As one of the primary video editors here on Pinkbike, it's my job to pick many of the videos you see featured in Movies For Your Monday or as Video of the Day (VOD). Now one of the great parts about Pinkbike is that we make things accessible for users like you to submit your videos to us. That means we watch videos - a lot of videos. Now some of the films we see are fantastic, and a few of those filmmakers go on to turn bike videos into a full time job. But more often than not we see videos that are, shall we say, a little rough around the edges. Here's my handy ''10 Step'' program on how to improve your work. I hope that it's useful.
1.) Use A Tripod: This is without a doubt the most basic and the most essential piece of advice for up-and-coming filmmakers. Using a tripod allows you to frame your shot precisely and gets rid of camera wobble. Your video shouldn't look and feel like the movie Cloverfield (famous for being incredibly shaky).
2.) Kill The FIller: At this point most viewers have seen enough web videos that it's become cliche to start off with shots of breakfast being cooked (and loading the bike into a truck). We get it, we've lived it. Cool. If your video is two minutes long, there's no need to have a thirty second introduction. Most of us will skip this part anyway.
3.) Take Your Time: ''I filmed this in one afternoon'' is the worst possible way to convince me to watch your video. The movie Life Cycles took nearly three years to shoot and it's only forty-seven minutes long. The more time and energy you put into your video, the more likely it is that people will spend some of their leisure time enjoying your work. This concept is consistent with filmmaking in general. The more you get out there and shoot, the better you'll get.
4.) Learn From The Best: Do you like a certain filmmaker's work more than another? Why is that? I can't tell you how many times I've watched and re-watched Life Cycles, and the work of Sherpas Cinema, Camp 4 Collective, and Sweetgrass Productions. I love what they do and I gain inspiration and ideas from watching their films. I'm not saying you should try and copy someone else's work shot for shot, but over time you'll create your own style simply from getting out there and shooting.
5.) Sloooooow Mooootion: Slow motion is a genuinely useful feature - if it's used with intent. Slow mo should be used with restraint to highlight elements of a shot which can't be seen by the naked eye. No one needs to see your friend doing a sketchy bar turn at 240 frames per second.
6.) Helmet Cams: Smart phones and point of view cameras from GoPro, Contour, and Sony, have given anyone the chance to become the next Aaron LaRocque. The option to have a camera on your helmet, recording your entire ride is genuinely incredible. Cameras this small and powerful are a technological miracle. All that being said: if your name isn't Ian Morrison, Chris Kovarik, or Brendan Fairclough, then no one wants to see your POV video from A-Line. Helmet or chest cams are an amazing way to pull the viewer into the video and make them feel like they're riding along at World Cup speed. Use POV footage subtly in your videos. If a POV camera is all you own then get creative with it. These cameras are small and durable so stick them where you wouldn't put a bigger camera.
9.) Building: One of the best parts about mountain biking is our ability to shape the ride. If you build original stunts then hopefully people will remember your video; at the very least you'll have something fun to ride after.
10.) Creativity: Everyone and their dog has seen the typical three minute music video style 'bike porn' web edit. Why not try something new? I'm not saying you should make the video longer and bloated with filler timelapses and hiking shots. Try telling a story, or doing something new and innovative with lighting, animation, or sound. Riding a bike is supposed to be fun, don't forget that.