GoPro: Wordsmithing Images

Each week I look forward to receiving links to GoPro VIDEO OF THE DAY.  Astounding views, amazing athletes, adventures and non-stop-action abound! Always diverse and endlessly cool – naturally when my friends and I watch these we hope to create something of that caliber ourselves.  We are passionate about standup paddling of every sort and we’re crazy about getting in and on the water at every opportunity.

Full moon magic is an Elder SUP routine, how about you?

Full moon magic is an Elder SUP routine, how about you?

Take the Water – Wherever You Are: Talking story around the fire on the beach, at a lakeside campsite or over a brew in a river town used to be the default way to re-live great SUP experiences. Armed with a GoPro easily strapped to a chest mount, a head mount, or a solid mount on our board we seamlessly collect images as we play our way through the day – or full moon night.  There’s no end to the number of ways we can “take the water wherever we are” via cool video clips and movies – Dropbox, Vimeo, Picasa, YouTube, Facebook, blogs.

The next question begs, “How many of your videos are so compelling that friends – and friends of friends – actually want to watch your story?”  For me, as long as there is beautiful water, people grinning and having a good time and a play of light and sights – then I am into a video. Next caveat, attention span.

We love a production called, Reflections, but at 8 minutes it’s asking for a lot from most of us. As a poetic approach to editing wonderful video footage, it’s inspiring.

Where's your inspiration-generating water?

Where’s your inspiration-generating water? Here is Suzie Cooney of SuzieTrainsMaui.com getting her stoke on!

So here’s our plan. During an upcoming vacation to Maui, rather than trying to get epic shots of us catching waves (not so much) or attempting to capture the energy and magic of the Olukai Ho’olaule’a while actually participating, we will simply capture what we capture. We’ll plan some shots that would set a mood or emotion.  Later, all sun-burnt, salty and inspired, we’ll create the wordsmith story, maybe even a poem, that comes to mind. With that as a guide, we can watch our GoPro footage again and again. Grabbing scenes and images that can be woven into a story may be commonplace for many videographers. For us, it’s going to be new – an adventure of its own.

For a terrific example of great word-smithing of images can be, check out Blue Sway by Paul McCartney, below.

GoPro – No Need to Be a Pro

Chuck Patterson, early GoPro sample of awesome! This is at Teahupoo

Chuck Patterson, early GoPro sample of awesome! This is at Teahupoo

The best thing about the relatively lame minutes of edited footage I have been gathering from our last SUP vacation is that they were just that – relatively lame. Sure, I’d love to produce the absolute awesome-ness that someone like Chuck Patterson shares – but it just ain’t gonna happen in this lifetime. (Follow Chuck on Facebook to stay current on his GoPro Hero 3 projects) No matter!

OLur GoPro Hero 3 captured the fun, for sure! In our minds we were charging sets like maniacs, drenching our senses in incredible sights as we paddled long runs in West Maui and experienced cool wipeouts. Like most “my vacation” videos, the footage left a lot to be desired. So, why are we so jazzed about the GoPro?

The Go Pro Hero 3 came along like an unobtrusive buddy, joining in on all the fun and easily capturing the images. Once home, because we can edit out slices of the footage with ease using the free CineForm Studio software, the fun began. Rather than sequestering myself away in my office, nose to the editing grindstone, editing the GoPro footage is good group fun. (Warning: Be sure you have a thick skin. The great stance you believe you display while catching that thigh high swell may seem absolutely hysterical to your kids).

But that’s the point. Seriously, who wants to see a regular “SUP Joe” riding a wave. You are the only viewer for which that experience is incredible. But that funky stance and maybe a few wipeouts later you could have fodder for a short film friends and family will enjoy – and maybe even share. be bold!

So yesterday I sat with a beer (Deschutes Brewery Jubelale, if you’re wondering) and our daughter, son-in-law and my husband, Ed for an editing session.  I watched them watch the clips I had made with the CineForm Studio software. Yup! They found many things hysterical.  We labeled those clips and added them to the “media bin” in the Sony Movie Studio software I had. That software is not exceptional, I just happened to have it. Many people enjoy using iMovie or even Windows Movie Maker. Premeir is also another choice – we’d love to hear what you use for your final film.

