It’s winter. It’s time to go and make some content with Team Jumbo-Visma cycling again(?). Cycling in the winter? The reason for this is of course that we don’t want to disturb the athletes in an ongoing season. They need to focus on the training, the nutrition and the competitions to make the best possible results when it matters. The cycle season is long starting late January and ends in October. So that is why we go to a warm place and make cycle content in January. And in the summer we go to a cold place (read: ice stadium) to make content with Team Jumbo-Visma skating. More on that later this year.
But why do we make content? Isn’t it enough to just pay the sponsorship bill and let the mass media do their part? Nah. That is the lazy solution, and we will miss a lot of opportunities if we did it like that. Sponsorship provides a great means of broadening Visma’s competitive edge by improving our company’s image, prestige and credibility by supporting events that our target market finds attractive.
Creating content relative to a sponsorship help Visma to enhance our public profile relatively cheaply. And we get something measurable to gather around no matter what we work with in Visma.
Weeks before we go to the content moment we need to plan what kind of content we need/want, and then we inform Team Jumbo-Visma about our plans up front. This can be what riders we do need, and for how long? What questions do we have?
Do we need some of the riders or staff to carry a special message or promote a specific product. What props (cycles, clothing etc.) do we want the riders/staff to wear and what actions do we need from the different riders or staff etc.
All this planning is important so that Team Jumbo-Visma can make the best possible schedule for riders and all the sponsors during the recording bonanza on content moment.
Riders and staff we met this time
- RIDERS: Wout van Aert, Tony Martin, Tobias S. Foss, Amund G. Jansen, Mike Teunissen, Dylan Groenewegen, Primož Roglič, Jonas Vingegaard Rasmussen and Tom Dumoulin
- STAFF: Merijn Zeeman (Sport director) and Niels van der Kuur (Mechanic)
As a video guy I’m responsible for all recording devices for audio, video and still images for Visma during content moment. And the accessories. The most important question for a video producer is how many people is to be recorded at the same time. I have to make sure to bring enough cameras, enough tripods and the most important of all; enough microphones according to the planned recording sessions.
And if you need to record three people or more you will have a recording challenge that often is solved with a external recorder. And then you have to have a plan if a equipment fails. You can NOT cancel an appointment because of a technical issue. So a backup camera, a back up recorder and backup microphones is basic configuration. And you can never assume to have a power outlet close to you, so spare batteries that are charged is very important to plan correctly.
Lights and drop-backs is often to heavy to bring on a plane, so we normally rely on the natural light (i always bring two small Manfrotto Muse video lights in case of emergency). Outdoor often give the best pictures, but indoor give the most predictable recording conditions. Any way you always have to expect adjustments to you planned set. It’s a part of the job.
A checked in baggage on 20 KG and a hand luggage of 10 KG (always put your most expensive cameras and lithium spare batteries in the hand luggage) will work if you pack it together correctly. The main equipment for this trips was:
- Sony NX-80 camcorder
- Sony A7R IV with 100-400GM / 28-75 for stills and secondary camcorder
- Sony NX-70 as a backup camera with backup battery for primary camera.
- GoPro Hero 7 with mini tripod and head strap. Sony RX100.
- Wireless lapel microphone systems from Sennheiser and Røde.
- 2 x tripods
Day 1 – on bike
The first day was all about creating content with the team riding the bikes in full outfit. It started by taking photos and video footage while the riders was preparing outside the hotel for the training session. Then the cyclists was divided into groups and Team Jumbo-Visma filled up 2-3 vans for photos and video footages.
The most difficult choices you have to take as a camera man is “should this be a video in high quality (4K) OR should this be a video with slo-mo capabilities OR should this be a photo”. Life is hard…
Sometimes it is possible to record from the side of the car, sometimes from the trunk of the car and sometimes from the roadside.
During the on bike session you don’t have any opportunities to direct the riders. So you have to do the best you can with what is served.
Day 2 – off bike
This was the day for all the planned video interviews and photo shoots with the athletes. We started the day doing research to find a suitable location for a base. The (sun)light and the background possibilities are always the most important parameters to consider. A lot of testing with ‘real faces’ was accomplished before the interview sessions began.
All the riders was escorted around by staff from Team Jumbo-Visma. This made it easier for both the riders to move quickly around on the premises, and for the riders and the media team to keep track of the time we had with the different athlete(s). We often have to switch without delay between the different interview, and the well planned individual interviews come in very handy.
Before we take a well-deserved beer, let’s sum up…
The most important thing to remember when going on a photo/video trip is:
- Find the number: How many people will you need to record simultaneously?
- Take your cameras and your spare batteries in the hand luggage
- Technology can fail. Always bring backup devices
- Use time to consider the best location. Consider light and backgrounds
- Make the riders feel relaxed when shooting
- Make backup of everything you record once the session is over. Take one more backup and keep it separated from the main storage.