So we’ve been making SUP edits for some time now with varying degrees of success. In the early days we were limited by equipment, in fact we only had a GoPro Hero2 and a handful of mounts which were pretty poor by today’s standards. Sure you could get the job done if you were under 5’10 tall, chummed a fish-eye POV and didn’t mind airing your steamed up housing every 15 minutes. On the downside these cameras were everywhere and still are so if you don’t want to look like ‘that guy with the nose mount’ what’s the answer?
As with anything a lot comes down to resources and when it comes to making a great SUP edit this is no different. The newer GoPros have a lot more going for them in terms of image quality, field of view and battery life but you still need to think outside of the box or there’s a danger you’ll still end up being ‘that guy’ (or indeed girl). A selection of mounts can work to great effect, as can getting one of your mates to hold the camera while you supply the action either up close or from further away. The real trick to producing an engaging edit is telling a story, so much as having some great SUP action is important so too is ‘setting the scene’ which means you need cut aways and arty blur out to in focus shots that give your edit a bit of stylised cred.
For these type of shots you really need a DSLR or mirrorless camera with a half decent sensor and glass in it. Hang on this is starting to sound expensive I hear you say, but you really don’t need the latest Cannon with the 600 lens to get the shots you need. We’ve managed fine with hobbyist level cameras shooting in good light that we’ve managed to tart up in the edit suite afterwards.
Similarly there are some great 1080-4K waterproof action cameras on the market that can zoom in in video mode which can make videoing yourself and/or mates on the water an absolute doddle. We shot much of our recent SUP edit using the Nikon Coolpix AW130 which we bought as new for £250. This type of camera lets you get creative as you can shoot underwater, split between under and over and also shoot ‘getting kitted up’ or ‘the journey’ on the fly without having to carry round a bunch of heavy DSLR lenses and mess about swapping between them when you could be just filming.
As you’re probably gathering by now it’s all about balancing action with nature at it’s most beautiful or most extreme coupled with a selection of quirky angles to keep your audience entertained, ideally accompanied by some emotive music depending what sort of vibe you’re going for. Probably one of the easiest ways to elevate your SUP edit to the next level with a truly cinematic feel is to beg, borrow or steal a drone. With prices keener than they’ve ever been for effectively a helicopter with inbuilt cameraman, drones are real no brainers when it comes to getting ‘that’ or indeed ‘those’ shots. Sure you need to learn how to fly the thing but they’re pretty intuitive and once you get over the realisation that you’re flying an expensive bit of kit over water which effectively voids the warranty it’s all gravy.
OK so you’ve now got your three SD cards full or raw footage from your preferred or budget-defined range of cameras so what now? Do you need to take a video editing course? Do you have to buy a Macbook Pro and a shuttle wheel? The short answer is no. Similarly with professional video editing software, sure if you want to be SUP’s version of Francis Ford Coppola, go loco and get Adobe Premier or Avid but for your average filmmaker who doesn’t want a 3 month learning curve to do a 3 minute edit there are other semi-pro edit suites that work perfectly fine! We’ve found Cyberlink’s Power Director to be a pretty straight forward and it doesn’t have a breakdown like many pro versions when you want to input different frame rates and video quality into the same project. If you’re more organised than we usually are and have everything uniform we’d recommend Davinci Resolve as a great pro-quality free edit suite.
So you’ve clipped all your raw footage down to workable chunks and now simply need some music to cut the video to so what could be easier? Well much comes down to how you want to output your SUP clip if it’s for your hard drive or you’re burning it onto a CD for ‘personal use’ no problem choose your favourite grime track and away you go however if you plan to share it on social media with your friends there’s a couple of things worth baring in mind. Facebook and YouTube don’t allow you to ‘reappropriate music’ however cool your edit may be and have clever software to detect unlicensed music which usually ends in your having a video without sound. So you have a couple of options, you can either start with some royalty free music that you either download ahead of editing or you make a track yourself (watch this space) and then splice your video to that. A quicker and less painless option is to upload your SUP edit to Vimeo who’s rules are less draconian and from there you can share links wherever you want.
Hopefully these tips are useful to any wouldbe SUP filmmakers and please feel free to comment, like or share and if any camera or mount manufacturers would like us to objectively review or make any content using their equipment please feel free to get in touch with us through our contact page.