Videomaker – Learn video production and editing, camera reviews › Forums › Technique › Miscellaneous Techniques › Shooting a drag race › Howdy, and welcome to the
Howdy, and welcome to the forums. It’s not always the fastest answer in town, but the answers are usually pretty good.
If I were to critique the videos you offered, here’s what I might suggest:
Video 1: The very first frame and the very last frame were both pretty good, but in between got a little rough. My primary improvement tip is that your videos will look better if you lead your subject. What I mean is, right as soon as they started moving, the front of the cars were almost to the left edge of the frame, and there was a mile of empty space behind them, on the right. Keep your camera a little ahead of the cars, so that the empty space is in front. It will really make it look better.
Second, you might want to practice your zooming. You did really well for the most part, but there were bits where the zoom "jerked" wide quite quickly, and this distracted me from those very pretty cars. Remember, the best type of video is the one where people forget they’re watching a video at all.
Video 2: Overall, not bad at all, but again, lead the cars a bit more. This wasn’t as bad as the first video, but they were still more centered, and I think if you keep the rear end of the farthest back car almost touching the screen’s edge, you’ll be a lot happier with the finished product.
Your zooming to follow the cars was great, but I really didn’t like the rapid zooming out at the end. I assume you wanted to get the times on video, but I would make this suggestion for next time. Follow the cars a little longer, and later on, edit the video with a transition to go from the close-up of the cars to the wide shot with the scores. It will keep your viewers’ from noticing the rapid zoom.
Video 3: Your big red text area got in the way of the shot! If the car lines directly under where you typically put your text block, it might be wise to at least make it partially transparent, so people can still see the car.
You did a fabulous job on leading these cars in your frame up until about 13 seconds, when they crept back up to the front. And there’s that infernal zoom out at the end again! 😀
For all three videos, I would say the biggest thing you could do to improve your video quality would be to throw your current tripod into a big, toasty fire, and get something that’s a little more smooth. You really do seem to have a decent grasp on video for this sport, but I think that some of your bigger problems (jumpy footage, leading the cars in the frame) are resulting from a crappy tripod. Bogen/Manfrotto has a beautiful tripod head, the 503. It’s an awesome full fluid head. Note that the legs usually come seperate with this head. A nice head like this and a set of sticks will run you about $500 or more. If you don’t have that kind of cash, Bogen also has a simpler head, the 501, that’s not quite as nice as the 503, but still does a super job, and it’s a lot cheaper.
I really hope that you weren’t offended, as that wasn’t my goal at all. Like I said, you have a lot of skill in this area already, and I just wanted to show you what I saw to help make your skill better. Overall, I liked your shots, and unless you can get down on the drag strip itself, I don’t see a way to get too much better angles than what you used. Keep up the good work, and if you want it, I’m happy to offer a beat-down, er, I mean advice, anytime! X-D