Acro Film School

Index

Introduction

I made this page in an effort to help people improve their acro filming skills. I filmed even at the beginning of my practice back in 2010. I believe that obsessively filming acro, along with practicing all the time, is one of the reasons why I went so far in this practice. If a person films himself, then watches the video, then films again, then watches again, this person has constant feedback and can improve a great deal in a short time.

We are privileged to live in an age where a person can invent a washing machine on one end of the world, film it, upload it to instagram, then seconds later people on the other side of the earth can see it and try to learn it. I believe that acro has taken hold as a new practice and art because of this new ability to share videos so quickly. So, making videos is a way to spread this art form around the world.

My feeds on facebook, instagram, and youtube are filled with acro videos, so you would think that everyone knows how to make acro videos, but this is not the case. Sometimes a person wants to come to our workshop and if I don't know them I ask for a video to make sure they have the prerequisites. To most people this is like asking for the moon. Many people don't know how to film themselves. They have a nice smartphone but have simply never bothered to learn how to send a video. I tell this person that if they just send me a video then they come to the workshop, then I never hear from them again. It is sad to me that there are people out there who are good at acro but they are no good at video. I made this page to try to help people.  A good video will help you share your love of acro with the world.

This is the video that made me fall in love with acro. It was made by Lux and Graeme back in 2011.

Video Basics

Video can be quite complicated to the uninitiated. There is shutter speed, ISO, Aperture, Frames per Second, Bitrate, file format, depth of field, Color Space, White Balance, etc. You would do yourself some good by watching some tutorials to learn about the basics. Luckily there are videos out there for everything.

Tips for Good Videos

I used to help add videos to Acropedia and my job was to keep up the quality of the videos. I wrote out some tips to help point people in the right direction.

Shoot Video Horizontally
I realize that sometimes you are in a small space and the move is tall but video was not meant to be vertical. This has been a tradition going all the way back to the proscenium arch used by theaters thousands of years ago. The horizontal shape of a TV is an attempt to copy the shape of the stage. There isn't enough room for action in a vertical video. It is just plain unprofessional. I don't like the square videos on instagram either but I am more lenient here because I see the utility in making videos which can be viewed the same in portrait or landscape. The video below explains the problems with vertical video.

Focus
Make sure your video is in focus.

Resolution
Make sure your video is at least 1080x1920. 4k is even better which is 3840 x 2160 pixels. Most phones shoot at this resolution these days. Remember that high resolution does not always mean better video. A 1080p video from a DSLR is going to be better than an iPhone at 4k because of better optics.

Lighting
This is very important. A simple way to make good videos every time is to shoot outside in the hour before the sun sets. This is called the Golden Hour. Everything outside will be evenly lit and a nice golden color. You need to shoot with the camera in between you and the sun. You want to avoid backlighting, unless you are doing this on purpose for artistic reasons

The Phone and Shoe Method

This is the method used by most acro people. Shoes are not good tripods but if you work at it you can make it happen.

Phone Tripod

I recommend that everyone get one of these. Make your life and your acro videos better by getting a tripod.

They are not very big so you can carry it around with you.

GoPro

GoPros cost between 300 and 500 dollars but they are worth every penny. They are useful because they are wide angle, making them easier to fit into small rooms. A cell phone needs to be about 20 feet away to capture acro while a gopro can be more like 6 feet away. They also have nice color and can be used in many other situations. I recommend taking the time to learn all the settings. Watch some tutorial videos. GoPro 7 is the latest one but you can get older versions which are just as good for cheaper. You can use a GoPro with only a smart phone but it is better having a laptop with video editing software. I have bought every go pro accessory there is but there are only a few which are useful for acro. I have them listed below.

Actual Camera

If you want a nice micro 4/3 camera I recommend the Panasonic G85. It is very affordable for what it can do. Micro 4/3rds cameras are more affordable alternatives to full frame DSLRs. DSLRs are better, but everything costs more. I recomend getting a wide angle lens. This way your camera will be like a GoPro but much higher quality. You will need a good tripod. I went through a few bad ones before I found one which I really liked. It is made by Zomei

Video Editing

The only video editing most people do is set start and end points in Instagram and add a filter. If you take the time to learn a video editor the possibilities are endless. There are countless free video editing apps for Android or Iphone. A good free one for iPhone is iMovie. It works okay if your project is simple. If you want a more professional set up you will need something like Final Cut Pro or Adobe Premiere. The latter two cost money but if you like editing you should try them out.

Video Sharing Platforms

There are quite a few. Most people just post to Facebook or instagram because it's easy. I recommend that you give Youtube a try. It is a little less intuitive to use but it is better than Facebook or Instagram because the video can be played back at higher resolutions. Facebook does 720p and Instagram does 1080 Square. Youtube goes all the way up to 8k. Even better than YouTube is Vimeo, which plays your videos back at higher quality, but I don't use it because it costs a lot of money and the quality is good enough on YouTube.