The Distinguished Gentleman's Ride is a yearly charity motorcycle ride supporting men's health - prostate cancer research and suicide prevention and awareness. Teamed with the Movember Foundation, the DGR this year had over 50,000 registered riders in over 400 cities in over 80 countries. The New York ride alone had over 400 riders, all dressed up in their finest suits, riding classic and vintage motorcycles. It's quite a sight.
2016 was my second year participating - I knew what sort of mayhem to expect. The ride starts out somewhat organized, but with 400+ motorcycles, traffic lights quickly cut up the crowd into many smaller groups that rejoin and split again numerous times along the route. One thing for certain, you're always surrounded by dozens of like-minded riders who are out for the day to enjoy the weather, enjoy the ride, and support a cause.
I wanted to turn the ride into a personal project, so I positioned 4 GoPro cameras to catch different vantage points for the ride - three on the motorcycle and one on my helmet. As you can see below, there was one mounted to the luggage rack (facing backwards), one on the gas tank in front of my right knee, one on my left handlebar, and the last was on top of my helmet. I felt that with a nice wide rear shot, plus fixed front shots from left and right, plus the roving "helmet cam", I would capture everything I wanted.
My camera positions were good, my settings...needed adjustment. I had taken advice from a fellow rider prior to the ride and set my GoPros to time-lapse taking a photo every 5 seconds. The man seemed to know what he was talking about, but had I really thought about just how much ground you can cover in 5 seconds, I would have realized that it was far too infrequent to capture what I wanted. But luckily, I had a short ride from Union Garage, one of the main sponsors of the NYC ride, to South Street Seaport to think about my settings. I changed all the cameras to video at the Seaport.
Later on in the ride, I experimented with a far faster time-lapse, 1 second between photos, and that was more successful. Ultimately I really do like the freedom that just shooting video gives you, especially when the event is already fairly fast-paced and active (at least, when we're not sitting at a traffic light) but 4 cameras-worth of footage from a 3 hour ride is...a lot of gigs of video.
I whittled all the video down to just a minute and 15 seconds of video (the maximum length you can upload to Instagram) which really made me choose my shots carefully - cut in right before the action and cut out right after. As a fledgling videographer, the length constraint ended up teaching me just as much as the initial error in time-lapse settings did, if not more.
My last challenge for myself with this project was to score the video using electric guitar as the base instrument. I then added on electric bass and a handful of synthesized instruments, but using the guitar as the initial instrument forced me to dust off my guitar-playing skills, which were in need of some refreshing. Playing to a metronome, I tried to be as consistent and clean as possible, so that the other instrumentation could be layered on more easily, but it was a challenge.
I hope you enjoy :)