Shooting your R/C: Tips for great photo and video highlights.

By: Tim Gluth

We all know how much fun this hobby is, right? Why not share the excitement with others and convince more folks to join in? Photographing and shooting video of your ride is fun, but is often a two (or more) person task. Believe me, I've tried shooting external video on my own (while driving) but the results weren't pretty. Here are some tips that can help.

It takes two (or more).
First things first, if you're looking to get some great action shots, make sure you have someone around that can help you with either the camerawork or the driving. Holding a camera as well as a radio (and hoping to get great results out of both) won't work (unless you're a squid).  Have a friend or family member (kids are great camera-people) shoot the action while you have fun behind the controls.  If you're feeling up to it, you can even switch roles and let someone new experience the joy of an r/c car.

If your're serious about your video, and want a top-notch production, bring a few friends with a few cameras and get multiple angles/shots captured.  While you'll have more footage to review when you edit, you'll have more opportunity (and hopefully more usable content) to work with.

Onboard and on the road.
Over the past few years, cameras have gotten smaller and smaller, and some companies (Go-Pro *affiliate link* being the most popular) manufacturer cameras that are made for point-of-view footage.  Mounting a small camera on your vehicle can give a whole new perspective to the sport and allows for some interesting video footage.  Ever wonder what it would be like to vault off of a ramp at 50+ mph? Now's your chance.

The RCNewb team picked up a portable camera that we're experimenting with and will be sharing our experiences soon.

If you want to take onboard footage-capturing to a whole new level (and if you happen to own an radio-controlled plane or helicopter) set your rig up with a lightweight, portable camera (or two) and capture the action from the air.  If you prefer taking to the air anyway, this is a great way to get some amazing aerial shots of your neighborhood or your favorite launching area.  You can also use your r/c car or truck as a camera rig.  With a little creativity, it can go a long way!

Keep it rolling.
Another benefit of today's technology is the seemingly endless recording time that we have at our disposal.  No longer are we constrained by tape length or rolls of film.  If your shooting video, keep the camera rolling and capture as much footage as you can.  You can always delete what you don't use and you'll reduce the risk of missing a great action shot if you're turning the camera on and off frequently.  Another tip for shooting video; use a tripod.  It'll make a world of difference on your finished product.

If still shots are what you prefer, the same philosophy applies here too.  Keep shooting.  If you have a DSLR or point and shoot camera that is capable of rapid-fire shots (without much shutter delay) keep firing off shots, especially if you're shooting an action scene.  Again, you can always weed out the pictures that didn't quite turn out and keep the ones that did.

If you don't have a small army of photographers that can assist with shooting action shots, you can set up some creative and intriguing still shots that show off your vehicle.  As with any photograph, composition is key.  No matter what the situation, action shot or still photo, framing the shot properly is a must.  Experiment with different perspectives, shooting overhead or looking up from ground-level.  Take plenty of shots and see which ones speak to you.

Chris Stanfield's Slash
Photo Credit: Chris Stanfield

If you want to have a photo that stands out from the rest, take a look at what Chris Stanfield did on a rainy afternoon.  He combined his Slash, some plastic, slotted shelving and a fog machine to create an epic image.  Thinking outside the box doesn't hurt when setting up your r/c shots.

Have you done any creative photo or video work with your radio control vehicle?  Let us know, we'd love to see it!

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