While I was reading my peers blog posts, one thing that I noticed was that two people didn’t format their posts into paragraphs and the other three people did. While reading the posts there was a significant difference between the two, the two that didn’t have paragraphs were slightly less engaging than the other three and I found that I lost my spot a few times while reading. Something else that I noticed was some people didn’t use very many pictures and videos which were less engaging compared to the ones that had many photos and links. Although it didn’t make a massive difference in these short posts, a long post that was only words would get boring much faster than one which had a link or picture that I could see every paragraph or two. The final thing that I noticed was how the posts that had a quote at the start I felt like I learned a bit more about the eminent person than in the posts that didn’t have a quote. In my future posts I will continue to use those three strategies to keep my posts engaging and interesting for the reader as well as the helpful feedback that I received on my blog post.
“Digger—aka Todd Fiander—is one of the original trail builders that gave Vancouver’s North Shore its legendary status in the mountain biking world” (Diggerknowfear.com n.d.). For my eminent person this year I’ve decided to research Todd Fiander. He is an iconic mountain bike trail builder and filmmaker in North Vancouver who is one of the few people to be inducted into the mountain biking hall of fame. One of the reasons that I chose Todd as my eminent person was because I ride the trails that he built twenty-five years ago, and I watch the movies that he made. He’s also a prominent figure in mountain biking which is what I spend most of my free time doing. We both share a love for mountain biking, trail building, and filmmaking. Some of our common strengths include determination, perseverance, and patience, and both of us learn best hands-on. In TALONS my goal is to try my hardest in classes and to make new friends, when Todd is making a new trail or movie, he will put a ton of time into it to make it the best it can be, and he’s done lots of collaborations with other people like Dan Cowan. I can’t see any barriers that I would have connecting with Todd.
Fiander lived in North Vancouver and picked up the new sport of mountain biking in 1990 and was one of the first people to be doing it. In 1995 he got tired of riding on hiking trails and running into hikers, so he made the first bike-specific trail on the North Shore. The first trail that he built was on Mount Fromme and because of how wet the area is he used wooden bridges to get over swamps and creeks which hadn’t been seen anywhere else at the time. During his first build, he discovered his love for trail building which inspired him to keep making trails. Fiander has now hand-built over 35 trails and almost 60km of trail which is why he is nicknamed “Digger”. After he built a few trails, Dan Cowan came along and decided that his trails weren’t crazy enough, so he made his own trails with huge jumps and stunts. Eventually, the two builders started collaborating and became the iconic duo of Digger and Dangerous Dan. Because of the trails that these two built the North Shore was gaining popularity and more people were picking up the sport.
In late 1997 Fiander came out with his first film “North Shore Extreme” which was the first of ten that would come later. His film featured anyone in the area who was willing to ride the trails that he and Dan had built for the movie. The film helped the riders like Kim Steed and Wade Simmons to gain popularity and Kim Steed even used it to promote his bike shop which is a huge success now. Not only did it gain popularity for the riders but also for the trails in Vancouver. Mountain bike enthusiasts all over the world saw the film and saw the style of riding here, other places started to adopt a similar style which is now known as “freeride”. The film also attracted mountain bike enthusiasts all over the world to come to Vancouver and many of whom stayed to develop the trail system, even more, to make it one of the most popular places for mountain biking in the world.
Also in late 1997, Fiander helped to create the North Shore Mountain Bike Association (NSMBA). The NSMBA was created to essentially stand up for trail builders and the trails. One of the trails on Fromme was destroyed by a hiker and Grouse Mountain Resort was planning on taking over Fromme, Seymour trails were threatened by housing development and so were the Cypress trails and the NSMBA was going to fight to keep the trails. Currently, the NSMBA has over 2,500 members that help support the maintenance for trails on the North Shore with millions of people that come to ride the trails every year, and it’s one of the biggest, most well-known mountain biking associations in the world.
In summary, Todd Fiander is one of the most prominent figures in the mountain bike world who is one of only a few people to be inducted into the Marin Mountain Biking Hall of Fame for his extensive trail work and films as well as his creation of the NSMBA.
