Even for the world’s top videographers, capturing the energy and vibe of BASE jumping, wingsuit flying or skydiving, presents immense challenges. So if a less experienced cameraperson is lucky enough to take part in filming one of these high-adrenaline sports, how can they make sure their base jumping shoot is as good as it can be? Speciality gear is always helpful, along with a healthy dose of courage and creativity, but here are five more practical tips that can also make those extreme shots extra awesome
Remote cameras bring the action closer
A person falling from the sky is a blur in the distance to the human eye, and to most cameras. In order to get more intimate shots a remote device is essential. Professional filmmakers often attach a GoPro to a skydiver’s helmet and get the shots required by providing the athlete with a little direction beforehand. Intervalometers are another excellent way of capturing time-lapse aerial video – if that’s an effect required in the final cut.
Increase the framing rate
When people jump off a building or out of a plane, they are falling at high speed. Within a few seconds they can cover vast distances, which makes an average framing rate pretty redundant. To produce excellent stills or video you need to have the camera working at around 8 frames per second, at least. Ideally it’s best to go for 10 or 12 frames per second for much crisper material.
PocketWizards can create seamless multiple camera recordings
BASE jumping is often performed on tall buildings or cliff faces where it’s almost impossible to record the action with one camera. However, filmmakers can get around the problem by using three or more set ups placed at regular intervals along the jump, and a few PocketWizard transceivers. One is mounted on the camera being used, whilst the others are attached to those positioned en route. The effect is astounding; every time the number one camera begins shooting, the rest follow its lead, providing beautifully synchronised footage from alternative angles.
Team work is crucial to a great base jumping shoot
Getting the most dynamic footage begins with good dialogue on the ground; the videographer should always have a discussion with the jumpers before they get into the zone about what they plan to do. Once it’s clear what will be happening during the event, the camera can be set up accordingly. If the shoot is taking place at a BASE jump, it’s best for the photographer to keep very close to the jump-off point. That way they can get the kind of heart-stopping images we all associate with the sport; a lone figure floating over a landscape with a dramatic cliff or skyscraper also forming part of the story.
Dial in a higher ISO to sharpen up the focus
In videography, depth of field refers to the range of focus and this can be enhanced by using a higher ISO which increases the cameras sensitivity to light. During shoots where people are jumping it’s important to factor this in because you can’t frame the action until it is happening. Combined with a sharper aperture, like f/11 or even f/8, clear focus shouldn’t present a problem.
“Check out our blog page for more awesome articles within the realm of action sports videography and filmmaking”