Okay, now you know what I carry, at least if you’ve read Part One, now to take a wee look about how I go about filming the ride and editing the final video.
Let me start by saying that I do not plan out my rides or the video. I do not have a shooting schedule, detailed script or anything of that like. I might have the odd idea in my head for a camera angle, perhaps something I‘ve seen on the telly – a good source of ideas by the way – or a rough idea of scenes I might want to capture, but generally speaking I just make it up as I go along. I find it easier to just think on the spot about what I can do with what I have.
The order of the clips in my videos usually follows the same order as taken during the ride. Essentially I ride along, see an idea for a clip, film it and then move along to the next scene I come across. It’s as simple as that, I ride, I film, I ride some more, I film some more. The only change to this is I always try and record an opening scene and a closing scene, usually longer clips that will cover the opening and closing titles of the video. Surly Ogre 2 – An Evening Ride is a good example of this.
Now, it is important to keep in mind that each clip you record should be a good as you can make it. Don’t just point the camera and press the record button. Think before you click!
Recording good video clips is very much like taking a good photograph. All the same subjects apply: composition, lighting, and rule of thirds, depth of field and a whole host of other technical stuff I don’t often bother about. My advice is to use the web to learn about these aspects of photography. I’m not even sure where to begin explaining these topics. One the other hand, just ignore them and get on with it.
At the end of the day my media card will be crammed with around 100 clips taken during the ride. These will include shots of me riding merrily along as well as scenes captured along the way. All are downloaded onto the hard drive of the computer and, after checking I’ve copied all of them, the media card is then formatted and loaded back into the camera. I will also set about changing all the batteries ready for the next outing. I use a separate external hard drive to keep backup copies of all my footage.
To edit the raw footage into the final video for posting online, I use Pinnacle Studio 15. To begin, I start by opening a template project, a file that contains the standard title set I use in all my videos. Once opened I save a new project file with the title of the new video I’m creating. This is then used to create the video.
Creating the video is relatively straight forwards. You do this by inserting a clip into the time-line of the video. The time-line is a sort-of shelf where you arrange all the clips side by side, like books on a library shelf. The time-line also allows you to re-arrange the clips as required and also to delete or add them. The clips themselves are edited by cutting out the parts I don’t require. For example, a clip will often show my setting up the camera, riding the scene and walking back to collect the camera. I usually cut out the start and end sections.
Once I’ve been through all the clips – I usually add most of them, I look at the total length of the video and decide if it’s too long, too short is rarely an issue. I then add a music track to the clip, this time dragging and dropping onto the music time-line, which works the same way as the clip time-line mentioned above. Next, I edit the standard titles to match the video I’m making, adding the name, location, etc. Finally, I compile the entire project into a finished video. This is the first draft.
Once compiled I watch the entire video, noting any parts that need further editing, perhaps shortening a clip or two and removing any that seem un-necessary or of too poor quality. I also decide if the music track is suitable for the piece and may change it for another. Most of my music is sourced online from Jamendo; the tracks here permit use so long as the author is credited. Once I’m happy with everything, I compile the final version and upload onto Youtube.
All this can take between and hour and about 4 hours to do, depending on how many clips I have, the quality of the footage and sometimes, a point which is often very relevant, what mood I’m in. If you’re not in the mood, getting things to work just right can be almost impossible. Better to leave it for a day and try again later. Sometimes it’s better to scrap the work entirely and start again. Very occasionally, I find that a piece I’m working on just will be come together and is abandoned. It’s better to stop than to continue with something that just isn’t right.
The final items that I want to cover briefly are voice-overs and audio tracks.
Both the Panasonic and the GoPro record audio at the same time as the video track itself. The Panasonic records quite acceptable sound although wind noise can be a problem. The GoPro is, shall be say, lacking in quality, and I rarely make use of it. I generally leave in most of the original sound with the clips, only adjusting the level of both sound and music tracks for a good balance between the two. I like to leave in the original sounds as they can add to the mood of the final video.
As for voice-overs, I’ve only dabbled on a couple of occasions and find it quite difficult to produce good quality recording. It looks so easy when you see Nick Crane talking to camera on Coast but trying it yourself in another matter entirely. Technically, it’s not too difficult to do. Simply attach the lavaliere microphone to the camera, clip it to your fleece or t-shirt collar and start talking. Now, a good tip is to make sure the camera is actually recording and the microphone switched on before you start. Believe me when I say, it’s easy to forget!
Talking of the TV program Coast, this is the level I’m trying to aspire too, the standard I want to be able to produce my videos. When you break down how Coast is put together, at least in simple lay-man terms, there are about six different elements, namely,
- Shots of the scenery
- Shots showing action or movement
- Background music
- Background sounds
- Presenter taking to camera
- Studio voice-overs or narration
I think I’ve got a reasonable grasp of items 1 to 4 but still have some work to do on 5 and 6. If I can crack these two, it adds a whole new dimension to the videos. If you look at Coast again, you will see how narration and voice-overs allow changes in the type of background music that can be used. This is my long-term aim.
And there you have it, that’s how I go about making a Pugsley on Patrol video. So why not have a go yourself, its not rocket science, just requires a bit of thought and a lot of patience. Oh, and lots of practice as well.
Anyway, must dash, Cathryn say’s there’s someone on the phone for me, goes by the name Ridley Scott. I wonder what he wants.