Eddy Mead: Whitewater Kayaker video production

Champions Killer on the Wellebrucke rapids on the run up to the Sickline events

Eddy Mead takes on Champions Killer

At the beginning of October the annual Adidas Sickline race took place on the Wellebrucke rapids on the Oetz river in Austria. The event, which attracts some of the top competitors from around the world is a fantastic venue to attend, having experienced the buzz of watching it the previous year.

Once again my friend, Eddy Mead, had entered. Only this time we thought that it might be a great idea to film his experience. With the way things were with gear and crew, i.e. just me, this would have to be a basic video. I decided early on that it would be better shot as a general athlete profile video using the Sickline as the general backdrop, and then shooting some filler material from Cardiff once we got back to the UK.

For the task I used a Blackmagic Pocket Cinema Camera, a device with performance that belies its looks. With the ability to be highly portable, yet shoot HQ Prores with log gamma or even Raw, both with the ability to resolve around 13 stops of dynamic range, this is a serious bit of kit. While it may look like a compact stills camera this is no point and shoot! The only caveat is that it could not film slow motion. This is not a deal breaker for me because I feel that often slow motion is now being used to cover up sloppy cinematography or a lack of overall footage. Slow motion is a tool that should be used when it is needed or enhances the video. Otherwise it loses its impact if it is used for every shot, no matter how tempting that may be to do.

However the lack of slow motion meant that I would need more footage than I would if I had had that facility, and in the environment of the Wellebrucke rapids it is difficult to find much variety in the angles available. I decided that the video should be short and sweet at around 2 minutes long.

When we arrived back in the UK I shot an interview with Ed at his apartment in Cardiff as my narrative. Having a narrative for your video is incredibly important. This could be visual or verbal, but however you achieve it it is important in order to keep an audience interested and to tell a story. Otherwise all you have is a collection of shots set to music, and that becomes dull very quickly.

Ed wasn’t used to being interviewed, but the tone of the piece that I wanted was informal anyway, so I set him up in his dining room with a warm looking cup of tea on the table, which I wanted in shot. Everything went smoothly and Ed did a good job of giving answers that were long enough for some detail, but that didn’t waffle on. Ideal for what I was trying to achieve.

All editing and grading took place in Final Cut Pro X along with some minor sound work, and then I was done. The release version of the video can be viewed below. Enjoy!

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