Helmet Cameras are becoming more and more common place nowadays with everyone wanting to film their adventures and upload it onto YouTube for the world to see. But as I have found out you can easily record loads of rubbish footage that doesn’t amount to much when you come to edit for your movie. So here are a few tips on how to get the most from your helmet camera.
Check Alignment – There is nothing worse than filming loads of great footage only to realise that your subject is out of frame! So check beforehand, film for 10 seconds, line things up with what you are looking at both horizontally and vertically and check that this is what you are filmed. There is nothing worse than filming your mate falling over only to find he is out of shot.
Large memory cards are your friend – Running out of memory is never pleasant and you can guarantee that’s when the interesting stuff happens. So make sure you have a large SD card to capture every moment.
Short bursts of video – Personally I find short films a lot easier to edit and manage. For example when I am snowboarding at the end of each run I will stop the camera before I get on the chair lift and start again at the top. I sometimes review the footage on the chair lift and see if there is any good footage, if not delete immediately to free up some space. It’s very easy to collect a load of boring footage that you will never use and will clog up your hard drive forever.
Be cut throat with your editing – Next time you watch an advert or even TV programme count the number of seconds between each shot. It is fast around 2-4 seconds, to keep attention. Even if it is the same subject is being filmed the editor will cut between multiple views of that shot. For us amateurs this is not always possible but you can make interesting by keeping the shots short and interesting.
Delete unwanted footage – I mention this above already but it is an important point to note. Footage takes up loads of memory on your device and also the computer you are using to edit the footage, so delete any unwanted footage. Film editing uses loads of RAM and requires available space on your hard drive, so keeping things neat and tidy will really help you. A good tip is to buy a large external hard drive so that all your footage is not all stored on your computer this leaves key space on your computer free for processing and editing.
Choose your Helmet Camera carefully – Do you need the best helmet camera or can you use your existing compact camera with a helmet camera mount, a lot of compact cameras are higher spec than the top of the range helmet cameras nowadays. Compact cameras have better stabilisation and higher resolution for photos and you can review your footage instantly, a major bonus when editing on the go.
Context filming – A big mistake with helmet cameras is to only film first person view all the time, that’s fine until you come to produce your movie and you have no footage showing what it is you are actually doing. You need to give the first person view film footage.
Let me explain, imagine you are filming first person view on a roller coaster you will have the whole of the ride but only from the perception of the rider, to get the context of the whole experience you need to film the roller coaster externally to show what it looks like, with all its loops and twists and cut this into the footage.
OK, easy with a roller coaster, not so easy when skiing or mountain biking. Actually it is, all you have to do is stand still and film a friend going past or even better get them to film you so you can be the star. If you can film together that’s even better, i.e. you with your helmet cam and your friend filming your run. Edit them together later and hey presto you have a decent action movie to impress your friends with.
Most of all have fun, get out there experiment and have fun, we are of a generation where digital media has never been so accessible so abuse it and become a pioneer in your field.