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  1. #1
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    filming a short tour - submit your suggestions and examples

    I'm about to embark on a short tour of Wales with 3 friends. It's only 4 days but I'm keen to capture our trip on my little video camera so our families can see what we got up to.

    My previous attempt of filming a tour resulted in a boring film short from only one or two camera positions (mainly on my helmet). Even I was bored with that film.

    It feels like in order to make a half interesting film I should plan it a bit, but then I think maybe I'm taking it too seriously and should just film it as see what I've got at the end.

    Does anyone have any tips of what to include in a tour film: people talking or not, off-bike footage (dinner, breakfast) or not etc.?

    If you have footage or your tours (or tour films you like) and are happy to share, please link to them.

    Many thanks,
    Steve

  2. #2
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    Making any film interesting is difficult. Just go to any international film festival and watch yet another life-affirming movie about a young goat-herd and his grandfather overcoming difficulties. Films are generally boring unless they are about something really interesting or made by really interesting people.

    You need a story to tell involving characters you care about. A sense of jeopardy or drama really helps move things along.
    Making a film can really disrupt the progress of a tour. You need to plan, setup and capture shots. You can either make a film about a tour or go touring but its really hard to do both. People will hate you for filming them brushing their teeth or doing the laundry.

    You need to master the various types of shot so you know what to use. If you look at all the youtube shots of the Arab Spring, there is a lot of manic panning and zooming so you can hardly tell what is happening.
    If you want to speed up some of the slower shots such as making and breaking camp, consider fast motion shots on a tripod. Pace your shots.
    Films are really made in the editing suite. Shoot to edit.

  3. #3
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    Here's an example of one that I thought gave a nice feel of a short tour. The poster is Erick L from Quebec, often a participant on these forums, and an excellent photographer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=waiSC...ature=youtu.be

    I particularly like the sequence starting around 1:20.

  4. #4
    Junior Member ben80south's Avatar
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    Multiple camera angles.

    A very nice angle is mounted low by the back wheel looking forwards. Here is a time lapse video I took at night riding in Taiwan. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3fyDy...eature=g-all-u


    http://www.youtube.com/user/Cycling2celebrate
    I took time lapse video of my entire 81 day trip across the US using a GoPro taking a picture once every second. I haven't yet had time to edit them into a film yet.
    Ben

    "Life is adventure. Fear and worry only spoil it."
    www.cycling2celebrate.com

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
    I'm about to embark on a short tour of Wales with 3 friends. Does anyone have any tips of what to include in a tour film: people talking or not, off-bike footage (dinner, breakfast) or not etc.?
    Get some of you walking up the Long Mynd.

  6. #6
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Thanks Ben, this is a good camera angle, I'll have to see if I can rig my camera up in that position. I'm glad you soon got out of the built up bit, I found the jerkyness of the image at the start a bit startling, cars appearing and dissapearing in just a frame or two.

    Thanks OldZephyr, some interesting things to learn from that
    - there was a lot from one camera angle which gets quite tiresome (my previous problem)
    - the off bike footage helped to keep my interest.
    - the time lapse overnight sequence was great with the clear night sky.
    - The hands on the bars were useful reference points. With my previous helmet camera footage you wouldn't even know I was on a bike.
    - I liked the view of the shadow pedalling too.


    Machka - I assume this means you've been up it - I'm amazed at all the placed you seem to get to on a bike?

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
    Machka - I assume this means you've been up it - I'm amazed at all the placed you seem to get to on a bike?
    Yes, I have. And I walked it.

    After the 2003 Paris-Brest-Paris, a friend from Leicestershire and I did a short tour of Wales:
    http://www.machka.net/pbp/post.htm

  8. #8
    Senior Member DCwom's Avatar
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    Shoot lots of footage, and leave most of it on the edit room floor, once you think its as short as you can possibly make it, reduce it another 20%. Have a plot/theme in mind when shooting & editing. Add a musical score that relates to the images and throw in text overlays, preferable funny and self deprecating. Use transitions that lead into the next shot (swipe left to right, dissolve, etc), avoid cutesie transitions unless the scenes warrant it. Also spend hours of time editing it, something like 1 hour per 2-3 minutes of video. You got to love doing the editing or this will be a chore.

    As someone else mentioned the goat herder story line is hard to avoid. I've done 2 or 3 "home videos" of cruises and a bike tour. Each video has multiple sound tracks that sync with the video (it takes hours!!!). I fill in still shots (using pan/zoom affects) to help tell the story and even use "commercial images" (web sites, etc) if it helps. Remember only your family and close friends *might* find it interesting if you do a good job, the rest of us probably won't (sorry, just being honest).
    Last edited by DCwom; 05-22-12 at 10:03 AM.

