Having previously worked with the voluntary organisation RELAYS (Regional Educational Legacy in Arts and Youth Sport) we were asked to work with them to film and produce a series of short videos recording the Sport activities organised for the ‘Free Your Fitness’ project.
‘Free You Fitness’ project is a Lottery funded project to enable Bournemouth University and Arts University Bournemouth students to get involved in a Sport. The videos would be used by sportBU for presentations to Sport England and would also be used by BU Sports Management students in their final year projects.
Objectives and Approach.
I worked in a team with Aleksandra Leontyeva for this module, with each of us working in clearly defined roles, although these could and have been interchangeable as required, but in the main my personal key responsibilities have been first the capture of the visuals and then the editing and post production.
In addition to my key responsibilities I have also been involved in the marketing of our work on the Internet. One of my ideas was to create a separate website dedicated to showcase the videos we have produced to help promote our YouTube Channel and in particular with the aim of improving our listing position in the Google search results.
This project can be broken down into three parts.
- Part one was to work with an external client, in this case SportBU to produce videos from the Sports Activities organised for the “Free Your Fitness” project for their presentation to Sport England and the project stakeholders.
- Part Two was the creation of a YouTube Channel for the submission of our work for this unit and to showcase our work to the general public.
- Part Three involved the marketing of the videos and the YouTube Channel using Social Networks including Facebook and Twitter.
Pre-production, organisation and planning
After three years at University, Aleksandra and myself have acquired excellent film making skills, the experience we have gained from working on many Film projects mean that we are very well organised as a team. We quickly created a detailed plan for each of the sport activities we intended to film, allocated time for editing and methods for delivering the content to the client. Including saving to memory sticks and uploading to the YouTube Channel, which we created specifically for this project and titled Sports Edge Video Productions.
We set ourselves three key deadlines:-
- The first was to deliver a range of sports videos for a group of Sports Management Bournemouth University students to use in their final projects by the end of February but this was rescheduled by the students to March.
- The second deadline was to deliver video content suitable for sportBU to use for the Sport England presentation scheduled for Friday 19th April 2013.
- The final deadline was for our personal hand in and critique for May 2nd 2013, which would include the content created for the YouTube Channel and of the marketing of the channel/videos using Social Networks.
I’ve created individual Blog entries for each of the filming sessions and what we did for each sport in order to film and decide on editing choices, but in general we split the filming duties.
For example I tended to concentrate on capturing the sports action and look for opportunities to use new camera angles including the use of the GoPro to create an alternative perspective POV. Aleksandra complimented this by filming close ups and the social aspect of the sport. However we swapped roles as necessary to make sure that we captured as much footage as we could. One of the key points we learned when filming live sports is that you have to be in the right place at the right time to get the shot and there’s little opportunity to re-shoot.
Pre-production – Time Management and Project Management
For time management in particular we made use of Social Networks by creating Facebook Events for each of the filming sessions, which reminded us when we were online what, where and when we had to be to film.
Time Management – ‘It’s about being organised, having a plan and sticking to it’ using Facebooks Events service was the perfect solution for organising/planning filming sessions at multiple venues over a period of weeks/months.
I started off by using an online Gantter Chart for project planning, which can be shared with other team members as I’ve used for my previous projects and then added Facebook Events, which turned out to be much more successful for planning the Filming sessions and organising as I’ve already mentioned what we needed to do, at what location and when. I’ve posted a dedicated Blog entry for this which can be found click here.
Between filming sessions we allocated editing time immediately after each event so that we would have videos completed at each stage of the project, which could then be presented to the client who we arranged to meet with on several occasions during the project. At these meetings we also agreed any changes in the order of the events, the dates/times and at the same time the client may have asked us for something specific to be included in our videos. This for example could have included getting video of the organising staff or photographs/screengrabs for presentations.
Links to individual Blog postings for each sport
- Cycling Blog Girls click here & Mens click here
- Surfing Blog click here and click here
- JUDO Blog click here
- Athletics Blog click here
- Golf Blog click here
Pre-production Planning – Storyboards and Shot Lists
In the early stages of this project I started off creating detailed storyboards (Slide shows for an example click here) and shots lists in the usual manner as for any previous short film project, an example of which was the detailed shot list and outline I created for the Boxing session, which can be found in this Blog post click here.
Following a tutorial with Liam I was advised to instead film the sports without a preconceived plan or detailed shot shot and be more spontaneous and adaptable to events as they unfolded. The idea behind this was that as I have on many previous projects carry out intensive planning and I tend to like to control all aspects of a production and in live sports this is just not possible. With this in mind for the majority of sports activities we filmed there was a basic outline of what we were looking for, an idea of the type of shots we wanted for example I wanted shots of the surfers taken into the Sun, so I made sure that I got those but other than these generalities I kept an open mind and just recorded as much footage as possible with as much variation in shots as possible.
