Don’t underestimate the importance of taking high quality video at horse shows. Taking video is not only a fun, creative outlet that allows horse husbands to take ownership of their experience. It is not only a way for horse husbands to distract themselves from the risks involved in hanging onto thousand-pound animals as they race over large immovable objects. It also provides valuable information to help your wife in her training. It can increase your wife’s exposure on the Internet via social media (horse people love the Facebooks and the YouTubes). And it can provide evidence in case of disputes over judging decisions. I can point to a number of situations in which Elisa (as well as her father and students) have benefited directly as result of evidence from video, which has altered judges decisions.
Horse show video serves a number of purposes, and will be greatly appreciated not only by your wife but by the equestrian community in general. Take pride in the video you shoot. Make it awesome by applying these ten essential tips for creating amazing horse show video.
- Make sure you are filming the right person
- Hold your phone horizontally, not vertically
- Keep it steady
- Zoom and pan at the same time
- Check your equipment well ahead of time
- Don’t panic
- Choose let your location wisely
- Find a hill
- Be aware of ambient noise
Even the experienced horse husband can easily lose track of their wife. Horse shows are zoos, and it is easy to lose your wife amidst a sea of other horses and riders. How are you going to make sure you get YOUR wife on video? Know what color her horse is. Know what color her gear is. And know where she is in the order of go. In an ideal world, also know who goes before her, so that you can use that rider as a cue to get ready.
If you are filming using your phone, think about maximizing the viewing area. Why would you want to film dirt and sky when you could film more of your wife and horse? If you are thinking about posting the video to youtube or social media, think about your audience. Do they want to watch what is clearly a cell-phone video? Or a cinematic masterpiece?
Don’t be lazy. Hold your camera (or phone) with two hands (one for support, and one for stability). Another way to increase the stability of your video is to use a monopod. Don’t be afraid to leave a little room in frame: that way if any shakiness does happen, your video editing software can compensate digital stabilization.
Do not use a tripod. This may seem like a strange thing to say, given that all of the pros at events are using tripods. The reason that the pros are using tripods, however, is in order to strike a balance between stability and the energy that would otherwise be required if they held a camera all day long. The downside of a tripod is that you end up with glitchy sudden movements rather than the smooth movement that you can achieve with your hands or a monopod. You have an advantage over the pros, since you only need to shoot 5 minutes at a time. Take that advantage and outdo the pros by capturing smooth, high quality footage of your wife that is worth watching, sharing, and preserving.
The zoom is among the most artificial features of modern videography. The human eye doesn’t zoom and it can seem unnatural to see zooming on film. The number one thing you want to achieve in any video is to get your audience to forget that there is a camera. You want your audience to see the video as an extension of their own eyes. Instead of zooming by itself, zoom and pan as part of a single movement so that your audience experiences the action in a way that is more natural, and also in a way that is more engaging as it pulls them into the scene.
Make sure you have room on your memory card, and full battery. There is no worse feeling than promising to capture video, and then to leave the show empty handed because you didn’t have juice in your battery or because your memory card was full.
If you ‘lose’ your wife while filming (easy to do on cross country), simply zoom out, find her, and zoom back in. Do not try to ‘find her’ while zoomed in. It will be like finding a needle in a haystack, and you will lose a lot.
When filming cross country equestrianism, optimize your location so that you can get the most number of jumps possible. If the course allows it, considered selecting two sites and running between them. Get your exercise. This works best if you use a monopod, since you’re likely to be out of breath and a little shaky from adrenaline.
When in doubt about the best filming location, ask your wife. She knows the locations from which the video is likely to be most spectacular, or helpful to her. We all want to capture beautiful, thrilling, and viral video. But our number one priority when filming our wives is to provide them with valuable intelligence that can improve them in their training.
Especially when filming show jumping and dressage, try and position yourself on a hill, or some location from which you can look down on The action. You’ll be able to see more, and you run a lower risk of having people walking your way. When filming show jumping, minimize the number of obstacles that will be between you and your wife. Where you find something in your way, change your line of sight in so that it lands between jumps, and not in the middle of one. When filming dressage, shoot from the corner of an arena, and ideally from the perspective of the judges box.
Try and avoid people talking within earshot, especially if you plan to publish your footage online. Once you have found a good location from which to shoot, it is Okay to politely mention to those around you that you will be videoing, and that any conversation is likely to be made public via YouTube. Once you are finished, turn to those around you, and think them, and then proceed to toot your wife’s horn.
Don’t stop with shooting the video. In post production, cut out unnecessary footage and add transitions between cuts like dissolves and fades. A great way to do this efficiently is to develop a template with standard fonts, titles, and other elements that you can quickly and easily use to professionally produce each video you make.
Professional-looking equestrian video is not hard to do. At the end of the day, all you REALLY need to do is take your task seriously, keep your wife in the frame, and try to hold your camera as steady as possible. Taking quality video at horse show is a valuable way for you to contribute as a member of the team without every having to lift a pitchfork, and your wife will appreciate your efforts every time.