- Todd Fiander’s website. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://diggerknowfear.com/
- Vendetti, M. (2017, October 05). Home. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://mmbhof.org/
- NSMBA History. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://nsmba.ca/history/
- Digger: North shore history X – part II. (n.d.). Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://nsmb.com/articles/4928-digger-north-shore-history-x-part-ii/
- Bears Eat Beets. (n.d.). Retrieved October 2o, 2021, from http://www.blog44.ca/owenc/2020/11/17/todd-fiander-the-greatest-canadian/
- Berard, M. (2016, January 05). His first name is “dangerous” – the dan cowan interview. Retrieved October 20, 2021, from https://www.pinkbike.com/news/dangerous-dan-cowan-interview-2016.html
This year was interesting to say the least, our learning was split between online and in class. I liked the hybrid system this year, I got to put more thought into each subject which helped me retain more information. However, some of my electives had absolutely nothing for me to do at home, for example, Culinary Arts. 3 days a week I do nothing in the morning, which is good for me but, it seems kind of weird just having school for 2 hours a day. Technology played a huge part in our learning this year, I used my laptop more than in any year partly for homework but also for meetings and online classes. Without Teams I’m not sure what would be happening this year, maybe we would be fully in class which probably wouldn’t be good for Covid. The other option would’ve been that we got a ton of homework at the start of the week which wouldn’t suit my style of learning and I think I would’ve gotten a lot less from this year and I probably wouldn’t have done as well. I think that technology also made learning harder because I was doing so much on my laptop which has google and my phone was often close by as well.
I wish that the quarter system could stay because I find that I have an easier time focusing when there are fewer subjects even if there’s less time to learn them. However, I don’t like online learning. It is nice when there’s no online class but in science, the two-and-a-half-hour science classes are way too long and it’s so hard to stay focused. So, I want the online part to be gone, but I did like the quarter system even though it probably will not come back. The other thing that I liked was being able to bring my backpack into class. I know most people liked lockers more, but I liked having my bag beside me even if it meant having a 30-pound backpack in science. Even though I hope those will happen, I doubt anything will stay from this system and it will just go back to the old ways of learning,
One project where technology came to my benefit was eminent. I had to do a ton of research on Jigme Singye Wangchuck, and he hardly exists on the internet which made my project tricky. But, I can’t imagine doing that through books if it was that hard online so I’m really glad I had those great resources that I found. I also filmed myself explaining everything which I had to use a camera for and editing software. The learning centre can be found on my blog.
The project where I used the most technology this year was by far In-Depth. First, all of my meetings with my mentor were on zoom which had a ton of technical difficulties, but it worked out in the end and I got a recording of each meeting. I had a great editing software called Davinci which was free but still better than most of the paid ones. Without it, In-Depth either would’ve been very expensive or not gone well at all. I used a lot of camera gear from my house and from my friends which was a huge part of my project as well and using good quality cameras made a huge difference in the video quality. In the end, I put it all together by making a website which was a lot of fun to learn how to use. The final post for In-Depth is also on my blog already.
Here is the link to my website showcasing my learning from the In-Depth Project.
In the last four weeks, I got lots done. First of all, I did a ton of mountain biking and skiing and from that, got a ton of footage. Over spring break I only made two videos but I now have footage for a few more soon. The first video that I made was a ski video, I hadn’t done one in a while so I decided it was a good idea and I also decided to try using background music. I took some footage I got of a double-black ski run I did where it was nearly minus 40. I also spent some time browsing YouTube for a non-copyrighted song that I could use for the background music. I was looking for a song that had a good beat and flow to it and eventually, I came across a channel that makes background music for other people to use and chose one of the songs they had.
Here’s the ski video: https://youtu.be/qqIjbvLN99E
As I said, this was my first time using music in the background of the video. I have based a video off of the music plenty of times but never tried putting music behind a video. I was happy with the result, it made the video more engaging and the music fits well into the video. The only thing I wasn’t happy with was that I got the camera angle too low but it was still worth making the video. It was frustrating because a lot of my footage from spring break was too low because it is hard to check but I’ll start checking more often now. One more thing I tried doing was an intro to the video as well as lowering the volume of the music when I’m talking which took a while to figure out but I got it. When I showed the video to my mentor she said that she liked the intro to the video and that the music was very good. The one thing that she said was that it went on for a little too long because it was interesting for the first couple of minutes but then not much changed. A few ways I could fix that would have been more camera angles, switch up the music, or make the video shorter.
