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At its heart, the Nike Chosen contest is a video platform -- so video edits are a crew's single most important asset. And if anyone knows video production, it's Chris Steblay, the man behind the Neck Rash Crew's high-action Chosen clip as well as a boatload of other work for clients like Surfline.com and the Gudauskas brothers. Chris knows what makes a video sink or swim, and today he offers these five tips on optimizing the filming process. Crews looking to drop a late edit should pay close attention.
"First," says Chris, "help surfers know where you think the wave is most photogenic. I always let the guys know how I'll be shooting and from where, so they can focus their surfing on my zone. I also always watch the footage with the guys I shoot. When we're traveling, we shoot all day and watch all the footage at night, rewinding keepers and playing them back in slow motion. This not only helps the surfer to analyze their surfing, but it helps you get feedback on your raw footage."
Chris's 5 tips on good filming:
• Spot the light. Where's the sun? Is the wave lit well? And how bad is the glare? You can always walk down the beach and change your angle to get good light. That will turn your keeper clips into gold.
• Level that tripod. Most tripods have a level built in so you can keep your horizon straight. If yours doesn't, zoom in and line up the horizon with the top of your frame and level it that way.
• Clean your lens. Nothing says "amateur" like dirt on your lens. Lens tissue is cheap and will keep your image sharper.
• Pan smoothly. The hardest part for most people when they shoot action is keeping the action in-frame and smooth. Having a good tripod head will make this easier. If you find it hard to keep the subject in-frame, zoom out a little bit. This is super important nowadays -- now that guys will just boost a huge air out of frame. If you miss something like that, not only will you miss a keeper but the surfer's going to be pretty bummed on you.
• Think outside the box. Mix up your angles, take risks and have fun. Don't just stand front and center and shoot safely. Not only will that bore you to death, but you wont be pushing yourself as a filmmaker.
Check out more from Chris via his production company, Seeworthy Project. Now go get filming.