Author: Julian Arriens

Late last summer I had the pleasure of covering a week’s events on the Ride & Seek cycle tour through Europe on the trail of the Roman general, Hannibal. Here’s a little of what I learnt…

Pt 2: Shooting – Out of the Car Window

This ended up my stock trade in generating high lycra content footage, but I feel I spent way to much time doing this.

If you’re shooting out of the side window with a shallow depth of field, with the cyclist in profile, each shot starts to get a bit samey: same framing, some differing backgrounds, not bad, but once you have a few good ones, it’s time to move on, with these a sequence you cannot make.

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Then there’s shooting out the front, though the windscreen. You end up with shots like this:

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You can probably get a bit more scenery in the shot, but without the cyclist’s face they get even more repetitive, and these are in my book bottom of the pile. When I took them I remember saying “oh yes great stuff, lovely”. And lovely each one might look, but put em all together and you have one very tedious sequence.

My main point here is CLEAN YOUR WINDSCREEN before you set off. By focusing a few metres through the glass you can easily forgive the smudges and dirt on the small viewfinder, but get it in the edit suite and the ghostly smudging turns ghastly and will render all your babies useless.

Then you have your resistance piece, or pièce de résistance as the French like to call it, which is hanging out the window with a sturdy camera and using a deep depth of field. In my case I had the Sony Z1 warhorse, zoom it all the way out wide, infinity focus  – so everything is in focus, hang the thing down as low as possible, bending up the viewfinder and get those front on shots of faces. Gold dust, these are the ones that really count.

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On my wish list for next time would be to ride pillion on a motorbike or moped,  a la Tour de France, and you could then get a load of these devils. It could just be that you hire the bike for a day, but it’s be worth it. Oh, and you need a driver!

What the ultimate shot here? In my opinion it’s going round a bend so the camera moves with the cyclist, so they stay in centre frame and the background moves past, in the shot below we see the alps moving past behind Pete:

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One more tip for the car. Turn the radio off when you’re shooting, 95% of what you use won’t need the audio, or just uses atmos, but you never know when the other 5% will hit, and you just have to be ready.

Next time… The Gritty Reality of Setting Up Shots on the Roadside

Late last summer I had the pleasure of covering a week’s events on the Ride & Seek cycle tour through Europe on the trail of the Roman general, Hannibal. Here’s a little of what I learnt…

Pt 3: Shooting – Setting Up on the Roadside & Using the Go-Pro

Last but by no means least. In fact, this is pretty much your number one shot, if you want to show the scenery and get a sense of space properly, these are the key.

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To get these you have to constantly leapfrog the pack, so my advice – get that dedicated vehicle at your beck, whim and call. End of.

I used the support van, which, wonderful as it was, was at the beck and whim of each and every cyclist on the tour, as it’s meant to be, and hey they’ve paid for it.

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Beware! This mode of transport means you will never (or rarely) get to the right spot at the right time. You need your own (motorised) wheels, so you’ll need a crew of two, and in an ideal world you’ll have a moped and get some reverse pillion travelling shots a la Tour de France, with your bags carried in the support van.

So what constitutes the best roadside shots?

The journey. Get as much of the road travelled or the road ahead into the frame:

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The most important point here is to get the scenery in…

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Those mountain bends do it beautifully.

Something I didn’t exploit as much as I’d have liked, was the shot looking down onto a snaking series of S-Bends:

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And if you don’t have a series of S-bends, look out for those beautiful singles. They give a great perspective: you’ll get the relevant detail of the road in the foreground, and the road naturally leads the eye round to the cyclists:

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Finally, take care to set-up your framing both for the approach and the resulting pass-by shots (and good luck keeping them in frame!)

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But without these roadside shots your piece will get claustrophobic, however wonderful everything else you shoot is. Wide-angle lens it, polarize it, whatever you please, but whatever you do… keep on getting’ ‘em.

The Go Pro

A quick word on this. Attach it to the bike, of course:

– Rear facing off the crossbar at the cyclist’s face
– Front facing off the crossbar at the cyclists in front
– Rear facing off the underside of the seat
– I find helmet and chest cams often give too much wobble to bother with
– I use an articulated Ram mount off the offside front fork to get the camera low to the ground, facing either forwards or backwards

But invest in something like the Big Ushot 2 XSories mounting arm (~£35). Put your camera on a pole, stick it out the window as high as it’ll go and you get a great birdseye, high angled shot:

So what’s the jolly old thing look like, anyway?

BUSINESS EXPLANATION VIDEOS

Company explanatory reel for Kuvu Tutors, a web-based tutorial and educational organisation operated in partnership with the Theory of Knowledge:

http://www.theoryofknowledge.net

It’s sometimes the case that the intricacies of a company’s target market and services are best presented in a neat bundle of interviews and voice-over, wrapped in music, and delivered as a complete entity.

Essentially, this type of video provides the crucial over-view of a complex company, answering the standard array of questions it might receive.

Company director, Julian Arriens, has many years TV and advertising experience both in the UK and abroad.

He brings these skills both to our video productions, and also to edit video which you have already shot.

 

Animated ‘kinetic’ typography piece we did for the Marriott hotel chain to help explain their rewards scheme to the general public surfing their website.