  9. #9
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCwom View Post
    Remember only your family and close friends *might* find it interesting if you do a good job, the rest of us probably won't (sorry, just being honest).
    No problem being honest, I want to document the trip for myself really, and maybe the 3 other guys doing it might find it interesting but I doubt many more will see it. The last movie I made even bored me. It was just road and hills from one position, and every now and then someone's back came in or out of shot. It wasn't really a record of the trip, so I'm keen to try and make this one a bit better.

    Thanks for the advice.

  10. #10
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    This is something I've been playing around with a bit recently and this is what I've found:
    try to get as many angles as possible. I also find it more interesting when the camera pans/zooms rather than being fixed.
    if you can master cycling one-handed, you can pan while pedalling and get some interesting shots (safety first though!) too including yourself in the footage. The main thing to focus on is keeping the horizon level to minimise shake though. Take and use a tripod perhaps.
    shots of you cycling to/away from the camera are good, but require you setting up and going back each time which is time consuming.
    if you have a headcam, footage with it on the back of your head and your friends cycling behind you looks good.
    get some landscape shots without the bike to use as fillers between scenes.
    I think if you can master being comfortable talking into the camera then words make the film more interesting. Failing that, definitely add music to your film. Another option would be to add a voice-over afterwards (not tried this personally).

    I'm learning too... but here are some of my attempts:
    (these include several photos as that was my primary means of recording the trip but there's video too, shot on compact camera)
    Cycling Western Sahara
    Cycling Guineas Backroads

    This is more recent, using a gopro headcam. (i know it's not biking, but the methods and process of filming are the same)
    Packrafting Rio Coco
    Packrafting Rio Bocay
    For shots of the rapids, I ended cutting them down into 3-5s and stringing it all together, although the original film may have lasted several minutes. Hardly any of the scenes are longer than 10-15s. Basically, you need to keep it moving and changing to keep interest (which talking also would do).

  11. #11
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    The biggest problem with "home movies" is the lack of a STORY. Nobody, NOBODY wants to sit and look at a bunch of clips of things you saw. It's just one of those things where you had to be there to appreciate it. And, since no one that is forced to watch your video WAS there, they will not appreciate it. You need to tell a story.

    If you are a Mac user, the latest version of iMovie comes with a series of "trailer" themes installed. Each theme is a complete movie trailer style template that you insert your footage into. The best aspect of it is the story line is already developed. You can load your choice in as a new project and see what types of shots you are going to need--long range landscape, a close up action shot etc. That helps you know what type of footage you are going to need as you are filming different days.

    Sure, it's canned and not all that terribly original, but it makes viewing your footage MUCH better for family/friends that are being subjected to your video.

    Here is a link to see what it is all about. (There's also a video showing it in action.)
    The meek shall inherit the earth (If that's okay with the rest of you.)
    “Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.”Alexander Woolcot
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  12. #12
    "Fred"--is that bad? DTSCDS's Avatar
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    If you've not checked them out, Russ and Laura at pathlesspedaled.com are a good example to follow. Their videos are very well done and interesting even to those that aren't on tour with them.
    The meek shall inherit the earth (If that's okay with the rest of you.)
    “Many of us spend half our time wishing for things we could have if we didn’t spend half our time wishing.”Alexander Woolcot
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  13. #13
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DTSCDS View Post
    The biggest problem with "home movies" is the lack of a STORY. Nobody, NOBODY wants to sit and look at a bunch of clips of things you saw. It's just one of those things where you had to be there to appreciate it. And, since no one that is forced to watch your video WAS there, they will not appreciate it. You need to tell a story.
    I agree.

    I also recommend watching travel shows and similar on TV. Watch Top Gear as the guys travel across a desert or jungle in old beaters. Watch Getaway as beautiful people bask in the sun next to brilliant blue pools, or do an afternoon of rock climbing or canoeing. Watch the outdoor man/survival type of shows. But watch them critically ... what is being shot? why did that bit of footage make it into the program? how did the cameraman get that shot? etc. etc.

    Notice how the people stand, how they look at the camera. Notice that in many of these shows, you'll have a short 5 min segment on a particular topic (i.e. the afternoon of rock climbing) and then the show will switch to something completely different for 5 minutes, and then maybe back to the first topic, etc.

  14. #14
    LET'S ROLL 1nterceptor's Avatar
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    One technique I'm starting to utilize lately is shooting without any
    mounts and panning the camera with just one hand. I also like to
    mix some photos in between my video clips. Videos were shot with
    a ContourGPS camera; still shots were taken with my Samsung Galaxy S
    cellphone.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eLpAL...hannel&list=UL


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L3uEl...hannel&list=UL

  15. #15
    Son of Fred Bander's Avatar
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    Don't know if this will help or not, but here's a short video about a pretty boring topic (a guy woodworking) but it's actually not too bad to watch because of the music and interesting camera shots.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8puXd...layer_embedded#!
    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    So what's the problem? The whole friggin sport of cycling is rude and stupid.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I would hang their severed heads from my back panniers as a warning.

