Any tips for better motorbike videos?

Discussion in 'Australia' started by B1, Jun 28, 2011.

  1. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    here's some of the stuff we've picked up over the past few years but still got a lot to learn, so very keen to hear from others. updated this list with tips from others in this thread.

    ZOOM IN ON THE BIKE
    our first vids had the bike way off in the distance, you could barely see it! nowadays we try to have the bike at least half filling the frame, if not completely. with the gopro, this usually means riding really close to other bikes because of the wide angle lens. with the movie camera, just zooming in.

    MINIMIZE CAMERA SHAKE
    on board footage often looks terrible because the bike is getting bucked around so much. helmet cam mounts are the most stable but can still be too jarring to watch... try absorbing the shocks more with your legs while the camera is on.

    when doing hand held camera work, triangulate! hold the video camera with two hands and tuck your elbows into your body... your arms and body form triangles that anchor the camera firmly to reduce shaking. don't ever swing the camera around fast, you need to pan slowly and smoothly if taking in the scenery.

    USE 'SUPERVIEW' ON THE GOPRO 3+ & 4 MODELS TO REDUCE CAMERA SHAKE
    it films in 4:3 aspect which uses the entire sensor of the gopro and captures a 'taller' image. it then stretches the edges of the image to become wide screen e.g. the standard 16:9 aspect. makes the footage much smoother, camera angle isn't so critical, and gets the bars in view nicely. but the guys in front look smaller, uses more battery and it's not so good for handfilming because it distorts the sides of the image. more info in this post.



    BE VICIOUS AND GET RID OF MOST OF THE FOOTAGE
    early on we felt every second of footage was precious but the vids were largely boring and way too long (for others at least), nowadays we edit out about 80% of it so we are just left with the interesting bits. this wouldn't apply to vids just for your own viewing of course, or where you are showing others a complete section of track etc. otherwise, get vicious in editing! deliberately try to remove as much as you can and only leave bits in that are just too good to throw out.

    AVOID LONG TAKES
    most tv shows and movies only have takes of about two to four seconds before they change camera angle. we gradually learned to do this as well, and try to keep each take under five seconds. dropping in still photos seemed to help too. if you've got reasonably advanced software you can use zoom or movement on the still photos to give a sense of action. say you have only four bits of raw video footage that are quite long, try chopping most of it into five to ten second pieces then just jumble them all up.

    VARY THE SPEED
    we drop in bits of slow motion here and there, sometimes we'll speed things up, other times it might be a combination - say, speeding the bike up toward the corner, then slow motion through the corner, then speed up again on the exit. one of the guys below suggested not doing consecutive slow motion segments though, keep it mixed.

    AVOID LONG BORING INTROS.... YAWN
    we started with these long intros e.g. title, driving out to the riding area, kitting up, etc. but realized when we watch youtube clips if they don't grab us within five seconds we usually don't bother. so nowadays we just jump straight into it, figuring you've only got five seconds for the short attention spans of anyone under 45 years of age nowadays.... :lol3 even experienced videographers often get this wrong and have all sorts of long shots of logos and headings at the beginning. double yawn.

    INTERESTING ANGLES
    we used to just leave the gopro camera mounted to the one spot and film all day - ho hum. now we vary it throughout the day. top of helmet, side of helmet, handlebar, the side of our boots, swingarm, bottom of the bashplate... on hill climbs, get someone to stand there and so some static filming to mix in with all the helmet cam footage. see our video below showing examples of different angles.

    AVOID MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF RAW FOOTAGE TO EDIT
    used to come home with about two hours of footage and it would take all day to edit it down to three minutes. now we try to be very selective and only film stuff that we think is worth keeping. much easier to edit 30 mins of raw footage down to 3 minutes! we also keep each take short now, maybe five to 20 seconds long max. editing is much easier than if you have to trawl through a 10 minute long clip just to find that one water crossing or jump!

