We all make mistakes, the trick is to learn from them. I got the opportunity to learn a couple of lessons while trying to get the last couple of clips for my first (experimental) mountain biking destination video.
1. Check your equipment before you go out. Most of my equipment is assembled from common house-hold items. This fact should induce an OCD-like compulsion for me to check my set-up. Not so. Last year, I used zip-ties to mount my still-camera to my bike helmet for the shot that graces the top of my blog home page. What I didn’t think about was that in the interim I’d crashed hard enough to need a new one. The new one lacked a flat spot to mount a camera to. The result: footage that looks like it was filmed by a bauble-head doll. Of course, a quick dig through my closet reacquainted me with my old, busted helmet and a few days later, I got my shot.
While the problem-solving aspect of “getting the shot” on a budget can be fun, making sure your set-up will work before getting on the scene is essential. With Maine’s temperamental weather, it could easily have been weeks before I could shoot again. Bottom line: I got lucky.
2. Charge your batteries–every time. Sounds simple, but I neglected this, even after working with digital cameras for years. I thought the shot was going to be quick and easy. Wrong. While I had just enough battery life to get the shot I had planned, I didn’t have a single minute more. This means I missed a bunch of shots that I now saw around every corner.
This leads me to a hint: shooting video is like going to the grocery story when you’re hungry. There’s always another shot you’re going to want. Try to give yourself a little more time than you think you need–and a lot more battery!