Jeff Fried
Content Maker

A Complete Guide on How To Shoot a Cool Mountain Bike Video

This guide covers everything you need to know to complete a successful video shoot. The first path is for those who want to plan. The second path is for those who like to wing it. Both paths are valid. Follow these steps and watch your downhill mountain bike videos improve.

Path 01: If you have the luxury of planning ahead, utilize it

There is an old proverb stating that if you have four hours to chop down a tree, spend three sharpening your axe. It’s no different when it comes to shooting mountain bike videos and any kind of mountain bike pictures. 

Understand Why the Video is Being Made

Know your intention. You should know why are you making this specific video. Articulate why the video you are about to shoot will exist? What will its core function be? Summarize in a single statement why it will exist and your video will be better for it.
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Define Who the Video is for

How specific can be when defining your target audience for a given video? The more specifically you understand your target audience's desires, the more diligently you can present a solution.

Scout Mountain Bike Video Locations

Choose locations that suit your needs. Do you want water splashing for cool effect? Do you want aerial jumps and with dusk skies to remind us of childhood summers? Scouting locations and getting inspired is a great way to build a shot list. And that’s the next step.
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Build a Shot List for Your Mountain Bike Videos

Write all your ideas down. aim to write as much as you can think of every time you build shot list. Once you’ve got it all out, order them from best to worst, keep the top few depending on how many shots you require - maybe you wrote 100 ideas, order them, keep the top 20.

Consider Your Lenses

When building your shot list you should be considering if each shot is wide, medium, close ups, POV, a drone, or ahand held shot. Determine how each fits into your goals and the story you're telling with your mountain biking video.
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Lighting Matters

Choose good light that fits your needs, in general if you just want beautiful light then you should be shooting leading into the magic hour. Learn how to utilize light. Do you know how to create a silhouette effect? Can you tell the difference between hard and soft light. Learn these things over time and put them to use as your understanding grows.

What Kind of Weather Do You Want in Your Mountain Biking Video

Choose the right weather for your intention, shooting mixed weather can make the feeling of a landscape dramatically different than clear sky.
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Path 02: If are winging it, follow some principles to improve your success rate

It's true when shooting mountain bike images and in life in general, the right techinque at the wrong time is the wrong technique. So how do you know what technique to use at what time when making videos or photos. 

If you don't know for certain, then turn to some basic principles and you'll be fine. 

Be Frugal with Your Memory

Ask yourself why you're taking each shot. Why am I interested in capturing this shot? What function will it be intended to server.  consider the data you are about to record as limited (even if you have ten 128gb SD cards) make exposing your image sensor something that's limited. This doesn't mean don't shoot. It means, think before you shoot. What am I looking at specifically and how do I best convey what is peaking my interested. Do this consistently and your photography and video footage will improve.
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Consider Camera Movement

Less is more with camera movement — or as the used to say way back in your grandparent's parent's day, "Don't guild the lily." When something interesting is well light and well composed it often just needs time with the camera recording. Movement should be meaningful — like ever syllable in a peom, everything that happens with the movement of a shot should be deliberate and catering to the intended function of the shot. This is why the first principle was to consider why this shot exists.  

If It's Not Part of the Story, Keep it Out of the Frame

Compose your shots to remove as many distractions as required from you main subjects. eg. Changing an angle so a building isn’t in the background. Always remove distractions from your shots. A distraction is anything that takes away from your intended foucs or subject. 
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