    TELL A STORY WITH YOUR VIDEO
    If your camera records audio well, try narrating while filming (assuming you are off the bike and helmet off :lol3). Or add narration afterwards, even the very basic video editing programs usually let you plug a microphone into your PC to record comments during the video editing. Narration, titles or some on location sound make any vid more interesting. Based on a tip from Motoriley below, he has a link to his vids for examples).

    NARRATION
    fits in with the above. we all hate the sound of our own voice on film, but here and there ask other riders in the group a question, or say something while filming. or get ambitious and add it in afterwards. the gopros actually record very good audio if you put a bit of foam over them to avoid that breathy spitting sound on the letter "p". examples below.

    if you really don't want to talk, just put some text in here and there that tells a bit of a story through the video.

    HUMOR
    riding is fun, so personally i think plenty of humor is a good move. it is a cultural thing though... i've noticed the australian piss-take sometimes doesn't go down well in other countries.

    VIDEO LENGTH
    if you want people to watch your vids the whole way through, you probably won't want them much longer than two minutes. four minutes is generally seen as the upper limit for youtube vids, and only if they are interesting and well done.

    CHOICE OF MUSIC & AUDIO ISSUES
    put in whatever you want if it's just for you, or you and your mates. but if you want others to watch your stuff, don't just slap in your favourite tracks especially if they are metal, dub step, or something fairly narrow in appeal. it might sound boring, but if you've got good quality footage and a good story to tell, you can just use muted background type music as as free music loops. a small but vocal minority don't want any music at all, but they usually seem to not mind a subdued backing track.

    my personal favorite is 'drums and bass' in the background... not obtrusive and you can hear voices and bikes clearly. here is a good source of free music, just remember to acknowledge the artists:
    free music archive - drums and bass

    the majority of viewers want to hear the bikes, preferably at least as loud as the backing music if possible. watch any video where it's just the music and no bike audio and you'll see what we mean. especially if it's music you don't like.

    wind can play havoc with audio if the camera is out of its case. a bit of foam over the mike will stop that roar caused by wind.



    CUSTOM MOUNTS VARY THE ANGLES
    Gopro cameras and the like have various mounts, but you can always mess around with homemade mounts for more angles, although it pays to have a safety cable tying your camera on in case of it falling off. We've messed around with the "bootcam" mentioned below, and putting the Gopro on a long stick so we could film riders looking down from ten feet or so. Varying the camera angles a lot during a clip seems to make it more interesting too, especially when our riding skills arent really impressing anyone. :lol3



    YOUTUBE ADS
    some guys want to build up an audience to then let youtube plaster ads all over their vids and try to make some money... almost impossible to do this as you really need hundreds of thousands of views on each video to even start a part time income. frankly i don't even bother sitting through a 15 second ad to watch a video. if you want to make money i'd suggest getting an outside sponsor and don't let youtube vandalise your vids for almost nothing in return.

    QUALITY OF THE CAMERAS?
    you don't necessarily need good cameras. someone applying all the above tips could still stitch together very appealing vids even if using crappy $50 helmet cams. but generally you'll want some decent cameras like the gopro or contour so that high definition viewing is a pleasant experience. handycams are quite good nowadays, we bought a new canon legria for only $220 that has a great zoom for long shots and does a good job although obviously not broadcast quality.



    GOPRO SETTINGS
    everyone has their preferred settings, these are my suggestions if you are just starting out.
    unless you want small file sizes, i'd suggest 1080p resolution for the best detail and it will still look good in a few years time when the resolution goes even higher.

    i use the "wide" angle setting as it gets more of the scenery and looks less bounced around. the down side is other bikes only have to be a few metres away and they start looking small, so you need to be close to the action when filming!

    i just use 30 frames per second to keep the file sizes reasonably small, but otherwise 60 fps is handy to allow some slow motion here and there. some say they get better picture quality from 60fps but i haven't personally noticed this.