Back to our editing fun. We took one wave that was Ed’s favorite and sliced sections of it to play over and over in 5 second repeats. “Ooooh, cool, ” our editing team replied. Then we took a smooth off the tail wipeout that was relatively nondescript and played it about 6 times in a row. It brought a chuckle every time. The resulting one minute 45 second clip was much cooler than the raw footage. With music added it became even more fun.

The point is- without the ease of the GoPro easily fastened to our chest or to our boards we wouldn’t have had any video at all. Instead, we had a great family gathering creating a video project instead of dozing while watching the full (gotta admit it) boring raw footage. I am pretty lame at music, but my son-in-law, Joe, and daughter are great at remembering pieces that might fit well in our SUP films. They promise to share a playlist. The whole experience is cool – and the learning curve is absolutely part of the fun if you play it that way.

Do we have that sweet 20 minute “my vacation” action film? Nope! But after the first view, who watches them anyway. Go get a GoPro and see how much fun reviewing and editing can be. If your editing team laughs at your “talent,” buck up, get a thick skin and be sure to add that to your final project. That’s part of the audience fun and who knows, you might go viral.

What editing software do you like? What have you posted online? What’s your favorite online platform? Share a link to your best effort GoPro film – we’d love to see it.

Standup Paddle AZ

surfAZ1

Board shaping in AZ – by Chad of StandUp Paddle Arizona

 

Chad Brockman's finished product

Chad Brockman’s finished product

Facebook Page, Standup Paddle Arizona, for a few weeks before I contacted its author, Chad Brockman. I finally caught up with him during his race training season. He was paddling about 7 miles a day for the 10.5 Parker “Another Dam Race”. So many people have enjoyed SUP with man’s best friend, but not so many have surfed a chest high set or two.

When not training, Chad spends his time sharing the sport we all love with paddlers across Arizona. According to Chad, ” I try my best to instruct the proper stroke, giving the newbies a head start. I share insights on how to read the water and be safe in and around water, which has the potential to be the most destructive force on earth. I feel it would be an injustice if I did not share my trials and tribulations of living in and around the water for 51 years. SUP Health not only improves your physical condition, it will gift you with a heathy mental outlook.  I take pride in giving the straight scoop about purchasing SUP equipment that a paddler can grow into, not out of. ” AZ Chad

I asked Chad to fill us in on some of the fun he has had with his dog, Red, and SUP.

Red and the surf. “I took Red to doggy beach first and he ran with his buddies. Then we headed to the cliffs and suited up to hit the surf. Red and I paddled out with the surf chicks oohing and ahhhing.  The guys said howzit as I recorded our surf session with GoPro. I started Red out on the small stuff then paddling out to catch the outside sets. Red first stayed behind me on the small waves and went between my legs to the front of the board on the big waves. Everybody was stoked to see Red surf stand up style. I was having twice the fun! Living the dream : )

Chad Brockman of Standup Paddle AZ and his cool dog, Red.

Chad Brockman of Standup Paddle AZ and his cool dog, Red.

We paddled over to the bigger wave break and caught a decent ride. I fell off and tangled up with Red. He came up grasping for air, climbed over me, coughed a little salt water and gave me the look, ‘Get on the board dad, let’s catch another one!’ Surf On… We paddled out and caught even bigger waves, I was still recording. During a lull, I saw some dolphins. I paddled over as Red looked for them. I knocked my paddle three times on the board to get their curiosity. It worked! They surfaced within a couple of feet next to Red and me. Red saw them and remembered them from our fifty Dolphin paddle in Rocky Point. This time there was just two, a pair of 12 plus footers. What a feeling of being welcome within the ocean society.

Back to the lineup to catch a bunch more waves. Red ruled the nose as I caught waves from  shoulder height to overhead in size. We were loving the performance of my 12 foot SUP,  it surfs with ease, dog and all. I have to brag a bit, Brockfish Boards always work better than you can perform. We caught our last wave and headed into a Sunday family gathering.