The next video I did was a mountain biking video. I went to Burke with my friend, and I filmed him again on a few of the trails. I didn’t get as much footage as I was hoping from that day, but I still wanted to make something. I decided that this time I would base the video around a song, so I chose Song 2 by Blur because it isn’t too much to ruin the riding, but it was fast enough to keep it interesting. I wanted t try something new in the video, so I put the same video from two different angles right after one another a few times. I also cut out half the song and put in the ending which went well and watching it back I can’t find where I cut it which I’m really happy about considering it was my second time.
Here’s the biking video:https://youtu.be/4JDzmxagUc8
So far this is definitely my best video, it’s a little short but I had no more videos to use. One thing that I got was a few people commented “thanks for this” instead of just “nice video bro” and that felt great. My mentor also really liked the video, she said I nailed it and that I’m definitely on the right track. Even my friend who was in it said that it was way better than any of my other ones. I asked my mentor if she noticed where I cut the song and she didn’t. I also asked her what she thought about putting the same videos in different angles and she said that she didn’t even notice them which is great. The only issue that she brought up was that there were two longer clips at the end that got a little boring because they were similar. Looking at YouTube Analytics you can see the average view duration which was 45 seconds which is exactly where the two long clips started. Next time we go out I’ll try and go earlier so that we have more time to film so that I can make the video more entertaining.
In my meeting, I asked about colour grading which would be helpful if I need to use a clip from another day to make it fit in. She wasn’t sure how to do it on the software that I use so she sent me a few videos to watch. She also said that the software I use has one of the best colour grading systems which is neat, especially considering it’s free. I also asked about making a voice-over which is something that I’ve wanted to try from the start of this project. The main things she said were important were; intro, good mic, and an outro at the end and she explained how I could do all of them for the video I want to do. In the coming two weeks I’m going to try making a voice-over with some footage I got from Thornhill last weekend.
The other thing that we talked about in the meeting was the final project. First of all, we changed the 4 videos that I was going to do to 3 and decided that they didn’t have to be three minutes each. Before this project, I thought that time was everything but I quickly learned that it wasn’t. My original idea for the final test was that my mentor would give me a bunch of clips and I would have to make a video out of them. She suggested that I do a documentary instead of that, at first I was confused because it didn’t seem to fit with what I’d been working on. She explained that I could start with an interview then go into some riding where I can use background music and do a voice-over. The video will be between three and five minutes and I’ll start working on it after our next meeting until the end of the project. Between now and the next meeting I’ll work on the final of my three videos then in the meeting we’ll discuss more about the documentary.
- Colour Grading – A way to change the colours in a clip to make it look more desirable. Use; make a clip fit into a film shot with different lighting.
- Voice-over – A way of making a video more engaging by speaking over the original audio. Use; describing what I’m doing in the video and walk them through what is happening as it goes on.
- Background Music – A way of making a video more engaging by playing music over the clips. Use; while riding or skiing I can put music in the background to make the video flow better, feel faster or slower and keep it interesting.
The most recent alternative my mentor gave me was when she gave me the idea of doing a documentary for my final project. I think that most other mentors would have just gone with the plan and given me some clips to work with however she suggested that I try a documentary and then thoroughly explained how to do it and next session she’ll talk more about it. Thinking about it now, this option is much better because I get to apply every single thing that I’ve learned into one video which should be very challenging but also very fun. I also really like how sometimes she’ll offer to teach me more things even if I just ask about one thing. For example, a while ago I asked how to speed up a small section of a video to make the riding seem faster but not noticeable. She showed me how to do that then also asked if I wanted to learn the same for slow motion and of course, I wanted to. I think that another mentor would have also taught me the same thing as it was pretty similar and it kind of makes sense to teach them both at the same time At first I was just doing video editing but she has also offered to teach me other things like filming, and audio work, which is great. I think that with another mentor if I said that I was doing video editing they’d probably just teach me how to edit videos. My mentor has offered to teach me how to film which she wasn’t too experienced with so she had to put in a lot of extra work.
For my learning centre, I am going to be doing a website. I’m thinking of doing it very similar to my eminent learning centre with a few pictures at the top that have some information about my project under them. Under the pictures, I will put four or five notable videos and a description about them and I will show my progress from my first video to the last. I will also answer the questions from the Learning Contract and talk about meeting my goals from the contract. I think that for the interactive part it will just be the videos that I made unless I can come up with something else closer to the presentation.
