You’ve probably filmed, or at least seen, a home-made surf movie or two. Hollywood it ain’t! Shooting hours of boring, shaky footage with muffled sounds is not how you win an Oscar. There’s only one Spielberg, but using a few simple tricks from Simon Monahan, Product Marketing Manager at Serif, you can make great surfing movies that will be watched by friends time and time again.
There will always be moments where you want to spontaneously start filming, but for the planned times like surfing the Severn Bore, you should do a little preparation. Set up your tripod (you can buy one quite cheaply from any camera store) so it’s ready for shots that have to be steady. That way, you only need to clip on the camera and you’re ready to go. And always make sure your extra batteries are charged and within reach. You certainly do not want to run out of power when a fellow surfer is riding a huge wave!
Just start shooting
You might be wondering when a good time to begin filming is. The answer is start as early as possible. Filming before you and your mates even start surfing gives you a great opportunity to test equipment and make sure your camera’s settings are right for the conditions. You might even capture some great early morning footage.
Take shots from different angles and locations
Some people tend to set up their camera in one place and stay there but this limits what you can film – even more so if you’re on the beach and you can’t predict where the biggest waves will be. Without a camera, you wouldn’t think twice about moving around to get a different view of the action – do the same when you are filming. It will add depth and dynamics to your movie. But try to avoid shooting with the sun directly in front of you to avoid silhouettes.
Hold shots for a while
When you are filming, it’s a great idea to hold a shot for a bit longer than you think you should, just to make sure you definitely have enough footage for the finished video. It’s also a good idea to zoom in a bit when capturing details; not so much as to take up the whole shot, but close enough so anyone can clearly see what’s going on. Zooming in and out should be done sparingly, and keep it slow and steady.
Edit your footage
When you’ve finished filming, edit your footage with good video editing software (available online and at all good software retail outlets). You might need to remove the start because you left the lens cap on, or the three minutes where you accidentally filmed the ground, or maybe add an appropriate song over the slow-motion replay of your best friend falling off their surfboard!
Free video editing software has its uses, but with professional-quality software, optimised for HD video, you can be sure that you will have the tools and features you need to add special effects and transitions, reduce noise and camera shake and enhance the picture quality,. Most will even burn your movie to DVD or Blu-ray Discs with the option to add interactive menus
Whatever you are filming – you can apply these tips to almost any home movie situation. They will make it easier for viewers to see and hear what is actually happening and result in a more enjoyable viewing experience that won’t send them to sleep!