Thursday, July 25, 2024
From The MagIn-DepthTom Court - Kite Vlogging

Tom Court – Kite Vlogging

You are one of kiting/winging’s most popular vloggers; how did you get into Vlogging?

Getting into vlogging was a slow process that contradicted how I worked in the past. I have always been into making videos and movies and was an early adopter of YouTube. On my YouTube channel, you can find videos that stretch back into the history of kiteboarding. However, it took a new perspective to start making videos with a quicker turnaround, like vlogs. Rather than spending one year on a movie, such as the Free Ride Project 1, 2, 3 and 4, or two months just shooting for a single video, I started to turn them around faster. I recognized that this enables a narrative that makes your content more personal to you. I started with a video each month, then each week, then twice a week, building the story as I went. It was a natural, slow process that, most importantly, I did because I love the sports and video production.

Mody photo

What have been your most popular videos or topics that you covered?

It depends. Some of my most popular vlogs have been when it all goes wrong, crashes, kite rips, storms and some of the videos I like the most have done the worst. So it’s hard to say what is the most popular aspect of creating videos like this. Topics like ‘how to dock start a hydrofoil’ and ’surf skate testing’ have been popular. ‘Sailing a kite boat’ and ‘how a kite is made’ have been some of my most popular topics. However, you can never tell what will do well or not.

Are you ever surprised by what goes viral?

I am continually surprised by what works and what doesn’t; however, it’s a dangerous game to worry too much about that. I do it mainly because I love to, I enjoy the process and it motivates me to keep going. 

Who have been your biggest vlogging influences?

Over the years, Casey Niestad, Jon Olsson, Benjamin Ortega, Sam Pilgrim, however, I don’t just watch one. People’s styles change as they go, vlogs evolve and narratives develop, becoming more or less relevant to you. Vlogging is more than just watching the video; it’s following the person’s life.

Tell us about your filming setup. How often does it change?

Since I started shooting, I have constantly been looking for the perfect setup and there are many choices. The first revolution for me was the Canon 7D and because of that camera, I bought all Canon lenses. However, now the mirrorless generation has come around, and the a7, a7sII, and aIII were my cameras of choice. Excellent quality outputs, however lousy build quality, crap plugs and general bad usability has pushed me back to a video camera with the Sony FX6. However, by far the best vlogging tool I have is the GoPro 10 with the media mod, I frequently put out videos 100 per cent shot on GoPro, especially for action. 

What is your ratio of minutes filmed to minutes in the final project?

Hard to say for sure; it used to be much more than it is now. However, I still film 20 times more video than goes out if not more.

Do you have things planned out with a storyboard in advance, is it more organic, chaos, or a bit of both?

It depends on the day. Most things can’t be planned if you are shooting the ‘day in the life’ vibe. However, if there is some vital information to get across, it pays to have a plan.

How do you manage your workflow? Get it edited immediately, or file it and work on it later?

A bit of both; if I am doing 2 videos a week, which I have let slip a little lately to have some time off, I would edit ASAP or get the timeline laid out so that when I open my computer, it’s all ready to go. Quite often, I edit multiple videos simultaneously so that I can get inspired by them all.

What was the best advice you heard that helped make your videos better?

Advice for vlogging was just to get started, not worry too much about the output, and don’t fuss over minor issues. Over time you will become a master at it; everything takes 10,000 hours. Also, do not worry too much about any negative feedback; vlogging is a long game and you won’t make it overnight; enjoying every moment of the journey is essential.

What program do you use for editing? Editing tips?

I usually use FCPX when I am travelling on my laptop. However, I am fluent in Premiere, too, as I do professional editing jobs and fun video production services for events, brands and private clients.

Dramatic scene at home on the Isle of Wight. Scadgeil photo

Where is your favourite local beach for riding and filming?

I always try to vary my locations, part of my ‘free ride’ vibe is always riding different spots, different styles, boards, kites etc. Also other sports, as I get into wing foil, surf foil, kite, surf, skate and MTB sessions. They all appear on my vlog!

What have been your favourite destinations to film?

Usually, places with constant conditions so that you don’t have to worry about scoring the action. Then the story is easier to build; Brazil was epic last season, the Canary Islands for sure, Portugal and home in the UK. However, the great thing about vlogging is that it’s real; you get what you’re given, and you have to make the best of it.

Are there any big projects in the works for 2022?

Always! I would love to do another feature movie again. Watch this space! Subscribe to my channel!

My Setup

Cameras: GoPro 10 Black, GoPro Max, a7sII, a7III, FX6

Mic: Rhode Wireless Go, Top Mount

Lenses: 24-105 / 70-200 2.8 / 16-35 2.8 

Hard drives: 1TB solid states 

Editing software: FCPX

Computer hardware: MacBook Pro 16

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