There are a million posts online about Go PRO’s, how to use them, what settings to have blah blah blah. Some are quite techy, some are long and boring (I may add to that list) – Very few are Dirty. I have been threatening to unleash this one for a while, so here it finally is for all you Dirty GO PRO hoes. With the release of the Go PRO 4 this week, there is even more reason, other than home made porn movie productions, to rush out and get in the game of DIY movie action for your next cycling trip.
So, given that I have recently waded through 1TB of Go PRO footage, I feel reasonably well positioned to provide some erroneous advice, tips and ideas. Allow me to walk you through a few items worth considering, as I probably forget more along the way than I remember.
First up – These things are super cool. Not just for video footage, but also for lifting awesome pics off… My view is that on a trip you want at least 1 in the group. And you also want to work out who is going to be doing the editing! This pic of the wolf a case in point about what you can get off them:
The other upside is that you get to play a new game with your friends at the start of every ride and/or trail… Oh yeah, the “Is this thing on?!” game! The best part is that you get to take turns while your buddies watch and video it… That almost sounds like a gang bang? Allow me to dispel any such innuendo with a live example:
Enough faffing, its time for some overly obvious advice!
1. Shooting settings
Ok, so this is where my advice is the most rubbish, I’m sure I could read up and learn a lot more on what works best if I didn’t have the attention span of a small monkey on crack. I have tried to read articles on-line, but invariably my eyes glaze over and so chances are I am using shit settings, much like how I set up a full suspension bike. I will say this though, you have a LOT of options, so its worth taking some time to work it out.
For file size management and down track processing, I tend to stay away from shooting in 1080 HD and tend to settle on 960p with 30 or 50 FPS, set to wide angle… Sounds fancy right? Well, I sort of took the goldilocks approach, not to big and not too small… So kind of in the middle.
My logic here is thinking end to end – You have to have storage, can it convert well when you edit it and ultimately when you get it on-line will everyone be able to watch it if you have a massive 1080p fuck off movie? Not to mention uploading that shit. I am sure someone can school me up on all this, perhaps my summer project to make my Dirty Videos more PRO?
2. Whilst you’re riding!
This is THE critical period – Aside from charging the fuck out of your battery that morning… Yes, don’t trust it and if you’re out for a big day. Here’s a tip: Take a back up battery. You want to get the videoing part right obviously, especially if its one shot one kill type of riding on a trail, road or a race… Chances are you need to nail it as you won’t get another go. Here are some of the fuck ups I have experienced first hand over the last couple of years:
For fucks sake DON’T:
- Video the warm up runs – You’re shit first thing, so don’t waste everyone’s time shooting that faffing. You’ll be riding shit and it doesn’t make for good viewing when you get into the shrediting room
- Video when you’re flogged out – Last run before lunch? The only reason you’d video is because there’s a 95% chance someone is going to crash
- Record upside down – Ok, so its not the end of the world, but its a pain in the ass for the poor fuck that has to turn your raw ingredients into a Shredit… Isn’t it Dok?
- Shoot in the rain – Stop that shit… A total waste of your time and mine. Its marginally ok if you want to shoot some cut in, or try and catch your homeboys having epic stacks, but Go PRO cases hate rain, so the footage will be rubbish. Keep your powder dry, literally
- Video your cables – Yeah, this one is more for the bike mounting action… Its easy to do, as you need to consider the compression of suspension etc, but a good run and video action is easily ruined by that fucking cable lazily washing back and forth across the screen. Turd.
- Feed your Go PRO to your bike – Pumped about that rear wheel facing shot? Yeah, its so fucking cool man… Until you G out, compress through XXXmm of travel and the rear wheels makes hard love to your Go PRO case. BOOM… Yes, its happened and yes, it can take a long time in Whistler looking for your emergency dismounted Go PRO camera! Check that setting before you drop in
- Do this... Unless you want to be arrested, people tend to get the wrong idea, especially when they mistake your beard for a moustache:
- Stop recording – Yes, every stop in the trail or where it gets shit, STOP! You’ll thank me for this tip when you get home and don’t have 4 hours of footage to try and review… I would also add to this, turn the camera OFF… Yes, these things love to eat their battery
- Secure those mounts! – I made an awesome mount built out of a million piece of Go PRO lego and was stoked… Until I realised watching the footage that I had overdone it and the cunt was vibrating so much it made the footage appear shit. Lock that mount down TIGHT yo.
- CHECK THE ANGLE – Ok, so this is the most obvious and widespread Go PRO fuck up of them all. Yeah, you go and do a killer run and end up either videoing your visor or the treelike. Invest upfront in working out the angles, its pretty much the fundamentals that need to be sorted before you roll. I possibly wouldn’t use the wifi/smart phone hook up though, unless you only want to have enough battery for a couple of runs!
