Filming your skateboarding sessions is a great way to draw some attention, gain some notoriety, and share your skills with friends and family, the world over.
Here are some tips to help you turn out quality recordings of your skateboard sessions:
1. The Equipment- The camera is obviously the most important piece of equipment. You will want something handheld, lightweight, and durable. Mini DV is the most desirable format because it records every frame while some memory card recorders (Go class 10 or else!) will drop frames making the playback glitchy and unwatchable.
The Canon EOS 60D with its swivel LCD screen is a popular, albeit expensive choice. The Sony Mini DV premium camcorders are a more affordable and equally popular option.
The GoPro Hero3 is shock proof and can be attached to your helmet, deck, or just about anything, for some crazy angles and otherwise hard to pull off shots. TransWorld Skateboarding put it to the test with pretty good results.
Most experienced videographers recommend a fisheye lens for shooting skateboarding action because it maximizes the width of the frame giving a great view of the action, the skater, and the obstacle.
Just don't get carried away with it. The fisheye lens is best used for big tricks but it will lose its desired effect if you use it all the time.
If you are going to be filming while skating then a Cam Caddie Scorpion can come in handy for shooting from low angles.
Remember to always come prepared with extra batteries, lenses, tapes, SD cards, a tripod and anything else you may need to maximize your filming time without interruption.
2. The Location- Scouting out your location in advance will save you tons of time. If you can find a location or two that will allow for multiple tricks (rails, stairs, etc.) then you can spend more time capturing the action and less time searching for worthy obstacles.
3. The Skateboard- For sustained sequences of street skating you will want to follow the action on a skateboard. You will want something that gives you a smooth ride and great maneuverability. Long boards with big wheels are recommended.
4. Tips for Filming- One of the most common mistakes made when filming skateboarding action is only showing the feet and the board. This makes for terrible viewing as you only see a disembodied pair of feet performing tricks. Keep the whole skater in the frame for maximum effect.
For some tricks like a grind you will want to follow the skater for other tricks a stationary approach is better. Try to avoid zooming in and out, instead frame your shots before hand so the skater is entering the frame, tricking it out then exiting the frame quickly upon landing.
Filming as little of the landing as possible will help make your skaters look better by cutting out any wobbling or falls that may follow.
Keeping a low angle so you are shooting up at the action is usually best for capturing skating. It creates the illusion of taller obstacles and greater height for jumps, not to mention gives you a great view of the board when capturing kick flips and the like.
You can find lots of free video editing software if your camera doesn't come with any like this free editor from GoPro. Quick edits with a raging soundtrack usually work best for skate videos so pick your favorite punk tune or hip hop instrumental to score your video with.
5. Be Safe- Filming while skating takes some practice. You want to always be aware of your surrounding and be sure to keep an eye on where you are heading with only occasional peeks at the camera view finder and safety equipment is a must.
Practice makes perfect, so get to know your camera to the point where you can get the hang of capturing the action by pointing it without having to constantly look through the viewfinder or the LCD screen.
Here are a few examples for inspiration:
DGK's "Blood Money"
Skate The Void LRG Tokyo
There are some basic tips to help ensure you capture some gnarly action. Do you have any tips to share, equipment recommendations or a skate video of your own? Let us hear it (or see it!) in the comments below!