filming: The ultimate tricking showreel…

Sunny day? check
Camera man? check
Photographer? check
Clothing? check
Time? check
Planning? check
Direction? check
Personality? check

Lets say that I wanted to film a tricking vid somewhere, a showreel perhaps.
How would I do it?

Sunny day
Firstly, check the light. Don’t even bother getting up outta bed if the sun isn’t shining. Grotty day bad light footage is crap to film in with scenes looking dull and colours rubbish. Sort it out… no sun = no filming. next!

Camera man
Surprisingly overlooked. If you’re handing the camera to someone that flips too, its very likely they’ll be all too keen to drop the camera and join in the fun or film badly. Not good. If possible seek out someone with a fresh camera and wants something to film… someone that takes filming seriously and wants to get better at it. This should be a long term plan. As finding someone that you can rely on, and has the skills to make your tricks look good is valuable. As footage gets more and more, equipment upgrades, editing becomes more intensive.. time spent infront of a computer is better left to someone without a sixpack and prefers coke and pringles to daylight and activity ;)

Find a photographer! A good one at that, or at least someone with some decent kit that takes it seriously. It shouldn’t be too tricky, cause everyones rocking a decent camera these days. But the point is, self promotion. If you’ve got skills, you need to promote yourself and what better way than to have your mugshots on all mediums available and use the vocals and visuals of someone else too? Just make sure you get CD/DVD copies of everything, hard drives fail. Also get the photographer to document to the whole process, not just the tricks. Stitching ‘scene shots’ and ‘faces’ within the final edit, will vastly improve the visual dynamics.

Here’s a valuable one. Wear the same clothing each time you film/photo. Why? cause when you edit footage, there isn’t a continuity issue. Everything looks like you shot it on the same day.. woo! Go you! … me.. uhh whatever. :) Also wear something that makes you look clean and tidy. Being ripped, ragged and dull is fine for everyday stuff, but c’mon… for the sake of 5mins infront of a mirror swapping out a few colour combinations, might make a big difference. Eg if I was filming against a light/blue sky, don’t wear white or blue, wear something that contrasts well, like orange, or red.. black rarely looks good, unless its really well lit, as it masks shadows in the clothing folds, losing some of the dynamics of the movement.

When you trick is pretty crucial too. Did you know the light is much much better early in the morning than later in the day? Flip in the late afternoon and evening and you’ll have missed the prime light. Its worth the effort. Its also quieter in the mornings.. earlier the better.. background noises can ruin footage. Also there’s a psychological effect to filming early. The different time will feel ‘special’ … it will focus your mind and efforts. You’ll probably feel a bit odd at first as its cooler in the morning, so jumping into your usual routine might catch you out, so remember to stretch and warm up first! Let me warn you tho, flipping early outside is addictive… you’ll want to do it again and again!

Know where you’re going to film? if not, think about it. Certain backgrounds can equal visual noise for the viewer. You should select somewhere without distractions eg: empty playing field, empty beach, empty gym. Notice the word ’empty’ there? People in the backgrounds are very distracting. Its great to see your mates larking about, but if you think that most people are only going to see your footage once and those that don’t probably aren’t going to know your mates personalities anyway, it’ll just distract from your movements on film. Its about thinking and being professional with your footage… which brings me nicely on to…

A director, coordinates the action. I’m not saying you should recruit one, but just being aware of a few things will help. Directors make sure everything is ready with a check list and ensures consistency and quality of footage. You too should adopt the same thoughts when filming (which is also why you should recruit a camera man that loves this sort of thing). Good direction will have you in the centre or creatively composed in the viewfinder, they also won’t be filming into the sun (unless a silhouette is required) .. big tip there, always film with the sun behind you! They will also be aware of someone walking randomly in the background, or pause filming if the sun dips behind a cloud… and makes sure there’s enough battery power and tapes! Got a good trick? cool, well instead of filming it from the same old angle, find a new angle, get ultra low and film up (underneath?) get ultra high and film down (step ladder?) Don’t let shadows stray into the shot, catch bystanders reactions and get visual quotes on what they are witnessing. Dull direction = clichéd footage, make an effort to capture something fresh, this is a ‘showreel’ after all.


Producing a showreel isn’t just about tricks. Show who you are, get verbal and vocal and get your face on camera. You want to be known for what you do right? That’s the point surely? Adding personality to the footage separates it from all the usual point and shoot stuff out there. You’re unique after all, make your reel stand out by throwing a little of that uniqueness straight into peoples homes. Oh and don’t forget to edit in contact details/web addresses etc. If someone picks up your reel and wants to offer you a job… they need to know who the hell you are and how to get hold of you.

ok so i was going to stop there, but now I’m thinking, once this is all done… what ‘should’ you do with it? We all know what you ‘will’ do with it.. and that’s blast round youtube for all your mates to see it. Fine… but after all that effort, you should try a bit harder. Give it to your agent!What? you don’t have an agent?? daaaamn! ;) … ok ok, but seriously you need to think like that. Google production companies, send out DVD’s, accompany it with a letter, explaining who you are, what you do and if they have anything in their schedule that could accommodate your skillset. Did you think that companies run to you? nope, good PR starts with yourself. Companies need access to people with skills, they may not contact you back, but every showreel should go out to the same production houses, unless they tell you to stop, it’ll show you’re still interested, continually improving and you’ll stay in their minds for anything coming up in future. Have you ever thought about getting your name on an Acrobatic Agencies books? no?.. well you have now.

People that read this and do nothing, end up doing nothing… you’ve nothing to lose, so do something.

mark :)

Now read:
Filming: the Ultimate Tricking Showreel Part 2
How to get Sponsored
Acrobatics work



Filed under filming, photography, technique, training, Tricking, youtube

9 responses to “filming: The ultimate tricking showreel…

  1. Excellent! Kudos. You have helped me immensely. I thank you.

  2. glad you both enjoyed it. This post gets a lot of views, so I’m thinking I might do a part 2, cause i’ve left some stuff out.

  3. Johnny Angel

    Hey man not bad, but something you may want to consider is taking a tricking kit with all the usual goodies with you (first aid supplies, sunscreen, etc).

    Also motion capture for the win. Seriously.

    If your looking to pimp your skills look to the video game industry I hear they pay pretty killer.


  4. I’m getting closer and closer to having enough varied moves to make a really kick ass sampler and I’ve been reading a few articles like this and I must say that it has made me think out everything about the video and is definitely a good resource and something to reread before each and every time you make a video. Nice article

  5. why wait? just make one anyway. Its all good mate.

  6. Pingback: Filming the Ultimate tricking showreel 2 « JumpClub

  7. Pingback: Tricking Photography: Cake training. « FlipCatch

  8. Pingback: Nathan Turleys 08 Stunt Sampler « FlipCatch

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