No one knows more about riding and filming than the Godfather of freeskiing Mike Douglas, now director of the award-winning Switchback Entertainment, here’s his top five GoPro filming tips
Don’t just put the mount on as you are leaving the house, or car, about to go skiing. Do it the night before. Get some heat on it, so it bonds. You want to attach it in a warm, dry place and give it some time to set. Best place for the mount? Well, I’d say the helmet. I’m not a fan of the chest, it just moves too much, so forget your pack’s straps. The head is the calmest place on the body with the best potential angle.
Once the mount is on, and secure, try different angles. Don’t just think you’ll instantly get it right (although it’s a lot easier to if your head camera has a rear screen). Film a few things before you go out, and check the footage. Ideally you want the horizon, and your ski tips (at least some of the time) in shot. This gives you the best perspective. And keep trying new things. I’ve done it all – tips, tails, bars, out of the back of my pack…
Trees will make your movie more exciting. Get in them! Especially on bad weather days. And just because it’s crappy does not mean you can’t film. Yes, if it’s a storm and you’re in a huge white bowl, you’ll see nothing. But trees – and rocks and friends – in the frame will help enormously. Think of your terrain in poor weather, as you would skiing. And if you’re jumping off any of the rocks you find, always go slow-mo mode; airs seem smoother this way.
Less is more
Think short but good. Be focused. You will get better results. Otherwise, you’ll be going through huge amounts of stuff and it will drive you nuts. I’d say, find a good spot, turn the camera on, work it, then turn it off again. That way, you’ll not be worrying about storing footage, spending all night editing, and your batteries running out (although battery life is pretty good these days). It means you can put full energy into a section too.
If your lens is covered in snow, it doesn’t matter how good the shots you’re getting are, you’ll not see a thing. I simply use a leather glove to keep mine clear. But a goggle wipe is good too… I’ve got so practiced I don’t even need to check my lens afterwards. I just stick my hand up, and know. But like everything, the more you do it the better you’ll get. It’s such a basic point, like having the camera turned on, when you do something good, but so many people forget about it.
Check out Mike’s latest web-episode adventures at salomonfreeski.com/uk