Compared to the last two weeks, these went great. Nothing went wrong and I feel like I really progressed, possibly more than any other weeks. I pretty much spent the whole time working on one project, the redo of In My Backyard (IMBY for short). The original IMBY video just fell short of being four minutes long and featured every single clip that I took when I was filming at Eagle Mountain. In my last blog post I talked about everything my mentor wanted me to change in it but here is a summary. Too long, too repetitive, not enough story, not enough engagement, needs music and it needs to be faster-paced. Anyways, that’s what I was working on between meetings.
Here is the redo of IMBY: https://youtu.be/REU_0T09xcI
It’s funny, a 90-second video can take so many hours to make. This one took me even longer to make than the original IMBY just I didn’t have to film again. When I met with my mentor, she first started talking about the video I did just with the chest mount. As I explained in the last post it was mainly just to try out the chest mount and practice a few other skills that she taught me. As I expected she was ok with it, it wasn’t supposed to be great. I put no effort to add story to it or make the video amazing as that wasn’t what I was focusing on and it wasn’t a big project. The one part that she did really like about it though was how there was some dialogue between me and my friend Joseph who I was riding with. She said it could replace music in a way because it creates story and makes the video more engaging.
We then moved on to talk about my redo of IMBY. Here’s what she had to say about that, “It was perfect, it followed everything that we had been talking about and the music worked great with the video.” She also said that the video was very engaging and left her wanting to see more which is a good thing. There was a couple of parts in my video that I wasn’t sure about even though she didn’t bring them up. The first one was the dynamic zoom, he said that she hadn’t even noticed it until I brought it up. That means that it is subtle enough not to notice however it is still making a small difference to the video even if you aren’t aware of it. The second was the ending; it was annoying to me because I couldn’t get a clean ending and I didn’t have any more good clips to use to get to the good part of the song. When I brought it up, she said that was her one issue with the video, but it was very minor and fixable.
One feature that I love in YouTube is the analytics app called YouTube Studio. My mentor’s opinion is one thing, but I can use YouTube to find out what 100 people think. For example, it shows the average percentage of the video that is watched. In the second IMBY, the engagement rate was right under 90% which is good for any channel but for mine that is a record by a landslide. For the first IMBY, the engagement rate was a little over 50% so that was a massive leap, and I would say that shows a lot of progression. I also got a couple of comments on that video with tips on how to make it better which I appreciate. The first one was to shoot the video in 1440 resolution to make the quality better which I have already changed on my GoPro. The second person said that the music was too much, and it made the riding seem lame and that I should have used Jazz. Looking back at the video I would agree the music was overkill, I didn’t have to use death metal, but I also really don’t think jazz will work. If I used Jazz it would go against everything that my mentor said about the song choice, but I think for my next video I will do hard rock and scale it down a bit. I also wanted to mention that this video did well on YouTube, it got 140 views, 11 likes and I gained 2 subscribers and that was all from people I don’t know.
I also spent a lot of time with my mentor learning how to make the music fit my video better. What she wanted me to learn how to do was to be able to cut a song. She showed me how to cut the song in two spots to make the song shorter or it can also be looped to make it longer. I don’t think I’m going to be able to explain it, but it made sense to me watching her do it. She said that I should try to do it twice, once with one song and another time combining two songs that uses the same method. Right after the meeting, I tried cutting a song. It came out way better than I expected being almost flawless and I sent it to my mentor, and she agreed. She said if I hadn’t told her beforehand where I cut it, she wouldn’t have been able to tell.
Here’s what I did (You can’t export just audio, hence the random picture.): https://youtu.be/Mc7TvMCQHWo
As for combining two songs, it has proved to be much harder, and I am not finished with that yet. Just today started filming for my next video which is going to be marked. This time I am filming at Burke Mountain and it will be a little more of a variety of trails. In this video, I am going to be filming the same friend in IMBY and I am going to try and make it similar to the second IMBY but better with everything I’ve learned from it. The plan was to do all the filming in one day but due to some difficulties we only got there at 4:30 so we did a little less than half of the filming. So now we have to find another day to film, but it will be challenging because of the lighting and weather.