Out surfing with my dog keeps my heart pumping warm blood from my head to my toes. Kokua at it’s best in the line up with your dog.”
Aloha, Chad & Red

Crush on a Hero (GoPro)

There was a time when golf was not a televised sport. Logic had it that watching a bunch of golfers whack a little white ball around a golf course, no matter how beautiful the course, would not be entertaining. Millions of rabid viewers later, the power of a great story woven into well shot images made all the difference.  We engage with diverse characters (pros) developed across their careers whether we play or not. Watching golf is adventure and drama when the story and filming is exceptional.

With the amazing digital and video tools available we have a chance to “film life.” We can see the images and become engaged in stories of all types created by pros-and people just like us. As in golf, some are going to gain a huge audience – others, not so much. For example, put the best set of golf clubs in my hands and bring the best video team on site to film my round of 18 holes, no one would care to watch. There’s no way I could deliver the shots or drama viewers need.

Similarly, I actually do own “the best” in equipment – the GoPro. Based on my skills and needs I selected the HERO3 Silver Edition. Armed with chest mount and surfboard mount I set off to document an 8 mile flatwater paddle down the incredibly beautiful coast of west Maui for my first Go Pro experience.  Ed and I took off, taking turns paddling the Naish Glide GS 14 where we’d mounted the GoPro surfboard mount.

The best equipment can’t counter boring footage and inexperience. We had a chest strap to mount the GoPro – but didn’t use it. The surfboard mount can be turned to face the surfer – we didn’t do that. We aimed the GoPro forward and simply let it run for 90 straight minutes of mostly downwind paddling.  The Go Pro Cineform Studio software is easily learned, even by a techno-phobe like me.  Thanks to lots of YouTube and online experts sharing insights every question that came to mind had an easy to access answer. All of that couldn’t make up for my relatively boring footage and lame editing skills.

View from the nose - first wave caught on the Naish Glide GX 14'

View from the nose – first wave caught on the Naish Glide GX 14′

Do I mind? Not really. No matter what, I have documentation of that very first, massively exhilarating ride I got on a chest high glassy wave on the Naish 14′ Glide GX in the few seconds before I bailed out. It was nearly dead low tide and a reef loomed too close to the surface. Editing that first set of Go Pro footage is the start of a cool new hobby. Priceless – and day one on my learning curve.

RPE, SUP and Neutral

My best paddle last week came about 10 days into my training with the TRX RIP and TRX Suspension trainers.  As I dropped my board into the brisk Deschutes River I was thinking about fall colors and maybe the last barefoot paddle of the season. There was not a cloud in the sky although we were predicted to get a few inches of snow by late evening. I felt great! 

In order to monitor a bit about my training paddles I use Nike+ on my iPhone to get feedback on minutes per mile. I wear a Polar heart rate monitor because sometimes I tend to go too hard for too long and start to erase the fun factor. I always bring along the GoPro HERO with at least two mounts. The suction mount on the board works well in the river, and the head mount captures awesome views. On this particular day I was simply out for color and the brilliant day. Training wasn’t on my mind.

Imagine my surprise when I heard the robo-voice from the Nike+ app say, ” One mile. Average pace 18 minutes per mile.” Okay,” I thought to myself, “When the breeze is in my face and I am going up current in this section of the river I average 21 minutes a mile.” Weird, I wasn’t trying so hard, my rate of perceived exertion (RPE) was medium, maybe a 6 out of 10.  Heart rate was in a manageable range. What was making a difference?

I believe I was cranking out the miles in a quick but seemingly easy manner because of two things.

First of all, I did feel powerful. My feet seemed to be gaining power from my legs with each paddle – and the only thing I was doing differently was maintaining a neutral spine. Core engaged and tail tucked. A neutral spine is a prerequisite to doing the TRX system. Perhaps 10 days of practice at that had provided me with a better “engine.” I have had a habit of bending at the waist, particularly when skiing. Muscle and body memory around creating that more upright, neutral spine might be a valuable transfer to more than just my SUP technique. Good news since ski season is just around the corner.

