Opportunities are created when your talent and skill can reach the right audience.
Whether it’s for securing sponsorships, building a fan base, or simply uploading videos on YouTube and having fun, creating skateboarding videos with the right kind of magic will help you connect with the audience and showcase your talent.
This is why it needs to be done right!
When there are things like editing, filming equipment, audio levels, lighting, and what not to worry about, shooting an awesome action video can seem daunting. But no worries.
This article will guide you through the basics of shooting and editing a skateboarding video and help you get started.
Tips for Shooting
Obviously, the first thing we’ll need to discuss is the fundamentals of video shooting, especially in the case of fast-paced action like skateboarding. Things like filming equipment, leading lines, shutter speed, aperture, and lenses!
These few simple tips will help you turn a mere video of a person on a skateboard into a good-looking film that people would enjoy watching. However, this section applies not only to filming skateboarding videos but also to general videography and action videos!
What kind of equipment is needed?
You can always make videos with your old, family camcorder, or a smartphone, but do not expect the best quality and sharpness.
While a phone camera is great for practicing videography techniques, you will soon have to invest in a proper DSLR or action camera for the best results.
DSLRs like the Canon EOS 250D or the Sony a6400 are great for video shooting. Along with HD video capabilities, they offer a touchscreen LCD, mic inputs for audio and reliable autofocus.
Pair them with a wide-angle lens like a cheap 18-35 mm or 15 mm, and you have an action video kit ready! Further, keep the image stabilization on so that your footage is not shaky. Smooth movements will reduce the feeling of motion sickness and give a nice, clean video!
Action cameras are another alternative, especially if you are on a budget. Compact, lightweight, and waterproof, they can be mounted onto helmets and bicycles! Their wide field of vision and 4K abilities will help you capture great footage from unique angles where a DSLR might not fit.
What settings do you need to know?
Once you have your filming equipment ready, you will have to learn about its features and settings. The most important setting to be aware of is aperture and shutter speed.
In simple terms, the aperture is the size of the opening of your lens; the bigger the aperture, the more the blurry effect in the background. It is denoted by “f numbers”, and a small f-number like f/2.8 or f/5.6 means you will have only a small area of your video in focus, and the rest will be blurred.
It is great for close-up shots where you want to focus on the skateboard only.
Shutter speed is the duration for which your camera’s shutter will remain open. With a high shutter speed like 1/1000th of a second, you can almost freeze action. When shooting videos, the general rule is to keep the shutter speed slower than the frame rate, almost by a double.
For example, if you are shooting the video at 30 fps, the shutter speed should be around 1/60.
You will get a hang of it only by practicing and shooting lots of videos. Soon, you’ll be able to dial in the correct settings without looking!
How to frame the composition?
Now that you have your action camera ready and you have put in the right settings, it is time to begin shooting.
The basic thing to bear in mind is that you are shooting a skateboarding video. This means that you will have to make sure you can follow the skateboard and keep track of the action. Obviously, you cannot have a skateboarding video where the skateboard is not even the center of attention!
Also, make sure that you do not come in your subject’s way, as that’s just a recipe for an injury! And it also distracts the skateboarder, which means he might make a mistake or become nervous, which should definitely be avoided.
As soon as you are ready to turn on the camera and the subject is comfortable, you can begin filming. This part is where things like perspective and composition become important.
I’ll put down a few suggestions as a list so that you can go through it quickly before your next shoot!
1.Keep changing the focal length
Having a lot of variety in your footage will help you keep the viewers engaged, and by varying the focal length you can show the environment you are shooting in along with the skater himself. You can do this by skating along with the subject, or sometimes standing far away and zooming in, or simply mounting a wide-angle lens onto the skater’s helmet!
2.Change your perspective
Shooting from the same viewpoint gets boring, and an action-packed video requires different angles. Try shooting from the ground level so that viewers can have a closer look at how your subject is controlling the skate, then switch to a top-view and include some background. Having a combo of a wide-angle lens and a telephoto lens will help here!
3.Maintain a balance
While tricks seem really cool and definitely increase the intensity, your audience also wants to learn more about the subject itself. This is why it is important to have a balance of trick shots and cruising shots, along with some footage focusing on the location. It will also be great if you can get a few shots of the skater’s warm-up and preparation before he actually starts skating.
4.Use the location to your advantage
You might not always have a sports arena or a huge ramp to film in. Knowing how to adapt to the location is a great strength, and you should always keep an eye out for interesting objects you can use in your video. If there’s a fence nearby, you can use it as a frame in your composition; if there are markings on the road or graffiti, you might want that for some B-roll!
Tips for Editing
A good video is not simply a sum of different shots, but a complete story in itself. That’s why editing your skateboarding video is the most important step.
While the final decision of what is included in your video is completely up to you, a few suggestions will make it easier for you to match top-notch YouTube videos and increase your production quality.
Use the Right Software
Of course, there are dozens of apps available that will help you edit your video. But trust me, they won’t get you the number of views you are hoping for.
Editing the video with excellent color and good audio requires the right program. One great option is DaVinci Resolve 16, free software with a host of features that will help you manage your workflow in one place.
It even comes with a ‘Cut page’ that is specifically designed for beginners and contains a simplified tool.
A few alternatives are Final Cut Pro X, which is especially good in case you have a MAC. You can also check out Motion 5 and Premier Pro, which are advanced programs used by professionals and require a paid subscription.
Tell a Story
Your skateboarding video should not just be about a person skating on a road. To keep the audience interested, you need to make them feel part of the ride!
A simple trick is to start with an ‘establishing shot’ - something which tells the audience where the skateboarder is and what the location is like. Then you can begin with a few cruising and warm-up shots, letting the viewers soak in the atmosphere.
Finally, you can bring out the best tricks, starting slow and gradually becoming more and more energetic! Like a superhero movie, you have to let the video build into an awesome climax.
Variety is key
Follow the same principles you did while shooting the video. Try to include different shots from different angles, sometimes using slow-motion effects or changing the playback speed.
You can even experiment with stationary shots once in a while, where the camera is fixed in one spot and the skater is coming in and out of the frame.
This will give a feeling of fast-paced action because the skater will be appearing and disappearing suddenly!
Add the right soundtrack
No video is complete without matching audio. And the same goes for skateboarding videos!
The feel of the background music should match the intensity and pace of the video. For example, you can start out with a slow beat while showing the location and some interaction with the skater.
When building up to the cool tricks and tricky landings, use catchy and upbeat music to match the tempo!
Skateboarding videos are fun to shoot. With the right mix of different angles and balanced editing, it is easy to grab the attention of viewers and exhibit your talent to the world.
Although a lot of things go into making the perfect video, it’s all about practice.
Once you get the hang of your filming equipment and the proper settings, you’ll find it easier to create a video that tells a story and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats.
Keep skating, keep shooting!