Here’s where she was showing me how to cut a song and she was having a hard time doing it with the song I used for IMBY:
Me: So, this would work better using another song because of all the screaming, right? (Black)
Mentor: Yeah, what happened is that I chose a spot where he is talking but he is basically screaming through the whole song so it’s tricky. If you try cutting with a song that has a good beat to it, it will be much easier. (White)
Me: Oh, ok. Do you have any songs in mind that could work well? I’m guessing that a slow song without much dialogue would work well because you can find a good spot where the beat matches. (Yellow)
Mentor: I don’t have any songs in mind, I have a feeling that dance songs would work well though. I think I’ll keep working on this song after the meeting then I will send it to you. Your homework will be to try cutting out a part of a song, but it doesn’t have to be a song that you use, just any easy song, and send it to me once you are finished. (Green)
In the next few weeks between now and my next meeting, I am going to finish filming at Burke and make a video out of it. Coming up is spring break and I think that I will be able to get a ton of footage that I will be able to use in future projects and for In-Depth. One final thing that I wanted to mention is that I’ve started posting videos on Reddit and I am finding that I get a lot more feedback from that than just posting on YouTube.
I would like to start this post by saying that I haven’t made as much progress as I would have liked due to several setbacks I had. The first setback I had was that my bi-weekly meeting with my mentor was delayed by a week which meant that I had three weeks without a meeting. This week I asked my mentor if it would be ok if we might later because I thought that I would be able to pull off another video between then but something happened.
I was supposed to go to Seymour with my friend to days in a row to film but on the first day I had a leadership class at Taekwondo and the timing ended up being way too tight for me to be able to go. He went with his dad and he crashed and got a minor concussion which sucked because he could only rest so he couldn’t ride and I couldn’t film which of course is for the best. I figured that I would just record POV from my helmet on the second day but it was raining so hard that the audio got messed up and the footage was super wet even though I kept wiping off the GoPro.
I figured even though the footage wasn’t good I might be able to salvage some of it and make something. I tried but the software I use to edit was failing on me. When I was trying to playback the video it was playing a couple of frames a second and it was just impossible to work with. At a certain point, I gave up because I couldn’t make any progress. I felt like I hit a wall, I was super frustrated with the software because it’s a very good software and my mentor strongly recommends it and I know many people that use it but it wasn’t working for me. Instead of looking forward to my next project like usual, I was kind of dreading it because then I would have to deal with all those problems again.
When I met with my mentor we tried to sort out the problems and it took a little while but eventually, we figured out how to make it run smoother by putting the render quality to 1/16 and changing the render cache which I didn’t understand what it was so I asked and she told me that it was essentially the settings to pre-render the video so you can change how it does that.
When I asked her how to make it smoother she didn’t know right away because she mainly uses Premiere Pro so we were both trying to figure out how to do it at the same time. I think that kind of gave us a chance to improve our connection because instead of her showing me how to do everything, we were on a similar level even though she was the one who ended up figuring it out.
After we got that sorted out I showed her the two videos that I had done since our last meeting, one of which I included in my last blog post and the other one is the one that I talked about filming in the last one.
Here’s the link for the ski video: Ski Video
Here’s the link for the mountain biking video:In My Backyard
I enjoyed making the mountain biking video, it was a blast to film being out there in the snow with my friend and playing with the camera angles but producing the video was quite fun as well and this was before the problems started happening. The mountain biking took me longer to make than any other video including the planning, filming, and production it took around 10-12 hours and I was very happy with the outcome. I incorporated a story into the video and tried to make it seem fast-paced even though that was a little tricky because of the ice. The ski video, on the other hand, took around 2 hours to produce and I was just filming while skiing plus I asked my dad to take a few shots for me so quite simple but still a good outcome but to me, the biking video was much superior.
After watching the videos she immediately said that the ski video was very good, it followed pretty much everything that she taught me already. “What about the bike video?” I asked. She wasn’t as much of a fan of that video because it was too long, not fast enough paced, she said it should have some music even if it’s just in some parts, and that it should have more of a variety of shots because they were all pretty much wide shots. We hadn’t talked much about using too much of a shot before but she had told me that wide shot was a safe shot so I assumed that it should be my main shot but now I know that I should try to do a mixture of close-up and medium shots and all the other ones.