- Check the light bro – This won’t occur to you at the time, but these cameras still struggle a little with the light to dark contrast. Constantly light or dark is ok, but dappled light will fuck with your footage more than it will your eyes as you try and carve single track. Consider this when recording and check your settings, low light function is available on the 3+
- Stay tight Red 5 – Are you following your homeboy and he’s now just out of sight down the trail/road? Stop recording… Not only does it highlight how much you’re sucking ass, but its also shite footage. The best video is as close as possible, like, freaky close. Go PRO’s have the gift of making things seem farther away than they really are, so tighten that shit right up if you want good footage
- Video multiple angles – This is perhaps the most key item to consider and DO. This is almost a post in itself… So many mount options. Top of head, Chesty, under visor, side mount, handlebar mount, seat post mount looking back, frame mount… Yes, its endless. I suggest moving the camera around and capturing a lot of different angles as you go, especially if in the bike park. ALERT! Also make sure you get trail footage of your crew riding past you and of course, video the all important cut in footage. Placing the GO PRO on the ground can yield some massive GOLD as well:
The golden rule is simple here: Less is massively more. The best videos these days are shorter cuts/scenes with a lot of variety in their angles and perspectives, but more on that below…
3. Managing your load
This is more about being organised while you’re on tour. If you wait until you get home to sort all your video, you’ll be cunted. As such, consider acquiring a portable hard drive and uploading as you go. I tend to clear out daily to keep on top of the load. So to speak.
You may also want to think about clearly marking and categorising the footage. Not to get OCD on it here, but I have been passed massive files before, making it quite hard to work out what it relates to. If you want to target a specific trail or sequence, then upload/label it appropriately. This advice will absolutely come in handy if you get a new Go PRO 4 and run it on the 4K setting… #fuckmyface those files are going to be BIG!
4. Into the Shrediting room
Just remember… You shoot it, you have to carry it home, skin it, bone it and eat the fucker. This is pretty much what you’ll face with your Go PRO and ultimately, its in the shrediting room where the magic really happens. Again, I have average advice on what editing package to use, but I have found iMovie to be reasonably simple to use, aside from when it decides to crash like a cunt or it drops out all your text from a final edit, a couple of standard features it seems to have… Yes, rage.
First things first – NO ONE wants to see a video of you riding down one trail top to bottom any more… That is SO 2008, you have to be a whole lot more creative than that now. Yes, you need to mix master that shit up into something with more variety than the muppet show. This includes the following type of material:
- Travel cut in – Getting off the plane or driving down the highway an absolute classic… Never gets old, unless you put 5 minutes of it in. Don’t.
- Chase view – Empty track or road in front of you is good for about 10 seconds… Then people start to check their whatsapp messages. To keep it exciting and give perspective, make sure another rider is in frame. The reverse chase view is also golden, so get some rear facing footage (NOT a porn pun that either)
- Slo mo – Much like pepper spray or tear gas, to be used sparingly and for maximum effect… Don’t dose the whole shredit with it. I find 1 or 2 seconds set to 25% slo mo is the magic number and split it up for key moments, like someone jumping or crashing – BANG BANG.
- Fast forward – Got a big landscape or road shot scene that you want to keep in perspective for the viewer? Ram in some FF then… Warning, the footage has to be as ‘stable’ as possible to ensure that you don’t make people vomit/have a fit whilst watching
- The interview – Not often used and hard to get right… But a good cut in if your buddies don’t sound like muppets when you ask them stuff on camera. Most people will do their best to avoid the interview, so do it in semi stealth if possible. Expect cliche responses like “Yeah, its pretty good eh“. Alternatively wait until someone is having a melt down due to hunger or a flat tire and video that
- General cut in – Someone taking a piss? Donkey having a shit near your lunch spot? On a chairlift? Drinking a coke in a random spot? Get it all on camera (iPhone will even do for cut in like this) and lace it strategically through your video. Its a good way to trick people into thinking you’re more interesting than you really are
- Cut length – I find that 2 seconds of riding footage strung together is a good way to go. Nothing more than 10 to 15 seconds unless its an insane shot or piece of trail that just must be scene. I find 6 to 7 x 2 second clips with a few longer ones thrown in here seems to be the winner in terms of what people like. Keep it snappy, keep it fast…
In addition to this, there is SO much scope to play around with adding in photos, fucking with sound, semi witty comments and of course, the biggest challenge you face in post production: The MUSIC.
Yeah, the motherfucking music is a challenge in its own right… Song has to match, song has to be cool, song has to be the right length. Fuck, talk about anxiety generating! Some times music matching to a Shredit comes straight to me (mainly as I have plagiarised the idea off a Pinkbike Video), but sometimes it can delay release to the 10 of you that watch these things up to several days, much hand wringing being carried out in the mean time.
In terms of video length, you need to take into account the diminishing human attention span here a bit… Thanks to social media (main culprits being twitter and Whatsapp), it generally rolls like this when people watch a video that isn’t rammed with famous people or hot chicks kissing:
- 1 minute long – General excitement and genuine interest
- 2 minutes in – Was that an e mail ping?
- 3 minutes in – Picking their nose and thinking about sending a snap chat of their anatomy to a co-worker
- 4 minutes in – Gone to get a coffee
- 5 minutes in – Tumbleweeds
Take this extremely scientific scale into account when doing your final cut… I’m no doubt forgetting a whole bunch of things in this massive Go PRO rant… But if you work in some of these items then you should be going in the right direction.
Final tip – No matter what you do, your video probably isn’t going to be as good as one from a DRONE, so ask Santa nicely for one if you want to get into some serious Dirty video action. Its also worth noting that its rather alarming when Jeff Goldblum steals your Go PRO and gets into some freaky solo POV action, so don’t leave it lying around when the guys from Jurassic Park is in town: