That 10-mile obstacle course race you completed was pretty amazing. We're all impressed... but we don't want to watch two hours of your GoPro footage and neither do even your most ardent fans! In this age of micro sized attention spans, YouTube athletes need to find a way to make their endurance events more visually snackable. If you are a cyclist, long-distance skier, marathoner, or anyone who records long events or workouts, here’s the advice you need to turn a three-hour race into a five-minute killer video, complete with great stock music to tie it all together.
Before we talk about how to crunch multiple hours of sports footage down into a concentrated video of pure awesomeness, it’s worth asking the question – why bother uploading your sports videos in the first place.
The answer is simple. If you’ve put countless hours and gallons of sweat into actually becoming good at something, it’s worth sharing with the world! Plus, creating a channel on YouTube that showcases your endless talent can lead to lucrative returns.
Your parents deserve to know if all the money they spent paying for snowboard lessons during your childhood was actually worth it. Your spouse wants to know why you insist on waking up at 6 AM on the weekend to go pedal around on a bike.
The number one reason to upload your sports videos is to share your talent and your accomplishment with the people closest to you. So often, they won’t understand what you’re actually up to unless they see the results. Of course, that doesn’t mean they want to watch three hours of you jogging through your neighborhood. That’s why shortening sports videos can be useful even for amateur athletes.
Are you an up-and-coming athlete bent on dominating your sport? If you spend hours a day turning your body into a shredded instrument that will terrify your competitors, then it’s time to get serious about your personal brand as an athlete. In most sports, prize money alone won’t cover your massive protein powder bill, much less your mortgage. That means you need to find additional ways of making income. To do that, you need to get your name out there.
YouTube is a great tool to raise your personal brand. Viewers love seeing sharp, well-edited videos depicting the sports they love. By creating a YouTube channel filled with well-edited and heart-pounding videos, you can start to build a viewership, which may lead to networking opportunities in your sport, invites to closed events, and even the athlete equivalent of the holy grail– sponsors!
There’s one more reason to put the time and energy into creating truly excellent sports videos for YouTube. If you attract enough viewers to your videos, and you can make serious mullah from ad revenue.
CrossFit athlete Brooke Ence is an absolute pro at this. Ence has never been a top finisher at the CrossFit Games (the Superbowl of CrossFit), but she’s got loads of charisma and charm (as well as more muscles than most male professional bodybuilders) that she unleashes in a slew of short a medium-length videos on her YouTube channel.
In just one example, Ence gives over 375,000 viewers an inside peek into “Gymnastics Day,” as she practices her gymnastics skills, which is an essential part of the CrossFit programming. Note that while a typical workout sesh for a CrossFit athlete of Ence’s caliber probably takes two or three hours, this video weighs in at a dainty six minutes, giving viewers the perfect taste of Ence’s training schedule without leaving any unnecessary (or boring) fat.
(Warning: This video contains skin-tight clothing stretched to its limits.)
How do you actually create the perfect sports video for your adoring YouTube subscribers? Remember that the goal isn’t just to upload uncut footage of your three-hour marathon that even your mom won’t watch all the way through. It’s to turn that raw footage into a short, exciting, and polished video bites that will keep your fans drooling for more.
Before you even toe the starting line and hit record, you need to have a basic idea of what your video will be all about. Sure, it will showcase your athletic prowess, but what else? Do you want to include an introduction where you show your preparation or share some thoughts before the big event? What about after the event is over? Will the video just end, or will you provide a recap of your amazing finish?
It’s always a good idea to create a rough storyboard for your video. While you can’t always control or know how a sporting event will turn out, you can decide if you want to tell a larger story and include shots other than just the athletic event itself.
This excellent video of Alex Honnold free climbing the nearly sheer face of El Sendero Luminoso in Mexico is a great example of a well-crafted sports video that tells a story. The climb took Alex over three hours to complete, but a big chunk of this six-minute video looks at how Alex and his team prepared for such a risky climb. The video goes beyond just Alex’s amazing feat and tells a much bigger and more interesting story.
Once you’ve developed a rough storyboard of your video, it’s time to record. The simplest way to do that is to strap on a GoPro, hit record, and be amazing. GoPros do have their limits, since audiences are often treated to a shaky view that doesn’t always do a good job of showing what the athlete is doing.
