Last weekend my buddy Keith invited me to spend the day watching his friend race in the Gloucester Brewer’s Cup cyclocross race. I figured it’d be a nice day of relaxing by the ocean, drinking beers, watching racers, and I thought it might be a fun event to film. I had never been to a cyclocross race, although I used to do mountain bike racing in high school. Cyclocross is like mountain biking but the bike is more like a modified road bike and they race on a shorter course with multiple laps. I don’t film a ton of sporting events (I don’t think I have done one since my Boston Marathon video back in 2007), although I do find them quite enjoyable.
As it turned out, cyclocross is a pretty perfect sporting event to film. It was an all day event with different age groups and categories racing each hour, so there was plenty of time to get footage. The racers did 4-6 laps of the course, so you could shoot in one part of the course for one lap and then move for the next one. Plus the racers wear brightly colored clothes, and, well, bikes are just cool. I had hoped to have my new Canon 7D in time for the race but it didn’t show up until a few days later, so I used my EX-1. In hindsight, this was a much better choice anyway. The zoom lens on the EX-1 covers a much bigger range than the lenses I have for the 7D (plus I’d have to switch lenses frequently). I also think some of the focusing aids and overall functionality of the EX-1 as a proper video camera make more sense for shooting sports (at least this event). Plus, I shot a lot of overcranked (slow motion) footage at the race, which CAN be done on the 7D, but it’s slightly less versatile and probably is a poorer image quality than the EX-1. I shot a lot of the “real time” footage at a higher shutter speed than normal. I would normally keep the shutter at 1/48 of a second when shooting 24p, but I like the look of fast sports with a faster shutter (generally around 1/250 of a second). Some people poo-poo that look because of the staccato look but I like it. You’ll see both shutter speeds and the effects they have represented throughout the video.
But it was a great day, the weather held out (although I was partly hoping for the downpour we had the previous day as that would have looked very cool), and I came back with a ton of good footage. I went through about 90 minutes of footage that I shot and pulled out the selects (about 10 minutes worth). Then I passed it off to my friend Keith, who is an editor, to cut it. I really enjoy sometimes handing off my footage to other editors and it’s always interesting to see what they do differently than I would. We worked together at coming up with a good soundtrack for the short video (thank you Freddie Mercury), and then he went to work. I did some of the finishing color grade to the piece when he was done editing, just to make the look a little more punchy.
So check out the video we came up with and if you are shooter who enjoys filming sports, I highly recommend checking out a cyclocross event. And I think I got the bug and may compete in one of these races next year!