John Roderick has been filming action sports with a focus on snowboarding and skiing for over ten years. He’s worked with leading brands such as Oakley, Under Armour, Nike, Volcom, Red Bull and others creating powerful branded content. John’s work bridges both the commercial and the action sports arena, making him a leading cinematographer and editor in the industry. With as many accolades as John has, we sat down with him to get an inside look at filmmaking and to get a few tips for filming Nike Chosen crew videos.
What goes into planning a video project?
The first thing I would say that goes into planning a video, is developing a story. The more experience I gained with filmmaking through the years was that you need to tell a story from start to finish. It’s all basic concept, but a lot of times it gets overlooked in action sports, as we’re accustomed to seeing videos with just trick after after trick and no real message. So start with your concept and storyboard a start, middle and end that is going to translate your message to your viewers. My favorite films these days are ones that really communicate a good story.
How do come up with creative concepts for a project?
I always do a ton research when creating a new project and it’s always been the most exciting part for me, I watch a ton of diverse films from documentaries to music videos, Youtube to blogs and make what I call a brain book. A brain book is collage of photos, videos and any other inspiring references that is going to continue to give you ideas for the story as well as ideas to translate that story through the cinematography, editing and the color grading process. I would say, every good project needs a “Brain Book”! Go create one!
What are a few good tips for cinematography?
A few good tips I stick to are:
1.) ND or “Neutral Density Filter”: Most snow filmers with consumer/prosumer digital cameras have the option for two built in ND settings (1/8, 1/64). You should use these settings whenever possible to be able to bring your F-Stop down towards 2.8 which allows for the shallowest depth of field which separates your subject from background and lets your subject pop out of the picture. I work a lot on the RED One and RED Epic cameras and I always have a full set of ND filters Im using.
2.) Polarizer Filter: One the most important filters I use in snow to help cut down on all the natural reflecting from the snow and it helps pop your sky.
3.) Coverage is everything, there are infinite angles to work with and doing so allows you to translate or edit that story all the way from the dropping, run-in, take-off, landing and re-actions from your friends.
My best advice for filming Nike Chosen Crew video is making it unique. Make it something that stand outs from anyone else’s concept and let the personalities of your crew come through.
Good luck to all the Nike Chosen crews, I’m excited to see all the films!
Check out John’s work at Neuproductions.com