If you happen to keep an eye on our website on a daily basis (which you should), you may notice that our busiest section, by a good stretch, is the web clips.
What you might not know is we actually post just a fraction of the clips that get sent our way every day.
The rest, unfortunately, are of pretty low standard.
Now there is usually a combination of things that make the clip less than ideal. This can be the music choice, the editing style, or the video quality and angles.
Sometimes we see clips that actually feature glimpses of excellent waves and riding, but are often cluttered up with so many other bad elements that we have throw the entire thing aside.
But rather than just being the judge, jury and executioner on something that you worked so hard on, we thought we’d offer some handy hints on how to make your web clip stand out from the rest and (possibly) get a run on the Riptide website.
We also asked renowned bodyboard film editing guru Todd Barnes from Bones Films (responsible VIDEO, Trash, Thrash, Thrash’d and Killer Days just to name a few) to help with some insight that you can also take on board.
Ask yourself, will other people want to see this?
Good surfing is good viewing and bad surfing makes us cringe. A good clip should highlight the best of a rider’s ability and be interesting to those who have no idea who you are. Just because it is your mates doesn’t mean anyone outside of your circle of friends will share the same interest.
Todd: I don’t really want to rag on people’s work. There is so much content these days the cream will always rise. If you are a passionate bodyboarder do you upmost to make the sport look cool, fun and progressive. Leave the kooky shit for mates and home movies.
Work them angles
If you got a sweet camera housing that is awesome, but having a clip full of water angles can be overbearing. Same goes (possibly even more so) for the token land angle of right in front of the wave. Different angles are your friend, especially when they provide a different insight into a wave that is filmed to death.
Todd: Mix up the angles for sure. Its easy to get cosy shooting the same angle but once you’ve nailed some clips in one spot move on to get some diversity. Same angle over and over will have your audience scrolling on for their next fix.
Choose a program and get to know it
Learn the program. It’s probably best to start basic (like iMovie), but if you are serious about this, invest in legitimate editing software and acquaint yourself with some of the interesting functions it has to offer.
Todd: There are quite a few editing programs that will get the job done, they all have advantages. I was a Final Cut man for 10 years, but recently moved on to Adobe Premiere and haven’t looked back. Don’t be afraid of change, it will hold you back.
Time to cut
You should go through all of your footage and pick out all the waves that you like. You should also have a fair idea of how long you want the clip to be. Our advice is to not try and make it too long and fill it with low quality riding. The clip should be short, sharp and full of all the best content. That way your audience will be engaged the entire way through and, hopefully, begging for more.
Todd: There are no rules (when it comes to clip length), although with the saturation of content we are fed these days through different media channels, if you want to hold the attention of your audience keep your edits punchy. Basically delete the B grade shots and stick with the A grade bangers!
Set the theme and pace of the clip
Is it going to be fast paced and full of action? Or will it be more of a slowed down vibe with arty lifestyle shots? This is entirely up to you and is your own unique aspect as an editor. You should have an idea of what you like before you reach of the editing stage.
Todd: There are so many ideas you could fuck around with, why not develop a strong one you are passionate about and go execute it? Bring something fresh to the table and your audience will grow.
Choosing the right music
Music is a crucial factor in making a clip, in fact it can be responsible for making it or breaking it. Just because you love hardcore psy-trance, doesn’t mean everyone else does. Try to choose something that you think goes well with the footage and riding, and will be pleasing for a general audience. Good editors know good music, and boogin’ clips are often responsible for introducing fans to new bands/artists and genres.
Todd: Music will help you convey the vibe, tell the story, get your audience pumped up. Or maybe you want them to mellow out, its all in the tunes. I always steer clear of top 40 tracks as people have usually heard them over and over on the radio. Find something underground, chances are it will be the first time your audience has heard that song and forever associate it with your film. A good editor will always cut clips to the beat, the more creative you can be is the key.
Time to get creative
Usually the footage will speak for itself, but it never hurts to have some interesting graphics to help separate your clip from the pack. This is where your editing software skills will come in to play. The more you know, the more you can do.
Todd (Using graphics) depends again on your idea. What are you trying to create? If it’s a profile section on a rider I love to play around with some graphics to spice it up. There are no rules. Hand drawn stuff is always cool.
While it might be soul-crushing to cop criticism for something you just poured your heart into, getting feedback from your friends and peers is the best way to improving and growing. Ask them what they think about the music, about the use of various functions (slow motion, graphics, etc).
Todd: Show some people who’s opinion you respect, ask for their feedback. Take it onboard, don’t be too attached to your creativity.
Give it a good title and background information
This is often overlooked but can have a significant impact on our decision to run the clip. The title is usually the first thing anyone sees and it is therefore important to capture an audience’s attention. It also makes it easier for people like us to give a title to the article we are putting the clip up with. Simply having something like “April/May” or “Summer 2015” is boring and lazy. It gives no context to the clip, and therefore gives sleep-deprived writers like myself nothing to write about. Get creative, use references to the place you visted, the “phrase of the trip”, whatever. Just make it something unique and your own! Also, a little info on who the riders are, the locations filmed and anything else is also handy.
Todd Barnes’ newest project, Liquid Aloha, is expected to be released in 2016.
Feature image: Alex McAlpine drives through a cylinder near home while Ryan Mattick gets the angle.