How to make inspiring action videos (with minimal gear)

The making of a good action video: Wheelchair Skateboarder, Erik Kondo

I’ve never thought of producing action videos. But recently the chance to make something really inspiring changed how I look at action videos. And the project turned out to be one of the most popular videos I’ve ever made.

A short time ago I was riding along the bike trail when I caught site of something impossible. It was my first view of wheelchair skateboarder, Erik Kondo – flying along on his home-made electric skateboard – while balancing in his wheelchair.

I had to check this out.

There’s a lot of things that can be done out there that people just never think of.

So, I chased Erik down and while we were riding along together he began telling me the story of how he came up with the idea to fit his wheelchair onto a skateboard.

My first question I asked was how did it feel?

“I’ve been using a wheelchair for about 30 years and when you use a wheelchair you face forward. When you get on a skateboard you still face forward in the chair – but you go sideways.

It’s a completely different feeling.

Your steering is based on front-to-back balance. It feels really different. That’s what I like about it because I still have my chair with me all the time, but as soon as I jump onto that thing (the skateboard) it completely transforms my mobility experience.”

Next, I asked him how the skateboard was put together.

“I started with a regular longboard, but what it has that’s different is a set of wheel rails. The wheel rails lock the wheels on my chair and prevent them from rolling – while I hold a wheelie. The bottom of the longboard has a motor and a drive train. And the motor is wired to a box that contains all the electrical components – batteries, an electrical speed controller and a receiver. I hold a transmitter in my hand.”

I noted the feat that it takes to hold a wheelie – balance his chair on just two wheels – in order to stay on the skateboard. Erik’s reply was pretty modest.

“Now I’m really trying to work my balance so that I can go over more rough terrain. Right now I’m just limited by my skill. I never really skateboarded before. I don’t have that much experience, but the more I do it the better I get.”

I had to ask him how he was able to figure out such a challenging task: how he came to be riding a skateboard without the use of his legs?

“There’s a lot of things that can be done out there that people just never think of.”

Check out Erik’s Wheelchairboarding page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Wheelchairboarding

How to shoot an action video (with minimal tools)

action videosThis video was shot entirely hand held. I tend to favor using hand held – especially for action video footage. For the interview section I had a microphone attached to the camera and shot close enough so that you can still hear Erik’s responses. For al the footage on the skateboard park I was holding the camera with two hands and moving in sync with Erik. When we moved to the bike trail, I followed Eric on my bicycle to get the moving shots – one hand on the handle bar and one hand on the camera. A GoPro camera would make these shots a lot easier to capture.

The audio on all the movement footage was not critical because I planned to use Erik’s voice and/or music as the soundtrack.

One thing that really helped this video is the inspiring subject – a guy riding a skateboard on his wheelchair. This video received over five thousand views on Youtube and another thousand views on Facebook simply because wheelchair skateboarding is so unusual.

Want to learn more and share some of the videos you’re making? Join my FREE Videomaking Mastermind Group on Facebook

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