How To Film Mountain Biking Videos

March 7, 2017
| By
Jordan Stambaugh

You ride mountain bikes. You want to look awesome while riding said mountain bikes. Luckily for you, there are many options available to choose from when it comes to selecting hardware to film with. There are GoPros, Garmins and even gimbals to stabilize cell phones - which can now shoot in 4k resolution.

But even more important than the gear you shoot your mountain biking video with is the approach taken to the task. Follow these steps and you should end up with a pretty killer video.

1. Create a storyboard

Come into the ride already knowing what kind of shots you want to get. It will save time and have the shots that you do get look that much better because they were shot with intention and purpose. This will add structure to your film and help you visualize what each real scene should look like. Consider sketching out some ideas to establish composition, angles and shot distance.

Once the storyboard is completed you’ll have a general sense of what shots you need.

2. Make a shot list

To make great mountain biking videos you need great preparation and that always starts with a shot list. Think about the shots you want to get that when strung together create a cohesive storyline that is easy to follow and does not jump around too much.

For example you might want to list the types of landscapes you’re traveling to and how you want to feature those. Also the people you’re riding with and their individual style you may be able to highlight, and which sections of trails you know you need a shot on.

Making a list is super easy and it will save you time when you’re out on the trail. Just make a list on your phone you can reference during the day. Easy!

3. Experiment with mounting options

Once you know what you want, go and start filming! There are a few solid places you can mount your camera to achieve different feelings and looks.

  • On your helmet. Classic point-of-view sensation and is pretty stable.
  • On the bike. This will bring the viewer close to the trail and showcases speed.
  • On your body. Can be shaky unless using a gimbal, but shows the handlebars and hands.
  • Off-bike. Have your buddy film you coming down the trail from the bushes or up in a tree - you can really get creative from off-bike angles!
  • Drone. Have access to a drone and know how to properly pilot the thing? This can make for very cinematic and smooth footage of your ride.

Keep the viewer engaged with different types of shots throughout the video.

4. Consider stabilization

There’s one thing for certain when it comes to mountain bike video - smooth video definitely makes you look more pro. There’s nothing more amateur than shaky video mixed to dubstep.

A night and day difference between shaky and smooth video will really affect how much your viewer engages with the video.

5. Edit like a pro

Really get to know your editing software and look up some advanced video editing tutorials. Make sure your shots don’t last too long - mountain biking is fast. Quick cuts give a sense of speed and covers more ground in less time. You don’t want your video lasting too long so be sure to use the length of your clips wisely.

You should pay attention to your music volume as well, and definitely use music to enhance the film but without overpowering the sounds from the raw footage like hubs clicking and tires skimming over brown pow.

Lastly, don’t go overboard with transitions or fancy pants effects. An intro, final transition to an outro to cap it off is always nice and professional.

Jordan Stambaugh

After acquiring a digital media design degree at Western Washington University, Jordan went on a bit of a quixotic journey: working for a software development company, designing for an AI startup, helping a non-profit, doing digital agency work and building a web design company.

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