  16. #16
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    I've been playing around with a compact camera and some el cheapo keychain 888 spycams on the bike. One thing that benefits the footage is to run it through a "deshaker" or stablization filter, such as the deshaker filter for Virtual Dub on Windows, or the stabilize plugin for transcode in Linux (warning! command line tool!)

    I took a piece of footage from the Brooklyn ride video above and ran it through transcode, then have the before & after versions here: (27 MB) The "shakey.avi" is the original h.264 flv file, just put into an "avi" container, while the "deshaken" version also had the video transcoded to Xvid mpeg4 video, which needs more file space than the original h.264.

    http://ubuntuone.com/2QHlXvghKjC3cG4SLIMNmG

  17. #17
    afoot and lighthearted Boondock's Avatar
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    I documented my 14 month, perimeter tour of the US. I shot 30-50 short clips with a small hand-held camera and edited them into single videos on my netbook and uploaded in realtime on the way. I used royalty free music as background. Here's an episode when I arrived at Jenny Lake in Teton National Park in Wyoming

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a0a5aVRtaSE



    I had no idea how to make videos or document a bike trip when I started out... but through trial and error, I sorta figured it out. There are 108 videos on my youtube channel detailing the trip
    Last edited by Boondock; 05-29-12 at 01:22 PM.

  18. #18
    Senior Member Sachelis's Avatar
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    This video (http://vimeo.com/3451015) by Mike Beauchamp is the best movie I've seen of a tour. It has great shots, good audio edits from shot to shot, some stills, and it shares his inner feelings. It was his first tour and I think his first movie. It's definitely worth an hour to watch (even if you're not making a video).

  19. #19
    Stand For Something mntbikedude's Avatar
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    This is the intro video my son did about the bike trip we took in 2008. He and my younger son just 15 at the time started in Anchorage Alaska and rode to Mexico. I met up with them in Vancouver BC and rode the rest of the way. This is short and seems to be the right amount of time to show people a taste of the trip. The background music is my sons singing and playing their electric ukes. The song is an original little dity that I wrote when my younger son 13 at the time, and I first cycled the pacific coast Canada to Mexico in 2006. As a side note at the time he kept telling people we were riding to Mexico and I told him that was crazy. I tried to make up the little song and not have it biking to Mexico but nothing sounded quite right.

    http://alaska-to-mexico.blogspot.com...webisodes.html

  20. #20
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    This is what I came up with in the end for anyone interested
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYciwJyKIm8

    All shot with a single GoPro HD and cobbled together in an evening on Microsoft movie maker.

  21. #21
    Senior Member
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    I like the variety of camera shots and the editing of them. Lovely scenery as well. Personally I wish the riders (you and your friends) would have talked to the camera about the ride a bit.
    One man's adventure is somebody else's boring life. These are my adventures: http://adventurelaus.blogspot.com/

  22. #22
    Senior Mumbler steve2k's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cbike View Post
    Personally I wish the riders (you and your friends) would have talked to the camera about the ride a bit.
    You wouldn't say that if you knew them!

    I agree though, I think it could have done with a few short bits of commentary. I'll remember that for our next tour.

    It was glorious scenery and what seems to have been the only sunny weekend of the year so far.

  23. #23
    Senior Member Gotte's Avatar
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    I've filmed all my tours. I use a hand held camcorder, which I keep in me handlebar bag. I like to include lots of traveling shots, most of which I don't actually use, but which I don't use, but when I do, I tend to montage them to music. 'This means the segments never get too long, but are entertaining. Of course, if it's copyrighted music, it can give you trouble with YouTube. The best bits of the films, though tend to be the conversations. We tend to joke around, and I've captured many a conversation which you forget you had, and which keep family and friends amused. No, really. You'd be surprised.
    The other key, I think is to keep the camera moving. I find no problem in riding one handed while filming. Most of the time I don't even look at the camera screen, and just point and shoot. I've even got into the habit of being able to flip open the screen with my teeth.
    I also add plenty of subtitles to the films, so none of the dialogue is missed, and also so I can construct a narrative. It doesn't have to be war and peace, just something to keep the thing in order and let the viewer know what's happening.
    But mostly, I like to remember I'm doing them for myself. So if there's something which bores me, out it goes. If it interests me, or makes me smile, I keep it in.
    I'd post links, but none of mine make it to YouTube because of the music thing.

  24. #24
    Son of Fred Bander's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by steve2k View Post
    This is what I came up with in the end for anyone interested
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYciwJyKIm8
    Well done, I especially liked the rolling footage. My only suggestion would be to add subtitles so we know where you are at/going.
    Quote Originally Posted by patentcad
    So what's the problem? The whole friggin sport of cycling is rude and stupid.
    Quote Originally Posted by JoeyBike View Post
    I would hang their severed heads from my back panniers as a warning.

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