TECHNICAL FORUMS > Film & Photography

A video thread on UK Caving?

(1/19) > >>

Caver Keith:
February proved to be quite a month in Caver Keith World. I was featured in an article in the Birmingham Mail, I was interviewed on local radio, had a video featured on LABBible and almost 5 seconds worth of clips from my videos were shown on The One Show. Oh, and the icing on the cake was my YouTube channel clocked up its 3 millionth caving video view!

All of this has led to a small amount of fame, a slight increase in video views and loads more comments on YouTube and Facebook asking for tips, what cameras I own, what lighting I use, camera mounts and such like.

Meanwhile video seems to very much a minority interest on UK Caving and also the number of entrants in the Hidden Earth video salon last year was disappointingly low. I can't help but wonder why this is as dozens of caving videos are uploaded to Facebook every day. As a forum UKC is ideally positioned for videographers and budding videographers to exchange tips and critically review each others work. Would anyone be interested in forming a video workshop/video tips/video review/equipment/top tips thread?

I have been thinking of perhaps offering to do a video talk at Hidden Earth this year but at the moment I'm struggling to find anything worthwhile to say. I'm hoping that if this thread gets off the ground then it will be a source of inspiration for me, will encourage more people to record their underground adventures at 30 frames per second and increase the number of entries in the Hidden Earth video salon.

Kenilworth:
Keith, I am one of the many who enjoy most of your videos, and if I cannot congratulate you for your fame I can sincerely commend you for your work. If cave videography was discussed more thoroughly here I would read with appetite.

I am very interested in video as a documentary tool, but I have little to no artistic talent, severely limited technological skill/interest and a fairly small budget. My videos are, predictably, crap. A lot of reading has helped some, but working in a cave seems to be especially difficult and I would welcome some basic cave-specific training.

nearlywhite:
I think the entry problem at hidden earth is more due to apparent lack of interest at the event for the work done, mixed in with the sentiment best encapsulated in the caving version of original lyrics of Going Underground 'what's the point and what's it worth, you'll never win at Hidden Earth'. i.e. Caver Keith has the winning entry likely sown up already, why bother compete?

I think there's a good way to get around this:
1) have the video competition online a week or so before the event. People often don't have the time to go to the video salon at HE, it's often a 'working' weekend for a lot of attendees and I know I'd much rather network my way onto an exped than watch a video in the inevitably out of the way video salon.
2) have different categories like in photography. This could be done in a variety of different ways e.g. best new comer, best go pro type footage, comedy/documentary etc. There's an argument it will dilute the prizes but that's not the motivating factor for most artists/cavers - recognition is nicer.
3) have a song competition too... This one's entirely out of self interest and doesn't relate to the rest of the post.
4) have a filmography weekend and invite loads of people along before the summer expedition season. I reckon you could fill a caving hut for a weekend, drum up some interest and share tips with budding creatives etc. You could even add the other art categories into it. You could call it the Caving Refined Art Party, or just CRAP for short.

Cap'n Chris:

--- Quote from: Kenilworth on March 06, 2018, 12:52:15 am ---I am very interested in video as a documentary tool, but I have little to no artistic talent, severely limited technological skill/interest and a fairly small budget. My videos are, predictably, crap. A lot of reading has helped some, but working in a cave seems to be especially difficult and I would welcome some basic cave-specific training.

--- End quote ---

A very useful (and I would suggest, essential) thing to do is to have editing software and a computer sufficiently powerful to run it and to become acquainted with a handful of its features and become adept at using them: unedited video is, in my opinion, borderline unwatchable and dull. I probably over-edit, certainly at first, and the ratio used to be 1 hour of editing per 1 minute of finished video. The magic is in the editing was a slogan that came out at a former Hidden Earth workshop on cave videography.

Being adept with editing means you can create pretty good short films by ruthlessly selecting only the half decent bits of footage grabbed with (say) a point-and-press handheld video-capable ruggedised camera: the somewhat more tedious approach is to set up shots and use tripod, multiple lighting sources/directions and because of the time spent in setting up these shots less editing is necessary back at base.

In my experience one of the worst things you can do is have helmet-mounted videography because it induces a feeling of sea-sickness, does not provide an overview of what's happening other than purely POV which is often confusing, and to select out half-decent short segments from an entire caving trip requires hours of tedious and hawk-like attention while watching and taking notes from the footage. Helmet cam / GoPro footage can be fabulous, if used sparingly, but I do mean sparingly.

Perhaps a good starting point is to use your camera at home at night with a flood light and perhaps some side lighting and wander around a bit, up and down the stairs, and then create a 20 second video edit. That should provide some useful insight into how to get the shot (try various views - handheld, place camera on a static platform, perhaps pointing up or down, back-lighting the person, flood v spot etc.): because handheld cameras do not have great sound you can overlay the footage with ambient sound (foley) and/or music.

Hope this helps to enthuse.

Caver Keith:

--- Quote from: Kenilworth on March 06, 2018, 12:52:15 am ---I am very interested in video as a documentary tool, but I have little to no artistic talent, severely limited technological skill/interest and a fairly small budget. My videos are, predictably, crap. A lot of reading has helped some, but working in a cave seems to be especially difficult and I would welcome some basic cave-specific training.

--- End quote ---

Chris has made some excellent points. The skill is much more in the editing than the filming and this really does take time. Some of my videos languish in a state of half-editness for months before they finally get uploaded, many more never get uploaded. One has to be really ruthless when selecting clips for the final edit. The first edit of my Ogof Rhyd Sych video was over twice the length of the finished version. It was all fairly good stuff and I was reluctant to throw any of it away as it was one of the most difficult environments I have ever taken video in. If you've ever been there you will know why. However as I snipped out more and more the video got better and better, it had better pace, it stopped being repetitious and it kept the audience's attention for longer.

Chris is also spot on with his comment on helmet mounted camera footage. This is a particular dislike of mine.

Finally a large budget and expensive equipment doesn't equate to good movies. My videos have always been made on a very small budget. The old adage holds true for caving video - It's not what you've got it's what you do with it that counts.

Navigation

[0] Message Index

[#] Next page

Main Menu

Forum Home Help Search
Go to full version