How to make better extreme sport videos

Having over 10 years of experience in video editing, we came across some flaws, specific to extreme sport videos, that could be easily avoided by considering the following easy tips. Helping you shoot your next extreme sport video better.

Pick the right camera type

There are few options to consider. Action cameras are rugged, compact, portable camcorders that record video and still photos of, well, action. It’s no surprise they’ve become popular among the extreme sport set—think snowboarders, skateboarders and skydivers. For team sports athletes, action cameras put a whole new twist on reviewing game tape. They deliver an up-close, first-person view of plays as they happen. By using multiple cameras, you will end up with multiple views, which will make the end result much more dynamic and interesting. So if you have a chance, set up a camcorder on a tripod, while also filming the action itself with a GoPro type camera.

Video recording with your cell phone


Using a tripod for your video is very important. Extreme sports are very dynamic. While it is more cumbersome to set up and use, it is worth the effort. You will find that you need to zoom across the field to follow the play. Assuming you have 10x optical zoom available, you can zoom in pretty close and without a tripod, your footage will be just a jumbled mess. The applies for any event type shooting you might do. And while most cameras have some auto-stabilization, when you zoom in, they are not much good if you holding the camera in your hand. Make sure your tripod moves smoothly. The cheapest tripods are OK for still shots, but won’t pan without ‘sticking’ and producing bumps in your footage. Another great option is an action camera tripod, which you can set up just about anywhere and it allows you to capture the sport from a distance. These shots are great addition to the close-up footage.

A word about optical stabilization. While, this option is widely available among consumer camcorders, might cause artifacts on some footage. I would recommend to test drive this feature, if you plan on using it and see how well your camcorder handles the optical stabilization.

Steady Handheld Videos without Tripod

Improve Shaky Videos with Stabilization


The best day you can hope for is bright sun, little wind and no rain. If you can get these to all line up you’re in for a good day. The bright sunlight will let your camera work better. Low light is your biggest enemy, followed by high wind. Wind will turn into white noise on these cameras, so try to avoid windy days. Finally, make sure you put the sun behind you. Facing the camera to the sun will give you washed out footage, as the camera struggles with white balance and aperture control.

Shooting Tips

Filming good footage for your project is the most difficult part of the exercise. All steps from shooting onwards can be re-done as you get new ideas or skills in the post-production stage. You usually only get one chance at shooting your extreme sport footage! Try to keep the clips short when you can. This makes editing easier later on. Sometimes it is a good idea to just let the camera run, but this can make the rough-cut editing stage more difficult later on. Frame your shot. Either keep the camera still and let the play move through it, or track the play keeping a player in the middle of the shot.

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