This was one of those sports that had been cancelled on us for bad weather reasons on two previous occasions, so we were particularly looking forward to finally get the opportunity to film this sport. We would be filming cycling in a location where we would be able to control some aspects of the action. This meant we were expecting to be able to use the GoPro for some of the shots and direct the cyclists actions and track positions to get the best shots from the DSLR’s. Unfortunately the weather still played its part, very cold conditions on the day dissuaded many of the cyclists from attending and in fact we only had three cyclists but we still managed to get the shots we wanted.
For this filming session I had already decided on a number of shots I wanted, some fairly standard shots of the cycles using the Velodrome but also some shots, which would not be possible without the assistance of the riders in effect staging some shots. One shot in particular would be of a cycle passing within a few centimeters of the camera lens and at speed crossing the start/finish line. I created this by using my now almost indispensable camera rig and adjusted to be just a few centimeters off the ground and from the start/finish line. The other key shots in my mind would be created using the GoPro attached to a cycle. These key shots included one cyclist catching up/passing another with the GoPro forward mounted to catch these maneuvers. Another key shot with the GoPro facing to the rear would be of a cyclist catching another cyclist and preparing to pass and finally another shot of just the face of a cyclist showing the effort in involved in starting the bike moving with just its single gear.
We just needed a short edit at this stage for the client to use so I took the key shots from the GoPro footage and added in the footage from the DSLR’s, which included some tracking shots as the cycles followed the steep banking of the Velodrome. I then colour graded the video footage to make it a bit warmer by introducing some browns and oranges. I also added a slight grain effect not enough to affect the clarity too much but to give the footage that newsreel type look.
Problems and Solutions
Filming on the day went well, apart from the freezing conditions and the actual lack in numbers of cyclists we did manage to get all the shots we wanted. We had to stage many of the shots due to there only being three cyclists and I’m hoping we can go back at some point when there are more cyclists to get some of the shots I decided I’d like to get, especially now that I have some experience of filming this sport. The GoPro was difficult to fit on the bikes tubular frame primarily due to the oversize nature of the bike frame itself. I suspect the bike mounting kit was designed for the average bike not the specialist machines professional/enthusiast track cyclists’ use. The only way around this was to mount the GoPro on less obvious frame bars and play with the angles until we got the shots we were after. What was great was the addition of the LCD back, which helped immensely when setting up, as the difference in mounting angle between a great shot and one, which missed completely, was marginal. It was a dull day so apertures tended to be wide and so depth of field shallow. Great for contemporary ideas on what is a Cinematic effect but so easy for the shot to go out of focus, the only solution here is to get the focus right and repetition of the action until it was right.
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