Depending on the patience of your loved ones, your budget, and ease of access to your race course, you can ask a loved one to record you with their phone or even purchase a drone to follow your endeavors. If you plan on recording additional scenes outside of the main athletic event, you can even record yourself using your phone and a selfie stick. The goal here is just to get the footage. You’ll polish it up at the next stage.
Once you’ve toweled off the sweat, it’s time to grab you metaphorical butcher’s knife and start hacking your raw footage to pieces. This is also known as the editing process. You have lots of choices when it comes to video editing software.
Top choices include:
· Adobe Premiere Pro
· Final Cut Pro
· Corel VideoStudio
You can also find free video editing software that has just enough capabilities to be dangerous, including:
· VSDC Free Video Editor
One of the biggest challenges you’ll face during the editing stage is how to chop your long athletic event into just a few minutes. There is no perfect time timeframe for your video, but remember, shorter is usually better. Most professional sports videos are between five and 15 minutes, so be ruthless when you begin your edits. Keep your butcher’s knife sharp and put it to work.
Here are a few of the more common ways to turn your mound of raw footage into a short, and delectable masterpiece:
Speed It Up
If you don’t want viewers to miss out on a single second of your great achievement, just speed up the video. Adding dramatic stock music will keep viewers interested as they watch the miles of your marathon fly by. Check out this man’s entire 80-minute workout in five minutes, thanks to the magic of sped up video.
Show the Good Parts
Many of today’s top sports videos are highly edited to showcase the most interesting and dramatic points of an event or competition. The goal is to cut out all the unnecessary parts and stitch together the remaining video to create a crisp and exciting taste of your experience. Be brutal. Cut, cut, cut, and then cut some more.
Even this high-adrenaline mountain bike video from Red Bull Bike only showcases pieces from the runs of several different bikers on the notorious Rhythm Rip Mega Mountain Biking Course. If these guys have to cut down their footage to keep viewers entertained, you do too!
Do a Little of Both
Another option is to mix together the two previous methods. That is, speed up the majority of the video, but slow to real-time or even slow motion on the very best parts of the event. The beauty of this particular style is that viewers get the best of both worlds. They can appreciate the full expanse of your athletic achievement by seeing the event from start to finish, but they can speed through the more monotonous aspects and spend most of their time at the most exciting parts of the experience.
Sports Highlight Video
YouTube viewers love highlight videos. They’d probably marry highlight videos if they had half the chance. This video structure is fun, exciting, and can attract viewers like magnets, but they also take lots of work. You’ll need to record lots of footage and throw most of it away, keeping only the most exciting bits and stitching them together to showcase the very best of the best of your athletic experiences.
One way to make the highlight video a little less work- and time-intensive is to showcase multiple athletes (you’ll need to get their permission of course). Big events or competitions make for the perfect opportunity to soak in tons of great footage. That’s exactly what GoPro was thinking when it captured the highlights from The Audi Nine ski and snowboard competition in Solden, Austria.
Whatever format you choose for your video, every great sports video needs an equally great soundtrack!
Okay, so you’ve done some amazing athletic thing and dutifully recorded it. Then you sweated all over again as you carefully turned your awesome performance into a short, beautiful video. There’s one thing missing. Music!
Almost all of the best sports videos include powerful and bold music accompaniments, including all of the examples we’ve included here.
Why is music so important? It creates an emotional connection with the viewer. Big, bold music can energize viewers and make your moves seem even cooler than they already are. Since many sports feats don’t include a lot of noise on their own (your running feet and heavy breathing aren’t exactly going to woo your fans), music fills in that auditory gap.
So, where can you find the perfect soundtrack for your greatness? Don’t even think of grabbing just any song off the internet or throwing in today’s latest pop hit. If you steal music from someone else, YouTube could take down your video or even divert your ad revenue to the music’s copyright owner.
Be smart, and search for royalty free stock music. Fortunately, many stock music sites offer this exact service. One of those stock music sites is Soundstripe. We make it simple and easy for you to find the perfect royalty free music for your awesome sports video. Filter our music library by music genre or mood, including: Bouncy, Building, Intense, Playful, Powerful, and more. You can even view each song’s waveform to make it easier to edit to the action happening in your video.
At Soundstripe, we handle all the copyright issues and compensate our musicians fairly, so the only thing you have to worry about is putting together the perfect video and then accepting your rightful adulation.