How to Make a Bicycle Touring Video

Nov 6, 2012

The following is a guest post by Friedel Grant. 

Making videos of our bike touring adventures has never come naturally to me. I can often be found muttering to myself, wondering what that button does or how best to combine those two clips.

At the end of the day, however, I'm always satisfied to complete a film about our cycling adventures. A video captures the sounds, movements and emotions of a trip in a much more lively, engaging way than a photograph. It is a living memory.

Just listen to me screaming in this little film as I wade barefoot across a river, looking for a good place to cross with our bicycles. My voice instantly gives away just how chilly the water was, in a way a photograph never could.

Memories like the ones captured in that video are the reason why I encourage you to make a film of your next bike touring adventure, even if you're not a natural film maker. With a little thought and patience, you can record some priceless moments.

Here are a few tips from this amateur film maker:

#1. Tell A Story -- Instead of trying to capture absolutely everything, find a theme that you'd like to focus on. Is it the fabulous regional food? Or perhaps the experience of cycling in a foreign land? Once you have a theme, start making a list of the types of things you'd like to film. This will help focus your efforts and make it easier to edit your raw clips into an interesting finished video that flows nicely from one scene to the next.

#2. Invest In A Microphone -- The most atmospheric clips make good use of sound and an external microphone will help you record it properly, whether you're trying to share the sound of crickets chirping around your tent at night or talk over a raging rainstorm. External microphones that clip onto your clothing are quite cheap, so invest in one. If that's not an option, make two recordings. In the first one, you can hold the camera close to the source of the sound and record only the sound. Don't worry about the image. In the second, you can film the surrounding scenery. Use your editing program to combine the good audio track with the best images.

#3. Aim High, Low, Near and Far -- As you film, take a variety of shots. Don't just film the field full of sunflowers. Zoom in on the petals and leaves. Tip your camera up to capture the plants against the blue sky and crouch down to get a road-level view of your cycling companions pedalling past. These varied angles are much more interesting than the same eye-level view over and over. Before I let you go, here's one more video that I really enjoy. Technically it's far from perfect, but it does tell a great story! 

Photo courtesy of Friedel Grant

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FRIEDEL GRANT launched into bike touring with a tour around the world with her husband. They pedaled 48,000 km through 30 countries before settling down to ride bikes in The Netherlands. Friedel writes about bike touring on her website,  Travelling Two, has published the  Bike Touring Survival Guide and written a chapter for the  Adventure Cycle-Touring Handbook.

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