Technique makes all the difference. I get a great deal of insight by reading Dave Kalama’s blog. He recently wrote, “Paddling most of the time needs to be a very flowing and rhythmic action, not a tense muscle flexed series of positions, but rather a constant continually moving movie. Don’t get me wrong, there is a time and a place to exert yourself, but if your base stroke comes from a place of rhythm and flow, when you exert yourself you will be much more effective and efficient. The best fix for it is to greatly reduce your power level and learn how to use your technique as your driving force, not your power output. Decrease your power to the level that you don’t feel like you’re doing any work at all, and just concentrate on technique. You’ll be surprised at how fast you go.”

I have no doubt that my neutral spine and effective technique made all the difference on speed.  How satisfying to have things come together – awareness of technique, reach, proper hand and arm placement as well as on-land training.  What’s been your best “surprise” when it’s come to RPE and SUP?

Connected: Swimming in the Sea

This article is in the SUP equipment category – an odd filing perhaps.  Surprisingly, music we listen to while we paddle has a great influence on many aspects of training and plain old positive vibes.

I go to yoga at Groove Yoga Bend where the majority of the instructors and students are in the age 30-40 range. Predictably, the music played before and during class is usually a mix of Top 40, island/ocean themed artists and great ballads. (Check out Colin Hay’s ‘Beautiful World” for example) I began to notice that I knew all the words to the Top 40 hits. At 63, it has been a lot of years since I had a teen in the house keeping me current on music. Then I realized why the tunes not only were familiar but they immediately created a very happy frame of mind.

My 10 year old granddaughter had made me a playlist during my last visit and the 90 minutes of music included most of the “yoga tunes” I recognized.  I have been playing that mix pretty much on every long distance paddle since July.  Every song reminds me of her excitement and comments as she explained why she added them. I might paddle a river in the Pacific Northwest while she goes swimming in the sea – but we are connected by music.

We’re creating a “share the stoke” playlist, tunes and why you love them – send us your favs.

My granddaughter connects with me across the miles via a shared playlist that gives me energy and smiles

For me, a great part of the playlist from my granddaughter is the connection I feel. I know how much she wants to standup paddle with me, but we live 2500 miles apart. For now she “rides the glide” across and dance floor soaring through the air in dance while Grammie surfs. We have a solid connection in both our love of graceful rhythmic movement and the music that brings a beat to the very practice that enhances our best loved athletic practices.

Candice Appleby’s got her music on at the start of the Gorge Paddle Challenge

Creating a powerful playlist for race days and getting breathing and timing steady for distance races is an art.  The right playlist gets us in the zone and then keeps us firing when the going gets grueling. In a like manner, post race music can chill us out.

Chuck Patterson chillin’ with his tunes

How do you pick what’s on your iPod or in your phone?

Have you got a favorite pair of waterproof earphones or a great case for your MP3 player?

I like to use a standard waterproof bag you can get in most marine or kayak shops. I put my phone, use Nike+ for checking distance and time, and select a playlist easily. The whole thing can be strapped to my waist or clipped to my Camelbak.

Maybe you like to go sleek, like the waterproof iPOD or Nano.

What’s in your playlist may not be as important as the tempo and the order of the music you select.

The effect of music on athletes’ emotional responses and athletic performance has received a good deal of attention from researchers. Many say that pre-performance music played at faster tempi and even at a higher volume induced more positive and aroused emotional states in athletes.

The rhythmicity of music heard is also highly motivating. A track with a strong rhythm whose tempo is similar to that of the activity we are performing can enhance sprint performance, by diverting attention towards maintenance of paddle stroke rate. While many researches say that lyrics have little impact, i find that when i am connected to a song because of an emotional connection, a great memory or an image of power and strength i simply feel like working harder or faster.

A key consequence of listening to performance music is visual imagery,or even daydreaming. Music that brings to mind performance-related images will tend to produce association and transfer. So if you have an amazing training session and can connect that to particular music, be sure to add that music to your race or future training playlist.

The pairing of a music track with extrinsic sources of emotion such as a film, artist’s video or a memorable life event is also an important consideration. Many of these connections happen unwittingly, indelibly pinning a track to a specific point or set of memories in time. Make your own heroic music video. If you have a clip of yourself performing particularly well why not have some fun by adding your own “power song” to the video clip. The surprising connection you gain to that positive music video could just add to your SUP fun! With a GoPro on your head, your chest or your board you can mix up the pace, the spirit and the images – have fun!