If you are heading off to a theme park, it has probably crossed your mind to make some videos while you are on the rides, so that others can experience the same thrills you did. Unfortunately, most roller coaster videos end up shaky and blurry. Don’t believe me? Do a search on YouTube and see how many of the theme park ride videos you actually want to watch from start to finish.
We live in an era where technology is so advanced that for $100 you can buy a good quality, HD handheld digital video camera that you can take anywhere (some are even waterproof and others double-up as a video and stills camera). Not long ago you would have had to carry a much larger, poorer quality video camera with you.
How do you use this technology to your advantage and take great roller coaster videos?
First of all, my caveat: I am not encouraging you to break the theme park’s rules. If the theme park specifically bans cameras from rides then you should heed their warnings. The rules are not there to ruin your fun; they are designed for your safety. Taking cameras on theme park rides could result in you or others getting hurt, and even cause damage to the ride itself.
That said, if the theme park does not restrict the use of cameras, here are some tips for taking better videos on roller coasters:
Always make sure your camera is secure. Holding your video camera in your hand is not enough to ensure its safety. Theme park rides are designed to move very fast and surprise you with twists and turns. If your video camera is not securely attached to your wrist or clothing then you run the risk of dropping it or knocking it against something, both of which will probably break the camera and potentially harm you or others. A great roller coaster video is no good if it is never seen because your camera fell to the ground from 100 feet. You can also consider strapping it right to your head using one of the cool new Go Pro Hero HD 2 wearable cameras.
Make sure your camera is held steady. This can be impossible to ensure when you are moving at 80mph through loops, twists and corkscrews, but the steadier you hold your camera the better the quality will be and the easier it will be to watch (nobody likes to view shaky videos). Try to hold your camera in both hands with your elbows held tight into your sides. Holding your arms outstretched will cause more shake and less control over what you are filming.
Decide whether you are taking a point-of-view (POV) video or a video of the people on the ride. Often people swap between the different options and as a result there is a lot of shakiness and blur on the video as the camera changes position and re-focuses. My preference with roller coaster videos is to take it from the point of view of the rider. Videoing the faces of your friends can be fun for you, but if you want others to feel some of the thrill of the ride that you felt, you should show them the ride from your perspective.
To take a great POV video, aim to sit at the front of the ride. This way you will capture the ride itself, and a great view of the tracks and all the upcoming dips, twists and turns, without having to film the backs of people’s heads at the same time. It will also mean you can hold you camera lower and steadier.
Start recording your video before the ride starts and don’t press stop until the ride has finished. This will enable you to edit the start and end of the video (the parts that are usually the shakiest) and still have the full ride captured.
Watch some of the many theme park videos that are uploaded to the Internet everyday and decide what it is you like about your favourites. Then emulate them
A trip to a theme park is a fun experience and you can share it with others through video. Follow the tips shared here and you will be able to produce roller coaster videos that capture some of the thrills and excitement you enjoyed.
If you’ve been browsing Youtube for videos of theme park rides, you may be wondering what roller coaster videos pov means. POV stands for point of view i.e. you are seeing what the rider is seeing and, in my opionion, the best videos of rides are those taken from a pov perspective.
It can be really tempting to take videos of your face (and those of your friends) when you are on a roller coaster – and for you and your friends they will probably be really amusing videos. But if you plan on showing these videos to others and sharing them on YouTube then most people will not want to watch strangers screaming and pulling faces for 3 minutes.
The pov video gives the viewer a really good feel of the ride and how exciting it is. It doesn’t quite match actually being on the ride but it is the best alternative to being there.
Take a look at this short pov video of the Top Thrill Dragster ride at Cedar Point – isn’t this much more exciting that watching the riders faces?
Hershey Park in Hershey, PA combines 2 of my major passions: roller coasters and chocolate, so it already sounds like a great place to me. But what about the Hershey Park roller coaster videos?
Hershey Park has 11 roller coasters, including the boomerang style Sidewinder seen in the video above. This is a high speed rides that propels you forward through 3 loops and then, after a brief respite, back again to the beginning.
In this video of the Lightening Racer roller coaster (a double track wooden coaster) you get a really great view of the extent of the track involved in some of these rides:
Other roller coasters at Hershey Park include Sooperdooperlooper, Storm Runner and Wild Mouse.
With so many people able to take video on their mobile phones as well as a host of compact and low cost cameras, it’s inevitable that there are a number of videos of roller coaster accidents available online.
Thankfully, accidents on theme park rides don’t happen very often as there are strict laws governing theme parks in most countries (and naturally the parks themselves take safety very seriously to protect their reputations – I mean, who wants to spend the day at a theme park with a poor safety record?).
This Sheikra roller coaster video may look vaguely familiar, because it is a very similar ride to yesterday’s video of Griffon. They are both vertical drop roller coasters (Sheikra was the first in the US) with a proper 90 degree drop, and there are just 5 of them around the world.
In 2007 Sheikra was converted into a floorless roller coaster – just to add to the thrill. You can find this ride at Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Florida.
The Griffon just beats the vertical drop of Sheikra by 5 feet with a 205 foot 90 degree drop compared to Sheikra’s 200 feet.
Usually videos can’t even begin to convey how frightening a roller coaster can be, but I have been searching around for some scary roller coaster videos. Actually, the video of Saw: The Ride in the previous post did a good job of conveying the fear through the lack of any screaming.
My preference is for POV (point of view) videos, filmed at the front of the ride, and in fairly high quality, to really feel the scariness of a roller coaster. Vertical drops also do it for me, like this video of Oblivion at Alton Towers:
Personally, I find the videos filming the faces of the riders rather than seeing the ride ahead do very little more me. How about you?