Every surfer has looked at a surfing video and thought, “I can do that”. How difficult could it possibly be, right?
But filming your own surf videos is not as easy as it looks. Without the right equipment and skills, those videos will be unfocused, low-quality, and amateurish.
So how can you film the perfect surf videos worthy of posting on YouTube and showing all of your friends?
How to Film Yourself Surfing
There are a few ways to film yourself while surfing:
Shoot Your Own Surf Footage
Shooting surfing footage has gotten much easier with the invention of the GoPro camera. These cameras are rugged, durable, and made for capturing high-speed sporting action.
They’ll showcase your flawless rides with the perfect POV, giving surfers a taste of what it was like to catch those waves.
Just remember, GoPro is a brand name, not a product type. GoPro creates action cameras, but it is not the only manufacturer out there. You can find many cheaper options on the market, as well as ones that have the exact features or specifications that you need.
Once you have the action camera, pick up a surfboard mount or strap to connect the camera to your head, body, or surfboard. The latter may be the best option for close-up wave shots.
Ask A Friend To Shoot Your Surf Videos
A friend can shoot your videos from the beach or surf. The latter is a great option for close-up surfing action, but they’ll need to be good videographers as it can be tricky to get quality footage.
The great thing about this option is that they can do all of the filming while you focus on surfing. You don’t have to worry about making sure the camera is facing the right way and getting the perfect footage.
Leave A Camera on the Beach
Leaving a camera on the beach is the easiest way to film yourself surfing, but it won’t produce the best results.
What happens if you start shooting and other surfers, swimmers, or beachgoers get in the way? What happens if there are lots of people around and you’re worried they’ll steal your camera?
The upside is that you don’t need anyone else to film you and can still focus 100% on your surfing. You’ll also need less equipment and can film with a smartphone.
FAQs on Shooting Surf Videos
Need some more tips on shooting a surf video at the beach? Take a look at these frequently asked questions:
How Do I Make a Great Surf Video?
A good surf video is one that combines a mixture of first-person and third-person footage. It includes a bit of everything and not just your best trick from the best angle.
Consider all of the cameras and methods in this guide, combine them, and get as much quality footage as you can.
The goal is not to shoot the perfect video in real-time. You can make mistakes. You can waste time. That’s what editing is for.
How Can I Edit My Surf Videos?
YouTube contains a built-in editor that you can use to edit your videos on the fly. There are also lots of free and premium programs available.
If you find yourself getting frustrated by the editing process, watch a few tutorials, stay patient, and take your time.
You don’t have to worry about editing videos so they look just as professional as ones getting millions of views. Many of those guys have professional editors and the ones that don’t have been filming and editing for years.
Of course, if you have the cash, you can hire an editor yourself. Check out sites like Fiverr, Upwork, Guru, and PeoplePerHour to find a capable freelancer.
What Effects Should I Use?
One of the biggest mistakes that beginners make when creating surf videos is to include all kinds of CGI effects, wipes, and fades. But it takes a lot of experience and skill to include those effects in a way that doesn’t look cheap.
Avoid special CGI effects and focus on making sure the frames flow naturally and you capture the best moments. Let the surfing speak for itself.
How Do You Get Footage Of Yourself Surfing?
First things first, purchase the correct equipment, including waterproof housing.
If you want the best footage, you should also combine shots from the beach with shots from a GoPro. Ideally, a friend should handle the beach shots, but you can set up a camera rig if that’s not an option.
Being able to switch from action cameras to stationary cameras will allow you to stitch the perfect ride together during the editing process.
How Do You Film Yourself With A Drone For Surfing?
Drones add a touch of professional class to your surfing videos, shooting angles that just wouldn’t be possible with a GoPro camera or handheld camera.
It’s possible to film yourself using a drone, but it’s much safer and easier to bring a friend along and have them do the work. It’s simply not worth the hassle, especially for a beginner who lacks the skills needed to capture good footage while surfing. This is true even for drones that can track targets.
When shooting someone else, stick with automatic mode for focusing and exposure. Get a drone with a large memory card and avoid anything with a return-to-home function, just in case it runs out of battery and you lose it.
Shoot from the beach but respect other surfers and beachgoers. Not everyone wants to be filmed, and as you don’t have their permission, you shouldn’t be capturing them.
Keep a distance of about 20 to 30 feet from the waves and move around to capture them from multiple angles.
Do I Need Credits?
You can include final film credits if you’re piecing together a big video, but you really don’t need them.
When was the last time you saw credits on a standard YouTube video? They are completely surplus to requirements. Viewers won’t watch them and they won’t serve any benefit whatsoever.
If you’re worried about people stealing your video, know that it will only take them a few seconds to cut those credits out after they rip your content. Also, no one wants to steal your content.
If you want people to know who you are for commercial reasons, just include your details in the bio/description.
Keep the pre- and post-credits for the expert documentary makers, forget company logos, and if you’re posting to YouTube, don’t overdo it with the “Like and Subscribe” nonsense.
What Do You Need to Film Yourself Surfing?
It depends on where you’re filming yourself from and whether you have any help.
For close-up shots that you can film yourself, you’ll need an action camera, a surfboard mount/strap, and some waterproof housing. If you’re getting help from a friend, make sure they have a waterproof camera unit when filming from the water and a good lens and tripod when filming from the beach (so they can zoom in and keep the camera stable).