I created several edits for each of the sports activities that we filmed giving each of them a unique quality. For some I focused on the visual qualities, the narrative or for some it was the soundtrack that was important to the final edit. In all, between us we created 35 videos for sports including:- Surfing, Volleyball, Track Cycling, Golf, Athletics and Judo.
Some of the experimentation was created in Camera, by this I mean I selected a picture style (see this Blog post for details click here) or a method of moving the camera that was new to me. I experimented with Lens Whacking a method where the lens is removed from the camera mount and by changing the angle/focal plane you can change/introduce exposure changes while at the same time moving the focus point. I also tried several new camera angles and shot the majority of the footage handheld intentionally using a camera rig, details of which can be found in this dedicated Blog post click here.
I also used several post production techniques to simulate camera movements which could not be created at the time of filming, for example using scaling to simulate a zoom in or out, or to key in a tracking movement in Premiere Pro to simulate the use of a camera slide/dolly movement. I would combine several video transformations to stablelise an image or to follow or centralise the movement of the action on screen. A good example of this is tracking the cyclists as they cycled around the Velodrome, even though I tried my best to follow the movement as steadily as possible using the camera handheld it was still very difficult to keep the cyclist central in the frame.
I solved this issue in post production by keying in horizontal and vertical points to help centralise the cyclist in the centre of the screen. In most cases I limited my modifications in post production to those that enhance the quality of or the movement of the image rather than to add special effects just for the sake of adding them, but they do have their place and I’m happy to have made use of them when required. Certainly my knowledge and skills with Premiere Pro and After Effects have grown even in the last few months working on this project working on the editing of over 30 videos for the YouTube Channel.
My video edits are colour graded or use an effect to add interest to the visuals, one example would be the Girls Cycling Event (for Blog post click here) where I layered videos changing opacity and blending modes to create the visual effects. I also used After Effects to colour tone and create a Triptych effect, which can be seen in the video below.
I also made the decision to create Movie style Trailers using iMovies, I’ve not used this editing program much over the last 3 years but I decided to make use of it in this project to create these short trailers. The reason behind this was introduce a different style to some of the edits, it’s very quick to use and the results can be very effective when for example you want to make an impact from just a few video clips. The feedback on these edits was mixed but generally most people liked them. In fact one of my recent iMovie trailers is getting a hit rate of 2 to 1 compared to any other edit.
Music and Soundtrack
I’ve used music that is Royalty Free or Creative Commons adding artist information in the end credits when required. This means that the videos can be monetised on YouTube without any limitations. The soundtrack for the Golf edit is particularly interesting as I created this from the sounds made as the golf club hits the ball, changing the pitch by changing the video speed and editing clips together to create a soundtrack. See my separate Blog for more details on this click here.
Effects & Post Production Examples
Cycling – Narrative Example
I created this video to show the build up to the start of a cycle race, beginning with showing the details of the cycles, the riders and the coach’s last minute talk to the riders. Then it’s the race itself, three riders racing around the track, one drops out after a few laps leaving just two to battle to the end. Then finally just the one rider crossing the finish line. This is really a difficult story to tell when there are only three riders on the day but I think it works well.
Cycling Triptych – Editing Technique
This video I think personally works well however I would like to make another version of this at some point which does not use the current visuals in the left panel. Possibly replacing them with some new footage of a group of cyclists chasing a leading cyclist. But the numbers were not available on the day of filming so I will have to go back and shoot some more footage in the Summer. My research and ideas behind this video can be found in this Blog entry click here.
Surfing – Narrative Example
I created this video to show the build up, the emotions and anticipation of the students as they exercise and are taught the guidelines before carrying their boards to the edge of the sea for many what would be their first time Surfing. I ended the video at the surfs edge as this ties in nicely with the opening ident sequence, which if you notice is virtually identical as this was scene from where the photograph was taken that we used to create the ident.
I also wanted to include some of the visual styles that I had identified in my research for this project in this surfing video, which in some ways had also influenced some of my camera work, which again came from my research for this unit click here for details. My research included the Guinness Advert ‘Horse Surfer’. In this video you will notice some of the similarities, the use of monochrome and music choice. I did think about adding a narration but in the end I felt the video worked on it’s own with just the music soundtrack.
The feedback on this video has been very positive.
We decided that as we were creating a YouTube Channel that we would design our own ident and use this for the opening for all newly created video edits. I created a selection of idents in After Effects using screengrabs from the Surfing Videos. Some were over elaborate in their design and in the end the final version was almost the simplest that I had designed. It was based on a photograph, which I modified in Photoshop first to create a silhouette effect and some colour tone changes and then processed again in Lightroom 4.3, which I have described in detail in this dedicated Blog post, which includes the research we carried out before picking this final design click here. Additional research on ident design and my preceding designs can be found in this Blog post click here.