    VIDEO EXAMPLES
    as mentioned earlier, none of us are experts but have tried to put the above stuff into practice and here are some samples....

    a vid that has done the rounds quite a bit. a mix up of photos, text, gopro footage, handycam footage and narration.




    a video with narration for trials australia.




    so keen to learn more from anyone who really knows what they are doing with video cameras, or just any tips or things you've discovered.
    #1
  2. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    I've just bought the Go Pro and beginnning. One of the mounts i liked of yours was the footage provided by what looks like a boot top mounting. How did you secure the GOPro there:ear:ear????

    Awesome job and looking to see what other tips surface in this thread.
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  3. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    Very nice videos. My biggest tip is that the video should tell a story. A POV shot for 15 minutes with a speed metal sound track is not a story. Narration, titles or some on location sound that tells you what is going on goes a long way to creating interest.
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  4. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    hehe, we call it the bootcam. just bashed some alloy tubing flat and stuck the gopro mount on it. i filed all the edges smooth and wrapped some foam then tape around it, you don't want it gouging your leg in an accident. the longer it is, the less it will jiggle around in your boot. then it doubles up nicely for handheld shots. we've got some footage of riding alongside other bikes and the camera is only an inch away from the other rider, without endangering anyone as the second bootcam mount we made was quite long. great for filming your own bike too, as per the intro on this vid above.

    <a href="http://s1134.photobucket.com/albums/m602/snailtrails/miscellaneous/?action=view&amp;current=bootcam.jpg" target="_blank"><img src="http://i1134.photobucket.com/albums/m602/snailtrails/miscellaneous/bootcam.jpg" border="0" alt="Photobucket"></a>

    totally agree, had a look through your vids and it makes a huge difference, nicely done. tried the narrative thing on a few vids, especially a very silly one here when i visited some mates in new zealand years back.

    great intro on your vids too, nice and quick. i'm keen to try the split screen so you've inspired me now. :D with the logo, did you insert that as a gif with a transparent background? that's the only way i've found to get transparent backgrounds in sony vegas editing software.

    also, your voice over sounds like pretty good quality. did you have to upgrade your sound card? even with a decent mike i find the PC makes for crappy recordings and i've usually resorted to just recording voiceovers on the movie camera and delete the video part. the voice over in the second vid above is great though, as the guy who stitched that one together, strummer, has a full on recording studio at home and even does all his own music and vocals.
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  5. Motoriley

    Motoriley Even my posing is virtual

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    I use a decent mic with a pop screen. On my software (Avid) I can bring in a QuickTime movie with and alpha channel for transparency. The opening itself was done in Adobe After Effects. I will be building my own boot cam shortly! You guys seem to have fun and have a great attitude.

    Cheers

    Riley





    totally agree, had a look through your vids and it makes a huge difference, nicely done. tried the narrative thing on a few vids, especially a very silly one here when i visited some mates in new zealand years back.

    great intro on your vids too, nice and quick. i'm keen to try the split screen so you've inspired me now. :D with the logo, did you insert that as a gif with a transparent background? that's the only way i've found to get transparent backgrounds in sony vegas editing software.

    also, your voice over sounds like pretty good quality. did you have to upgrade your sound card? even with a decent mike i find the PC makes for crappy recordings and i've usually resorted to just recording voiceovers on the movie camera and delete the video part. the voice over in the second vid above is great though, as the guy who stitched that one together, strummer, has a full on recording studio at home and even does all his own music and vocals.[/QUOTE]
    #5
  6. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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  7. Callahan

    Callahan Long timer

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    slow mo is good but not in consecutive scenes
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  8. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    yeah, it's not exacly hi tech! inside the boot, it shouldn't wobble too much if your boot is tight. only the side, if you have it at the front your boot you get less view of the terrain in front. for variety you can mount it backwards too, and put on the other boot too, so four different angles.
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  9. Pablo Mac

    Pablo Mac Been here awhile

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    What video editing software do you use?
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  10. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    sony vegas. not because it's necessarily the best, but its what we use at work. i've probably used about 5% of all the stuff it offers so its probably too complicated to learn if someone was just doing basic videos.
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    aspad likes this.
  11. kelsow

    kelsow Long timer

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    Great post johnnok.
    The problem I have editing is I make the videos for me. I show them for all to see but I know they won't be nearly as interested.
    I can't seem to make a shorter version for a wider audience, especially if the trip is more than a day.

