A tale of two videos: both about trick bikers. Both showing impressive athletic and technical skill by two of the world’s top professionals. Both set to a musical background. Which one would you rather put your screen credit on?
The first one, which looks like it’s captured by a home video camera, shows the rider executing some pretty amazing stunts along the streets of London. Notice how the light changes from one scene to the next – the editor doesn’t care about time of day, only about the quality of the trick being shown. Also, notice how every scene employs the same camera angle: perpendicular to the subject with the obstacle in the foreground and the biker on the upper third. In cases where the obstacle is a roof, a fisheye lens is used. OK, not bad. I’m sure this video inspired a legion of floppy haired teens to try and break their legs in new and novel ways.
Now check out this gem of a film featuring pro rider Danny Macaskill:
In fairness, this was professionally filmed and edited by a television station. But notice how much more production value was put into this piece. First off – a narrative. A lone rider comes into an abandoned ironworks building, with music in the background that speaks of “falling from high places” and being fed up with the status quo. As the song lyrics describe the highs and lows of life, camera angles come in extremes as well: shooting from directly below the rider; from above his head, through a set of stairs; following his movement as he jumps from the top of a roof to the ground below. Although the film may have taken days to shoot in the outdoors, the light quality is kept uniform (NOT an easy thing to do when working on location inside multiple structures). Every effort was made to scout the location and find creative angles to attack the stunt. It even has the rider “creating” the jumps – cutaways of tamping down soil for a ramp, clearing out debris from a roof, or practicing on a (literal) high wire (Most likely a small army of builders and production assistants standing on the other side of the camera did the actual work).
In summary: Not all video is alike. The production with thought, budget, and time put into it wins all the time. The challenge is in finding the right mix of the three to suit your needs and limitations.
What other videos have you watched recently that contain great production value? Weigh in below!