Story Telling: How to effectively document, film and edit your weekend adventure
It's finally here, that three day weekend you've been looking forward to for the last few months, you've had the bike ready in the garage for weeks with a fresh oil change, lubed up chain, the camera gear is neatly packed away to document the weekend trip. But in all that preparation, this Weekend Warrior doesn't quite know where to start filming, hasn't decided what the trip is about, who will watch this video, or even how to edit it. Starting a journey is one thing, but having the skills, experience, and creatively to make a video that you and others will enjoy is a challenge most of use struggle with that stop us from even trying.
As a YouTube content creator with over 23+ Million views on my motorcycle trips and videos, I'm going to share with you my secrets and tips on how to make an incredible, fun and interesting motorcycle travel video that people will want to watch.
Story Telling - Every story has a beginning, middle and an end, you'll have to find a central idea, purpose or message to your adventure that you want to communicate to your audience in a memorable fashion using this framework. People love the human experience, what happens next and want to be entertained as you show them, not tell them your experience. My suggestion is to find something interesting to show, like your struggle to change a tire, or that interaction you had with an interesting character you met at the gas station, the trick is to keep it simple.
Camera Gear - There is no excuse not to document your trip these days and you don't need fancy expensive equipment to do so, but you should also be evolving and moving up at the same time. Your phone is capable of wonderful video and pictures to start off, the next step is an action sports camera like a GoPro that you can attach anywhere on the bike and yourself. Don't forget sound is a very important element overseen most of the time, so a microphone upgrade should be next, followed by a point and shoot camera then DLSR and finally a drone if you are brave enough. The central idea is gold, not the camera equipment, remember most people will statistically be viewing your online video on a mobile device anyway, so stay away from expensive and unnecessary 4K cameras or drones that take up space and require training.
What to Film- The most important technique in filming a motorcycle adventure is to not simply pop on your action camera to your helmet and record the same angle for 12 hours. Remember you are trying to tell an entertaining story from different perspectives and views. This means jumping off the bike and placing the camera on a tripod or the ground as you drive by, holding the camera out in a selfie fashion as you look into the lens and speak your mind or current situation to those watching, attaching it to your windscreen and other unique locations or just filming B footage for filling in time or setting the stage in your final video. As you evolve in the filming process you'll have to experiment and find the right angles and techniques that are right for you.
Editing- If editing is your weakness, fret not as you are not alone, it may be the most difficult process of all. Two philosophies exist "shoot to edit" or "shoot to show". Shoot to edit implies thinking like an editor when you're recording, filming different angles, close-ups, adding variety to the final product. Shoot to show is when you have little or no time to edit, like a run and gun news camera operator whose single purpose is little or no editing required once the shoot is complete.
Don't want to pay for expensive editing programs? There are plenty of free 30 day trials for video editing programs like Premier Pro, Corel, Vegas Studio, Final Cut or even absolutely free video editing programs like imovie, Windows Movie Maker, Davinci or GoPro Studio. If you don't know how to use them you can learn by going on YouTube or Google and finding free classes and tutorials for every program.
If you have no interest in editing, there are also services your can hire to edit your footage for you for a fee so you don't have to do anything, or you can even hire a film student from your local film school at a reduced rate or just a free lancer off craigslist.
Best solution to your editing problems are apps for your phone like Quik for android or Splice for iOS, where you import all your clips into and the app automatically analyzes, finds the best moments and creates a short, or long format video sychonorchized to the beat of the song of your choice. You can heavily customize within these apps to further polish your video; it's incredibly fun to do!
Remember that every project, adventure or solution begins with that very first step many of us are afraid to take. But by keeping these 4 steps in mind, you now have the techniques, philosophy, tools, and knowledge to start documenting your weekend adventure while making it a fun experience with the capacity to create a work of art, that you and others will be excited to watch and experience!