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.