Shooting car videos is really difficult

drive along the pacific coast highway

Two weeks ago I posted a video that I made while driving from UCSD (University of California San Diego) in La Jolla all the way up to Carlsbad along the 101. I thought it turned out ok, but I’ve just started making videos and there was a lot about that one that I thought I could do better. The biggest issue I had was that I filmed it as a time-lapse with a 2-second interval between shots, so it ended up being really fast once I put it all together. My wife’s first comment when she saw it was “but I can’t see anything!”. She was right…the motion was so fast that it was really difficult to get a sense of how nice of a drive this really is.

So last weekend I decided to give it another shot. This time, I drove the same route southbound from Carlsbad down to the UCSD area in La Jolla – which is actually much more scenic because there are better views of the ocean from that side. I also filmed it as a video instead of a time-lapse, so there is much more detail and it’s not as fast as it was before. However, I did speed things up a bit when editing it, because otherwise it would have been an hour and a half long due to all the traffic going through Encinitas that day.

So what did I learn from this second attempt? Well, the reflections and glare on the windshield are highly distracting, so I think the best way to film these drives is to mount the camera outside the car. I’m using a GoPro Hero 3+ with a heavy-duty suction cup mount, so it wouldn’t be that difficult to attach it to the side (or roof) of the car for a really clear view of the action.

The second problem I had was choosing the right music. Selecting the right music is difficult, and I could easily spend hours listening to samples trying to find just the right piece that captures the mood of the video. I ended up settling on a high-energy electronic track that didn’t quite fit, but I chose it due to a lack of time to keep looking for something better. Who would have thought that the soundtrack would be the most difficult part about shooting car videos?

As I said above, I’m still learning but I’m really excited about refining my technique and producing some really great automotive video. You’ll just have to bear with me as I fumble around in the beginning like this. 🙂

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