How to video shoot like a pro

You might aspire to shooting great video footage of you or your mates riding, but looking godlike in front of a camcorder is harder than it looks

rgo's picture
By Dan de Castro on Thu, 5 Jan 2012 - 09:01

Shooting fast-moving motorcycles well with a video camera is bloody hard. I should know, I’ve been filming cars and bikes for TV for over 10 years and even now I sometimes get it wrong. Bikes especially are very hard to shoot well, they’re much more difficult than cars. They’re dynamic, relatively small and if you’re trying to shoot video of your mates or yourself looking fast on your bike, you can shoot for hours and be really disappointed with what you get when you get back home. Bikes too small in the frame, loads of wobble in your shots, dull-looking locations – it’s really not easy. But get it right and a fast-moving motorcycle looks incredible.

We’re going to assume here you want to create a five-minute video riding country roads. If you’re planning on riding somewhere with a bunch of mates on a road trip, this is the perfect time to get out the camera and record the whole event. But these tips will work equally well if you shoot as a spectator at a MotoGP event or wherever there are bikes you want to film. I’m afraid I can’t tell you how to edit your movie once it’s shot – that’s another whole black art involving iMovies if you’re basic and Final Cut Pro if you’re advanced – but at least on these pages I can give you some idea of what to shoot on your bike and how to shoot it in the first place.

There are six key rules to shooting bikes and making them look good. I still stick to them now. They are:

  • Keep it simple – don’t be too adventurous with your videos to start with. Save the George Lucas routine for later as you get better.
  • Have a plan for your shoot. Know roughly what you want to get and use the right locations to get it. 
  • Never zoom in or out while you’re shooting. Ever. Your footage will get shaky and look properly shit.
  • Learn and use the manual settings on your camera. Video cameras are clever but not that clever. Set the exposure manually when you can but leave the focus on AF, as Auto Focus systems are excellent.
  • Shoot wide and think about the scenery. Tape is cheap, but it’s really boring watching hours of just you riding around. Press record sparingly!
  • Keep it short and sweet. Quality over quantity every single time.

From this, we can further break it down into four main shots we need to work on. Every shot you take in video has a beginning, a middle and an end, so please pay attention. I’ll only go through this once...

Follow Visordown

Latest News

Latest Features

Latest Bike Reviews

Crash Media Group
Visordown is part of the CMG Full Throttle Network© : welcoming over 3 million consumers each month