar to Green Day and it adds a nice touch to the video, especially in the fast-paced videos. She gave me a tip about putting clips behind the music and it was to put the clips in the video in frames of eight because most songs are usually going by eight beats so you can have one frame for each beat, and it works out to super clean transitions. She said that was mostly used for animations which she specializes in, but it could also apply to live-action videos.
Finally, she taught me about audio keyframing which is a feature in the software that lets you turn up the sound or lower the volume where you want. It’s a fairly simple process to do but it can actually make a big difference to a video and something that I had never heard of. An example she gave me was that you make the audio louder when the biker is spraying dirt around a corner which is also something that appears in a lot of good edits. I tried audio keyframing on a video that I took of my friend spraying dirt around a corner in Squamish a few months ago and I think that it turned out pretty good, and I included the before and after in this post.