Of course, she’s the expert so I thought about everything she said and it all made sense, thinking back on the video. It just took her to point out the issues for me to realize they were there even though I didn’t exactly agree with her right away. I know she told me before that my video was too long for my very first one and that seems to be my main problem, that I want to use all of it and I can’t help myself but in this case less is more. We decided that I would redo the video using the same clips but I would add music to make it more non-stop and faster-paced while also cutting out the unnecessary clips. I’ve decided that I’d use a song called Hardrock Hallelujah because I think it will be fitting to the video, but I haven’t been able to start that yet because I was working on another project until just now. I’m not exactly looking forward to making it again because I’ve already worked with the clips but it will probably end up being enjoyable and I like working with music because it’s a little more challenging and it’s kind of like a puzzle because you have to fit all the clips in a spot of the song that fits, the only difference is you have a tool you can use to cut the piece to fit.
As I said, I’m struggling to keep my videos shorter so I had to ask what the ideal time for a video would be. I asked her if it would depend on how engaging the video was or if there was just some general rule for how long the video should be. I was sure the answer would be one of those but then she said that it depended on the story in the video. If there was a story like in a Redbull video you watch then the video would be much longer however if it was simpler like in my edit then the video should be shorter. I feel like if I had just asked how long should a video be instead of putting the two things that I thought on the table then I would have gotten more of a vague answer instead of the in-depth answer she gave me because she could have just said “it depends on the story” but she gave examples and it made a lot of sense to me.
Speaking of the other project, I started a new project the day after our meeting taking into account some of the things she said in the meeting. It was a little hard to make the video fast-paced because of the terrain and the whole video is shot from my chest which is quite a nice angle if I do say so myself but the reason I did the whole thing the same angle was because I’m not too familiar using the chest mount so that was to get used to it and I’m going to keep using it in the upcoming videos. It was very tricky but I kept the video under 2 minutes which was my goal for it and made it non-stop.
I also tried a little bit of a different method making the video using flags in the timeline to keep it even more organized and using a new tool she taught me called “Blade”. If you do control B on a clip where your timeline cursor is then it splits the clip and it’s insane how helpful it is and I can’t believe I didn’t know about that earlier. The other thing that I did differently was I cut the clips into a bunch of smaller clips then I mixed them all up so that I wouldn’t be tempted to put them in order. That’s another thing that she is telling me, that the videos don’t have to be in order they should just go by what works the best and I came up with that little solution to break the habit and it had a positive effect on the video for sure.
Here’s the link for that video: Bike Video
The other thing that I tried with this video is to make the thumbnail more appealing. As you can see the title is almost like clickbait because that would make the viewer want to watch the video and put a decent picture that they see. I also used capital letters for GNARLIEST and EVER because those are the words that I would want to stick out to the viewer because if I saw “gnarliest ever” in a video that already sounds like a good video to me as well as the exclamation marks to make it stick out even more.
She also showed me how I can make sections of a clip slow motion which I tried to learn over a YouTube video in between our meetings but it was a little confusing and it seemed like there had to be an easier way so I asked her to show me. Sure enough, there was a much easier way by using the blade tool to make separate clips than choosing the speed for each clip.
Here’s a link for a few of the videos I tried that with: Slo-Mo
The first video was very basic, I just made two different clips and made the speed 100 then 50 in the second. In the second video, I had three clips because it had to come back to speed at the end. In the final video, I had five clips and it starts to get a little trickier but so much easier than the other way I know.
For the following weeks, I have so many video ideas that I’m not sure I’m going to be able to follow through with them. I’m planning on doing a video at Montgomery middle school because we found some pretty insane drops there where you can easily get 10-15 feet of air and I think that I can make that look cool on camera and that place has so much more to offer as well. I’ve also planned to film Ben for a day skiing and make an edit out of that with some good music.
I have so many more ideas too like I want to make a video to show 5 easy parking lot bike tricks which will be interesting because I’ve never done something like that before. I also found so many good songs in the last two weeks that I’m dying to make videos out of, for example, Dance of Death by Iron Maiden is absolutely perfect, its got a good intro then 9 minutes of high-speed heavy metal following that so I think I’ll save that for a big edit maybe at the end of the project even if I just use a portion of the song. Ben also suggested some songs to me as well as I discovered USS, a Canadian band that would be great for smaller ski edits and they might work for mountain biking as well. Anyways, for the upcoming two weeks, I have tons to work on and this is for sure going to be a great week for me.
