Evaluation of surf video

I now realise that the process of making a 2-5 minute video is a lot longer than I expected. My choice of subject did not do much to help this. In November the conditions where not great for surfing. I wasn’t able to film in Hornsea as planned because the waves were not ‘surfable’. I decided to go to Scarborough instead which posed further problems.

The first time I went out to shoot I no longer had use of the video camera so I took my Canon 750D. Unfortunately I committed the grave error of not checking my equipment before setting off and ran out of  battery . I also only had an 18-55mm lens which wasn’t long enough to get close up shots.

The second time I went the conditions were ideal and there were a lot of surfers. I started in Cayton Bay which involves a steep walk down to the beach. I took the tripod but it was of little use as it kept sinking in the sand. I had a longer lens which worked well but would have preferred to shoot with a video camera because of ease of use. I found the same  in Scarborough. The tide was starting to go out and in order to get close I had to scramble on the rocks. I found the camera difficult to manipulate, whilst trying to balance. I should have studied the location and prepared before starting to film.

I am fairly pleased with the finished result, although the quality of the film lets it down. I spent a long time editing to try to pick out the most exciting sequences. It was a long drawn out process. I captured some good moments and tried to minimise the long waits in between waves.

I chose the music “I gotta feeling” by the Black Eyed Peas because the beat and rhythm seemed to naturally follow the footage. I contacted the publishing company by e-mail and even tweeted Will.i.am for permission to use the track but, unsurprisingly, got no reply. However, when I published the video on YouTube it said that permission had been granted.

With regards, permission to film, I asked in Dexter’s Surf Shop, North Beach Scarborough and they said it would be fine. I also asked Greg, one of the regulars and a couple of guys on South Beach before I filmed. Surfers, in general, are pretty laid back and their help and feedback was much appreciated.

In conclusion, as a first experience I learnt a lot. I thoroughly enjoyed the thrills of filming such an exciting sport and even the cold, miserable parts, getting wet feet were worthwhile. I will definitely continue to photograph and film surfing. I’m just waiting on the call from Kelly Slater.


Video Proposal


For my 2-5 minute video as part of our Creative Futures module I plan on doing a surf video. Hopefully managing to capture the most exciting part of surfing, catching waves.

Depending on the conditions, I plan to shoot most of my film on the beach in Hornsea, where I live. There is a small community of local surfers who tend to hang out at the south beach in a popular spot.

I will use both a Panasonic video camera and a Canon digital SLR to take the shots, with a tripod for stabilization. The video will incorporate various shots taken from different angles. I will then edit the film using the techniques we have learnt on Adobe Premiere Pro. The video will be accompanied by an up-beat punchy track which suits the theme.


To get some tips on shooting surf video I found some amazing footage on YouTube. Unfortunately not many were relevant to filming surf shots in the North Sea in the winter. Also, the equipment that some of the photographers use is much more sophisticated than mine.

I also had to do some research on a daily basis to check out the local surf reports. The waves have been few and far between over the Summer but I was optimistic that Autumn would see a change. Despite the cold conditions, average sea temperature of 8°c, this is a good season for surfing. I checked out http://magicseaweed.com/ to see the tide times, wave heights and conditions in the local area.

I enjoyed the following video by Jeff Dotson, an ‘award winning Visual effects Artist, Photographer & Director’.

What I found particularly inspiring is his passion for surf photography for his own pleasure and not just as a profitable venture. I hope that my enjoyment also comes through in the final video I produce.


I might not go this far to capture the best shots!

Another really awesome video I found was the following film captured in Norway:




Surf Video Final Version

Editing List and Timings

  1. 0.00 : Title shot- Still photo of 2 surfers Cayton Bay beach, Scarborough. 10am. Cross dissolve. (used throughout between shots). Music commences.
  2. 0.02: Title shot 2-Set scene. Still photo of swell at Cayton Bay with Scarborough castle in distance.
  3. 0.04.2: Frontal shot, focus on surfer taken from beach level. Cayton Bay.
  4. 0.12.4: North Bay, Scarborough. Cross panning on surfer taken standing on rocks by the sea wall looking across.
  5. 0.28: SUP (Stand Up Paddle Board). Left to right panning on surfer catching a wave.
  6. 0.52: Zoom in to 2 surfers waiting for a wave. Panning focus on 2 surfers and then lone surfer riding towards shore.
  7. 1.11: Distant surfer catches wave.
  8. 1.22: SUP zoom in. 2 surfers catch a small wave. Beach huts in background add colour to the scene.
  9. 1.40: Surfers paddling out, surfer in background catches wave. Focus on surfer in foreground riding towards shore on stomach.
  10. 1.55: Single surfer catches wave and then dives to finish.
  11. 2.05: Change of location and time. Late afternoon, 3.15pm sun going down. South Beach, Scarborough. Shots taken from the beach. Focus on 2 separate surfers.
  12. 2.15: Zoom panning of lone surfer as he catches final wave of the day. Sun setting in background. Taken standing on breakwater.
  13. 2.35: Title shot 3-still photo taken from North Beach.
  14. 2.35: Outtakes. Four final brief clips edited to a few seconds each.
  15. 2.50: Zoom in on lone surfer as he leaves the water at South beach.
  16. 3.04: Title shot 4- credits, cross dissolve, music fades.


This was my final version on Vimeo but I found that there was a lot of camera shake.

I exported the saved file in Premier Pro with settings for Youtube this enabled me to stabilize the finished product which  makes it look  more professional.