It’s finally here, that three-day weekend you’ve been looking forward to for the last few months. The bike is ready – fresh oil change, lubed up chain, and all your camera gear is neatly packed away to document the weekend trip. But in all that preparation, you may not know where to start filming, what the trip will encompass, who will watch your video, or even how to edit it. Starting a journey is one thing, but having the skills, experience, and creativity to make a video that you and others will enjoy is a challenge. One that many struggle with and can even stop some 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.
Step 1: Story telling
Before you start find a central idea, purpose or message to your adventure that you want to tell your audience. People love the human experience and witnessing what happens next. They want to be entertained as you show them, not tell them, your experience. My suggestion is to find something interesting to show, like the struggle to change a tire, or an interaction with an interesting character you met on the road. But try to keep it simple and remember that every story has a beginning, middle and an end.
Step 2: Camera gear
You don’t need fancy or expensive equipment, so there is no excuse not to document your trip. But it is important to keep your tech upgraded. Your phone is capable of wonderful video and pictures to start, but if you want to take your video to the next step an action sports camera like a GoPro is great. GoPro’s can attach anywhere on the bike and yourself for great shots. Don’t forget about sound. It is a very important element that is overlooked most of the time, so a microphone upgrade should be next on your list. Followed by a point-and-shoot camera, then a DLSR, and finally a drone if you are brave enough. But the central idea of your story is the star, not the camera equipment. Most people will be viewing your online video on a mobile device, so stay away from expensive and unnecessary 4K cameras or drones that take up space and require training.
Step 3: What to film
The most important technique in filming a motorcycle adventure is variation. Do not pop an action camera to your helmet and record the same angle for 12 hours. Remember to tell an entertaining story from different perspectives and views. Jump off the bike and place the camera on a tripod, or the ground for good drive by shots. You can also hold the camera out in selfie fashion as you look into the lens and narrate what is happening. Widescreen shots and B-roll filming are important for setting stage in your final video too. As you gain more experience in filming you’ll find the right angles and techniques for you.
Step 4: 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. You will need to film lots of different angles, close-ups, and add variety to the final product. Shoot to show is when you have little or no time to edit. Think 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. Some are even absolutely free 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. You can even hire a film student from your local film school at a reduced rate, or even a freelancer off Craigslist.
The best solutions to your editing problems are apps for your phone like Quik for Android or Splice for iOS. With Splice you can import all your clips and the app automatically analyzes them to find the best moments. It then creates a short or long format video synchronized 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 four steps in mind, you now have the techniques, philosophy, tools, and knowledge to start documenting your weekend adventure while making it a fun experience. You now have the tools to create a work of art that you and others will be excited to watch and experience!