This week with my mentor I mainly focused on how to take videos that I would be able to work with. Knowing how to take videos is the most important part of editing videos. After all, without them, you wouldn’t have anything to work with because you can only use so many of other people’s videos before you either run out or get a copyright claim against you.
My mentor is experienced mostly in animation, not live-action so we spent the first 30 minutes of the meeting watching popular mountain biking videos on YouTube and paying attention to the types of shots that they used. We found that one of the most frequently re-occurring shots was from a drone which I don’t have access to so we weren’t able to use that. She then showed me how I would be able to get a similar angle to a drone shot by putting a GoPro on a tree and I can say that I’ve tried it and it looks great. When I tried it was very snowy and icy plus my wrist is still bothering me so I was cautious and only managed to get the camera around ten feet high in the tree but in the summer when it’s dry it will look amazing.
Here’s a link to one of the shots I took from a tree: https://sd43bcca-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/125-rdickson_sd43_bc_ca/EVuV-PSQCqdPp2tmdnD7NWkBsB5Y5xUbDo4_XJ8kx560dA?e=Xrw4cS
There was a feature in one of the videos that she showed me that was a big wooden feature shot from a drone and that immediately made me think of this one and that I could put my camera on that tree except I was planning on putting it higher. Once I made the connection I told her about it and we talked about how I could get the angle right to make it look cool by getting the roll-down in the view, the run-up, and some scenery.
Other than the drone shots there were three other common angles. The first one was a POV shot from either a chest mount or a helmet mount which I already have some experience in using, someone filming the rider using a wide shot, and finally, a follow-cam from behind the rider and my mentor even suggested that it could look good if you put a chest mound on your back so that you can see the rider behind you but for now I’m not going to be able to do any follow cams because of my wrist.
After that, we talked more about making a story out of your video. You should start your videos with some shots that aren’t on your bike for example putting on your helmet or outing your feet on the pedals. I asked “what if I started off the video on the bike but not going down the hill for example climbing shots or doing a wheelie in the parking lot. In my next video, I’m going to try and start the video off with a climb and I have a specific idea to get some scenery and a specific sign in a shot.
Because my mentor doesn’t have too much experience making mountain biking videos there were a few things that she suggested that I didn’t completely agree with. One of them was in a video we watched, and the man had set up a GoPro on the chainstay of his bike (basically the part of the frame under the chain) and it was looking at the back of his leg and his pedal but you could also see the trail. It wasn’t a bad angle, to be honest, but I don’t think it would work for these reasons; GoPro mounts are very expensive, it would be super easy to knock the GoPro off the bike, low to the ground so it could be hit and finally, I wouldn’t trust a GoPro mount sideways on such a small part of the bike. I didn’t want to disagree so I thought of a few scenarios where it might work out and these include; if my legs were ripped, I made enough videos to make it worthwhile, I had GoPro + in case it got damaged, and finally if I had the money to use amount there instead of somewhere else that would look better and I could use it more often. I brought up why it might not work for me and the scenarios where it could work and we agreed that it wasn’t the best idea for me to use that angle in my videos.
Before my second meeting, I made a video with music in the background using the videos I had back from Sun Peaks a couple of months ago.
Here’s the link for that: https://youtu.be/u4ivnSLiiIA
In this video, I used a faster-paced song than in the mountain biking video I made a while back like she told me to, and I made it so that the order of the videos made sense rather than how I just threw in videos wherever in the previous video. Another issue that she had with the mountain biking video was that it was too repetitive and some of the clips that I used didn’t fit so I made this video less repetitive even though I used two very similar videos it didn’t feel repetitive. Her exact words were “the video is great except for the portrait shots; it wasn’t too repetitive, and the clips all fit in”. A portrait shot is when you’re filming with your phone straight up instead of filming wide which is how you always should be. The videos were older and I hadn’t planned on making a video so that is why they were portrait but she showed me how I could make a portrait shot look much better however it still doesn’t compete with a wide-angle.
