During the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, I was able to go for a Vail biking adventure. Those looking for a real biking adventure will find this post quite lame because we only cycled for about a half hour out of town and then back. The point was not to go on a crazy cycling adventure, but to improve our GoPro skills both filming and editing. The short bike trip was just in order to grab some quick GoPro content.
Getting expert filming advice from GoPro
One of the best parts of the GoPro Mountain Games was having access to GoPro and their expert staff. They offered several seminars during the weekend festival, and you could stop in at their tent near the Solaris Hotel and buy merchandise, ask questions, and get editing tips. The latter was what I was really looking for. I have always been intimated by video editing. So much so that I just never tried. I always just put my stuff on YouTube and embedded to my blog with whatever content was created. There is nothing wrong with this, but it is nice to have a more polished product.
We arrived at the Vail Lodge for our GoPro class, but this class was being held outdoors. We were going to go on a small adventure. We were led to Vail Sports right in Vail Village where each one of us signed a waiver and each of us got a bike. There were almost 15 of us, so this was no small feat. I was impressed with the fleet of bicycles held by the store since it was a festival weekend and they easily were able to accommodate us with bikes and helmets.
In less than 15 minutes each one of us had a bike. Then the GoPro staff came around and helped us mount our GoPros. I was given a GoPro earlier in the week, so I had my own Hero4 black, but I was pretty much a newbie in regards to mounts, especially for bicycles. I could have used a head strap mount or a mount on top a helmet, but I chose to have mine mounted on the handlebar. I figured that would be the best view of the scenery in front of me. I did not have this mount, but the GoPro staff graciously lent me one.
For such a small camera, it is amazing how much is involved with creating content. You would think a decision on how to film would be easy, but there is a lot more to the camera than meets the eye. First you have to decide on how and where to mount the camera. There are tons of different mounts to get different perspectives.
Then there is a question of how you want to shoot. You can do a traditional video, you can do time lapse photography, and now with the Hero4 black, you can do time lapse video. Then there is the editing portion, which is a new animal altogether. Without attending this festival, I would have been oblivious to the extent of what is involved with the camera.
We finally got started on our Vail biking adventure. When I take GoPro videos, I like to take short clips because it is easier to upload. An employee saw me turning my camera off and on and drove up beside me and said that I could just keep the video going and I could note the video by clicking on the button on the right side of the camera. This makes it easier to edit by placing a bookmark on the video when editing it, so you can just keep rolling and note the video when something particularly interesting happens.
Vail Biking adventure
As soon as we entered the bike trail, a beautiful magpie flew in front of my bike and was captured by the GoPro. I was sure to note this occurrence by tapping the button on the right of the camera. We actually saw it again on the way back, so I noted it again. Magpies are all over the place in Vail. I am sure the people who live here are totally accustomed to them, but I got a thrill each time I saw one since we have nothing similar in Chicago. In the video below, look to the right at the 59 second level and the bird is in the tree. Another one appears on the right at 1:29 and a third in the cul-de-sac at 1:38.
We cycled out of town through suburban like streets with beautiful houses and of course mountains on all sides. After about 15 minutes, we came to a dead end, but this was the entrance to a bike path. We followed this towards a golf course and then entered an island on a small lake. It was beautiful here with gorgeous views of the snow capped Gore Range in the distance.
We then turned around and headed back to the festival and Vail Village and ended the Vail biking adventure. The next day I brought some of my content to the GoPro tent and got a quick tutorial on how to use the GoPro editing software. It is not easy to get started, but with this start and tutorials I have found on YouTube, I have been able to make some progress. The video embedded here is the first time I have taken multiple clips and spliced them together. I would not call myself an expert or even a good editor, but I am learning and really having fun with it.
Even though the Vail biking adventure was only an hour, I really enjoyed it and definitely would love to come back and bike some more. The terrain in the Vail valley is perfect because the ups and downs are not that extreme. I know if you were looking for more intense mountain biking, you would not have to go far as I saw some people biking up Vail Mountain while doing the Berry Picker Trail, but it seems to me that there is terrain for all levels of fitness.
This trip was sponsored as part of the #Vailsummer initiative. The opinions, photos, and videos are my own. The royalty free music in the video is courtesy of Incompetech.
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