Action Disc Golf
A few weeks ago, I received an email from a work-for-hire website for video professionals. As was normal, I looked at the email and disregarded it fairly quickly. The email said that the person looking to hire was interested in having a YouTube intro made for a disc golf channel.
Mind you, out of all of these work-for-hire emails I’ve received, in 10 years, I’ve never once been hired. Some of them are scams, most of them want a ton of work for less than a day’s pay. So, I moved on and thought nothing of it.
Fast forward a few hours and I get a phone call from an unfamiliar area code. With the high volume of robo-calls about my car’s extended warranty, I let it go to voicemail. A few minutes later, I get a call from the same number again. Since robocalls don’t typically have a high repeat rate from the same number, I answered.
On the other end of the line was a lady named Tamara on behalf of her son, Steven. She explained that she was looking for someone to do an intro to be put on the videos of her son’s disc golf YouTube channel.
After I picked my jaw up off the floor, I began to start digging to see exactly what she was looking for. I really couldn’t believe that the job from that email was a real thing.
We begin discussing what she has envisioned for this intro. She tells me that she wants something exciting that has an action-sports feel to it. Something like the NFL intros.
While I know what our capabilities are, in the back of my mind, I started to feel concerned that her expectations may be really high for a disc golf video. Granted, I have almost zero experience with disc golf, but from the little bit I had observed, there didn’t seem to be a lot of action really going on.
Regardless, we committed to the project and Tamara agreed to the budget we came up with. We are constantly trying to push ourselves and this was going to be an opportunity for us to do just that.
We knew going into this project that we needed some action shots of Steven (when I say “action” I literally mean Steven actively doing his disc golf thing). So, it wasn’t a stretch that we knew we would end up out at one of the many courses in Lubbock.
For all of the exterior footage, we shot at Mackenzie Park. This was where Jacob and I got our crash-course education in the intricacies of disc golf (if you read that in a sarcastic tone, read it again and take it seriously). We seriously didn’t think about all of the physics and instinct that actually goes into this sport. Steven explained to us the different discs for different parts of each hole(?) and the way the aerodynamics of each disc works. It also didn’t take us long to see that this was going to actually make for a cool action reel.
It was here that we were also introduced to Steven’s faithful sidekick, Luna (she has her own disc that she takes to tournaments).
For the rest of the shoot, we knew we needed an indoor space. When I think of NFL intros, aside from the action shots on the football field, I think of dark interiors with cool lighting and fog.
Thanks to our friends down at Doubletree Lubbock University Area, we were able to secure a ballroom to shoot our interiors in.
It took some time to move all of the tables out of the way but, this is what we were able to do with the room.
I really only had one thing in mind for the lighting: I wanted to get our Aputure 300d up as high as we could get it with the Aputure Lantern and have a dramatic top light.
Beyond that, it was Jacob’s idea to place the Aputure MCs on each side of Steven and have them flashing on their “faulty bulb” setting.
He also wanted to place a Quasar rainbow tube on the floor in the back to give us our background color.
From there, we got out our trusty Blackmagic Pocket Cameras and threw on our favorite Veydra lenses and complemented them our Tokina Vista 85mm (insert lustful drooling here).
Powered by BlueShape
As is the case with all of our productions, anything that isn’t getting wall power is being powered by our trusty BlueShape Batteries.
This project had an interesting challenge, to me, because I knew we got so many great shots out at the course and so much great content from our Doubletree shoot, I knew the two had to be married, but had no idea how I was going to transition between the two in a way that wasn’t just random (random would have worked for a super-cut, but I wanted it to be purposeful).
Fortunately, the right inspiration hit at the right time and I was able to composite what I think may the the coolest transition I’ve ever come up with
The visual effects weren’t too crazy on this shoot since we got great results in-camera. But, we still have some honorable mentions:
There was one shot in particular that I wanted to use, but Jacob’s and my shadows were on the ground. I knew this was a problem when we shot, but we were faced with either having our shadows on the ground or getting a giant Christmas tree in the background. We opted for the shadows and Red Giant’s KingPin Tracker did the rest of the job.
Editing and manipulating speed ramps on slow motion footage is a fantastic effect. Unfortunately, Adobe After Effects doesn’t make it easy. Fortunately, Stu does.
Video Copilot’s Twitch
Twitch is another oldie-but-goodie that we use periodically. For this project, it was used, quite a bit, for transitioning segments. I love how easy (and cheap) this little plugin is.
What used to take multiple layers of After Effects’ native glow plugin can now be done with a single plugin that, in my humble opinion, is much easier and intuitive than the native plugin.
Add a wiggle expression and you get some really fun results.
Last, but certainly not least, Video Copilot’s Saber.
Once we had finished with the intro video, Tamara had reached out and asked it we would consider doing an outro.
Given that the point of the outro segment was to feed viewers into other videos, I didn’t want too much action to distract from the video cards. So, I opted for a single shot with some rotoscoping and guide masks to give Steven and the video cards some electrifying outlines with Saber (queue cinematic reveal music).
Also, did I mention it’s free?
I don’t pretend to be a high-end colorist. There’s a reason there are some out there who make six figures doing color… I’m more of a three to four figure colorist. However, sometimes I stumble into something that’s really good. This was definitely one of those times.
This whole project was colored using the Red Giant Magic Bullet Suite.
The final touch, and icing on the cake, was most definitely the audio.
I discovered something about 9 years ago. At that time, I was shooting high school football highlight reels. My first year, I simply cut every reel to music. The players loved it. The coaches loved it. The parents loved it.
My second year, in trying to expand my abilities, I started adding sound effects. The cheer of the crowds, the clash of helmets and pads, and, best of all, some really gnarly bone crunches.
That year, with every hit, I could see the viewers tense up and the general “ooo that’s gotta hurt” reaction just sucked everyone into the viewing experience that much further.
Same thing goes on all of our projects now, and this one was no different.
Hear, for yourself, the difference between just music and music with sound effects.
As always, we hope you have found this informative and we certainly hope that you will reach out to us at [email protected] if you are looking to enhance your video presence!