Here are some of the videos that I tried to fix and in my opinion they look much better now than they did with the black backgrounds. https://youtu.be/9tJW1z6ca-w
One issue that I had with my Sun Peaks video was that the video was filmed pretty far back but there was one point where it was close so I couldn’t just crop it. She showed me how I could use the dynamic zoom feature so that I could constantly have the camera focused on the rider/ skier. I tried out dynamic zoom with a couple of videos and I think that it makes a huge difference to the first video and I wish that I knew about it before making the video. In the second video, it didn’t make as big of a difference but it still looks better than before. The second video is also the same feature that I used the tree shot for and that kind of shows how much better an elevated shot such as that one or a drone shot would look, plus the snow makes it look nicer.
Here’s the link for those videos:https://youtu.be/vAMod8gebPc
My mentor said that between the second meeting and the third I should try and use a bunch of the shots that we talked about and looked at in the YouTube videos. I suggested that I make a storyboard and try to do it in one big film day and make a video out of it at the end so that’s what we decided that I would be doing for the next meeting. So as soon as we ended the call I came up with a storyboard, a storyboard is a timeline and I put different features on the timeline, and under each feature, I put down the angles that I would use to film them. I decided that I would film on three of my favorite trails; Manhandler, Three Little Pigs, and Juan Valdez which are all on Eagle Mountain. I called one of my friends and asked him if I could film him for the day and he agreed and even let me use his GoPro and his phone to film so in total I had four cameras to work with.
We decided we would meet on Monday after school. Monday comes around and I’m super excited because I never do this, I’m usually filming myself and sometimes I’ll film someone or someone will record me but never for a full day. Then I get out of bed and it’s dumping snow so we have to call it off. That was very frustrating to me because that hadn’t even been a possibility and I wasn’t just frustrated because I needed the footage, I also hadn’t been riding for over a month and that was going to be the first day. Luckily I and my dad went skiing that night so I got some footage out of that and made a video out of that as well.
Here’s that video: https://youtu.be/eBwiejqeJF0
I was really happy with that video because I incorporated a story into it by adding the chairlift clip as well as the one of me putting my helmet on and to me it makes a big difference to the video. The song also matched the pace of the song which adds a nice flow to it. I got some more practice using keyframing in this video by changing the levels of the audio at a certain point which I also messed up a couple of them so that is something I want to touch on in the next meeting. I also used a bit of keyframing in the video in the form of dynamic zoom which is just a combination of cropping and keyframes. I’m looking forward to showing my mentor the video next week and to see what I can do better next time.
I and my friend decided that we would go out today to film even though it was -10 on the mountain which was refreshing and it felt so good to be mountain biking again. My goal was to get around 50-75 shots today and to try and get a bunch of different angles as well as getting a bunch of shots to make a story out of it. I ended up getting over 90 videos and I’m super stoked with how it turned out.
The cold was a challenge for us but as I mentioned it also felt good and the snow and ice in the background made the videos look very good however it also resulted in a few scary crashed that my friend had. Another challenge we had was because of how cold it was, both of our phones died within an hour which left us with two cameras and that slowed everything down. The tripod we had also frozen and because of that, neither of the GoPro’s fit in it which was an issue because that limited the static shots that I would be able to get. Because we were already slowed down, it started to get dark at the end and 1:30 quickly became 5:30 and it got dark but luckily the footage still works and can blend in with the rest. I haven’t gotten a chance to go through the videos I took yet but I’m excited to get on with the video and I think that they will turn out great!
One thing that I’ve noticed since starting this project is that I’m starting to enjoy making videos more now especially as my knowledge of how to make them is increasing and they are getting better. As for my improvement, I think that the videos speak for themselves. If you look at the last video that I made at Seymour with a limited set of videos compared to the mountain biking compilation I made a couple of months before, the difference is massive, and I can’t wait to keep getting on with this and am looking forward to comparing the videos I’m making now to what they will look like in the end.
Blog Post #2
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 out?” 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 labelled 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 a fast-paced video 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 because there’s a time and a place where I would want to watch a slower video and if I clicked on 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 Terantino 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 am able to ride again.
After that, I asked about the audio for a video. She said that what audio you choose for 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 really nice touch to the video especially in the fast-paced videos. She gave me a tip about putting clips behind music and it was to put the clips in the video in frames of eight because most song 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 be applicable to live-action videos.
Finally, she taught me about audio key framing 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 key framing 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.
Here’s the links for the before and after video but the quality turned to garbage when I put them on this website sadly.
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.