Aleksandra agreed to concentrate more on the Branding and Marketing side of our project and so in many cases I deferred to what she said would work for the best for our project while I concentrated on the physical design, which as I mentioned was created using a range of applications including Photoshop, Lightroom and After Effects.
Creating the YouTube Channel
We decided early on in this project to create a YouTube Channel to which we could both upload our videos and that also had the benefit of providing the client/clients a single online resource for their projects and presentations. For example one of the clients planned to embed the YouTube video links into a Powerpoint presentation and having them all in one place made it much more easier for them to achieve this. Creating a YouTube Channel is very easy all you need to do is open an account with a valid email account. However more recently the channel setup has been changed to allow for customisation, which includes header images, colour choices/backgrounds and some layout design controls.
I’ve made changes to our channel over time in particular to include playlists. The idea behind playlists is that you can set them up to automatically play each video automatically in sequence. This has the benefit of increasing video views for chances are if a viewer likes the first video they see they may carry on viewing the next video in sequence adding to the view counts for all videos in the playlist. I also went back through our videos to add annotations, adding links to Subscribe embedded at the end of the videos.
I also created a YouTube Channel widget which allows you to embed the channel and play videos directly within the widget, I’ve added this to all the pages on this Blog in anticipation that this will also increase views for out videos. I’ve gone into more detail on this in a dedicated Blog entry click here.
Another benefit to using a YouTube Channel is that this provides the client and audience an easy way to view and share the video footage we have created. The other option we had was to produce the content for delivery on DVD but this had its own problems as the client was not certain that all venues had access to DVD players. Fortunately the majority of the venues were expected to Internet access and those that did not had computer facilities (Laptop) that could support playback of the videos from a USB memory stick. With this in mind we also copied our videos onto a memory stick as a back up to the YouTube Channel and supplied this to the client for their presentations.
My responsibilities initially was for video creation rather than marketing and promotion but I decided in the latter stages of the project that a website would be a useful addition to our marketing processes. So I decided to create a website to showcase some of our videos and create links back to our Facebook Pages and YouTube Channel. As I am the most skilled at website design this job fell to me and so I created this website using a customised WordPress installation on my personal server. The website has no pages just Blog postings and it makes use of SEO scripts to generate web traffic through the use of keywords, which makes it easier for Google search robots to find and index our videos.
The website can be viewed here Sports Edge Video click here
As we were generally filming students who had been asked and had given us permission to film many of the potential issues for example how we portrayed people on screen were resolved at the beginning of the project. That is not say that we did not also take into consideration how people would be portrayed in our videos for example we would not use the footage produced to embarrass or denigrate those people on screen.
We did however cancel the filming of the Boxing when we learned that minors would be present as would youths who were participating as part of a rehabilitation program. Although permission could be granted to film these groups we felt that it would not add to the project and may cause future issues. For example minors filmed boxing and uploaded onto YouTube could have created major issues based on the public interpretation of what they were viewing and indeed for some moral issues may have raised.
Both genders were equally represented in our work, the Sports Activities were open to all participants regardless of gender, age and race and our work clearly shows this aspect. In fact our work helps to promote the idea of sports for all.
Final Thoughts and Project Evaluation at the Projects Conclusion
After a stumbling start to this unit with several filming/sports sessions cancelled for a number of sporting events, usually at the last minute mainly due to poor weather and also by low participant numbers, we soon got back on track, following the pre-production project planning and filming everything that we wanted to film. However with a caveat in that, it was a little bit unexpected and certainly when considering the subject, Sports activities at this level is basically just not that exciting.
I’m certain that if we were filming sport professionals or even experienced amateurs the action on screen would have been so much more interesting. But the team worked around this as much as we could, by making low participant numbers, low speeds and low activity levels appear interesting if not exciting on screen through our creativity.
It has been a positive learning process I personally have a better feel for filming live action sequences in general and a clearer idea of what now makes for good Sports footage. I’ve also used the Sports footage to convey different meanings, one example would be one of the JUDO videos, which feels more like a dance video than a Sports video.
I’m generally happy with what we’ve produced for this project. The client was pleased with the videos that we produced and has passed back to us their positive feedback having used the videos in their presentations and a successful meeting with Sport England. We have gone onto to produce more video edits for the client to use in their ongoing presentations to future stakeholders in the project, which continues into 2014.
In the final weeks of the project created a series of videos for entertainment purposes with the idea that it may attract viewers not specifically interested in Sports genre videos. I suspect we were our most creative while making these videos and the client agreed, for example asking me to put back into early videos the trips and the falls.
What would I do differently? I think in the circumstances we did a reasonably good and professional job given the limitations, but when I do this type of filming again I’d prefer to start work in the Summer months, when participant numbers would be higher. I’d also aim for a higher level of ability in the participants, who were more skilled at their sport and therefore performing at a higher level.
I’ve written a dedicated Blog entry, which is a summary of what we hoped to have achieved for our Learning Outcomes, which can be found here click here