Most of us not only enjoy roller skating, we also love to capture those memories on video. While many are quick to post short clips on their social media platforms immediately, there is much potential and reward if you put in some more time into filming and collect your best clips to eventually put them together into a full edit. But how to film and edit roller skating videos? It is not that difficult to create a compilation of your favorite tricks and trips. It just needs a bit practice. To help you get started, we asked a few experienced skaters and filmers to share their knowledge and tips with us. First up is Ragnaroll. The Barcelona based skater has been into photography and filming for a long time.
I enjoy videos filmed with high quality cameras the most, but you can still do a good job with a last generation smartphone. Especially the ones with build-in stabilization and both telephoto and wide-angle lenses offer it all in a single package. Though I would recommend to get an extra handler or grip, especially if you plan to follow skaters.
Usually, you want at least one telephoto lens for long shots and one wide angle lens to get closer to the action. If we can get only one lens, a zoom lens ranging around 18-100mm is a good option. Filming everything with a fixed lens is possible but you have to be more creative to not end with a boring video.
For long shots a tripod is a good idea. And if you plan to follow skaters a gimbal or a camera with built-in stabilization is a must, even if you can do some stabilization later with software it will never look as smooth and you will also lose image quality.
How do you plan a video?
It depends. It might be planned around a location in the case of a special spot or beautiful skatepark or more focused on tricks if you work on longer video parts and street.
Tips & Techniques
Fisheyes (super wide-angle lenses) are great to get close to the skater and show the action in all detail. This is why they were so popular for decades and why all action cams come with wide lenses. Cameras like GoPros, Dji Osmos or even 360º cameras allow you to worry less about angles because you will always capture everything and it will always be in focus. They come with great image stabilization and are good for filming in selfie mode or mounting to accessories like helmets, etc. With these cameras you want to get as close as possible to the subject and stay low to the ground. This is why grips and sticks are very useful. The downfall is they always offer the same view and after a while it is a little boring. DON’TS: do not film from far away with wide lenses because your subject will look small and the viewer will miss what is going on.
Long lenses offer a view with less distortion, they are good for lifestyle shots and to get a more natural feeling of a spot or trick and you can play with more creative angles and with the depth of field (focused and unfocused areas). The problem is they are very sensitive to shake and you must either use a tripod or film in a position where you are very steady in order to get smooth footage. Again, you can use gimbals or other stabilizers for a very cinematic feeling but it starts to get bulky and more expensive.
DON’TS: Be aware to not cut your subject out of the frame and don’t try to follow a skater unless you have a good stabilization system.
How to prepare and practice?
If you want to get into video, be sure you love it. Don’t worry so much about programs and equipment and carry your camera always with you. Film everything, not just skating: friends, family, events, other sports, nature, … Try, experience and enjoy filming and I am sure you will get good videos.
Which software do you use or recommend?
Back in the day I used a lot of Pinnacle and old Final Cut. Now, Final Cut X and Adobe Premier are among the most popular but they are quite expensive. If you film only with the phone, consider any of the apps available. To film, cut and upload directly from your phone, but for more serious computer-based setups, I would recommend Davinci Resolve which is a professional software for editing and color grading and it is also FREE!
Film, film and film. Find your own style and put some soul into it. With social media, we all produce a lot of content focusing on quantity over quality, and this is why we lack good videos. I hope people will put more time and passion into roller skating videos to portray all its beauty and own flavor.
This is a hot topic now. You have Youtube Music library, Freemusicarchive.org and some other 100% free music pages. They are not great but if you invest some time you will find stuff to use. There are also a few more affordable options for royalty free music or licenses for lower budget with better quality music. I’ve used Epidemicsound before and they have a good catalogue and is not so expensive: https://www.epidemicsound.com/referral/97pjwr/
How to export for Youtube, Instagram, etc. so the quality is nice?
I recommend to do some research before exporting your videos to get the best quality on each platform so you do not end up with unnecessary big files. Don’t export 4K resolution to upload to Instagram, for example. Usually you are good with 1080p (1920×1080) MP4 files on every platform, except TikTok or IG reels which are portrait mode so the opposite:1080×1920.
Any other tips? What did you learn along the way?
I enjoy 100% skate videos filmed with a fisheye but my favorite videos are always the ones that mix all sorts of angles with nicer videography and showing a little bit more than just skating, like giving some more story of the skater or the place where it was filmed. I recommend you to watch videos from Ty Evans (skateboarding) and Dom West (inline skating). These are next level productions but I would love to see roller skating portrayed with that sort of cinematography. Right now, I try to keep my equipment and video goals balanced, so I am looking for lightweight and small cameras that I can carry with me along my skates and for more special occasions I will bring my mirrorless camera with several lenses, tripod/gimbal, drone… But for everyone who starts I would say: don’t be obsessed with equipment! Just try to make the most out of what you have. There are very nice videos out there filmed 100% with a phone. In the same way an expensive camera won’t make for a good video by itself. Just enjoy the process and go step by step.
Ragnaroll’s main filming equipment: Sony a7rII with lenses 14mm, 35mm, 85mm, 70-180mm. Zhiyun weebill (gimbal). Gopro Hero black8, Mavic air drone
A great example how you can catch the vibe of a place and combine it with skate footage is this edit of the Japan trip of Ragnaroll (skating and editing) & Johanna Pardo (filming).
If you need more inspiration on how to film and edit roller skating videos check out Ragnaroll’s YouTube Channel for plenty of skate edits.