For the second time in my life now I've found myself dragging my sad, mud soaked legs through the Dalkeith countryside. I'm more exhausted than ever and cramp is clutching at my calves, but a single thought keeps me going - think of the footage. I slip my GoPro head-mount back on and proceed to clamber through a stroganov of mud and lost shoes. Think of the footage.
Most participants take part for similar reasons - the physical challenge, experiencing the adrenaline and camaraderie, the excuse to play in mud as an adult and a neat headband at the end. I won't pretend I wasn't seduced by the same things, my inner-child absolutely demanded we go, but thanks to the development of action cameras in the last decade the filmmaker in me also gets his kicks. For me it's the perfect blend of productivity and ridiculousness, and a dead interesting way to spend a Saturday.
I filmed the 12 mile grind on my GoPro Hero 2 + GoPro Head Strap, swapping between head-mounted shots for obstacles and wrist wrapping the straps during running sections. Despite having been preceded by the GoPro Hero 3 last year the Hero 2 still produces impressive results. For me, using an older bit of kit alleviated the worry of damaging the camera too much. Although I was still mindful of it's health it was nice to not have to worry about a shiny new Hero 3 drowning in mud, which might have broken my heart a little bit. I have no doubts that it could take the same punishment, but after having used a Hero 3 on several shoots now I feel that it's best reserved for cinematic action that doesn't compromise the camera too much. Given enough light the Hero 3 will capture your extreme sports, home movies or travelling videos with impressively crisp images, however with a constant film of mud on the protective case I felt like I'd be underutilising it. So bring in the older model and let's get dirty.
The edit above was pieced together on the same day as it was shot. The quick turnaround was primarily because I feel that these sorts of personal projects tend to lose steam very quickly, and secondarily because after sitting on my couch I discovered my legs no longer functioned. The edit was done in Premiere Pro, my preferred NLE software for quick turnaround projects. I decided to edit the footage in chronological order to give viewers an accurate insight to the course, allowing past participants to relive the experience and giving future participants a glimpse of what's to come. This allowed me to edit in a 'deconstructive' style - I placed all my assets on one timeline and gradually chiselled away unusable sections of footage, leaving me with a perfectly chronological rough-cut. From here I tighten the cuts to introduce a sense of rhythm, avoiding simply cutting on the beat as this makes the edit become predictable and less dynamic. I applied some minor colour correction to the footage, upping the mids, highs, and saturation as well as applying a warm tone. I wanted to emphasise the excitement and action of the day and felt a strong colour palette would help, creating an almost Mirror's Edge-esque game-like experience.
The incredible success of GoPro's recent IPO hopefully indicates bigger and better things in their future, and I'm looking forward to seeing if they'll see it as an opportunity to branch out their product range. There's a gap in the pro-consumer market at the moment for reasonably priced camera drones that I'd love to see filled, or perhaps a step towards a cinematography oriented production camera. I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for GoPro to release more justification for doing ridiculous things. There's a market of inner children nipping at their heels.