    All of mine are here, http://www.vimeo.com/user2346252/videos
    if anyone wants to kill a couple of hours...
    #11
  12. Yokomo

    Yokomo Dirt Rider

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    Great stuff!!! You're on to something there!
    I added you to my favorites and I only have a handful.
    LMK when you have a 30-60 min DVD you can send me of various terrain and such. It could handle watching it many times over the cold winter on the big flatscreen. The more cute females in it the better! :clap
    Seriously, I'll take one!
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  13. team ftb

    team ftb Befuddled Adventurer

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    Whats the least complicated video software to learn to do the basics on? I'm just looking to splice, overlay some text and maybe a bit of music. Lets put it this way, for pictures I use Lightroom instead of Photoshop as its easier and less complicated to accomplish the basics. I need the same parameters for video editing software, so whats recommended? Either to stay away from or utilize?
    #13
  14. Pablo Mac

    Pablo Mac Been here awhile

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    Without a doubt: iMovie.
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  15. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    imovie definitely the way to go if you have a mac.

    on a PC, the windows movie maker that comes with XP or Vista. if you are on windows 7 just get the free download Windows Live Movie Maker 2011.

    i had a look at it, very simple to use. once you get the hang of it and want to do more complex stuff just buy a better video editing program.
    #15
  16. B1

    B1 Carbon-based bipedal

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    latest attempt. slowly figuring out what seems to work and what doesnt. the camera sitting on top of the helmet is a good perspective but definitely feels slower and less action oriented - lower mounting positions seem better in that respect.

    problem with the wide angle gopro is the moment the bike is more than about ten feet away its starting to look pretty small! it would help to have a normal video camera for this but didnt have room in the luggage as this was a three day trip.
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  17. Yokomo

    Yokomo Dirt Rider

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    That looks like a fun place to play!
    Nice work.
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  18. pugsley

    pugsley Little Man

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    Here is a video testing some mounts on the bike.....



    <IFRAME height=315 src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/veXAbGK3PAo" frameBorder=0 width=420 allowfullscreen></IFRAME>
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  19. Rashnak

    Rashnak Lorem Ipsum

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    I agree with the OP-

    keep it short, tell a story, use lots of different angles.

    i would also add that keeping another camera around is great for adding extra photos/video. The gopro is great for up close shots but a different camera can add alot of value for shots that the gopro just cant do.
    #19
  20. Bluesmudge

    Bluesmudge Been here awhile

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    Everything said so far has been great advice.
    Story is obviously most important. If the video is for an audience that was not on the ride, the video needs to be fast paced. Go easy on the helmet cam stuff, the angles get repetitive really fast. If used sparingly they can become very effective. If its a web video it should be 4 minutes max to have a chance of anyone getting to the end of the video. If your audience was on the ride you can throw these rules out the window.

    If you are going to be using slow motion, it almost always sounds better to separate the audio from the slow motion clip and keep it at 100% speed, then J or L cut the slow motion clip with a regular speed clip. Slowed down/sped up audio usually sounds terrible.

    Also, use audio transitions between shots of motorcycles, the different volumes and frequencies between engine sounds is jarring and makes the cut or transition very obvious. You can also use L/J cuts here or just ditch the audio and use pre-recorded engine sounds that span multiple clips.

    Here is a video I did that has good examples of audio editing. The video is a little long because the audience was the people on the ride and everyone wanted a chance to see themselves but it might be worth watching until the 7:30 minute mark.
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/kwi7U2RYuBI" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="375" width="640"></iframe>

    And here is one that shows how much having a story can keep the audience engaged for a longer period of time. A little bit of work to get a shot of a rider explaining the ride can go a long way to make the riding footage mean something.
    <iframe src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/a2tNkA4QuDI" allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="375" width="640"></iframe>
    #20