Newport News Public Schools TV and the Telecommunications Center

videographer and others on bikes
NNPS-TV Producer Nik Long uses the GoPro camera to shoot video of Riverside staff pedaling on STAND Day, which supports bullying prevention. Photos: Beth Scott/NNPS-TV

Video producers are famous for going to great lengths to get the shots they want, and NNPS-TV Producer Nik Long is no different. He recently loaded up with video equipment, his five-year-old daughter, Allison, and took to his bicycle to keep up with motivated teachers from Riverside Elementary School.

The Riverside crew has been pedaling through the neighborhood ever since the COVID-19 lock-down, waving at students and families to make sure the students know they are missed.

And one afternoon in October, they rode in support of bullying prevention month. NNPS's STAND Day is the day to wear blue and make a stand against bullying. The Riverside team posted their route on Facebook so kids would come out to see them and join the fight against bullying.

Long decided to get footage of the event, and enlisted his younger daughter to help.

"To get the best footage I can," said Long in an email, "I’ll be riding my bike and using three different cameras to capture the event.  I’ll also have Allison in her bike baby seat, so she can help by holding some of the cameras when I’m not using them."

videographer and child on bike using small video camera
Long and daughter Allison capture video on the GoPro camera during Riverside's STAND Day neigborhood bike ride.

While riding, Long switched between the new GoPro camera and the Osmo Pocket that the team has had for a while.  When the group stopped pedaling, Long used his usual video camera, the Panasonic¬†HPX 170.

The GoPro and the Osmo are super-small video cameras that are easy to manage, and they record video smoothly despite movement. They were easy for Allison to hold in her child seat on the front of Long's bicycle and hand them to Dad when he needed them.

According to Long, the GoPro HERO8 Black has stabilization built in, which made all the difference.

"The quality of the footage amazed me," he said.

The Osmo is basically a drone camera that sits in a three-axis gimbal and has a handle. The gimbal supports the camera so it does not bounce or jiggle. It provides smooth footage even when Long is biking or running with it.

The bike shoot was a challenge, even with "Production Assistant" Allison, first because Long had to bike to the school since he couldn't fit all the equipment and his bike in his car. Next he had to keep all the equipment safe, which is why he enlisted the PA, and finally he had to ride in and around the Riverside riders while shooting video or bike ahead to capture them as they approached. All while wearing a mask and social distancing, too.

"I didn’t have to shoot on a bike," Long said, "but I figured that would give us a unique vantage point closer to the action."

Indeed, the footage tells the story from the point of view of the educators and takes viewers along for the ride. Having a wide variety of footage to work with in post-production gives the editor plenty of options, too, Long points out.

After the successful shoot with three cameras and a child on his bicycle, Long is wondering if he should add getting drone shots, too, next time around!